U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi's visit to Taiwan deepened tensions between Washington and Beijing. As the Biden Administration argues that the United States adheres to the "One China" policy, Beijing believes that this principle has been repeatedly violated by the United States.
Taiwan plays a central role in the “great power rivalry” between the U.S. and China. This role is not just about Taiwan's pioneering position in the global semiconductor industry. Located at a critical crossroads in the world's maritime trade routes, Taiwan is very, very important for the U.S. and China both geopolitically and geoeconomically. Therefore, the .US. does not want Taiwan to come under Chinese control. Events that have developed in the last few years show that the U.S. is trying to stretch the definition of its "One China" policy. Biden has repeatedly said that the U.S. will defend Taiwan if China invades the island. For most observers, these "blunders" serve as indirect messages to China.
According to the anti-Chinese hawks, which I dub the "anti-China party", the continuation of China's economic rise is the most serious threat to the United States. The hawks frame China's rise as the "fall of the United States." As the U.S.'s share in the global economy has decreased in the last forty years, China's share has been on the rise. China's economic growth means the growth of its military and technological power. These trends are moving along lines that magnify China's role in the global system against the United States. It is possible to summarize the “basic contradiction” between the U.S. and China in this way.
It is precisely in this context that the Taiwan crisis" deepens. The United States is providing military support to Taiwan to develop its defense capacity against a possible Chinese invasion. Military analysts describe this policy as the "hedgehog strategy." The "hot-headed" wing of the "Anti-Chinese Party" wants the US to do more. "Hot-headed hawks" are pushing the time for China's invasion of Taiwan to "before 2025" instead of "before 2030". Therefore, the USA should focus all its power on China. We can also describe the suggestions of the "hot-headed" wing of the Anti-Chinese Party regarding the Chinese policy as the "Politicized Military-Diplomatic-Geoeconomic Warfare Strategy".
Beijing's eyes are also on the United States. Washington arming Taiwan could prompt the hawks in Beijing to act faster. The problem is entangled in the difficulties that the global economy may face if the United States and China, whose economies are entangled, diverge.
During Pelosi's visit to Taiwan, he expanded the boundaries of his military exercises in the Taiwan Strait. While many missiles fell near Taiwan during the exercises, 5 missiles fell into the waters that Tokyo declared an "exclusive economic zone". Analysts interpret these shootings as a message to Japan, which hosts U.S. bases. The analysts in question believe that these shots will strengthen the trend toward increasing defense spending in Japan.
The United States has deployed the aircraft carrier "USS Ronald Reagan" underway in the Indo-Pacific away from the entrance of the Taiwan Strait. The US also postponed testing of the "Minuteman III" missile in the Indo-Pacific. The delay sparked a backlash from anti-Chinese hawks. Republican Senator Tom Cotton has accused the Biden Administration of allowing Beijing to dictate the US missile testing schedule. The military plane carrying Nancy Pelosi took a roundabout route from Malaysia to Taiwan. Pelosi's plane, which took off from Kuala Lumpur, changed course to Taiwan via Indonesia and the eastern Philippines, instead of passing through the South China Sea, where Chinese forces were on the move. Taking this route cost Pelosi an extra three hours. Of course, all these measures were aimed at preventing the possible risks that military encounters might cause.
Meanwhile, Beijing froze its communication mechanisms with the U.S. on many topics, especially the fight against the climate crisis. If we look at Washington, the Taiwan Strait will return to 'normal' in a few days. Many American military analysts, on the other hand, are worried that China's expansion of exercise boundaries in the Taiwan Strait is the "new status quo" or "new normal".
Developments show that the “great power rivalry” between the U.S. and China has entered dangerous uncharted waters. Taiwan stands like the rifle on the wall that will eventually be fired in the theater of "who's strongest." The gun appears to have been dislodged, even though it wasn't fired during Pelosi's visit.