This past week, China rattled a few sabers over Taiwan. Almost literally, in that China sent several dozen military jets into Taiwan’s defense zone as part of a celebration of the PRC’s founding. Much huffing and puffing ensued, along with the inevitable (and repetitive) handwringing over whether the US should intervene should China finally fulfill her promise/threat to bring the ‘breakaway province’ under Beijing hegemony. Biden’s engaging in his usual bully-boy bluster, and the Best-and-Brightest political pundits (who never met a war they didn’t like) are screaming from the rooftops that such an aggression must not go unchallenged.

Of course, the flip side of all this is the wet-noodlesque degree of backbone shown by various celebrities and corporate types for their “oops” references to Taiwan as a country, but set that aside for the moment, and ponder the very proximate lesson learned from our Afghanistan exit.

For it is beyond doubt that the Afghans, and in particular the Afghan National Army, opted for the practical over the principled. Why fight for freedom when it was easier to simply obey the new boss’s rules?

There are telltales that such might prove to be Taiwan’s attitude, as well, especially given the West’s other message – the weak response to China’s Hong Kong clampdown. Experts (and what would we do without them) decry Taiwan’s ill-preparedness, failure to arm up the way ‘we’ think they should, and spending well below what we think they should on armaments.

All this adds up to a question few are asking: If Taiwan isn’t super-gung-ho to resist Chinese subsumption, why should America involve herself? It’s pretty obvious that the Taiwanese government is gambling on America persisting in a GloboCop philosophy, rather than making it clear to Xi and the PRC that taking her would be a costly and bloody affair. While it’s fair to conclude that Taiwan realizes there’s no resisting China’s military might without American backing, it’s pretty rotten on their part to expect us to fight in their stead rather than alongside them.

Our GloboCop history is pretty universally awful. Even the “success” in expelling Saddam’s Iraq from Kuwait is highly suspect in retrospect. It’s easily imaginable that the world might have endured far fewer shocks and far less death had we simply let the Arabs sort their own shit out rather than rolling in like avenging heroes. We refuse to learn, unfortunately, and in that refusal we signal to the rest of the world that they don’t need to prepare for conflict – we’ll take care of it.

No matter that we’re already being buried by a level of debt that a thesaurus of adjectives doesn’t suffice to describe. No matter that the Democrats have decided to sprint toward economic catastrophe (as opposed to the Republicans’ mere trot) with borrow-and-print-and-spend-and-tax plans of a magnitude that exceeds human comprehension. Should China make her move, I’m certain that both parties will scream their demands that we do something.

Again, why us, and why Taiwan?

Despite there being dozens upon dozens of nations younger than Taiwan, only a handful of the world’s 195 present-day countries actually recognize the Republic of China.

Would any of our allies stand with us should we decide to duke it out with China on Taiwan’s behalf? Or would they say “we got problems closer to home, and we don’t want to piss China off?”

Would the Taiwanese themselves commit to that fight? Or would they play along, ready to go belly-up in supplication once we get tired of fighting on the other side of the world? The Afghans did, and they were merely faced with a Taliban army of about 75,000.

The argument in favor of militarism will be, as always, about stemming the expansion of Chinese influence and power. Sounds grand and lofty, but our domestic behavior, including the various forms of economic suicide we are embracing, will pay far more into China’s might than our engagement against her incursion into Taiwan.

In short, it’s not our fight, the Taiwanese aren’t stepping up to show us they’re worth fighting for, we’re broke, we’ve worn ourselves out, and our leaders haven’t demonstrated the competence that’d be needed to prosecute such an engagement anyway.

While it would suck for the Taiwanese should China finally “bring the rogue province home,” I foresee nothing but grief and loss should we continue to embrace a philosophy that has proven epically disastrous time and again.

Peter Venetoklis

About Peter Venetoklis

I am twice-retired, a former rocket engineer and a former small business owner. At the very least, it makes for interesting party conversation. I'm also a life-long libertarian, I engage in an expanse of entertainments, and I squabble for sport.

Nowadays, I spend a good bit of my time arguing politics and editing this website.

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