Washington says Beijing must not use lawmaker visits as pretext for an attack – while trying to provoke exactly that
The United States has publicly warned China against using US lawmakers’ visits to Taiwan “as a pretext for military action” and has demanded that other countries warn Beijing against conflict over the island.
The statements were made last week by US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman. They come amid speculation that more American congressional representatives will soon visit Taiwan. US lawmakers have been making such trips since then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit last August, which created a crisis and caused China to respond with large-scale military exercises. Sherman’s warning also comes amid an increase in US-China tensions over the so-called ‘spy balloon’ that recently flew over American territory.
According to the US, China is an aggressor seeking to unilaterally change the status quo over Taiwan. Meanwhile, Western mainstream media keep the tensions up by speculating as to whether Beijing will invade to accomplish its affirmed goal of “reunification.” Throughout the past year, the Taiwan issue was given more traction by the events in Ukraine, which the US has been exploiting to make comparisons in order to push for the expansion of NATO influence to Asia.
But who really wants war? Washington claims to support peace and stability with its constant warnings and preparations for a what it calls a military contingency in the Taiwan strait. In reality, the US is deliberately undermining the established consensus of the One China principle, forcing Beijing to react and subsequently branding it the aggressor. This, in turn, legitimizes Washington’s ongoing militarization of the region and asserts its clout over regional partners by placing them in a situation where they have to choose sides.
American foreign policy selectively weaponizes the idea of self-determination in order to project military power on a global scale. Using its ideology, the US proclaims it is a champion of free countries to allow it to militarize certain regions of the globe against rival powers. For example, the US uses the former USSR and Soviet Bloc Countries to sustain military dominance in Europe, and uses Israel to project itself in the Middle East. Now, Washington is seeking military hegemony over a region it describes as the Indo-Pacific in a bid to contain the rise of China.
Of course, it is impossible to get countries of a given region to agree to mass US militarization and destabilization if there is no political will or incentive to do so. For many decades Asia has been integrating within itself, which provides an emphasis on common peace and stability, despite the many disputes that often come with it. This means the US needs an “entry point” in order to force its way into the region, to undermine the existing regional order, and transform it into a zero-sum rendering of ideological and geopolitical confrontation against China – in other words, a Cold War model.
How does it do this? As with NATO and Russia, the US actively seeks to foster military tensions by playing up the Taiwan issue and declaring China the aggressor. Thus, in recent years, the US has begun to downplay its commitment to the One China policy it established as the foundation of its diplomatic relations with Beijing, and actively uses the island as a wedge in the containment of China. The US sees Taiwan as being positioned among several key island chains and maritime routes, which, if allowed to return to Beijing’s full control, will change the balance of power in the region permanently in its favor. So, the US sees multiple strategic benefits in promoting Taiwan’s ‘de-facto’ independence and using it to bait China into provoking instability.
In doing so, the US has been able to reassert geopolitical clout over both Japan and the Philippines, effectively locking them into Taiwan contingency scenarios. The US scored a big win in recent weeks when it won consent from Manila to gain access to four additional military bases, which as it happens are near Taiwan. In doing so, the US pits itself not as an enabler or guarantor of regional peace, but as a disruptor and, if China subsequently responds by invading Taiwan, it would seek to try and apply the “Russia model” to Beijing, aiming to isolate it and break up integration with the surrounding region and the West through massive sanctions. In doing so, even if no war occurs, the US is actively seeking to stir up a sense of crisis and opposition to a Taiwan emergency in Asia.
In conclusion, the United States claims that it opposes conflict, yet reaping benefits from it as a means of geopolitical projection. As a matter of fact, peace and security in the Taiwan strait, manifesting in a scenario where Taiwan puts asides its differences with mainland China consensually and agrees to resolve the longstanding issue, is disastrous for American interests. It’s the last thing Washington wants. Instead, the US wants to continually provoke tensions to promote deeper militarization of China’s periphery and to frame Beijing’s responses as acts of aggression. These warnings are, therefore, pure gaslighting.