The US and the wider Western media have promoted narratives of an impending Chinese invasion of Taiwan. This narrative has been used to justify the sale of US weapons to Taiwan's military including a recent arms deal worth several billion US dollars.
The Business Insider in an article titled, "A Chinese invasion of Taiwan would not be easy, and the 400 anti-ship missiles the US plans to sell to Taiwan would make it even harder," would note:
Less than a week after it authorized a $1.8 billion arms sale to Taiwan, the US Department of State notified Congress on Monday of another possible Foreign Military Sale to Taiwan for $2.4 billion that includes hundreds of Harpoon anti-ship missiles and launchers.
The big sale, if approved by Congress, would give Taiwan 100 Harpoon Coastal Defense Systems (HCDS) and 400 RGM-84L-4 Harpoon Block II Surface-Launched Missiles, very capable all-weather weapons that can search for and take out ships as far as half-way across the Taiwan Strait.
The sale of the additional missiles would later be approved.
The weapons are for a "Chinese invasion" that will likely never come and in addition to the US "soft power" networks Taiwan now serves as a base for - the US still lacks any means to confront or contain China's influence - both in regards to Taiwan and in regards to the wider region.
The need for a "Chinese invasion" of territory already recognized as part of China by the UN makes so little sense on so many levels. But the clearest level is economically where mainland China now stands as Taiwan's largest trade partner and investor.
Mainland China has been the key to Taiwan's economic growth throughout recent years and had helped drive the easing of cross Strait tensions.
Because of Taiwan's economic ties with the mainland, the most recent drive by the US to re-introduce a wedge between the two has come at high cost to Taiwan's economy. The government fulfilling Washington's desire to restrict mainland investment and oppose Beijing's decisions regarding Chinese territory has cut Taiwan off from economic inflows the US - and even the wider West - are unable to compensate for.
A look at Taiwan's foreign investment and trade over the last two decades reveals an obvious and unavoidable trend regarding Taiwan's near to intermediate future. It is a trend of a shrinking Western role in Taiwan's economy replaced by a rising mainland China - and a trend that inevitably impacts Taiwan geopolitically.
Twenty years ago only 4% of Taiwan's exports headed to mainland China while 18% headed to the United States. Today, 34% of Taiwan's exports head to China versus 10% to the United States. Taiwan's imports reflect a similar shift in economic power. Both China's economic rise and its proximity to Taiwan means that this trend will only continue.
US efforts to build up Taiwan's independence movement is meant to deliberately disrupt this trend - and it is doing so not by providing Taiwan with economic alternatives but instead baiting the island into a growing political and even military standoff with the mainland and its regional allies. This is being done specifically at the expense of Taiwan's economic ties to both.
Just like Australia and others being drawn into Washington's anti-Chinese foreign policy - such a stance is not sustainable. As long as China can avoid provocations and conflict and continue offering the benefits of economic prosperity and peace as an alternative to Washington's strategy of tension - patience and time will run out for Washington's style of Indo-Pacific hegemony and the interests in the region abetting it will be displaced by those interested in a more constructive regional architecture.
Perhaps on a more global scale a similar process can play out within the United States itself - where current circles of power pursuing this counterproductive foreign policy are displaced by those with a more constructive vision of America's role not only in Asia but around the globe.
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