”The Chinese conduct themselves according to the commandments of Sun Tzu, not according to the commandments of Moses. For them, after centuries of powerlessness, power is exercised not ostentatiously, but calmly and discreetly. They are not even chess players, nor poker players, but Go (Weiqi) players. When the US attacked by pushing forward (in Taiwan) the fool, China did not respond by counterattacking with the rook (as the US, Germany or Russia would have done), but put another piece on the world board that limits the American opponent’s maneuverability. More to come…” the former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Adrian Severin, explained to Q Magazine.
We reproduce the full commentary below. Titles and underlines belong to the editor.
Adrian Severin was Minister of Foreign Affairs of Romania and president of the OSCE-PA Photo Mihail Oprescu
WHAT IS TAIWAN AND WHAT DOES IT WANT?
No one disputes that Taiwan is currently a part of China. That’s how it was in the past.
When the Maoist revolution broke out in China, the Chinese government reacted and this led to a civil war, which was eventually won by the revolutionary forces. They established their control over the entire territory of the state, except for the island of Taiwan, where the government troops took refuge and the “capitalist” political regime was preserved under their protection, but especially under American protection.
President Tsai Ing-wen with Taiwanese army soldiers Photo Twitter
To think that Taiwan is democratic because it is capitalist would be an abuse of logic. Not everything that is capitalist is democratic, and not everyone who opposes dictators is a democrat.
International self-determination is a right of peoples. Internal self-determination can be recognized at the limit, under certain conditions, as a right of national minorities. Regions or territories do not have the right to self-determination.
As a region of China, Taiwan does not have this right, which, in fact, it did not even bring up until recently. If we recognized it, we could wake up one day that Oltenia is also asking for separation from Romania; not to mention Transylvania.
Donbass, with which some analogy could be made, differs from Taiwan by two essential features: i. a Russian (Russian-speaking) majority lives in Donbass, which must be distinguished from Ukrainians, while Chinese people live in Taiwan, as in Mainland China; ii. Donbas was transferred by Russia to Ukraine, at the behest of the USSR, according to Soviet constitutional, administrative and geopolitical logic, while Taiwan politically isolated itself from China in the context of a civil war.
Both insular and mainland Chinese believed that there was only one China, which, however, each community presented itself as the only legitimate one to organize, rule and represent. Finally, the UN (including the USA, Russia, Romania, etc.) recognized the People’s Republic of China as a legitimate partner in international relations, communist as it was. International relations consider the reality of power, not the ideologies. The ideologists only disturb the peace of the world.
As long as the “one China” principle works (and so far, no one has denounced it) the Taiwanese issue is China’s internal affair. Taiwan’s eventual desire to become an independent state and transform its current de facto status into a de jure one represents a secessionist project.
The US fought a terrible war against the secessionism of the Southern Confederacy. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s trip to Taipei suggests the US would not be against Taiwanese secession, however. The secessionism at home, no! Secessionism abroad, yes! Hence all the anger.
WHAT DOES THE USA WANT?
Initially, the US claimed that Taiwan was China and armed it to be able to reclaim the mainland territory. Back then, Washington, albeit against common sense, viewed mainland China as a “secessionist region” and advocated against this secessionism and for the restoration of the exercise of sovereignty by the “real China”, the Republic of China, with its leadership in exile in Taiwan, over the entire recognized territory of the state; therefore also on the continental territory.
Carmine Angelo Vito is among the first CIA pilots to fly over Moscow during the Cold War on intelligence-gathering missions. The first to make such a flight, aboard a U-2, was Carl Overstreet, on June 20, 1956, on a mission covering Poland and eastern Germany. On July 4, Hervy Stockman was flying over Soviet territory, not far from Leningrad, to photograph military ships and bases in the Soviet Baltic countries. The fourth, fifth, and sixth intelligence-gathering missions were flown by pilots Marty Knutson, Glen Dunaway, and Jake Kratt, all of which were successful. Photo Air & Space Museum, Washington, DC
After 1970, in the conditions of the sharpening of the Cold War and the rivalry between the USA and the USSR, but also of increasingly fierce disputes between the two great communist powers, the USSR and China, the Nixon Administration, maintaining the principle of one China, recognized as the its legitimate representative the People’s Republic of China, which was also granted permanent membership in the UN Security Council. It was the happy time when the doctrine of political realism in international relations and their de-ideologization, embodied by the National Security Adviser and then US Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger, had established itself in American foreign action. Washington’s only claim at the time was that China’s reunification should be peaceful. Which Beijing accepted.
According to this deal, the US considered itself entitled to support Taiwan, further arming it, this time to enable it to defend itself against a possible military invasion by the official/legitimate Chinese government. Which was not very difficult given the military and economic weakness of the People’s Republic of China at the time. For the government in Beijing, a military solution, involving the crossing of the Formosa Strait, about 80 miles wide, would have been an adventure doomed to failure.
Over time, things have changed. China has become the world’s second, if not first, economic power, one of the largest holders of US debt, one of the main refuges of many Euro-Atlantic industries, and the source of essential goods for the functioning of Euro-Atlantic economies, as well as a military power not to be ignored, equipped with the most advanced technologies. If it does not yet surpass the military power of the USA, it is because, as President Jiang Zemin explained us during the state visit in 1997, in the battle of ideas in China, the group that claimed that the economic and social development of the country must be given priority won against the one who advocated the priority of the development of military capabilities. In other words, a strategy diametrically opposed to the American one which, for a very long time, spends more on military security than on economic development; which is, according to the great political scientist Paul Kennedy, even under the conditions of the conversion of military technological progress into technologies of civilian utility, the cause of the collapse of all empires.
The economic and cultural development of China, together with a certain liberalization of civil relations, a relative democratization of society (within the limits of Mandarin traditions that allow the competition of political options only on distinct social levels, the highest and most respected being that of the Mandarin aristocracy, today represented by the leaders of the so-called Chinese Communist Party) and a considerable ideological relaxation (following the synthesis of “bureaucratic centralism”, Confucian harmony and capitalist competition), led to the emergence of a true dependence of the Taiwanese market on the Chinese one and made the career management of the Taiwanese dependent on their integration into the mainland Chinese environments. Against this background, peaceful reunification was becoming an ever easier and closer goal.
American military experts were of the opinion as early as 2021 that a war involving Taiwan is desirable, because Asia is growing so much economically that it is becoming unstoppable Photo Twitter
Such a reunification meant, however, the elimination of the American military presence in Taiwan. What American political planners, anchored in old strategic calculations and living in a dream world parallel to reality, could not accept. This is even though the mainland Chinese market is today much more attractive to the US than the Taiwanese market (in the latter the Pelosi family has important stakes), and the 80 miles of the Taiwan Strait is no longer an insurmountable obstacle for the Chinese fleet and missiles, with US military bases there no longer beyond Chinese arm’s length. Thus, the US decided, because of an autistic analysis, to encourage independence-secessionist movements in Taiwan.
With the support of the US, the party that wants to turn Taiwan into an independent state distinct from China, in reality viable only as an American protectorate, came to power. Such a fact is in itself likely to increase tensions, already high, in the China Sea.
What the US is defending in Taiwan is not democracy against dictatorship (Taiwanese democracy is more than questionable, as the idea of Chinese Communist dictatorship is a thing of the past), but a position of military dominance in the Western Pacific, which, with clear thinking, it could easily dispense, in exchange for the advantages brought by a multilateral collaboration with China, including in terms of defining a new world order.
VISIT OF THE OLD LADY
The descent of the Speaker of the US House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, in Taipei, without the consent of the People’s Republic of China, has ignited a new crisis in the region with global reverberations.
As I have shown before, in concrete reality there is an internationally recognized (including by the USA) only one China, Taiwan being a region of it, and the Taiwanese problem (respectively the relationship between the island of Taiwan and mainland China, including the ways to exercise the sovereignty of the Chinese state over its entire territory) being an internal problem of China.
The entry of a high-ranking American citizen, under the protection and escort of the US armed forces, into the territory of a sovereign state that does not approve such a “visit” is an act of war.
The risk taken by Mrs. Pelosi has obscure causes, most likely related to the need to divert public attention from the criminal problems of the Pelosi family in the US. After all, if the US started a war with Iraq to cover up the Monicagate scandal, why wouldn’t they start another one to cover up Pelosigate?!
To this objective could possibly be added the interest of the Democratic Party, in a difficult election year, to postpone the midterm elections or to keep them in the shadow of the grandiose plume of the one leading the nation in the war with the Chinese communist hydra (in addition to the Russian one). In the absence of a bellicose attitude on the part of Beijing, such a calculation remains just a stick in the mud.
Nancy Pelosi said she visited Taiwan to send a clear signal of support for the Taiwanese people and democratic values Video Twitter Nancy Pelosi
Otherwise, Nancy Pelosi’s trip did not and could not bring any detectable geopolitical or economic gain to the American nation, which is in the midst of an economic and social crisis. Rather, it pushed China’s neighbors (Philippines, South Korea, Vietnam) to distance themselves from the US to protect themselves and their loved ones.
China’s militarily reserved response, circumscribed by its psychology, culture and historical traditions, different from what Euro-Atlantic propaganda had convinced the European and American public to be, as well as in stark contrast to the expectations of this public, is explained by the specifics of Chinese thinking synthesized in the philosophy of the game go (weiqi), completely different from that of the chess or poker games known in Europe (including Russia) and the USA. In the broadest sense, China never attacks directly, but by envelopment; it does not confront its force with the opponent’s force but puts the opponent in the position of not being able to use its force because it has lost the favorable room for maneuver. However, this does not happen in the short term, as Europeans and Americans like, but in the medium and long term, as the Chinese think and act.
On July 30, the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan crossed the South China Sea to the east of Taiwan and south of Japan. The ship was accompanied by the cruiser USS Antietam and the destroyer USS Higgins. “Although they can respond to any eventuality, these are normal, routine deployments,” said a US Navy representative. Photo MC3 Gray Gibson
WHO WON AND WHO REALLY LOST?
The shock produced by the contrast between expectations and reality proves the superior capacity of Euro-Atlantic propaganda in relation to the Chinese one, defeated in this chapter.
In the case of the war in Ukraine, Western propaganda convinced the world that Russia wanted to occupy Kiev, and then presented the fact that it was not occupied as a proof of Vladimir Putin‘s strategic defeat. Using the same method, metaphors from Chinese leaders’ statements and warnings prior to Nancy Pelosi’s arrival in Taipei were misinterpreted and widely disseminated to create the expectation of a Chinese military attack on the aircraft she was traveling in and a Chinese military invasion of Taiwan. Such responses, wrongly attributed to the Chinese beforehand, were fashioned after the inept pattern of the outbreak of the First World War under the pretext of the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo in 1914. Many believed in these predictions without noticing that such reactions would have brought no practical advantage to China. As neither the downing of the aircraft nor the invasion took place, China is declared defeated; and so it is, but only in our imagination and the „show war” in which the US has specialized.
Beyond this, such dangerous fire games draw our attention to the fact that the US, the inventor and champion of marketing, offers only successful “commercial advertising” behind which no real geopolitical “products” can be found (except for the military), while China reserves, in the long term, the advantages of the real supply of such “products”, the seller of splendid empty packaging not being able to endlessly deceive everyone and collect the price of a commodity that he does not have.
China’s restraint in its armed response to Ms. Pelosi’s provocation has saved humanity from the devastating Pacific expansion of the current war in Eastern Europe and the Black Sea
Beyond its cultural bases, this is concretely motivated (if we operate with the arguments of practical reason) by the military power gap still existing between the US and China, favorable to the former, by the lack of militaristic and expansionist traditions of China, by the wise desire of mainland China to achieve reunification with Taiwan peacefully, in order to be durable, and through the pragmatic and responsible calculation according to which an open military confrontation between China and the US, caused by a purely symbolic gesture, and therefore without any practical consequences, by some American politicians, disowned right at home, would not have brought China any real profit.
What did the madmen who were pushing China to war really want and expect? Apocalypse?!
Now, because China did not listen to them and limited itself, in the spirit of the oriental martial arts, to a military choreography without direct contact (see the promptly launched military exercises that closed, without the US objecting, the transiting around and over Taiwan, or they “accidentally” touched – much like NATO “accidentally” bombed the Chinese embassy in Belgrade in 1999 – Japanese territory, without causing any human and material damage), to “pedagogical” reductions in Sino-Taiwanese economic relations and to the “suspension” of Sino-American political cooperation (apart from the symbolic yet humiliating sanctions imposed on the Pelosi family), they want to “punish” it by labeling it as a “loser without right of appeal”.
China’s stage victory is to use Nancy Pelosi’s “visit” as a coagulant of Chinese national pride and will, bringing popular support for the current state leadership (and especially President Xi Jinping) to the highest levels. A China that is more united, more self-confident, and more convinced of its moral superiority poses an even greater threat to American unipolar ambitions.
The strategic defeat of the US caused by Nancy Pelosi’s visit, which the US administration did not have the strength of character to undertake, is that it unleashes China’s retaliatory policy (which will come in time and unseen, in especially in the form of economic and psychopolitical “sanctions”) and strengthens the Sino-Russian alliance (as well as the BRICS “opposition”), but especially it is revealing the systemic deficit of US geopolitical judgement (the sclerosis of American geopolitical discernment), with the effect of bankrupting the credibility of the American power and of destroying the cohesion of the American-led alliances.
Pentagon officials tried to contact China’s military commanders, but they did not return calls to the Americans, three sources told Politico newspaper.
That’s what it was and is. What will be, we will see. What we know now is that the century of Asia, that is, the march of history, cannot be stopped by the frivolous aggressivity of a dying empire.