Lowry Institute: The Unfinished Chinese Civil War
Fri October, 2020, Age: 3 weeks
John Culver, a former U.S. diplomat, makes the case that framing China’s options against Taiwan as being either peace or invasion is a dangerous oversimplification. Instead, he argues that “the primary political goal of the CCP’s struggle from roughly 1979 until now has been to preserve the possibility of political unification at some undefined point in the future.” The question of Taiwan is for the CCP thus an existential one. As a result, in the case of an outbreak of war over Taiwan, the first and most important goal for China “would not be to quickly ‘win’ in a conventional military sense. Instead it would be to ‘not lose’.” As the U.S.’s recent overtures to Taiwan raise concerns on the mainland, it is important not to misunderstand the complex background of the conflict. It is also important to remember the U.S.’s long history of involvement in the region as American policymakers are rethinking the strategic and military relationship with Taiwan.