Just after Joe Biden took over the presidency in 2021 the Taliban moved on Kabul. They were testing him. He failed. Granted, he has passed the test in Ukraine.
But that is war by proxy. Arms and materials are provided, but little in uniforms on the ground. If current events continue to trend towards confrontation in the Pacific, then Joe Biden may be tested again, twice. The question: Is the US capable of meeting the tests?
Fox: “China’s military sent 71 planes and seven ships toward Taiwan in a 24-hour display of force directed at the self-ruled island, Taiwan’s Defense Ministry said Monday…Between 6 a.m. Sunday and 6 a.m. Monday, 47 of the Chinese planes crossed the median of the Taiwan Strait, an unofficial boundary once tacitly accepted by both sides, according to Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense…Among the planes China sent towards Taiwan were 18 J-16 fighter jets, 11 J-1 fighters, 6 Su-30 fighters and drones.”
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This was a reconnaissance. As the new year approaches and the Biden administration will be under pressure from a Republican House, the Chinese are probing. The Taiwanese are ready for them. But, are we?
We talk a vague game. “The United States has an abiding interest in peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait. We will continue to assist Taiwan in maintaining a sufficient self-defense capability in line with our long-standing commitments,” says a high ranking DOD official. Sufficient? Not exactly an endorsement of strong backing. Will Beijing take that as only a candyass commitment?
Taiwan is not our only potential flashpoint. Again, FNC: “The South Korean military fired warning shots and scrambled aircraft after North Korean drones entered its airspace for the first time in five years on Monday, the Associated Press reported. This comes days after the North test-launched two ballistic missiles.”
Pyongyang doesn’t sneeze without permission from Beijing. The timing of their separate moves is likely no coincidence. True, both ROK forces and the Taiwanese are tough as nails. But if we decided only to back the Taiwanese with token military support, not wanting to risk an armed conflict with China, while we hold the line in Korea, it would give the Chicoms an interesting opportunity.
Beijing has said numerous times they regard Taiwan as a rebel province and nothing more. Xi has made recent noises about Taiwan at CCP gatherings. They know the weak and incompetent Biden administration may end in about 2 years. Thus, that is their window of opportunity for Taiwan.
Are they planning to soon invade Taiwan while making such a noise in Korea, though not an actual invasion of the South, that we are faced with two simultaneous challenges? The former US Army Intelligence analyst in me says it is very possible. It’s the hold them by the nose and kick them in the ass gambit.
Beijing thinks we will put our money on Korea, knowing we can hold there with American troops already on the ground. It will be a bloody slog, but China can take Taiwan unless we fully commit. Will we? Can we if South Korea is threatened at the same time? Both are big question marks. Beijing knows that. It will act accordingly.