Beijing’s state-run Global Times newspaper has warned Taiwan that the “abandonment” of Afghan allies by the US should be a lesson as the disputed island would be left to its own devices and “collapse within hours” into a war with China.
The leaders of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) of Taiwan must “sober head” and advocates for secession from China “wake up from their dreams”, The English-language newspaper reported this on Monday.
“From what happened in Afghanistan, they should understand that once war breaks out in the Straits, the island’s defenses will collapse within hours and the US military will not come to help,” Global Times said in an editorial. “As a result, the DPP authorities will soon surrender, while some senior officials will be able to flee by plane.”
Such a scenario has been unfolding in Afghanistan since President Joe Biden announced in April that the US military would withdraw from the country by September 11. Biden later pushed the deadline to the end of August, but even before the process could be completed, the country’s US-backed government collapsed. Taliban fighters have overrun Afghan security forces in an overwhelming blitzkrieg, culminating in their capture of Kabul on Sunday after President Ashraf Ghani fled the country with sacks of cash in tow.
“The best choice for the DPP authorities is to prevent the situation from getting into that position,” according to Global Times.
They must change course to tie themselves to the anti-Chinese chariot in mainland US. They should use political means to keep the peace in the Straits, rather than acting as US strategic pawns and bearing the bitter fruits of war.
The article was accompanied by an illustration of a bald eagle leading Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen to a hole in the ground. The newspaper compared the chaos in Kabul to the fall of Saigon in 1975, when US embassy staff were evacuated by helicopter, just as happened again in Afghanistan on Sunday.
Global Times said the US has a long history of abandoning its allies, from betraying imperial France after the Revolutionary War and abandoning Kurdish allies in Syria in 2019, to fleeing Kabul when the Afghan attacked defenses collapsed. “Is this some kind of omen of Taiwan’s future fate?” the paper asked, adding that while Tsai and other DPP leaders downplayed the Afghan crisis, “They must have known better in secret that the US is not trustworthy.”
The Biden administration clearly judged that the occupation of Afghanistan had become too expensive, despite the country’s strategic importance, and decided it could invest its resources more effectively to maintain US hegemony, the Global Times reported. Taiwan’s geopolitical value is no greater than Afghanistan’s, the paper added, and the US should pay a price “huge price” to intervene in a war with China.
“Once a war breaks out across the Straits as the mainland occupies the island with troops, the US would have to have a much greater determination than it had for Afghanistan, Syria and Vietnam if it wants to intervene,” according to Global Times. And vis-a-vis Afghanistan, the US would be a… “deeper hopelessness” for victory. Notably, the paper repeatedly said: “as soon as a war breaks out” with China, and not “in the event that.”
The Global Times article was on the same wavelength as the social media chatter of recent days amid the US evacuation and the advance of the Taliban. ‘This is a fiasco of epic proportions’ Timur Kuran, a professor at Duke University in North Carolina, said on Twitter Monday, citing New York Times columnist Bret Stephens. “Every ally – Taiwan, Ukraine, the Baltics, Israel, Japan – will learn the lesson that he is alone against his enemies.”
Make no mistake. This is a fiasco of epic proportions. “Every ally – Taiwan, Ukraine, the Baltic States, Israel, Japan – will learn the lesson that he is alone against his enemies. The Biden Doctrine means the burial of the Truman Doctrine.” https://t.co/tuskc8zf9Z
— Timur Kuran (@timurkuran) August 16, 2021
Other observers, such as Newsmax host Steve Cortes, said Biden’s handling of the Afghan crisis will encourage China to take Taiwan. “China now knows it has a free hand in Afghanistan, Hong Kong and Taiwan,” former Assistant Treasury Secretary Monica Crowley tweeted. “Compromised Biden really delivered.”
Taiwan is ruled by descendants of the Chinese nationalists who fled defeat in the mainland civil war in 1949 and “The Republic of China” in exile. While the island has pursued a level of independence and self-government from the mainland, Beijing insists Taiwan is still Chinese territory under its “One China” policy.
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