Taiwan is a small place. But sometimes what happens in (or to) small places—such as Czechoslovakia in 1938—has cascading and even catastrophic effects well beyond their borders.
Taiwan—specifically the prospects of the United States and the People’s Republic of China (PRC) coming to blows over Taiwan—is such a place of outsized importance.
The PRC says it wants Taiwan—which it says is part of China—and will not wait forever. Beijing warns it will use force to take it if necessary. The United States has promised to ensure Taiwan has the means to defend itself and, depending on one’s perspective, has implicitly obligated itself to step in and defend Taiwan. Understanding the thinking behind a potential attack and defense are important, and honestly examining the repercussions of the outcome even more so.
 Taiwan has never been part of the People’s Republic of China. And Formosa, the island on which Taiwan sits, was only loosely under Qing Dynasty control for about a decade in the 18th Century – and the Qing’s weren’t even Chinese. They were Manchus. The Chinese Communist Party’s attempt to reestablish the Qing Dynasty claim to Taiwan is even less legitimate than their invasion of Tibet.
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Author: Grant Newsham
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