Eugene Chausovsky: In the event of such a war, the US can be expected to provide security support for Taiwan
06 August 2022
aku Tribune presents an interview with a senior analyst at the Newlines Institute Eugene Chausovsky.
- Do you think the US focus will switch from the Ukrainian conflict to Taiwan in the event of an escalation on the Chinese island?
- The US is unlikely to switch focus from the Ukrainian conflict to Taiwan in the event of an escalation, as the US has the capabilities to deal with multiple military conflicts in different theaters simultaneously. This is particularly the case as the US is not directly involved on the ground in Ukraine and instead plays a support role for Ukrainian forces, with a similar paradigm likely to take place in a military conflict over Taiwan. In both cases, the US would seek to back its allies in Ukraine and Taiwan in the manner that is most effective and least damaging in terms of direct confrontations with either Russia or China.
- Earlier, the American edition of the American Spectator concluded that US President Joe Biden was powerless in the situation with Taiwan. Why did the American edition make such a conclusion? How would you comment on this?
- I would disagree with the assertion that President Biden is powerless in the situation with Taiwan, however there are some constraints that he faces. One is that the US government is not centralized, so Congressional leaders like Nancy Pelosi can visit Taiwan even if it is not in the interest of President Biden’s agenda. Another is that the US is ultimately not the final decision-maker when it comes to China-Taiwan relations and would likely play a responsive role in the event that Beijing decides to pursue military action. But Biden is not powerless and does have significant influence in shaping the course of events without deciding them outright.
- Speaker of the US House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi will fly to Taiwan on August 2 and meet with the island's leadership the next morning, media reported. Against this background, there was a sharp escalation of tension in the region. China said that Pelosi's visit to the island would be considered US interference in China's internal affairs, and the military "won't sit idly by." The PLA has sent fighter jets to the island, and the United States is pulling planes and aircraft carriers to Taiwan. Taiwan's armed forces have been put on "high alert." What could be the consequences of Pelosi's visit to Taiwan?
The consequences of Pelosi’s visit have made themselves clear in the form of major military exercises by China, as well as the cutoff of certain forms of Chinese-US bilateral cooperation. The visit has certainly raised tensions between Washington and Beijing over Taiwan, but this was already in an increasingly precarious state prior to Pelosi’s visit.
- Should we expect a war between China and Taiwan? In the event of war, what will be the role of the United States?
- At this stage, a war between China and Taiwan remains unlikely in the immediate term but it cannot be ruled out completely. In the event of such a war, the US can be expected to provide security support for Taiwan, though its direct involvement would come in a limited fashion, not unlike the situation in Ukraine.
- Do you think China is ready to take control of Taiwan by military means?
- China has certainly been building up its military capabilities to be able to take control of Taiwan in such a way if Beijing deems necessary. However, the specific timetable for such a possible action depends not only on China’s military capabilities, but also the geopolitical environment surrounding such a decision. For example, Beijing has to account for not only the security response of a military action by the US, but also of other major players in the region like Japan, as well as the global economic repercussions of a prolonged conflict.
- Why do Americans work so hard to defend Taiwan? What are the US interests on this island?
- Taiwan represents a long-standing ally for the US in the Asia Pacific region, one which shares a democratic form of government. Taiwan is also an important economic partner for the US and is integrated into key supply chains in critical areas like semiconductor manufacturing, thus making it a key component of the US strategic position in the region.
Interviewed by Seymur Mammadov