What happens if Taiwan falls? The overlooked significance of an overlooked nation

by WorldTribune Staff, February 24, 2023

If the small island nation of Taiwan were to fall to communist China, it would be a devastating blow to the free world on several fronts, according to a new analysis.

Taiwan, currently ranked as one of the top 10 freest countries in the world, would instantly become a “repressive police state,” Ian Easton, a senior director at the Project 2049 Institute and author of “The Final Struggle: Inside China’s Global Strategy”, wrote for 19FortyFive.com on Feb. 21.

China’s People’s Liberation Army has on several occasions simulated an invasion of Taiwan. / AFP / Getty Images

A recent report asserted that “Taiwan may be the most critical link in the entire technology ecosystem,” due to its dominance in the chip sector, original equipment manufacturing, original design manufacturing, and role as a central hub for producing technology-related materials.

“In other words, whoever controls Taiwan controls the future of the Internet and the global economy,” Easton said.

If Taiwan were to fall to the communist regime in Beijing, its military bases and intelligence facilities would be occupied by the PLA.

“The Chinese navy can be expected to base its ships and submarines in Taiwan’s deep-water ports. The naval bases on Taiwan’s east coast would be especially valuable for the PLA, which for the first time in its history would have unencumbered access to the deep waters of the Pacific,” Easton noted.

China’s arsenal of bombers and missile units that would be moved to Taiwan “would be able to hold U.S. forces at risk of surprise raids. PLA Navy surface action groups and aviation units based in Taiwan and the Penghu islands could threaten a blockade of Japan and South Korea by cutting off their primary sea lines of communication. The top of the South China Sea would be ‘corked’ – providing PLA ballistic missile submarines with a maritime bastion and further reinforcing China’s military dominance of Southeast Asia,” Easton wrote.

In 2022, Freedom House gave Taiwan a composite score of 94 out of 100 when it came to measures of global freedom. China ranked near the bottom.

A Chinese takeover of Taiwan would also signal to other democracies that are “too weak to resist the new world order,” that China’s Marxist-Leninist model was superior,” Easton wrote.

The United States would not only see its intelligence capability hit and its forces in the region put at risk of “surprise raids,” but it’s economy would suffer greatly as Taiwan is America’s 8th largest trading partner.

“The U.S. and many other countries have robust relationships with Taiwan, and Taiwan is widely considered by governments across the democratic world to be a responsible, like-minded partner and a model of good governance,” Easton noted.

“If Taiwan was conquered, however, it would become an occupied territory ruled by China’s one-party dictatorship. The free and independent country that used to be Taiwan would disappear, and a repressive police state would emerge. … The mass surveillance and control complex that is omnipresent in Xinjiang and Tibet would likely be installed. A local proxy government under the direct control of Beijing would rule the islands, and all territory formerly administered by the ROC government would be harshly policed.”

The international community “would be in the presence of a growing sense that illiberal forces were on the march and authoritarianism was spreading,” Easton added. “The loss of Taiwan could lead many governments to experience a crisis of confidence.”

The United States, Easton noted, “would lose access to a critical information gathering hub, and the American intelligence community would lose its primary window into China. Taiwan is an irreplaceable source of Mandarin language training and all-source intelligence on China. Without Taiwan, the Pentagon and CIA would likely begin producing flawed analytical products, leaving policymakers ill-informed and prone to making strategic mistakes. In the wake of a successful Chinese invasion of Taiwan, U.S. intelligence failures could increase dramatically.”

Taiwan is also a pillar of the U.S.’s knowledge-based economy.

“A cross-Strait war would likely cost millions of Americans their jobs, and trillions of dollars would be lost. The loss of Taiwan would deeply impact the health of the U.S. economy and could trigger an economic depression in America and across the world,” Easton wrote.

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