GOOD MORNING FROM LONDON
You are familiar with the narrative. The Ukraine War Matters but, in terms of long term world peace, US/China tensions in the Far East Matter More. It is always the same question – Will There Be A World War III?
There are flash points – US/UK warships sailing in contested Far East waters; Rising tensions between China + Japan and today, will Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House of Representatives – about to visit Japan, Singapore, Indonesia and Malaysia – add Taiwan to her list + become the most senior US politician to visit the country in 25 years? The group, underlining the military intent of the visit is also expected to visit US Indo-Pacific Command in Hawaii.
China has said it would respond with “strong measures” if Pelosi went ahead with the visit to Taiwan – seized in 1949 by the escaping Chiang Kaishek after defeat in the 3rd Civil War. The US House Speaker is the second in the order of presidential succession, giving a visit particular prominence especially as it would take place after the August 1 anniversary of the founding of the People’s Liberation Army + months before the Communist Party holds its 20th Congress, when President Xi Jinping is expected to claim a third term as leader.
The FT reports that since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, multinational companies have been asking for security briefings about the probability of the US + China going to war. Biden said recently in Tokyo that the US would intervene militarily to defend Taiwan if it came under attack.
Wars can be avoided if there are red lines of communication between Washington and Beijing and the decision makers have a good understanding of each other’s line in the sand – The Point Beyond Which You Do Not Go.
The World faces rising tensions. The widely studied Thucydides Principle emphasises that declining powers rarely leave the stage without a final attempt to stay in #1 position.