Capt. James Fanell, a former director of intelligence and information operations for the U.S. Pacific Fleet, spent a nearly 30-year career focusing on the Chinese navy and its operations as it pertains to Indo-Asia Pacific security affairs. Fanell explains that Taiwan's continued independence should matter to all Americans. He suggests the principal reasons are largely economic.
"If Taiwan were to fall," the retired naval officer contends, "it would allow China to have total control of all waters inside much of the first island chain [off China's mainland coast]." As a result, he says, "[China would] essentially control all flow of trade to and from Asia and around the world."
In an exclusive interview with American Family News, he argues that the disruption of commercial shipping fits right into Beijing's long-term plan to achieve economic dominance. For example, China could deny countries access to ports, which could interfere with trade around the globe.
Citing another example, Fanell points out that Taiwan produces almost two-thirds of the semiconductor chips that are part of "nearly everything that runs the world's economy." In fact, Taiwanese companies supply 63% of global semiconductors, compared with 12% by U.S. manufacturers.
"Putting a chokehold on supplying chips to the U.S. could have a grave effect on America's economic future," he states bluntly.
And not just the economy
Apart from economic repercussions, Fanell says the diplomatic arena could also take a hit.
"America has been, for 80 years, a guarantor of peace and stability in the region," he describes, explaining that the U.S. Navy has patrolled and operated in the area for years, "making sure nobody is bothering or bullying anyone else."
But should the U.S. "back off" and not defend Taiwan, "America would no longer be the trusted authority of security, the guarantor of the region," he states.
And what would it mean if nations were no longer able to trust America? According to the expert, "it would mean that all the alliance structure that America has had for decades – and has been a real strength to America's national security – will begin to rapidly crumble."
The combination of these affects, says Fanell, would ultimately isolate the United States from the rest of the world. "And that's why China matters," he concludes.
Image compliments of Western Michigan University (wmich.edu).