It's not if, but when, claims the former UN ambassador and presidential hopeful
Former US Ambassador to the UN and likely Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley today urged America and its allies to step up its military and economic support to Taiwan to see off the threat of an invasion. Speaking at a Policy Exchange event in the UK, the Trump-era diplomat said that “it’s not a matter of if — it’s when there’s going to be an invasion,” before saying that the West should send the East Asian island “everything”.
Side-stepping the question of whether the US should abandon its policy of ‘strategic ambiguity’ on Taiwan, Haley’s language made the direction of travel clear. “We should be sending [Taiwan] everything they need to be strengthening themselves militarily and economically,” she said. “If we continue to tiptoe around the issue of what we’re going to do with Taiwan, China is going to tiptoe forward as they fly planes over Taiwan.”
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Citing America and Europe’s failure to deter Russia from invading Ukraine this year, the former South Carolina governor warned that China would try to test “the resolve” of the West in a military showdown. “Taiwan is seen as something doable,” Haley said.
Haley has long been one of the most vocal members of the neoconservative wing of the Republican party, which at times jarred with former President Trump’s isolationist tendencies during his time in office. In 2018, the pair clashed when President Trump’s team suggested that Haley had suffered from “momentary confusion” over whether the US would impose additional sanctions on Russia. She later retorted: “With all due respect, I don’t get confused”. The pair subsequently fell out after Haley criticised Trump for his role in the January 6 unrest.
In the past she has called for greater military spending in both Europe and America, but her speech in London was one of her most animated yet, naming “imperialist Russia, communist China and Islamist Iran” as the tripartite threat facing the globe. Taiwan, she argued, was now the most pressing threat facing the US. “Deterring that war should be the overriding goal of the entire free world,” Haley concluded. “And we must start now.”
So it is now time for the West to say – China is seen as a goldmine by Taiwan because it manufactures half of the chips; Taiwan is seen as something doable because China sees what’s happened with Russia and Ukraine and they’re seeing that the West has the resolve to keep going. We need to show them that we can do two things at once and that means that we can continue to strengthen Ukraine and give them what they need and win that fight for freedom. But we can also strengthen Taiwan and say ‘this is another fight that’s going to be on the front side, but we’re not going to make the mistake we made with Ukraine and wait too long. We’re going to get in front of this and stop it before it starts