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Sprinkles from the Left

⏰🚀 Ready, Set, Go: These opinions take 1.72 minutes to read.

“The more things change in terms of control over Washington, the more they will stay the same in terms of U.S. economic policy toward China. That was the unstated message of a speech by U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai on Monday…

China’s behavior has thoroughly refuted the hopes, once widespread in both U.S. political parties, that trade would mutate China into a pillar of the “rules-based” global order. Not only is Chinese President Xi Jinping doubling down on a state-run economic model; he is also bullying neighbors, most recently through a swarm of military flights into democratic Taiwan’s air defense zone. Clearly, there can be no business as usual with Mr. Xi’s China — also engaged in a cultural genocide of its Uyghur minority…

The most powerful “tool” the United States might yet wield in negotiations with the world’s second-largest economy could be a united front with other countries that share our concerns…

What could have created a truly impactful U.S.-led counterweight to Beijing was the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership that President Barack Obama negotiated toward the end of his presidency. Mr. Trump spurned it and Mr. Biden, bowing to protectionist sentiment in his party, shows no signs of reviving it. The president should change that, or else he’ll be retaining not only what his predecessor got right about China — but also his mistakes.”

–Washington Post Editorial Board

“It is a campaign designed to intimidate, to send a message that China still considers Taiwan part of its empire under its “one China” policy… The most immediate danger, of course, is the very real risk of an accident or a miscalculation that would lead to a broader conflict.

The latter point was a possibility raised by the US State Department in its official reaction after the weekend escalation in activity in the skies around Taiwan…

The United States has in the past done far more than issue statements of support. Under the more than four-decades-old Taiwan Relations Act, the United States has supplied most of Taiwan’s weaponry…

But Taiwan’s future security is not a function of its weaponry alone. Another source of empowerment against Beijing’s incursion is the increasing acceptance of Taiwan among Western nations and as a valued member of such international groups as the World Trade Organization

Now as Taiwan’s own National Day approaches this Sunday, it is once again reaching out — this time it has applied to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership. That it did so a week after China submitted its own application to join the regional trade pact may also account for the stepped-up Chinese saber-rattling…

Longstanding support from the United States, Japan, and Australia provides a measure of protection that should mean the current campaign of Chinese harassment is unlikely to escalate. But as Taiwan is forced to scramble its own jets, the possibility of miscalculation… grows.”

–Boston Globe Editorial Board

Sprinkles from the Right

⏰🚀 Ready, Set, Go: These opinions take 1.67 minutes to read.

“Since Friday, China’s People’s Liberation Army Air Force has sent nearly 150 aircraft into Taiwan’s air defense identification zone… These intrusions reflect Beijing’s desire to deter Taipei from its cultivation of Western support. But the flights are also motivated by Xi Jinping’s interest in projecting leadership strength…

Beijing has reacted furiously in recent months as nations have offered support to Taiwan. Beijing also wants Washington to think twice about inviting Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen to a democracy summit in December.

At the tactical level, the flights will boost China’s readiness for any eventual conflict with Taiwan. Considering the PLA’s much greater size, these incursions also allow Beijing to inflict attrition on the Taiwanese air force’s morale and readiness. It’s not easy, after all, for a small number of pilots to need to sit at permanent alert status.

The incursions are also about Beijing politics.

While the Communist Party presents Xi Jinping as a bold leader of destiny, he is under increasing pressure. As he faces an increasingly skeptical international community, economic struggles , demographic and societal weaknesses , and energy shortages , Xi’s credibility is at risk. These flights thus allow Xi to broadcast strength at home and abroad. But they also allow the otherwise cautious leader to throw a bone to party hard-liners…

Ultimately, then, this action reflects both the Communist Party’s growing concern over Taiwan’s international prestige, and the rise of the Beijing hawks. The next few years should be interesting.”

–Tom Rogan, Washington Examiner Opinion

“The flights underscore why Taiwan is the most dangerous and potentially most consequential flashpoint on Earth.

If China can successfully absorb Taiwan while limiting the military, economic and diplomatic costs, it would vindicate President Xi’s vision of an ascendant China undoing past humiliations, represent a milestone in China’s campaign to establish hegemony in the most important region of the world, and, perhaps, collapse the credibility and global position of the United States.

On the other hand, a debacle in Taiwan could have devastating economic and diplomatic consequences for China, threatening Xi’s rule.

In other words, attention must be paid — the trajectory of the modern world is conceivably at stake…

We should be fortifying Taiwan and making it as difficult as possible for China to take. That means stockpiling food, energy, and munitions against a Chinese blockade. It means making its infrastructure more resilient and enhancing its cyber capabilities. It means increasing its capability to detect an early mustering of Chinese forces. It means more mines, anti-ship missiles, air-defense capabilities, and unmanned systems to frustrate a cross-strait invasion…

If we are ever inclined to forget about how pressing the threat is, not to worry, the Chinese will have more flights or other provocations to remind us.”

–Rich Lowry, New York Post Opinion