From the Right



Is Taiwan's Independence Worth War?

Patrick Buchanan on

We would be risking our own security and possible survival to prevent from being imposed on the island of Taiwan the same regime lately imposed on Hong Kong without any U.S. military resistance.

If Hong Kong, a city of 7 million, can be transferred to the custody and control of Beijing without resistance from the U.S., why should it be worth a major U.S. war with China to prevent that same fate and future from befalling 23 million Taiwanese?

The retort comes instantly.

Allow China to take Taiwan without U.S. resistance, and our treaties to fight for the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Japan, South Korea, the Philippines, Australia and New Zealand become suspect.

Belief in the U.S. commitment to fight for the nations of East Asia and the Western Pacific would dissipate. The entire architecture of Asian defense against Communist China could disintegrate and collapse.

If we allowed Taiwan to be taken by China without intervening, it is argued, the value of U.S. commitments to fight to defend scores of allies in Europe and Asia would visibly depreciate. U.S. credibility would suffer a blow as substantial as the loss of South Vietnam in 1975.


The fall of Saigon was followed by the loss of Laos and Cambodia to communism, the overthrow of the shah, the Iranian hostage crisis, the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, the strategic transfer of Ethiopia, Angola, Mozambique, Nicaragua and Grenada to the Soviet bloc, and the rise of Euro-communism on the Old Continent.

Pelosi's prospective visit to Taiwan, and the bellicose reaction of Beijing, should raise other relevant questions.

If this should lead to a U.S.-China war, what would we be fighting for? And what would victory look like?

A restoration of the status quo ante? Permanent independence for Taiwan, which would require a new and permanent war guarantee by the U.S. and a new U.S.-Taiwan defense pact?


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