Should the United States Go to War With China Over Taiwan?

My title is a “yes” or “no” question. But instead of coming out and answering “yes” or “no,” an increasing number of people—liberals and conservatives, Democrats and Republicans—are climbing on the fence and saying “yes, but” or “no, but.”

Let me say it as firmly, as loudly, and as resolutely as I can: Absolutely no, not under any circumstances should the United States go to war with China over Taiwan.

Am I an apologist for “Red” China? Certainly not. I would be among the first to point out that:

  • China indoctrinates children in its schools from an early age.
  • The Chinese government engages in religious persecution.
  • China is a communist county.
  • The Chinese government is dishonest and untrustworthy.
  • China is an authoritarian county.
  • The Chinese government spies on its citizens.
  • China is a totalitarian country.
  • The Chinese government violates the human rights of its citizens.
  • China is an oppressive country.
  • The Chinese government is a murderous regime.
  • China operates slave labor “re-education” camps.

In other words, China is like the USSR, our great “ally” in World War II.

In spite of how communist, evil, and treacherous China is, and regardless of how capitalist, good, and trustworthy Taiwan is, no dispute between China and Taiwan is any of our business.

Regardless of the history of China and Taiwan and the relations between the two countries during the twentieth century, nothing that happens in China or Taiwan is any of our business.

Irrespective of the policy of the United States regarding China and Taiwan since World War II, nothing that China does to Taiwan—including making Taiwan uninhabitable for a hundred years and killing every last Taiwanese man, woman, and child—is any of our business.

As individuals, we may not like what happens between the two countries, we may favor one country over the other, we may not want to buy goods made in one of the countries, we may hope that evil befalls one of the countries, and we may pray that God destroys one of the countries.

But as a country, strict neutrality should be observed. Neutrality prevents foreign hatred of America and Americans. Neutrality keeps U.S. soldiers from dying in senseless foreign wars. Neutrality doesn’t drain the treasury. Neutrality ensures that the military is not misused. Neutrality guarantees a noninterventionist foreign policy.

If Americans—individually or collectively—want to “do something” about protecting Taiwan from China, then let them send Taiwan money, sell or give Taiwan weapons, or offer their services in some way to Taiwan. But it is not the business of the U.S. government to do any of these things or force Americans to do or fund any of them.

As usual, Pat Buchanan (here, here, here, and here) asks the most probing and necessary questions:

If China uses force to compel Taiwan to repudiate any right to independence, are we prepared to fight a war with a nuclear-armed China over the island’s political status and orientation?

Is it worth a clash with China to prevent Taiwan from assuming the same relationship to Beijing the British acceded to with Hong Kong? In tourism, trade, travel and investment, Taiwan is herself deepening her relationship with the mainland. Is it not time for us to cut the cord?

If Hong Kong, a city of 7 million, can be transferred to the custody and control of Beijing without resistance from the U.S., why should it be worth a major U.S. war with China to prevent that same fate and future from befalling 23 million Taiwanese?

Why would we risk our own peace and security for Taiwan’s freedom and independence, when we would not risk our own peace and security for the freedom or independence of Hong Kong?

And after our victory in the Taiwan Strait, how would we secure indefinitely the independence of that nation of 23 million from a defeated power of 1.4 billion, bitter and bristling at its loss?

How many battle deaths, how many war dead, are we willing to sacrifice to prevent Beijing taking political control of an island of 23 million Taiwanese 6,000 miles away from the United States?

How much blood and treasure are you personally willing to sacrifice to protect Taiwan from China? If the answer is “none,” then don’t expect the government or the rest of us to do so.