by UnHerd News
Wednesday, 22
June 2022
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Nikki Haley: China is going to invade Taiwan

It's not if, but when, claims the former UN ambassador and presidential hopeful
by UnHerd News

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.” 

The US should get with their allies…and start understanding that Ukraine was a lesson that needs to be looked at. We now need to be strengthening Taiwan. It’s not a matter of if — it’s when there’s going to be an invasion and we should be sending them everything they need to be strengthening themselves militarily and economically. Because when we stand on the backs of Taiwan, it will prevent China from doing what they want to do now. 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.

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

- Nikki Haley, Policy Exchange

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Brian Villanueva
Brian Villanueva
5 months ago

One word: “why”?

Nikki Haley is quite verbose about WHAT we ought to do, but largely silent on WHY we ought to do it. Is it to make the world safe for democracy? Is it to protect our computer chip supply? Is it to fight China over there so we don’t have to fight them here?

Here’s a revolutionary idea. Stop. Stop with our altruistically cloaked imperialism. Stop with our wars of liberation that leave thousands dead. Stop pretending that the rest of the world wants to be us.

This passage in particular is sheer lunacy: “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.” She really believes that being America means we get to construct global reality around our own wishes. The the basic rules about 2 front wars don’t apply to us because… we’re the good guys. It is deeply ironic that she is advocating war with the country of Sun Tzu on so flimsy a standing.

Reality check: Taiwan is 100 miles off the coast of China. Cuba is 100 miles off the coast of Florida. How did we react when Russia sent offensive weaponry into Cuba? How do we think the Chinese will react if we send high-tech offensive weaponry to Taiwan?

Nikki Haley isn’t an idiot. Which means she knows this, but doesn’t care.

Last edited 5 months ago by Brian Villanueva
Guy Aston
Guy Aston
5 months ago

I have heard all this before, except the focus of the argument was Russia. I think Nikki Haley is correct in so much as China will attempt to absorb Taiwan. President Xi is little different from Vladimir Putin. “Anyone who attempts to split any region from China will perish, with their bodies smashed and bones ground to powder.”
Consequently, I would love to hear your thoughts about maintaining Taiwan’s independence.

Brian Villanueva
Brian Villanueva
5 months ago
Reply to  Guy Aston

The Ukraine conflict was precipitated by Western expansion of NATO (that whole offensive weaponry thing?) Putin deserves the blame for the invasion and resulting damage, but the West is being willfully blind to pretend it was some kind of bolt-from-the-blue — Vlad woke up one day and decided “let’s invade my neighbor” for no particular reason.

I believe there is a strong case that the American military-industrial complex is stringing along Ukraine simply to sell more weapons (paid for with borrowed federal money). SecDef acknowledged a couple months ago that America viewed the conflict not in terms of “rescuing Ukraine” but in terms of “weakening Russia”. Long term, I would like to see NATO be re-centered in Europe and for America to end its security guarantee over the continent. Let France take over as the anchor of NATO (no, I’m not being facetious — they’re got the best military in Europe.) We’ve treated European countries like children for too long. Europe is more than able to contain Russia and defend its own borders. Let them do so. And if they decide that includes Ukraine, let them bear the costs in blood and treasure.

My argument about Taiwan is more basic. I simply do not believe that any conflict between the US and China over Taiwan is winnable for us. Taiwan is geographically close to China, the Chinese view it as part of their country, and t has strategic and economic utility to the CCP. The United States would be engaged in naval warfare 5000 miles from our shores. Our nearest bases are in Manilla or Okinawa. Neither Duterte or Marcos would not allow Philippine islands to be used as a launching point — they’re not suicidal. Japan’s pacifist Constitution would likely prevent them from allowing it either, and if the LDP alliance went along with it, it would almost certainly collapse the Japanese governing majority in the Diet. In short, you’re launching a fleet from Hawaii and pitting it against a nuclear armed adversary 100 miles from his own shore. Furthermore, such a conflict would not remain contained. A Chinese anti-ship missiles destroys a US carrier group and kill 15,000 sailors in 4 hours… that’s game over. It’s Hatfield and McCoy escalation from then on, until Americans get tired enough of it that we stop. Because, in the end, China cares more about Taiwan than we do.

Everyone is worried about what China will learn from Ukraine. I think Taiwan is the one learning — that the West’s word isn’t worth the paper its printed on. They’re buying and building every weapon they can right now. So, if you REALLY want to make sure Taiwan can defend itself, you have to be willing to sell it nuclear weapons and the command codes to use them. I would oppose such a plan on non-proliferation grounds, but if we decide Taiwan is that strategically important to us, that’s the answer.

My own answer would be to quietly remove visa caps and allow broad immigration of skilled people and business leaders from Taiwan to America. If what Taiwan produces is that economically critical to us (that we would risk a war over it), I want that knowledge and capability here, not 100 miles from the Chinese Red Army.

Fundamentally, we are bordered by two very wide oceans. I suggest we start once again using them for our security and stop “going abroad in search of monsters to destroy.”

Last edited 5 months ago by Brian Villanueva
Eamonn Von Holt
Eamonn Von Holt
5 months ago

Very good points made here.
Couldn’t agree more.

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
5 months ago

‘….. the West is being willfully blind to pretend it was some kind of bolt-from-the-blue — Vlad Adolf woke up one day and decided “let’s invade my neighbor” for no particular reason’.
I do agree that the West in general and the United States in particular has picked all sorts of absurd and unwinnable fights in completely unpropitious lands, such as Afghanistan. However the complete failure to do anything at all to defend such as admirable democratic and liberal society as Taiwan would be a catastrophe in my view. It would permanently weaken the United States and ensure that almost every Asian society not to mention Australia and New Zealand would decide to bow to the Chinese hegemony. Why should they have any trust or even respect for the US?.
And, for what it is worth, if the ‘west’ doesn’t care about democracy, human rights and freedom abroad, is its establishment any more likely to do so at home? The game, however badly played sometimes, would be essentially over. I think it is very likely that we would see a creeping ‘benevolent authoritarianism’ – it would be in the zeitgeist after all. No one actually forced Vichy France to become an authoritarian right wing dictatorship.

Last edited 5 months ago by Andrew Fisher
Mark Kerridge
Mark Kerridge
5 months ago

China has just seen how well Russia has faired with their invasion of Ukraine, or rather their invasion disaster. Ukraine didn’t have much of a military to start with and most Ukrainians thought that it wouldn’t happen, yet they have put up an unforeseen resistance to the invaders . Taiwan has had 70 years to prepare for China’s invasion, Taiwan has a moat 150 miles wide . On top of all of this china has seen that their are sanctions that would be a result of any attempted invasion and for a country that is utterly dependent on imports of oil and food ( unlike Russia ) any invasion of Taiwan would be catastrophic : 1 million dead in the invasion attempt at least and if the oil stopped flowing from the middle east then mass starvation within 1 year( a few destroyers in the Indian ocean would do the job, since China has only a handful of ships that can travel more than 1000 miles from home without being refueled – going slowly in a straight line and not being attacked !). China would be nuts to even try it.. But then there is Xi….

Bernard Hill
Bernard Hill
5 months ago
Reply to  Mark Kerridge

…it’ll be done by way of an inside coup.

Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
5 months ago
Reply to  Bernard Hill

Agreed.

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
5 months ago
Reply to  Bernard Hill

A coup only works if there are people in the armed forces willing to mount the coup, and others willing to go along with it. I’m not at all sure that is likely in Taiwan.

Bernard Hill
Bernard Hill
5 months ago
Reply to  Andrew Fisher

…the PRC will blockade Taiwan first. The US/and Allies will not risk a nuclear war to interdict. After an extended slow motion throttling of the economic well being of the population, the coup will present as a practical compromise, ‘supported’ by a large section of the community. The violence will be limited to taking out the loudest/most competent opposing voices.

R Wright
R Wright
5 months ago

The U.S already destroyed Taiwan decades ago by recognising the PRC qnd sealing its fate.

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
5 months ago
Reply to  R Wright

I think that is a good point; I wouldn’t go so far as saying ‘it sealed [Taiwan’s] fate’; although in retrospect weakened its position. The recognition of the PRC was a policy aimed at short and medium term advantage against the then much more powerful Soviet Union. Given the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and its terrible economic problems, it may not have been necessary, but it didn’t seem like that at the time; 20:20 hindsight is a wonderful thing.

Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
5 months ago

No revelation here, Xi has stated China will recover Taiwan by force if necessary.
Would we in the west risk a war with China over Taiwan? The Taiwanese people are largely from Chinese stock, and would they risk their lives to stay independent? Maybe they would, like the Ukrainians. But if not, then neither should we. We just need to ensure China doesn’t expand across the Pacific – and Aukus and TPP is starting to address that risk.

Last edited 5 months ago by Ian Stewart
Saul D
Saul D
5 months ago

I could quite easily see a situation where the US starts pushing arms into Taiwan ‘for protection’, which then triggers a Chinese response – first with a blockade, and then with military intervention – resulting in exactly the reverse of what the US intended.

Russ W
Russ W
5 months ago
Reply to  Saul D

I think her point Is that it doesn’t matter. China will invade Taiwan, the only question is will they and we be prepared. If we fear to act to bring balance then we may lose as well.

M. M.
M. M.
5 months ago

Nikki Haley opined, “Because when we stand on the backs of Taiwan, it will prevent China from doing what they want to do now.”

The Taiwanese voluntarily made their nation economically dependent on China. Though they have the option of putting their money and technology into Southeast Asia, they overwhelmingly chose to invest their capital in China. Moreover, Beijing gives preferential treatment to Taiwanese businesses. It includes reduced taxes and accelerated approval for business projects. The Taiwanese enjoy this preferential treatment, which is denied to American businesses.

The Taiwanese have been playing us Americans for fools.

Washington and Tokyo should use Taiwan as a bargaining chip. Specifically, if Beijing agrees to relinquish its claim to the Senkaku Islands, then Western governments shall sever all ties to Taiwan. Beijing can then do whatever it wants to do to the Taiwanese.

Get more info about this issue.

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
5 months ago
Reply to  M. M.

A rather extraordinary judgement! Taiwan was happy with peaceful coexistence and an ambiguity over its ultimate sovereign status. Britain and Germany were each others’ closest trading partners in the run-up to the First World War. Aren’t the United States and China likewise today? Were they all ‘playing each other for fool’s, or is trade of mutual benefit?
Trade and political antagonism are not as closely aligned as many people think. If we didn’t have the anti-human grandstanding of political leaders always willing to fight for their causes to the last drop of blood of their own countrymen, not to mention foreigners, we would live in a much better world! Perhaps that is naive, but it is pretty harsh to pick on Taiwan in the way you do.
You appear to wish to be considered some sort of ‘realist’ thinker, in which case, one can only be amused by your amazing faith in the willingness of ANY Marxist-Leninist polity, like the PRC, to abide by ANY international agreements. ‘Honour’ etc is a bourgeois self-delusion – perhaps read up on your Lenin.
‘Get more info about this issue’ appears to be your go-to statement, but you have just provided an opinion, not any info!

Last edited 5 months ago by Andrew Fisher