Two Birds and One Stone

Someone also brought up a good point about Taiwan, and how Taiwan fits into the balance of power dispute between the United States, Russia, and China. In a sense, the war between Russia and Ukraine is shaping up to be a war-by-proxy between the United States and China. And the baseless and senseless expectation on the part of Washington is that the United States can go ahead and help its own proxy, namely, Ukraine, in violation, one must note, of the ‘Minsk Agreements’ while China should back off from its own proxy Russia and not do anything. In turn, China is expected to sit there and absorb the insults and the “warnings” from Washington as if Beijing can be told what to do at this point or can be controlled in some manner. 

But given that Beijing cannot be controlled or told what to do by anyone, the theory on the part of certain parties in international society is that Beijing could possibly be enticed or incentivized to back off from Russia. How to get China to back off from Russia is if the United States backs off from Taiwan, according to certain thinkers. Thus, the idea is such that if the United States were willing enough to back off from Taiwan, then China could perhaps agree to back off from Russia as it pertains to its war against Ukraine. Although this is a practical idea and it is an idea which could play out in reality, there is also the possibility that China can hit “two birds with one stone” in the sense that China can get Taiwan down the road if it were to first and foremost solidify and render permanent the shift in the global balance of power by fomenting an alternative bloc or parallel pole through Russia in the international system. 

Nevertheless, China did warn many years ago through its ambassador in Washington that if Taiwan were continuously used as a prod against the side of China by the United States, China would “wage proxy wars” against the United States “everywhere.” Hence, it is likely that there are two broad or overarching trends which are fomenting and arising in relation to the particular and specific issues such as Ukraine or the triangular relationship of the major powers, both of which are interconnected. For one, there is an Eastern bloc that is arising in the international system which includes China at its core and is interdependent with China, and second, Taiwan is going to be up for grabs for China sometime down the road given that the United States is no longer in control of international affairs. 

So if Washington is not in control of international affairs and cannot control what China does, then what can Washington control over the next couple of years? Simply put, Washington will have to put all of its focus on the issue of renewing credibility and legitimacy at home and doing the right thing per se so that it can salvage its own bloc and pole in the international system. The rise of China and the rise of an Eastern bloc that is led by China and is mutually interdependent with China will likely put immense pressures and strains on Washington and its own bloc and pole in the international system down the road. Joe Biden and the officials who work in the White House can woo us and throw dust in our eyes with as many brilliant speeches as they want, and in turn keep on trying to get us to give them the benefit of the doubt one time after another. 

They did, after all, get about 70 percent of Americans to give them the benefit of the doubt yet again after Biden’s ‘State of the Union’ speech. But Washington is wrong to assume that only they are the ones with the brains and that everyone else in the world is stupid. And if the underlying issue of credibility and legitimacy is not resolved in a deeper and more thorough sense, then the brief and temporary renewal of credibility and legitimacy resulting from a speech or two cannot be a panacea or a silver bullet for the deeper and underlying problem which ultimately has no quick fix.

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