The New Tripwire

By Daniel Nardini

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - CommentaryRecently, I had a virtual meeting with guys I knew back in Taiwan. We had known each other for almost three decades, and had kept in touch for all that time. One of my friends still lives in Taiwan, and has lived in Taiwan for almost 31 years. He has been there for almost his entire life, and he speaks fluent Mandarin and the local language Taiwanese (note: even though Mandarin and Taiwanese are both Chinese languages, they are so far different from each other that they are different languages and a speaker of Mandarin would not be able to understand a speaker of Taiwanese). He knows the people intimately, and has traveled throughout the entire island. Strangely enough, my friend’s Taiwanese family in-laws are tea farmers, and my friend is now getting into tea farming. Taiwan tea is among the best known in the world, and for my friend this should be a plus.

But it goes deeper than this. My friend told me that a growing number of westerners, and Americans in particular, are going to Taiwan to live, to study Mandarin, study religion (since traditional religions have survived there where they have not survived in China), study Chinese history (which is heavily censored in China), and invest there. In short, Taiwan is becoming important in regards to a growing number of Americans, American academic institutions, American businesses, and yes the U.S. military as a place that has importance as a free and sovereign part of China that the Communist Party of China has no control over. Even though the United States has no diplomatic relations with Taiwan, and certainly no official military alliance with Taiwan, the island has become extremely important now as part of American defense against China. This has become more true than ever, and because of the number of Americans visiting, living and studying in Taiwan, any actual attack against Taiwan will mean that Americans lives and property could be in mortal danger from a Chinese attack.

For these reasons, Taiwan, like South Korea and Japan, has now become part of America’s Asian defense policy. It has now become a part of a line, a military tripwire that if China attacks any of these countries then it could be World War III. Does it sound far fetched? With how aggressive China is acting now, it may not be. It has started deadly border clashes with India not seen in almost 50 years. It has been sending its warships and building up military islands in the South China Sea. It has sent its military airplanes into Taiwan, Japan and South Korea’s airspace. China’s naval fleet has been going well beyond its borders threatening its neighbors and even distant countries. If anything happens, my dear friend in Taiwan will be the first to get it. That would be the beginning of World War III. I hope nothing like this even remotely happens!

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