There is confidence in Beijing that the White House lacks the spine to follow the example set by Xi in sanctioning not just Mike Pompeo but Speaker Pelosi. Thus far, even a senior colonel in the PLA has not been sanctioned by the Biden administration.
Will Taiwan in the reign of Xi be what Czechoslovakia was in 1938, a victory by default by a revisionist and authoritarian power intent on turning upside down the status quo? Once again, with customary skill, the CMC’s infowar corps are spreading the story that manoeuvres that are intended to create “Shock & Awe” among target countries are just a one-off. This is the opposite of what they represent, which is a testing of the waters to judge the likely reaction of the US in particular to kinetic operations against Taiwan. There is confidence in Beijing that the White House lacks the spine to follow the example set by Xi in sanctioning not just Mike Pompeo but Speaker Pelosi, the third in line to the US Presidency. Thus far, even a senior colonel in the PLA has not been sanctioned by the Biden administration, which has contented itself with pained expressions of shock by known Europe First ideologues such as Secretary Blinken, with Defence Secretary Austin suddenly losing his voice in a manner not seen in him in the matter of the conflict in Europe. The other two Quad members are watching whether there will be measures that reflect the intent and intensity of the manner in which Xi Jinping has sought to redraw Red Lines concerning kinetic activity directed at Japan and Taiwan, and similar hesitancy is the case with ASEAN. As for the European powers, including the UK, the soothing clink of cash registers in several corporate houses has thus far ensured that they act in a totally contrasting manner to the “fire and fury” that they have unleashed on Russia, a power that is on any count far below the PRC in terms of threat and ability to react. Czechoslovakia was in effect left to fend for itself, and thus far that appears to be the case with Taiwan as well, no matter how many times there is the pious recital of the “Taiwan is not alone” hymn by Speaker Pelosi. Lack of substantive countermeasures, including sanctions rather than measures such as the tariff relief favoured by some in the US Department of Commerce, are needed so as to avoid strengthening the hawks in the CMC sufficiently to enable them to carry out General Secretary Xi Jinping’s dream of annexing Taiwan.