Taiwan’s Crucial Role in America’s Pivot to the Pacific

Comments Off on Taiwan’s Crucial Role in America’s Pivot to the Pacific
Taiwan’s Crucial Role in America’s Pivot to the Pacific

Actions and statements by the Chinese government make it abundantly clear that its objective is to supplant the United States as the world’s dominant economic, military, and political power.  As explained in the May 2019 issue of Trends, China’s doctrine of “tianxia” envisions a world with no sovereign nations other than China.  The western concept of nation states codified in the 1648 Treaty of Westphalia, is seen as artificial and temporary by the Chinese leadership.  And consequently, a hegemonic China will never be content to exist within the “world order” recognized for the past 300 years.

When china was admitted to the world economy in the late 70s, it was poor, uneducated, and militarily weak; it played by our rules because it had no choice.  But as it’s grown stronger, it has increasingly reasserted the values that characterized imperial and Maoist China.  Since the rise of Xi Jinping, it has increasingly violated WTO trade rules, aggressively militarized the South China Sea, and provocatively suppressed human rights.  And these are just a few of the symptoms of its unwillingness to play by accepted international rules.

When Jimmy Carter announced on December 15, 1978 that formal relations between the People’s Republic of China and the United States had been established, Beijing demanded that the United States end relations with Taiwan and withdraw from its security treaty with the island state. 

However, in light of Beijing’s unwillingness to pledge to settle issues peacefully with Taiwan, Congress passed The Taiwan Relations Act which stated that “any effort to determine the future of Taiwan by other than peaceful means . . . would be of grave concern to the United States.” And, to support that policy, the United States was “to provide Taiwan with arms of a defensive character” and “maintain the capacity . . . to resist any resort to force or other forms of coercion that would jeopardize the security, or the social or economic system, of the people of Taiwan.”

The Taiwan Relations Act was also intended to allow the people of Taiwan and the United States to remain in close partnership.  Over time, however, successive U.S. Administrations have increasingly narrowed those contacts.

Now, 40 years after The Taiwan Relations Act was signed, a completely different geostrategic environment faces the United States in Asia.  The Cold War is long over and so too the justification for using China as a card to be played against the Soviet Union.  Also over is the hope that somehow economic engagement with China would gradually, but inevitably, lead China down the road to political reform and to becoming a “responsible stakeholder” in the international system...

To continue reading, become a paid subscriber for full access.
Already a Trends Magazine subscriber? Login for full access now.

Subscribe for as low as $195/year

  • Get 12 months of Trends that will impact your business and your life
  • Gain access to the entire Trends Research Library
  • Optional Trends monthly CDs in addition to your On-Line access
  • Receive our exclusive "Trends Investor Forecast 2015" as a free online gift
  • If you do not like what you see, you can cancel anytime and receive a 100% full refund