Amid all the shrill backbiting over continuing to flagellate the dying Ukrainian efforts against Russia, as well as the capering of France trying to stave off the disintegration of its African satrapies, as those states internally realign themselves with Russia and China – by force, when necessary – a specter lurks in the background, the proverbial “elephant in the room”: Communist Chinese insecurity over Taiwan.
In this insecurity, lay the seeds of global economic collapse.
At the end of World War Two, Communist leader Mao Zedong led his “People’s Liberation Army” out of their mountain hideouts, and slid in behind Soviet forces occupying Manchuria, swiftly arming themselves with ex-Japanese military equipment captured from the defeated Imperial Japanese Army. Thus armed, the Communists went on the offensive against the exhausted Nationalist Kuomintang (KMT) forces, which had born the brunt of fighting against the Japanese for the preceding eight years (1937-1945).
Despite several billion dollars in US aid, and the poorly though-out deployment of the III Amphibious Corps and elements of the 7th Fleet, the sheer exhaustion and demoralization of the KMT resulted in a series of worsening defeats on the battlefield, until, in 1949, the surviving KMT military and government units retreated (for the most part) to the island of Formosa (now, Taiwan), and established a government in exile.
That is the situation as it remains, today.
Communist China, throughout its bloody and draconian history from 1950 until today, cannot abide that a recognized province of the country is not under its thumb. This manifests itself in the news of today, as near-continual violations of Taiwan’s declared air and sea boundaries by Communist military forces. The normal response of the United States has been to occasionally deploy aircraft carrier battle groups into the disputed waters as a dare to the Communists to fire on them.
The question for many, however, is – why? After all, the United States famously showed Taiwan the door in 1972, which made the country a diplomatic pariah state…so, why does the United States constantly go “eyeball-to-eyeball” with Communist Beijing over the island? For that matter, why can’t Beijing just let it go?
Two answers: For Beijing – and particularly for Premier Xi Jinping – Taiwan is a gaping sore for the Communists, as the island rapidly prospered under the KMT’s governance, while Communist China wallowed in poverty, famine and induced technological stagnation under the increasingly mentally unstable Mao…and that, in spite of the extreme brutality of the KMT’s actions in securing the island, beginning in the late 1940’s. As prosperous as Communist China has become in the aftermath of the reforms of Deng Xiaoping, the Communist state still lags behind Taiwan by a long distance.
Second, the United States knows a fundamental truth that many around the world (and particularly within the United States), a truth that is the basis of this article:
Any Communist attempt to invade and conquer Taiwan – even if it failed – would collapse the global economy overnight.
The reason for this is brutally simple: microchips.
Silicon chips, semiconductors, or integrated circuits as the Reader prefers, are what drive modern technology, from the device you are reading this article on, to the CPU in your car, computer chips drive every object of any consequence in your everyday life.
And Taiwan produces at least fifty percent (50%) of the world’s supply.
Most of Taiwan’s chips are produced by one company, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC). Unlike other manufacturers like Samsung and Intel (who manufacture chips for internal products), however, TSMC chips are not proprietary to them. Instead, their chips supply manufacturers of computer-driven hardware around the world, companies like Apple, Nvidia and Qualcomm, to name just three. Other nations around the world currently hover at less than half of TSMC’s production capacity; the United States currently holds about 12% of the global manufacturing capacity.
Invasions, as proven by the Russia’s invasion of the Ukraine, are bloody, messy and highly destructive affairs. Any actual Communist Chinese attempt to seize Taiwan would be no different, the severe problems of a combined arms assault on the island equating to a probable Communist failure aside. To say that such an invasion would “disrupt” TSMC’s operations is a laughable understatement, not least because standard military doctrine virtually guarantees direct attacks on the company’s production facilities, to say nothing of worker attrition from “collateral damage”.
What would such a circumstance mean for the global economy? Simply, virtually all generalized computer and electronic device production and repair or upgrades utilizing semiconductors would grind to a halt, as stocks of chips dried up virtually overnight. This is due to the phenomenon of “just-in-time delivery”, an outgrowth of the wave of globalization that has been the norm since the 1990’s.
The Reader may recall the term “supply chain disruption” that became popular during the recent pandemic. Workers at both manufacturing plants, but also – critically – stevedores and loading crane operators stayed home, either terrified of catching the disease, by legal order, or both. This ricocheted throughout the global supply and transport system, and was greatly aggravated by what many considered to be a minor event, namely the grounding of the container ship Ever Given in March of 2021. The effects of these body blows to the global economy continue as of this writing.
In regards to a hypothetical – but very possible – Communist invasion of Taiwan, the disruption would be vastly worse, as there is no way for global manufacturers to quickly retool to make up for the loss, even if a ceasefire were quickly closed…And note that this does not address the general disruption of commercial cargo traffic in and out of the Communist nation, in the event of such a war.
But, there is an even greater danger lurking in this very possible scenario: the facts that not only will Taiwan not go quietly, but that they have a plan to take Communist China with them.
Without resorting to nuclear weapons.
The non-Communist Chinese in Taiwan all know full well what a Communist takeover of their country would entail. Given the Communist state’s recent history, to say nothing of its habit of “disappearing” political dissidents and anyone who disagrees with their regime too loudly. Because of this, there lurks a plan that Taipei lets slip every once in a while, to remind Beijing of what the consequences of invasion would be.
Taiwan’s “doomsday” plan (YouTube link) would be a series of strikes against the Three Gorges Dam. If concentrated, such a strike package would collapse at least a section of the dam, releasing the force of 39.3 km3 to pour downstream in a massive deluge.
Provisionally, this action could kill up to 400 million people…And this is not an idle threat, as the KMT has done it before. To say that this could result in a nuclear response is a given…with everything else that derives from that.
Right now, Communist China is desperate to appear tough and capable. The chances of bluster turning into an actual invasion are very real, however.
This fact is something that should be taken seriously by anyone reading this.