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U.S. War With China Over Taiwan?

Oct. 10, 2021 (EIRNS)—In tandem with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen’s increasingly defiant statements about independence from China, saber-rattling and discussions of a possible military option have also grown. Chang Yan-ting, a former deputy commander of the Taiwanese air force, told CNN: “We cannot control whether or not the Chinese Communist Party has the ability to attack Taiwan, but we are able to control and make sure it does not have the motivation to do so. We need to be able to defend against the first wave of attacks—whether it is for half a month, one month, or two months, then we can wait for assistance from the international world.”

Various Chinese media and commentators continue to remind Taiwan and its erstwhile allies that, in the post-Afghanistan world, the “wait for international assistance” could be very, very long indeed, and most likely would never arrive.

Scott Ritter, the former United Nations weapons inspector in Iraq, wrote an op-ed in RT yesterday, “The U.S. Cannot defend Taiwan, and China Knows It,” in which he argued cogently that the U.S. has no capability to militarily defend Taiwan, short of nuclear war. Ritter observed that Tsai Ing-wen has declared that Taiwan will do “whatever it takes to defend its freedom and democratic way of life.... ‘Whatever it takes,’ however, is an infinite concept backed up by the finite reality that Taiwan has a military of about 165,000 active-duty troops and about 1.6 million reserve soldiers which has been equipped with billions of dollars of advanced American-made military equipment,” Ritter writes. Furthermore, while the Taiwan military might look good on paper, “it is ill-prepared for the realities of the kind of full-scale combat that will be directed at them if China ever decides to go through with an invasion.” The reality, he says, “is that Taiwan would fall in less than a week,” and there would be little the U.S. could do about it.

“The only alteration that could be made would be for the U.S. to use nuclear weapons in defense of Taiwan. This, of course, would trigger a general nuclear war with China, and the U.S. is not prepared to commit national suicide for a nation it doesn’t even have a formal defensive pact with,” Ritter stated. “A better course of action would be to work with China and Taiwan toward the goal of peaceful unification which preserves intact the democratic system of government that exists in Taiwan.”

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