Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton appeared on the Ingraham Angle last week to talk about Ukraine but quickly pivoted to Taiwan. On the surface the two situations appear somewhat different. China has not actually made foreshadowing territorial moves on Taiwan akin to Russia’s previous invasion of Crimea. There is no push for Taiwan to enter NATO, although it was designated as a “Major Non-NATO Ally” in 2003. Ukraine is also a much smaller economy and a less stable democracy. If you start to dig, however, some disturbing similarities emerge.
China looks at Taiwan as a ‘renegade province’ much like Russia looks at Ukraine as a historic part of the Russian empire, and both sets of countries have deep historical connections. A weak America and European Union provide the opportunity for China to act on its aspirations if it feels the risk is worth the reward. Both China and Russia have worked diligently over the past decade to be able to have a robust response to sanctions.
Senator Cotton makes a good point. He says that instead of waiting until there is actual military conflict, we should be arming Taiwan now like we have been arming Ukraine for the last two weeks.
Unlike Ukraine, China has a giant manufacturing economy that the United States is dependent upon for a huge portion of our goods. If China were to move on Taiwan and the West responded in the same way it has with Russia, ergo sanctions and suspending trade, it would crash both economies. It is unlikely that the politicians in charge would be willing to do that. It is also unlikely that the United States would intervene militarily directly to defend Taiwan. The Biden administration’s hesitation to simply provide MIG aircraft to Ukraine because of the risk of escalation with a nuclear peer pales in comparison to direct kinetic action.
An invasion of Taiwan would be disastrous on a humanitarian level, but also economically. The country is responsible for almost all of the advanced chips that currently run nearly every piece of machinery we have.
Cotton made an important assertion, echoing Donald Trump, he declared that we need to jumpstart manufacturing at home while doing everything we can to deter China. The question is: Is anyone listening?