Not to get too political here, but the Chinese are far more comfortable—and aggressive—with President Joe Biden than they were with former President Donald J. Trump.
While nothing has ever been clearly proven, rumors abound that the Biden Family, through the First Son, Hunter Biden, has been compromised for years by Chinese funny money.
House Republicans are so convinced that Biden has been compromised by China, due to his son’s international business dealings, that they initiated an impeachment inquiry against the forty-sixth president.
Regardless of where that goes, and despite Biden having carried over at least some of his much-maligned predecessor’s policies on China, the fact remains that Biden comes from the neoliberal wing of the Democratic Party. He has a long history of championing greater trade relations with China.
Biden Wants Better Relations with China, No Matter What
Many have speculated that Biden secretly harbors a desire to ease tensions with Beijing at all costs ultimately by ending the Trump era policies against China, getting a new round of massive trade deals with Beijing to help boost America’s ailing economy, and signing the mother-of-all deals on Global Climate Change.
None of this would happen, though, until Biden got a second term.
Until a possible Biden second term arrives, however, Biden is viewed as weak and doddering, not just by his Republican rivals at home by his real foes abroad (including in China’s Politburo).
Given Biden’s history of friendship with China, along with the perception that America is internally divided and its economy is weak, as well as the fact that China’s domestic scene is not doing well presently, Xi Jinping might decide that now is the time to go-for-broke on Taiwan—before a new, possibly tougher Republican president makes it into office.
Should Xi do as I fear and strike Taiwan between now and 2025, it is probable that Xi is banking on disabling the American war machine (and possibly its domestic infrastructure) so badly that American forces cannot reliably help Taiwan’s defense, giving China’s invaders ample time to conquer the island.
With the island conquered by China’s military, Xi likely thinks he can then negotiate with a broken Biden from a position of absolute strength (meaning Biden will have no choice but to accept the new paradigm of a China-dominated Taiwan).
What About Taiwan?
The biggest issue the Americans and their allies in the region face is that Taiwan has chronically underfunded their military. What’s more, Taiwan, like so many American allies, has designed their military to match the profile of the US military.
They train, equip, and deploy their forces as a conventional, technological, Western democracy does, like the United States. Yet, Taiwan will not fight a conventional war against China.
Instead, Taipei will be faced with an overwhelming bolt-from-the-blue attack.
Should China’s invasion prove effective, with America likely prevented from totally deploying its forces to assist in the defense of Taiwan, Taiwan’s military would be ill-prepared to wage the long-term, insurgency-typeconflict that would be required to ultimately dislodge the Chinese invaders.
To avoid a certain defeat in the long-term by China in a scenario similar to one that I’ve outlined above, then, Washington and its allies must pressure Taipei to immediately abandon its Western-style military model and reorient itself toward developing a military model that more closely reflects either the Taliban or the Ukrainian military.
Taiwan must build itself a defense force that operates as an island-wide, decentralized network capable of maintaining low-intensity, yet persistent attacks against any Chinese occupier to the point that it sends the Chinese back to the Mainland, never to return.
Presently, Taiwan spends a lot of money purchasing legacy systems and arms that enrich Northern Virginia military contractors but does little to improve its fighting prowess. More importantly, not enough of Taiwan’s population is involved in Taiwan’s military.
The Israeli model of conscription for all citizens must be required—and strictly enforced by Taiwanese authorities.
Taiwanese defenders must become accustomed to the notion that, even if they wanted to, the US military would not be readily available when and if a Chinese invasion is initiated. Before the Chinese even think of attacking Taiwan, they would first strike hard against American targets, at the very least delaying much-needed US military assistance to the stricken island.
America Likely Won’t Be There
China’s robust regional missiles would effectively stunt the US Navy from deploying the bulk of its assets, leaving only a paltry force of submersibles (under the current force structure) to harry and stunt the Chinese invasion of Taiwan.
For all intents-and-purposes, Taiwan would likely be on its own (again, under present political and logistical limitations in the US) for the most part. The Japanese would try to lend a hand, so too might the Indians. The Australians would support Taiwan—to a point.
But the Americans would be too busy cleaning whatever messes China’s forces created at home or amongst US forces with a Cyber and/or Space Pearl Harbor that it’d be impractical to expect a concerted US counterattack.
And the longer a counterattack was delayed by Washington, the less likely America would ever intervene on behalf of Taiwan, by default leaving the matter to the Taiwanese.
Meaning, if Taiwan is serious about not becoming another Hong Kong, they’d better start taking their self-defense seriously and restructuring their forces to wage a low-intensity, long-duration insurgency against CCP occupiers.
Under Biden’s leadership, a distracted and weakened America would be far more likely to seek an understanding with Beijing, as Biden is presently seeking with nuclear-arming Iran, rather than fight a possible world war against China.
Taiwan must rapidly prepare itself for this fight—and to wage that fight against an invading China with minimal outside support.
As it stands, Taiwan will not hold out against a sustained Chinese attack on their island if the Americans are unable—or unwilling—to intervene militarily on behalf of Taiwan. Only the Taiwanese, starting now, can change this reality.
A 19FortyFive Senior Editor, Brandon J. Weichert is a former Congressional staffer and geopolitical analyst who is a contributor at The Washington Times, as well as at the Asia Times. He is the author of Winning Space: How America Remains a Superpower (Republic Book Publishers), Biohacked: China’s Race to Control Life (Encounter Books), and The Shadow War: Iran’s Quest for Supremacy (July 23). Weichert occasionally serves as a Subject Matter Expert for various organizations, including the Department of Defense. He can be followed via Twitter @WeTheBrandon. he writes opinion pieces from a conservative perspective.