Alex Massie


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Good god. Did you know that the United States should be prepared to fight against Russia and China? It may not surprise you that the Weekly Standard fears that the supposedly pusillanimous response to the Russo-Georgian stramash can only encourage China to invade Taiwan.

The underlying tensions in the Taiwan Strait bear important similarities to those in the Caucasus. Just as authoritarian Russia objects to a democratic, pro-American Georgia, so too authoritarian China sees a democratic, pro-American Taiwan as a gaping wound on its periphery. The main cause of tensions is domestic politics. An authoritarian China, like authoritarian Russia, needs fervent nationalism to retain its shaky legitimacy. The "sacred goal" of reunifying the motherland serves that purpose well.

I'm far from being an expert on China but this seems the most ridiculously overblown nonsense. Apart from any other consideration (and there are, I hazard plenty of others) the key phrase here is "domestic politics". Rhetoric is not the same as intent

Happily, however, we should remember that:

America is a $15 trillion economy that can afford the weapons it needs to keep the peace in the Pacific. While Beijing's military threat to Taiwan should be taken seriously, China is a $3 trillion economy with a host of domestic problems.

Written byAlex Massie

Alex Massie is Scotland Editor of The Spectator. He also writes a column for The Times and is a regular contributor to the Scottish Daily Mail, The Scotsman and other publications.

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