While the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine and the free world has now lasted for more than 130 days, clouds of war are also gathering in another place in the world and Russia is also involved there: Taiwan.

Russian and Chinese fighter-bombers flew joint maneuvers in the East China Sea in late May. That happened at the time when US President Biden met the leaders of friendly democratic nations from Asia in Korea and Japan. At a press conference, the President then said that he wanted to provide military support to the free island nation in the event of a Chinese invasion of Taiwan. Beijing’s State Department is fuming, blatantly threatening that the United States would have to pay an “unspeakable price” for it.

The Chinese threat of war against the USA is therefore in the air. The two nuclear powers, each fighting their own descent for different reasons, could find themselves in a nuclear war against each other. The Chinese side in particular must disarm, verbally and militarily, because China’s involvement in nuclear warheads, aircraft carriers and nuclear submarines shows that Beijing, and especially its leader Xi Jinping, is serious about waging war on Taiwan. Because Xi got lost: Unlike all Chinese rulers before him, he did not stick to the status quo of the two former warring parties, but unilaterally tried to recalibrate the relationship between the two in the interest of China.

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How do people in Taiwan deal with the constant threat of war? According to American security circles, the government under President Tsai Ing-wen did not correctly assess the possibility of a Chinese invasion. But since the fall of Hong Kong, the formerly autonomous trading metropolis that Beijing leveled, things have been different in Taiwan. “One country, two systems”, the motto under which China wanted to make Taiwan part of the People’s Republic until Xi Jinping, had failed in Hong Kong. Meanwhile there, just talking about democracy is an act of riot and revolution punishable by many, many years in prison. Beijing’s new henchman, John Lee, reiterated at his inauguration in the city on July 1 that he will crack down on anything “unpatriotic,” meaning anything that doesn’t line up with Xi Jinping.

Alexander Görlach is a Senior Fellow at the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs in New York. The PhD linguist and theologian teaches democratic theory in Germany, Austria and Spain as an honorary professor at Leuphana University. In the 2017-18 academic year, he was at National Taiwan University and City University Hong Kong to conduct research on China’s rise. He is currently researching new technologies at the University of Oxford’s Internet Institute and how they are used in democracies and abused in dictatorships.

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So while the population and government have understood that a war may not start tomorrow but could start in the near future, they are wondering how China will attack Taiwan. Ultimately, this raises the crucial question of the use of limited resources that a small country like Taiwan can mobilize: will Beijing launch a cyberwar or carry out a land grab? Foreign Minister Joseph Wu recently issued a motto that should apply to all scenarios: “Taiwan is inspired by Ukraine.”

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