The events that are currently unfolding in the Asia-Pacific region can be said to overturn the understanding of modern material values. Indeed, until recently, hydrocarbons were the main values, for which governments were overthrown and wars were fought.
Times are changing, and today's affairs show that hydrocarbons are not the most valuable thing in the world and it is not necessary to fight for them. You can, for example, negotiate correctly with Russia, and at its own expense it will lay a pipe with its own oil and gas to your doorstep. Proven by Germany, China and Turkey.
Today we have a new value for which two superpowers - China and the United States - can come together in a battle.
In general, the war is already underway, but it is still a sanctions-economic one and is not very obvious. We see the echoes of this war in the example of how the United States is trying to strangle Huawei with sanctions and non-delivery of chips.
But in reality, everything is much more complicated than trying to remove China from the main microelectronics manufacturer in the world. From Taiwan.
In general, Taiwan is very difficult.
The position of this entity itself is not easy, and it can be compared with such countries as the PMR, South Ossetia, and so on. The so-called Republic of China Taiwan, one of the founders of the UN. Today Taiwan has lost its place in the UN, it was transferred to the PRC, which actually left Taiwan's control as a result of the 1945-50 Civil War, when the Communists eventually defeated the Kuomintang. The Republic of China has repeatedly tried to renew its membership in the UN, but each time these attempts have failed by the People's Republic of China, which believes that Taiwan is the territory of the PRC.
Today Taiwan, representing the island of Taiwan itself and several small islands, is recognized by only 15 states in the world, but through trade missions it maintains ties with the whole world.
Taiwan's economy is ranked 30th in the world in purchasing power parity (PPP), 18th in gross domestic product (GDP) and 24th in nominal GDP, investment and foreign trade.
Very confident. The core of wealth is TSMC (Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company), which accounts for about 56% of the world's semiconductor chip production. This is a huge figure, for comparison: the second place in the world belongs to “GlobalFoundries” (USA), it is 9,4%, the third one belongs to “United Microelectronics Corporation” (again Taiwan), 8,5%.
In fact, TSMC has a controlling stake in the world's chipset production. TSMC's clients are HiSilicon, MediaTek, Huawei, Realtek, AMD, NVIDIA, Qualcomm, ARM Holdings, Altera, Xilinx, Apple, Broadcom, Conexant, Marvell, Intel. This is a list of the largest customers, and we can draw conclusions about how firmly TSMC has entered the market.
Today, the conflict is revolving around the fact that the United States is trying to restrain the development of China by putting pressure on TSMC in terms of limiting the supply of microelectronics products from Huawei.
In fact, it seems strange that a company based on Chinese money and almost on Chinese soil is under US pressure. But politically, everything is correct here: Taiwan is currently ruled by the DPP, a democratic progressive party, whose first person, Tsai Ing-wen, is also the President of the Republic of China. Second term, by the way.
Tsai Ing-wen and her DPP are categorically opposed to unification with the PRC. Economic partnerships - yes, but Tsai Ing-wen would like to see Taiwan as a member of the US-sponsored Trans-Pacific Partnership, which did not initially plan to invite China to this trade club. But this would mean an instant deterioration in relations with the PRC, so that Taiwan, led by the first female president, is still dangling in a position of uncertainty.
By and large, it is precisely this policy of Taiwan that has led to the current exacerbation. The United States decided that they could put pressure on China economically, China, which consumes about 60% of the electronics produced in Taiwan, decided to ram it with military equipment.
Demonstrating the capabilities of the PLA Air Force off the coast of Taiwan was a very powerful move.
Tsai Ing-wen really panicked and turned to the United States and even Australia, which greatly amused Chinese Internet users. Here we can agree with them, because where are the capabilities of the PLA, and where are the armed forces of Australia?
But there is no consensus in the United States either. Yes, since 1979, America has shown a policy of patronage with regard to Taiwan. However, China in the 80s and China today are two big differences.
"Full independence" of Taiwan under the auspices of the United States is not what Beijing is dreaming of. And they make it clear that they will not put up with this state of affairs.
Indeed, the development of the PRC country requires a huge number of chips. The Chinese are not able to organize production on their own.
This is really so: if you build a plant on the territory of the PRC and start technology, in a year the Chinese copier will thresh at a truly communist pace. But to invent it yourself - sorry, it's not for China. Yes, China produces very decent aircraft. However, buyers want to see Russian engines on them. And for its fifth generation fighters with engines, the PRC is not doing very well. And so in many ways, from phones to cars.
Of course, the progress in quality is simply stunning. But: others come up with new items. China only produces or copies. But even this requires a breakthrough of processors and other microcircuits.
Therefore, the PRC simply cannot afford to fall under US sanctions in this regard, which the Americans will implement through Taiwan.
“Time to warn Taiwan that the threat of war is real,” read the headline on Monday in China's Global Times. This is a pro-government publication dedicated to the international situation, and accordingly, no ad-libbing. Everything has been agreed upon at all levels, and if the media has given this out, it means that the corresponding comrades think so.
The economic collusion between Washington and Taipei strained Beijing very much. And in Beijing they decided to play all-in, that is, to demonstrate that they will go all the way in the issue of supplies of microelectronics. Even if the end is the landing of the Chinese marines on the beaches of Taiwan.
So Beijing makes it very unequivocally that it is ready to use force for the sake of its state interests.
In the United States, they understood the message and also tensed.
To begin with, before moving on to the next phase of the game, in Washington it is worth answering first of all to yourself a few questions. Before issuing any advances and promises to Taipei, such as protection and preservation of independence from the PRC in the event of forceful and aggressive actions by Beijing, for which it has already demonstrated its readiness.
1. In the event of Chinese aggression, how realistic are the capabilities of the Taiwanese armed forces to repel the aggression?
2. How big are the capabilities of the US Armed Forces to repel a Chinese attack on Taiwan? Considering a logistics leverage of 6 miles. Ok, Okinawa is 000 miles away, but still not very close.
3. What is the likelihood of success for the PRC operation against Taiwan, given the logistical leverage of 100 miles?
4. How willing is the United States to pay with the lives of its soldiers for the country's economic interests? Especially considering that you will have to fight not with terrorist units or the army of a third world country, but with fully trained PLA soldiers?
The questions seem to be very difficult, but in fact, everything is much simpler than it seems.
The armed forces of Taiwan are able to resist the army and the fleet China, but nothing more.
There is no need to compare the capabilities of the Chinese Navy and the Taiwanese Navy. Namely, the fleets will play a major role in this conflict. The air force of China will also prevail without a doubt, it is not even a matter of quality, but quantity.
For a country with a population of 23 million, Taiwan has a very decent army and navy. But China has even more of this. The US Navy is luxurious, but it will operate at a distance from its bases, under the gun of Chinese coastal complexes.
And one more important question.
The Taiwanese military will defend (or not, the question is delicate) their land. Chinese soldiers - theirs. In his speech at the celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party, General Secretary Xi Jingping clearly outlined his vision: Taiwan is the territory of China. The reunification of China and Taiwan is nothing more than the task of the Chinese Communist Party, the whole question is how to solve this task.
If China begins to solve this problem with forced methods, how prepared will the US Marine Corps be psychologically? There is no doubt that the PLA fighters will be ready psychologically.
Okinawa, home to the nearest US base, is a thousand miles from Taiwan. And the rocket launchers and the Chinese Air Force are 100 miles from Taiwan. Not a very nice deal, is it? China's tactical superiority, even if the United States gathers all of its satellites in the region, will be clear.
“All for one” is, of course, a principle. USA, Australia, Japan, South Korea - yes, they are able to exhibit just a wonderful navy.
But naval battles are somewhat unlikely in our time, no more than a series of missile strikes. Disrupting the landing operation of China is perhaps the whole question, again, at what cost. How many American, Australian and Japanese sailors will have to die for the sake of political and economic interests?
Again the moral aspect: According to comments on the Internet, the annexation of Taiwan is the desire of the majority of the inhabitants of the mainland of China. A sort of Crimea is the Chinese version. But for this, plus an economic perspective, the Chinese people will willingly make sacrifices.
They know how to make sacrifices.
And today, many media outlets in the United States say that it is inexpedient to fight China for Taiwan. Not only does the case smell of great human sacrifice, which the United States does not like, the case smells of huge financial losses.
In addition, it is not at all an option that the same factories for the production of microelectronics will not be included in the losses. They can easily suffer in the event of missile strikes from China.
Some say that China is provoking the Third World War. And that it could come to nuclear exchanges, but ...
More than doubtful. No matter how valuable the factories of the same TSMC are, they can suffer from hostilities and then the whole conflict will be completely useless. There is no point in shedding blood and money for a piece of land that will not have the most valuable resource.
"There is absolutely nothing in Taiwan that would be worth such a risk for our country" - this is the style that many in the United States are saying today.
Actually there is, of course. The only question is, what is the price of owning production facilities and research and production facilities.
China is showing it is willing to take the risk. And in this light, the United States understands that an attempt to prevent a Chinese attack by force weapons has almost no chance of success. Many openly say precisely that the country's leadership should abandon plans for a war with China for Taiwan.
Yes, when it's scary, it's scary in full. The instinct of self-preservation has not been canceled either.
In fact, Tsai Ing-wen herself did a disservice to the Americans when she published an article in the American magazine Foreign Affairs. The President of Taiwan said in her work that the "occupation" of Taiwan "would have disastrous consequences for regional peace and the democratic alliance system."
The DPP of Taiwan, having turned the island into an anti-Chinese outpost under China's nose, finally realized that the situation could get out of control. And China, faced with the choice to be left without chips vital to the production of everything from a telephone to an anti-ship missile, could go to extreme lengths.
Tsai Ing-wen demonstrates that he is openly afraid of this situation. And therefore he calls everyone to help.
And help may simply not come. The current course of the Biden administration is very similar to that of the previous administration. But what Donald Trump was afraid to do (although he promised) in terms of the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan, Biden did without straining too much. And not really thinking about the allies who were simply abandoned there.
DPP understands that things may not turn out as expected. Yes, today Taiwan plays the role of a sort of unsinkable aircraft carrier off the coast of China. And the leaders of the ruling party would like to exchange this position for protection from the United States.
However, it is quite possible that there will be no conflict between the United States and China, no nuclear Apocalypse. But the United States will simply abandon Taiwan. And if in the Afghan show the US army simply fled the region, then in Taiwan it may not even appear.
Apparently Tsai Ing-wen understands this. And in the best traditions of the former Ukrainian president, Poroshenko began to frighten the Americans by telling how, in the event of the occupation of Taiwan, this would become a disaster for the United States.
In fact - not a fact. Yes, Taiwan can come under Chinese control, that's right. It is already clear today that there is only one force in the world that is ready to fight for Taiwan very decisively. This is China.
But in turn, China has never demonstrated aggression against other countries. He did not close or nationalize the factories of owners from other countries on his territory (even American ones), and so on. I am sure that Chinese Taiwan will sell the products of its factories to the same Americans in the same way. Chickens laying the golden eggs are not allowed on the noodles, this is a fact.
Therefore, it is very unlikely that China, having taken control of the production of Taiwan together with the island, will rush to declare sanctions by the same USA. In this regard, the PRC has always demonstrated a fairly balanced and wise policy.
By the way, this only benefits Russia. Our normal relationship with China is a guarantee of calm cooperation in terms of purchasing chips for all occasions. It is no secret that even our satellites today will not fly anywhere without Taiwanese microcircuits. But from the United States one could expect anything, including sanctions pressure. So the Chinese version is more profitable for us.