Can China Invade and Conquer Taiwan? Study Ukraine
The Russian invasion of Ukraine and China’s rising belligerence under President Xi Jinping has raised concern about a possible Chinese move against Taiwan. China just completed a major congress of its Communist Party. Xi engineered a third term for himself as president, breaking the vague, post-Deng Xiaoping norm that Chinese presidents should only serve two terms. He now looks to be president for life, and the party congress escalated China’s rhetoric on Taiwan.
Taiwan’s World War II Submarine. Image Credit: ROC Navy.
Xi likely needs some kind of legitimating move for his now permanent presidency. Post-Mao Zedong, Chinese elites have generally preferred ‘collective leadership’ to dictatorship. There will be unhappiness in the party over Xi’s move. Worse, the economy is slow because of Xi’s stubborn insistence on his ‘zero-covid’ policy. Without the mandate of an election, Xi and the party’s legitimacy rests on performance – the party’s well-known claim that its rule is more efficient and technocratic than sloppy, disorganized parliamentary democracy.
As this slips away under declining economic growth, unification with Taiwan, and the nationalist ideological satisfaction it promises …