The real flashpoint is not Ukraine

An alarming scenario has just been outlined to me by a Asian politician with no skin in the Ukrainian game which envisages China putting into affect its long term startegy to regain Taiwan while the US and Europe is focused on Russia’s Ukraine adventure. This alarm gains some credibility as we see China encroaching on Taiwan’s airspace reported here

The Asian politician described an axis of China and Russia co-ordinating their efforts as the US/Europe front faces divisiveness among politicians over responses to Ukraine.

US interest in Russia’s pressurising of Ukraine is altogether less acute than China’s pressurising of Taiwan. The US has clearly identified China as the adversary whose advance they seek most actively to stall.

Russia’s activity in Ukraine makes it look more like a bully out for short-term political gain than a contender for global power. It lost that long ago and lacks leadership or economic heft to regain it.

China like Russia is the subject of sanctions but their efficacy in both cases is widely doubted. Mainline Europe, particularly Germany, has little substitute to Russia’s gas.

One element in the China/Russia axis is Russian gas which could fill China’s critical carbon fuels gap. It would be readily available, if Germany cuts off its Russian supplies.

Ukraine has put the Western world into a febrile state but it would be ill-advised to take its eyes off the real flashpoint on the other side of the world.

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