The Brewing Cold War
Updated: Nov 30, 2021
Brewing iced tea is an art. So many bags to so much water, sunshine or refrigerator, black tea or other. It is a complicated process that very few ever master, and that is before we ever start talking about Southern Sweet Tea and its flavored offshoots.
In the same way, a cold war requires some very specific ingredients and "care." The brewing contains things such as neglect of rapid and aggressive expansion, purposeful ignoring of growing wartime power and the ability to project that power further and further from the country in question, and, last but not least, a government who is dead set on disrupting the western and/or capitalist way of life.
Cold War with China? Check, check, and check.
Now, that is not saying that we have reached some type of point of no return, but it is saying that we are close to it, and this latest saber rattling from China over Taiwan is just more proof to add to the top of the pile.
Yet, let us review our history first:
Mao Zedong, a murderous and bloodthirsty dictator, finally conquered China in September of 1949. His victory ushered in a Communist regime that is still with us today and which largely went unchanged until his death in 1976. At the end of the war, the Chinese national government was forced to flee to Taiwan to keep their democratic government alive.
On that tiny island, they created what was, essentially, an independent nation which was still at war with the mainland. Oh, it was not a hot war anymore, but what it became was a bit of a cold war. Taiwan flourished while China languished. For decades this was the case, until China adopted a more hybrid economic system which incorporated both parts of Capitalism AND Socialism into the same system. Truly, their governance is a one of a kind and unique system.
So what does that have to do with us today?
Well, today Taiwan is our ninth largest trade partner with many of our electronic components and machinery parts coming from it. In fact, according to the US Trade Representative:
"The top import categories (2-digit HS) in 2020 were: electrical machinery ($19 billion), machinery ($18 billion), vehicles ($2.9 billion), iron and steel products ($2.6 billion), and plastics ($2.2 billion)."
Now, some of you are sitting there scratching your head asking, "so what." Well, I will do my best to enlighten you. Right now we are in the middle of a transport crisis which has seen everything from cars to appliances to entertainment systems become hard to find. The reason, largely, is the semi-conductor chip shortage. Yet the coming problem could be much bigger than what we are currently experiencing.
The entire world is virtually dependent on Taiwan's manufacture of semi-conductor chips. They produce 63% of the world's chips, and if that supply is cut off, especially for an extended period of time, or worse yet, taken over by China, then Huawei and other Chinese electronics takeover events will look like armature hour by comparison.
Take a look at these charts from CNBC:
Can you imagine the world if China is controls 70% of the global computer chip market? How about the fact that they are wanting to increase production in mainland China to levels to rival where Taiwan is right now. They could easily be running 80-85% of the semi-conductor chip market.
Want new computer chips for your fighter planes? Have to ask China. New guidance chips for your submarines or missiles? China. Oh wait, your medical machines to fight off COVID or keep your people alive on the battlefield? Yep, you guessed it, China.
Do something that they do not like? You might find yourself embargoed from importing computer chips. It would be like having the entire country at their mercy instead of just the NBA and Nike.
An independent Taiwan, even if it is only semi-independent, if critical for the world.
That is why Joe Biden's recommitment to the "one China policy" is so troubling, whether you are using his version or the Chinese's.
But what you might end up having is a situation like happened with Russia after WWII. To whit:
The world sat by as Russia annexed country after country into the USSR. The world is sitting by as China is threatening to annex parts of, of the entirety of, Nepal, Bhutan, Vietnam, The Philippines, Singapore, Laos, Tajikistan, Cambodia, Mongolia, and Tibet.
The world sat by as Russia built the world's largest and strongest navy. The world is standing by as China is slowly building one of the biggest and strongest air forces.
The world sat by as Russia used its communist machinations to get a jump start into the space race. The world is standing by as China is slowly using the same machinations and is edging towards becoming the most technologically advanced government and cyber manufacturer on the planet.
The world attempted to appease Russia at every turn to attempt to get them to back down. The world is now attempting to appease China, even to the point of having the World Health Organization skip letters of the GREEK alphabet for COVID variants because they, "sound too Chinese and might be offensive."
Mark my words, just as the world attempted to placate Hitler, Stalin, and Hussain, attempting to placate Xi Jinping is only going to lead us to another stand-off with another hostile socialist bloc.
I only hope that this time we can avoid bullets flying.
That we did with Russian was a miracle.
It looks like we are going to need another.