Is CCP only using Taiwan as a bargaining chip?

It’s difficult indeed to interpret the intentions of a dictatorship that is communist and capitalist at the same time, even after hearing Deng Xiaoping’s answer to the riddle: it doesn’t matter if a cat is black or white as long as it catches mice.

I strongly incline toward the guess that Beijing intends to invade Taiwan, but it’s unscientific not to look at other possible interpretations of the situation.

Perhaps CCP is using recent escalations near Taiwan in the same way North Korea uses nuclear missiles, namely as a means to get better deals when negotiating with Washington. Beijing still gives the impression that it wants friendship with the US.

Global Times:

Senior Chinese diplomat meets US national security advisor

“The two sides, in a candid manner, had a comprehensive and in-depth exchange of views on China-U.S. relations as well as international and regional issues of common concern. The meeting was described as constructive, and conducive to enhancing mutual understanding.”

“The two sides agreed to take action, following the spirit of the phone call between Chinese and U.S. heads-of-state on Sept. 10, strengthen strategic communication, properly manage differences, avoid confrontation and conflict, seek mutual benefit and win-win results, and work together to bring China-U.S. relations back to the right track of sound and steady development.”

Foreign Affairs:

Why China Is Alienating the World

“China’s leaders have also repeatedly stressed that any improvement in relations with the United States must begin with concessions from Washington and issued Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman a similar list of demands when she visited Tianjin in July.” (…)

“But Chinese officials have followed Xi’s lead out of fear as well as ambition. Since 2012, more than 1.5 million officials have been punished in a sweeping anticorruption campaign that treats political disloyalty as a kind of graft. Diplomats have had to sit through “self-criticism” sessions in the Foreign Ministry and “inspection tours” that test their loyalty to the party and willingness to follow orders. Old rules relating to secrecy and discipline have also been implemented with a new zeal: one dating back to 1949, which forbids Chinese diplomats from meeting alone with foreigners, has been imposed on everyone from ambassadors to junior diplomats in study abroad programs.”

The rise of Wolf Warrior diplomacy in China has rendered regular diplomatic channels with the United States ineffective. Formal meetings have become little more than opportunities for Chinese officials to publicly dress down their U.S. counterparts, while backchannels through former officials or on the sidelines of official meetings have also become less effective, since Chinese officials recite well-worn talking points out of a fear of being labeled weak or even landing in political trouble. Cui Tiankai, China’s ambassador in Washington until earlier this year, stopped meeting alone with foreign counterparts in the final years of his posting, always meeting with another diplomat on hand to keep tabs. Today, most in-person contacts have been suspended because of the pandemic, and online Track II dialogues between former officials feature little more than the stilted repetition of talking points.”

Axios:

Zurich meeting brings rare sign of U.S.-China thaw

“The discussion involved a “genuine back and forth” that prompted the Chinese side to finally move beyond their “talking points,” which the U.S. had viewed as a challenge in previous lower-level talks.”

“The official characterized the meeting as an important step in providing a “foundation” to avoid miscalculations that could cause “intense competition” — which the administration says it welcomes — to veer into conflict.”

“Yes, but: Asked for any single area in which the U.S. and China were currently able to work productively or had made any tangible progress, the official did not name one.”

This sure is intriguing entertainment. A political thriller/comedy/horror.

I dislike the libertinism and wokeness of Washington and Silicon Valley, but it may perhaps be true that America today still has a better ability than Xi’s China to adapt to new challenges. Or as we can read in the above article from Foreign Affairs:

“Officials in Washington have begun to see Beijing’s inability to shift course as an advantage in the emerging competition between the two countries. During bilateral talks in March, China’s top diplomat, Yang Jiechi, lectured his U.S. counterparts on the United States’ moral failings, including police killings of Black citizens. In response, U.S. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan reminded Yang of what he called the United States’ “secret sauce”: the ability to acknowledge and fix mistakes. “A confident country,” Sullivan said, “is able to look hard at its own shortcomings and constantly seek to improve.” The implication, of course, was that China seemed unable to do the same, at least in its foreign policy.”

But woke libertine Washington is not flexible. It’s tribal and dogmatic. It alienates half of America. It alienates billions of cultural conservatives in many countries all over the world.

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