Taiwan Under American Nuclear Umbrella? Excellent Move if US Wants WW3
Thursday, June 1, 2023
Drago Bosnic, independent geopolitical and military analyst
After years of belligerent moves aimed at undermining China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity virtually everywhere, be it Hong Kong, Xinjiang, South/East Sea China or Taiwan, the United States is showing no signs of ever stopping with its aggression against Beijing. As if billions of dollars worth of weapons earmarked for China’s breakaway island province weren’t bad enough, including at least 400 anti-ship missiles and the latest F-16 Block 70/72 fighter jets, reports now indicate that Taipei and Washington DC are in talks about Taiwan gaining the protection of the US nuclear umbrella in a similar manner to Japan and South Korea.
According to RealClearDefense, citing local sources, Taiwanese foreign minister Joseph Wu announced that the island is in talks with Washington DC about possibly being brought under the US nuclear umbrella. RealClearDefense warns that the move would likely be seen by Beijing as a clear escalation and would likely greatly increase the potential for a future war with China. This assessment can only be considered an understatement, as the Asian giant is essentially guaranteed to respond directly to such escalation. Being under the American nuclear umbrella entails several key changes that would be absolutely unacceptable to China and would certainly provoke an adequate reaction.
The Taipei Times reported that local defense experts find this a “positive for Taiwan”. On May 23, Institute for National Defense and Security research fellow Su Tzu-yun stated: “Taiwan’s national security doctrine explicitly rejects the development of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons of mass destruction, despite the nation facing the threat of such weapons being used against it. The extension of an ally’s nuclear umbrella over Taiwan would be significantly beneficial to Taiwan’s security.”
The nuclear umbrella is a deterrence policy stemming from the (First) Cold War and entails a nuclear power to guarantee the usage of its nuclear weapons to retaliate if its ally was exposed to a nuclear attack by any third party. This also includes the option of hosting US nuclear weapons, as was the case with countries such as South Korea between 1958 and 1991. Taipei’s Foreign Minister Wu made the comments about this possibility during a session with the Legislative Yuan (Taiwanese parliament). However, he declined to give any details about the talks and whether Taipei itself had asked the US to bring the island under its nuclear umbrella or if the initiative came from Washington DC.
“Regarding the discussion of this issue with the United States, it is not suitable for me to make it public here,” Wu said, as reported by The South China Morning Post.
Most US allies and satellite states/vassals are under the protection of its nuclear umbrella, including Japan, South Korea and every member of NATO, with nearly half a dozen member states (Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Turkey) even having nuclear sharing programs with Washington DC. As previously mentioned, giving the same or similar guarantees to China’s breakaway island province would require the US to use thermonuclear weapons in case of hostilities between Beijing and Taipei. It should be understood that in case Washington DC goes ahead with such an agreement, the question of Taiwan would become much more than just an issue of respecting Chinese sovereignty, territorial integrity and international law.
As per the (rather correct) assessment of The South China Morning Post, this idea is “an unthinkable prospect” for Beijing. Indeed, such a move would further internationalize the Taiwan dispute, as well as accelerate the potential formation of “Asia-Pacific NATO”, while jeopardizing China’s strategic security. Although the US has encountered significant hurdles with attempts to form yet another iteration of the North Atlantic geopolitical monstrosity, the belligerent thalassocracy likely believes that including Taiwan in its global nuclear umbrella would push others in the region to be more accepting of the idea of an “Asia-Pacific NATO”. How likely this is to work is up for debate, however, what it would surely cause is a dramatic surge in the potential for escalation and yet another step toward a world-ending thermonuclear conflict.
Although there is still hope that cooler heads might prevail in the Pentagon, the sheer number of warhawks in the US establishment makes the prospects of such escalation all the more possible and no less disturbing, particularly as top US generals are openly talking about the “inevitable war with China”. Such belligerence has already pushed China and Russia to further strengthen their already close ties in all aspects, be it economic, military, scientific, etc. The troubled Biden administration has already vowed to send troops and intervene if hostilities between China and its breakaway island province were to happen, which in itself was a borderline declaration of war. However, by including Taiwan in its nuclear umbrella, the question of war between Beijing and Washington DC would become “when” instead of “if”.
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