July 23, 2024


IMMEDIATE RELEASE 21 May 2021WASHINGTON MERRY-GO-ROUNDToday’s Events in Historical PerspectiveAmerica’s Longest-Running Column Founded 1932China’s lakeBy Douglas Cohn and Eleanor Clift          WASHINGTON — China is on the verge of turning the South China Sea into a Chinese lake. Why does this matter?          China is an expansionist nation, but this is a description, not an explanation. The human mind is not as advanced as we would like to believe. Megalomania is a driving force, and this irrational need for power has motivated leaders throughout history to infuse their followers with grandiose illusions. How else can sense be made of China’s actions.          Chief among China’s expansionist goals is the conquest of Taiwan. When the Nationalists lost to the Communists in 1949, the Nationalists retreated to the island of Formosa and continued to function as the Republic of China known as Taiwan. But President Richard Nixon’s overture to China in 1972 led to recognition of the Communists mainland as China and the ousting of Taiwan from the United Nations.          Today, the reality is that China and Taiwan are separate nations made possible by the shield created by the U.S, 7th Fleet. Still, China covets Taiwan even though Taiwan no longer represents a threat to China and Taiwan has nothing that China needs.          In pursuit of its objective to take Taiwan, China cannot directly confront the 7th Fleet. Instead, China’s leaders have devised a more intricate, nuanced plan. By building military installations on islands and outcroppings in the South China Sea as well as in the less-noticed East China Sea, China is thwarting the U.S. Navy’s power in the region. And Taiwan, sitting between the two seas, is the objective.          To counter this the U.S. Navy conducts freedom of navigation exercises in the region, but China realizes such activities are increasingly becoming toothless as China continues its peaceful conquest of the two seas through occupation and construction.          Taiwan’s leaders and people are not oblivious to this. They see U.S. power in the region waning as China’s power and influence are increasing. So, the idea from China’s point of view is that Taiwan will soon see the writing on the wall. Already, there is significant support in Taiwan for reunification, and that support will continue to grow as the balance of power in the South and East China Seas tilts toward China.          It is a balance of power that shifts with each new Chinese occupation of another island, outcropping, or manmade surface because the U.S. 7th Fleet that once reigned supreme now traverses the area as if threading an ever-narrowing needle. This can only be reversed if the U.S. and its allies, several of which lay claim to portions of the disputed seas, follow the Chinese example and commence their own occupation of actual or manmade land. But since this is unlikely, the world will soon awaken to the reality that the East China Sea has come under Chinese influence and the South China Sea has become a Chinese lake. When this happens, Taiwan will fall to China without military intervention.          Douglas Cohn’s latest books are World War 4: Nine Scenarios (endorsed by seven flag officers) and The President’s First Year: The Only School for Presidents Is the Presidency.          Twitter:  @douglas_cohn          © 2021 U.S. News Syndicate, Inc.          Distributed by U.S. News Syndicate, Inc.          END WASHINGTON MERRY-GO-ROUND


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