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How the Usa Created the Taiwan Problem and Shot Itself in the Foot

The author is an air warrior, military historian and writer on warfare and military history



There is a crisis brewing in the Taiwan Strait with China threatening to invade the country. On the face, it looks like China is a belligerent nation but a study will show this problem has been created entirely by the United States by its own ineptitude and lack of political foresight.

Firstly, a bit of history; from 1895 to 1945 the island of Formosa also known as Taiwan was a colony of Japan. The ruling dynasty of China by the Treaty of Shimonoseki ceded the island to Japan. The treaty signed after negotiations between March 20 to April 17, 1895, effectively made Japan the ruler of Formosa.

This state of affairs continued till 1945 when the Americans dropped the atomic bombs on Japan and the island surrendered. Logically if the Americans had looked into the future they would have created an independent Formosa but they handed it to the Chinese. This was the first blunder.

One reason for this was that America was closely allied with the Nationalist Party which was ruling China and in 1945 the Americans's thought they had their ally in power in China. The American stooge General Chiang Kai Shek was defeated in the civil war ( 1945-49) with the Communists and fled with his coterie to Formosa ( Taiwan). This was the time to recognize Formosa as an independent country but Chiang Kai Shek had fond hopes that he would get back to the mainland and hence the Americans continued supporting him though the entire mainland had been occupied by the communist party.

Any realistic assessment of the scenario at that time would have shown that the Nationalist party had no muscle or power and neither had the Americans the wherewithal to go back and occupy China and defeat the Communist Party. This reality was not accepted and a make-believe world was created that there was one China and that was the Nationalist Party ruled Taiwan( Formosa).

This state of affairs continued for 25 years till Richard Nixon made his visit to China and shot himself in the foot.

The man who made the promises

The man who made the promises

Further developments

America finally realized that they had no chance to throw the communist party out of power in China and a decision was made to be friends with the Chinese communist party and make use of the massive Chinese market. The consideration was purely economic without regard to reality. It was assumed that China would never catch up to the United States and would be happy to be associated as a subservient power to America.

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During the visit to China, the American president made very significant concessions to the Communists. He agreed that there would only be one China and this policy would be meticulously followed. Secondly, he assured the Chinese leadership that the USA would never allow Taiwan to become an independent country.

By making these concessions, he sealed American options for the future and the fact is that the Americans shot their own feet by giving a legal justification to China to occupy Taiwan as a renegade province as per international law.

I hope the reader can read through the justification of this article. As it stands the Americans have really no locus standi to prop up Taiwan and also I do not think America can stand against a full-scale Chinese assault in a year or two on the island of Taiwan.

America has given the justification for China to occupy a province that has broken away from the mother country and by making the promises Richard Nixon put an anchor around the American neck. Nixon's promise that there would only be one China and that Taiwan would never be treated as an independent country is now staring in the face of the American political leadership.

Perhaps the situation would never have been reached if the Americans had not handed over Formosa to China in 1945.

Last word

President Joe Biden has made some strong statements that IF China attacks Taiwan the USA will intervene on the side of Taiwan. This is easier said than done and that is the reason the White House played down the remarks. The Americans are on a sticky wicket of their own creation and the promises of Richard Nixon will haunt them. Sooner than later America will have to come to reality and Taiwan will have to face the brunt of the Chinese invasion. It may not come now, maybe after a year but it will definitely come.

Americans have also lost in Ukraine where they bungled badly by trying to make Russia an enemy, and almost 30% of Ukrainian territory is in Russian hands and a Russian offensive is moving forward. I do not see how Taiwan can continue to survive for the next decade as an independent country. Richard Nixon has ensured the Americans have no legal justification to stop China from incorporating Taiwan as a province of the mother country.

© 2022 MG Singh

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