Perils of warfare

The diplomatic miscalculation by Washington is likely to plunge the region in a conflict

August 17, 2022

Stakes are apparently high in the Taiwan Strait. The diplomatic miscalculation by Washington is likely to plunge the region in a conflict, as Beijing readies itself for a tit for tat. The muscle-flexing on the part of China as it conducted military drills around the shores of Taiwan was an indication of its restlessness, and an instant warning to the US to keep itself aloof from meddling for the sake of point-scoring. US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s air-dash to Taipei was followed by a high-powered five-member Congressional visit to the island-state, and it was surely in need of being responded to by Beijing.

The sending in of warships, missiles and jets into the waters and skies around Taiwan was, indeed, a deterrent. But it goes to the resilience and patience of China that it is not in a provocative mode, and is trying to address the fissures in a sombre manner. Pelosi’s debut visit to Taiwan and her meeting with President Tsai Ing-wen was almost a declaration of war, and at the same time a punitive diplomatic snub to China. It is little known and there is no clarification, whether Washington has bid adieu to its One-China policy or it is playing with fire for the sake of pleasing regional allies, especially the QUAD. Taking on China militarily is untenable for the US, and measures such as going over the brink to appease Taiwan’s appetite for acknowledgment is uncalled for.

The straight-jacket language used by a spokesperson for the Chinese military’s Eastern Theater is worth pondering. It said the military exercises are a “solemn deterrent against the US and Taiwan for continuing to play political tricks and undermining peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait”. Period! It’s time for Washington to read between the lines, and step back from the brink. There is a lot to interact with China, and animosity would be the last thing. At a time when the global economy is literally banking on mass production and investment, which obviously comes from China, provoking Beijing in a war is a self-centred and myopic approach. Let Taiwan be on its own.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 17th, 2022.

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