Even though China is unlikely to preemptively attack U.S. military bases in the region barring direct U.S. military intervention, Biden would likely respond to a Chinese blockade of Taiwan by sending the rest of the U.S. Seventh Fleet to the Western Pacific in the vicinity of Chinese naval and amphibious forces in a show of force similar to the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962. However, China has spent decades preparing for a potential clash with the United States over Taiwan, constructing the largest nuclear-capable ballistic missile force in the world and deploying much of it along its coastline. Accordingly, the main difference with this nuclear superpower standoff is that it would not be the United States with overwhelming theater nuclear and naval superiority, but China. This would greatly increase the chances that such a standoff would not end favorably for the United States.
Of all of China’s available options to retake control of Taiwan and its surrounding islands, its planned blockade strategy would be the one with the least amount of risk. According to former National Security Advisor John Bolton’s recent memoir, during a meeting in the White House, President Donald Trump stated that Taiwan is essentially indefensible due to the fact that it is only eighty-one miles from the PRC but 8,000 miles from the United States. Additionally, given the overriding U.S. national security interest in averting a nuclear war with the PRC, the risks of U.S. military intervention in terms of likely Chinese nuclear escalation may very well outweigh the U.S. national interest in attempting to defend Taiwan against Chinese aggression.
If Taiwan became convinced the United States would not break the Chinese air and naval blockade to resupply it with humanitarian aid, it is likely to quickly come to terms with Beijing in a reunification agreement that the United States might help to mediate. Such an agreement could be forged on the basis of the “one country-two systems” model that Deng Xiaoping proposed back in 1979, averting a potential nuclear holocaust. And despite a Chinese takeover of Taiwan’s advanced semiconductor manufacturing industry, the United States could probably live in a world in which Taiwan was part of China as long as its entire Indo-Pacific military alliance system remained intact.
David T. Pyne, Esq. is a former U.S. Army combat arms and H.Q. staff officer with an M.A. in National Security Studies from Georgetown University. He currently serves as Deputy Director of National Operations for the EMP Task Force on National and Homeland Security and is a contributor to Dr. Peter Pry’s new book Blackout Warfare. He also serves as the host of the Defend America Radio Show on KTALK AM 1640. He may be reached at [email protected]