From the Left



War With Taiwan? It Would Be Our Craziest War Ever.

Ted Rall on

America and the West have begun promoting the idea of a war against China over Taiwan. If China invades Taiwan, President Joe Biden has said, the U.S. would go further than it has in Ukraine, sending American ground troops as well as weapons. Thirty-seven percent of American voters agree with Biden. But how do you go to war to defend a country from invading itself?

According to the U.S., the United Nations and most of the world -- including Taiwan itself -- Taiwan is part of China.

Can the U.S. invade Ohio?

Like many other places, Taiwan is in a tough spot caused by decisions made by U.S. policymakers many years ago.

Until 1945, Taiwan was a Japanese colony. The birth certificate of my former father-in-law, an ethnic Taiwanese, read "Taipei, Japan." The end of World War II brought a breather. Occupation forces withdrew. The Taiwanese expected independence as part of postwar decolonization. But America had other plans.

Across the Taiwan Strait, the Chinese civil war was drawing to a close. Mao Tse-tung's Communists were beating the far-right Nationalists (KMT) led by Chiang Kai-shek. The Nationalists, looting everything they could carry including China's gold reserves, jumped aboard U.S. ships helpfully provided by President Harry Truman and fled to Taiwan. The exiled KMT took over, purged and murdered Taiwanese intellectuals and independence advocates and established a vicious authoritarian dictatorship of the type propped up by the U.S. around the globe during the Cold War. There was a remarkably calm transition to democracy following Chiang's death.


"When," my father-in-law would ask me during one of our long political discussions, "will the United States give independence to Taiwan?"

"Whether it's the U.S. splitting from Britain, or East Timor," I replied, "independence is taken, not given. You declare independence." About 1,400 Timorese died after declaring independence from Indonesia.

"We can't do that," he'd say. "China will invade. Many people will be killed."

"Maybe they'd invade," I'd replied. "Maybe not. But there's no other way."


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