When the enemy attacks, retreat. When the enemy is resting, harass him. When the enemy shows no signs of resistance, attack. When the enemy runs, pursue.
— Sun Tzu, The Art of War
Are we in World War III?
The issue became more pronounced during recent Chinese-led live-fire warfare drills all around Taiwan’s waters and air the morning after US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s Tuesday night landing. , on the island on August 2, 2022. Stories have circulated that the US lawmaker is embarking on the venture as a publicity stunt aimed at generating political support, especially from Taiwanese immigrants concentrated in California. But that the trip had official US government imprimatur can be inferred from the fact that she was using US Air Force aircraft. As far as we know, no one uses government facilities unless on official business.
For the Chinese government, Pelosi’s visit was an expression of official US recognition of Taiwan as an independent entity quite separate from the People’s Republic of China. There shouldn’t be much debate on the matter anymore. The one-China policy, always jealously supported by the Mainland government, under all circumstances, must be held inviolable. The United Nations recognizes this, as does the whole world. The United States itself has always confessed its adherence to the one-China policy, except that in his recent statements, US President Joe Biden has emphatically stated that the United States will intervene militarily to defend Taiwan against China. Now, doesn’t that mean that Taiwan, in fact, is separate from China? It is obviously for this reason that China should be rightly offended by Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan.
However, what many did not expect was the way China reacted instantly, unleashing impressive warfare capabilities in all their forms: missiles crossing the Taiwan Strait, then blasting the waters around the island, while Chinese jet fighters carried out maneuvers that closed off Taiwan. airspace, prompting Taiwan’s chief executive to call on nations to avoid the area for air travel, as sirens praise the Taiwanese air as people rush to desert the streets and seek air-raid shelters. American warships that were nearby for some unknown reason had to beat it quickly or perish from Chinese military fireworks, some of which even hit Japanese coastal waters. At the same time, China’s own warships suddenly came charging from across the Taiwan Strait in a rare display of the People’s Liberation Army’s improved naval might. If this was a real war engagement, then we have the retreating American forces.
The intensity of live-fire exercises and the massive dumping of naval and air installations had the makings of war as witnessed in Ukraine, so people could only shudder at the realization that the world could already be in the Third World War.
Before the Taiwanese episode, China seemed complacent, seemingly unfazed even by the escalating conflict in Ukraine between the US-NATO tandem and Russia. No expression by China of an official position on the crisis could be remembered except to abstain from voting on the UN resolution condemning the Russian attack on Ukraine.
President Xi Jinping’s Belt and Road Initiative has seen a surge in bringing development to the world, and China knows only too well that the momentum to realize its vision of a “global community with a shared future shared” risked suffering in the event of war. By not voting on the UN resolution, China was able to keep hostilities in Ukraine at a level where opposing forces are confined to conventional, resolvable conflict – not the commonly perceived mutually destructive nuclear war.
It was in exquisite silence that China seemed to consider the Ukrainian crisis and made clear its resolve not to meddle in the conflict. Personally, I had seen this Chinese attitude as a maintenance of calm and balance which, in the end, would make China the fulcrum of war and peace in the crisis: whichever side China will win. It therefore becomes imperative for the US/NATO alliance to determine exactly to what extent China would be able to influence the course of events as it finally decides to intervene in the Ukraine crisis.
May we now ask if that is not exactly what the United States did by sending Pelosi on this visit to Taiwan for all of Xi’s warnings against him: checking Chinese war capabilities? Sure, the US could do such a check through its vaunted superb intelligence operations, but the war in Ukraine is taking time and no sign of Russia faltering in its resolve to truly win, so for the US and NATO, it is better to rely on the balance of power if the Ukrainian crisis were to degenerate into a global conflagration. Even so early, North Korea publicly announced that it was ready to send 100,000 troops to support Putin; in the case of the Taiwan crisis, China has announced that it is ready to deploy 600,000 troops, which by implication must also be considered deployable in Ukraine the minute China finally decides to take the Russian party.
So, are we in World War III?
As far as the United States and NATO are concerned, yes. War is their only alternative to rein in the global surge of China’s shared economic development. The United States has just been looking for ways to wage a war with certainty of success. He sees no visible chance of beating Russia on the European front; with its recent debacle in Taiwan, victory is not immediately expected in Asia-Pacific either. What the United States did in Taiwan was to do a Sun Tzu: to probe China’s apparent rest. With China’s instant reaction, the United States could only obey Sun Tzu as well.
How pitiful American White House spokesman John Kirby sounded when he reacted to “the People’s Republic of China’s detonation of approximately 11 ballistic missiles toward Taiwan, including the impact has been in the northeast, east and southeast of the island. We condemn these actions. They are irresponsible and add to the long-standing goal of maintaining peace and stability. in the Taiwan Strait and the region China has chosen to overreact and use the speaker’s trip as a pretext to increase provocative activities in and around the Taiwan Strait.
Yet in his statement, Kirby actually admitted that Pelosi’s visit was a deliberate move to elicit the kind of warlike reaction that China did. He said, “We anticipated that China might take actions like this…” The United States knew that China would retaliate with a missile attack; he just wanted to make sure and got the necessary answer.
In any case, this remorse of Kirby was exactly what Sun Tzu would advise the United States to do: “When the enemy attacks, retreat.”
Good thing China didn’t “chase” when US warships “ran”. By this, China has maintained world peace.