Prof. ST Hsieh
Director, US-China Energy Industry Forum
June 16, 2022
The following news headline is certainly an important position taking by Pentagon’s Undersecretary of Defense, Mr. Colin Kahl. His personal story is:
Kahl was nominated by Biden to serve as the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy. His nomination was subject to controversy in the Senate, with the Republican Caucus unanimously opposing his confirmation due to his support for the Iran Nuclear Deal, as well as for his criticisms of Trump administration policies. Republicans also argued that Kahl had tweeted out classified information, demanding an FBI investigation into it; experts on classification said the Republican accusations against Kahl were politically motivated and baseless.
On March 4, 2021, the Senate’s Armed Forces Committee held hearings on Kahl’s nomination. The committee deadlocked on the nomination on March 24, 2021, therefore delaying his confirmation. The entire Senate voted to discharge Kahl’s nomination from the committee in a 51-50 roll call vote; Vice President Kamala Harris was needed to break the tie. On April 27, 2021, Kahl was confirmed by a vote of 49–45, thanks in part to the absence of many GOP Senators. He was sworn in the following day by Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin.
So, we are not sure his statements are his personal opinion or cleared by the government as official US position. Because his statements are beyond his official responsibility as “a US military planner.” What he openly discussed is about major US foreign policy.
- Ukraine war is NOT going well for Ukraine and allies. A global recession is almost inevitable. Who will suffer the most? Ukraine and EU.
- If I’m sitting in Beijing, I think the fundamental question to draw is, you know, if they were to commit an act of aggression sometime in the future, will the world react…Taiwan is well aware of US position of not sending US troops to defend Ukraine so Taiwan will not count on the US direct intervention, despite President Biden’s “gaffe” in Tokyo.
- Specifically, as a top military planner, how the US will fight two global wars simultaneously? Mr. Khal is siting at DoD, far away from Beijing, should have a good answer for US readiness to fight, not counting on “allies or likeminded nations support!”
- War is tragic and easy to start, especially by fools. The Ukraine war needs to reach a cease fire, high ranking US DoD official should not hype another war. Listen to Taiwan: Taiwan says Chinese attack would hit global economy harder than Ukraine war.
- Ukraine war is in a “deep hole” already because there is no end in sight. European nations may well experience a freezing winter, economies of major powers such as German may tank before the winter comes. US economy???
Pentagon official says Beijing ‘act of aggression’ against Taiwan will draw response like Russia has seen
Wed, June 15, 2022, 2:30 AM
A US military planner warned Beijing that should it undertake some “act of aggression” against Taiwan, the likely global response would be closer to that taken against Russia after it invaded Ukraine than the arm’s-length approach that followed the Chinese government’s crackdown in Hong Kong.
At a conference hosted by the Centre for a New American Security, Colin Kahl, the Pentagon’s undersecretary of defence for policy, said on Tuesday that “potential adversaries and aggressors everywhere else in the world are looking at the global response in Ukraine.
“If I’m sitting in Beijing, I think the fundamental question to draw is, you know, if they were to commit an act of aggression sometime in the future, will the world react the way that it did when China snuffed out democracy in Hong Kong, or will the world react more like they did in the case of Ukraine,” Kahl said.
“I think it’s imperative for the leadership in Beijing to understand that, where the world is now, the Ukraine scenario is a much more likely outcome than the Hong Kong scenario,” he added.
“So I hope that that’s soaking in, in Beijing and elsewhere.”
After anti-government protests in Hong Kong in 2019, dozens of former lawmakers and opposition activists were arrested under the national security law that Beijing imposed on the city in 2020.
Last year, Beijing further tightened its grip on the city by overhauling Hong Kong’s electoral system, to ensure only “patriots” could run for public office.
Subsequently, the first revamped legislative election in December had the lowest turnout of registered votes since the former British colony was handed over to China in 1997.
Hong Kong will see a new chief executive, John Lee, its former head of security, take office in July after an uncontested election in May.
The US has revoked Hong Kong’s special trade status that separated the territory from mainland China economically, and also sanctioned dozens of Chinese and Hong Kong officials, barring them from travelling to the US and using American banking systems.
While the European Union and Britain condemned Beijing’s moves for what they consider an undermining of Hong Kong’s freedoms, and banned sales of surveillance technology to China, they have yet to make broad-based restrictions on trade.
Kahl also suggested that the support China has given Russia in its war on Ukraine was a consequence of getting played by Moscow.
“The indications are the Chinese did not believe Russia actually planned to invade Ukraine,” he said. “That was an intelligence failure for the PRC. And so I think they’ll have to work through what the implications of that are.”
“I suspect [the Chinese government] was surprised by the degree to which the United States and other Western democracies were effective in the information domain,” Kahl said, referring to the global intelligence community’s ability to warn about the Kremlin’s military plans for Ukraine.
Beijing is “very focused on kind of winning the propaganda contest and shaping the information environment, and I suspect they believe they’re much better at it than Western democracies are”, Kahl said.
“The fact the US was able to declassify information, make it public on a global scale, and then have it be verified by facts on the ground runs counter to that internal narrative of information superiority,” he added.
“In recent years … there’s been a real wake-up call across the Indo-Pacific” over China’s autocratic tendencies, exacerbated by its “alignment” with Moscow since Russia attacked Ukraine, Kahl said. He cited the formation of Aukus and four summits of leaders of the Quad since US President Joe Biden took office last year.
“Advanced economies and democracies in the Indo-Pacific” are reacting to China’s position on Ukraine the way that Europe has “because at the end of the day, these are events with global consequence, and they are in part a contest between autocracies contemplating repression”.
Russia Slashes Gas Flows, Aiming Economic Weapon at Europe
The continent might run out of natural gas this winter after Moscow appeared to further crimp supplies
Opinion: When will the West lose its appetite for a war with no end?
Taiwan says Chinese attack would hit global economy harder than Ukraine war
Tue, June 14, 2022, 2:32 PM
Taiwan’s top trade negotiator told Reuters on Tuesday that a Chinese military attack on the island would harm the global economy more than Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
John Deng noted that the world relies on Taiwan for computer chips used in electric vehicles and mobile phones, meaning the implications of a Chinese invasion would be sweeping for any industry that relies on the technology.
China has stepped up its military drills and rhetoric toward Taiwan since Russia invaded Ukraine, adding to global fears that China may feel emboldened to invade the island, which it claims historical control of.
Russia’s invasion has sent economic shockwaves across the world, sharply increasing oil and gas prices and raising fears of famine in multiple countries in light of food export bans and other disruptions within the “bread basket” to much of the world.
“The disruption to international supply chains; disruption on the international economic order; and the chance to grow would be much, much (more) significant than this one,” Deng said, comparing the Russian invasion to a potential Chinese one.
Reuters reported that Taiwan’s chip exports last year were worth $118 billion. Deng said 40 percent of Taiwan’s chip exports go to China, but Taiwanese officials are attempting to diversify further.
President Biden added fuel to tensions between China and Taiwan when he said last month that the United States would be willing to defend Taiwan if China invaded. The White House clarified that the U.S. was still following the “One China” policy and has not changed its stance.
The Taiwan Relations Act of 1979 commits the U.S. to helping Taiwan defend itself but does not commit to direct U.S. engagement, and America has maintained a stance of “strategic ambiguity” on the island’s independence.
After Biden made his comments, China announced it would conduct military drills near Taiwan, which a spokesperson said were a “solemn warning to the recent U.S.-Taiwan collusion activities.”
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin told Gen. Wei Fenghe, his Chinese counterpart, on Friday that Beijing must avoid “further destabilizing actions” toward Taiwan.