Ukraine or Taiwan – where do American interests lie?

Ukraine or Taiwan – where do American interests lie?


Ukraine or Taiwan – where do American interests lie?

The war in Ukraine continues unabated. Millions of Ukrainians have crossed into neighbouring countries and many more have been internally displaced.

The escalation of the conflict has caused civilian casualties and destruction of infrastructure forcing people to flee. According to UNHCR by April 8,163,268 Ukrainian refugees had been registered.

The United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCR), in February 2023 estimated that at least 8,000 civilians have been killed since Russia invaded Ukraine.

A UN report of April 5 put the damage to Ukraine’s energy infrastructure at an estimated US$10 billion plus. The war has left over 12 million people with no or limited electricity.

According to a comprehensive Energy Damage Assessment Report from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the World Bank, the conflict had resulted in disrupting water supply and heating systems.

The Washington Post reports that so far more than 2,000 Ukrainian schools have been damaged by the fighting and more than 300 were destroyed.

As at February 22 since the war began, the Biden administration has directed more than US$75 billion in assistance to Ukraine, according to the Kiel Institute for the World Economy – a German research institute.

While the US has been Ukraine’s major benefactor in the conflict, many believed that the US was merely using Ukraine in a proxy war against Russia and attempt to defeat Russian leader Vladimir Putin.

The truth of this, has become clearer in the aftermath of French President Emmanuel Macron’s meeting with Chinese President Xi last Sunday. On his return to Paris Macron told ‘Politico’ “…Europe should not become a “vassal” and must avoid being drawn into any conflict between the US and China over Taiwan.

He added: “…the worst of things would be to think that we, Europeans must be followers on this subject and adapt ourselves to an American rhythm and a Chinese overreaction”. He added the goal of the dialogue with China was to “consolidate common approaches” over the war in Ukraine. His remarks on Taiwan stoked anger and alarm in the US. 

In a social media post linked to the Politico interview, US Republican Senator Marco Rubio said, if Macron spoke for all of Europe, then the US should consider focusing its foreign policy on containing China and leave Europe to handle the war in Ukraine.

Adding “maybe, we should basically say we are going to focus on Taiwan and the threats that China poses, and you guys handle Ukraine and Europe.”

The Wall Street Journal wrote that the French President’s comments would undermine US and Japanese deterrence against China in the western Pacific, while encouraging US politicians who wanted to reduce American commitments in Europe.

It is beginning to appear that US involvement in the Ukraine crisis was more with the intention of buying European support for its adventures in the South China Sea, and in particular the island of Taiwan, long-claimed as part of China. The island is now turning out to be a flashpoint in deteriorating relations between the US and China.

There are numerous similarities between Ukraine and Taiwan. Ukraine lies on Russia’s doorstep. The attempt to bring Ukraine into NATO along with US missiles and troops posed a threat to Russian security and led to the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

Similarly, Taiwan coming under American influence, separated by a small strip of sea from mainland China, poses a major threat to Chinese security. Neither country will tolerate even the thought of US troops and missiles at their doorstep; as the US would not tolerate a Russian or Chinese base in either Mexico or Cuba.

The world has seen the destruction wrought by American support to countries in Vietnam, Philippines (under Ferdinand Marcos), Afghanistan and the Middle Eastern countries.

Asia could well do without another round of close US ‘friendship’ to particular Asian countries, all of whom have come out of colonial pasts. Asia does not need American troops, missiles, nukes or chemical weapons.

As the late Chinese Premier Chou en-Lai said at the plenary session of the Afro-Asian Conference in Indonesia in 1955, “…We need to develop our countries independently with no outside interference and in accordance with the will of the people.”

Source : Daily Mirror