For all the breathless reporting about Biden’s videoconference with President Xi, the main point seems to have been missed by the media:
The meeting was held during normal working hours in Beijing – 9.00 am to about 12.30 in the afternoon, breaking off in time for lunch.
In contrast, Biden (who could not stay awake during the “vital” Global Warming Fest in Glasgow) had to endure a long evening meeting in the Swamp, from 8.00 pm to about 11.30 pm, ending well past his bedtime.
There was a time when such a meeting would have been held at a convenient time for the US President. But that was then, and this is now.
If we want to look for an analogy, it might be the Yalta meeting late in World War II, when Stalin made a sick FDR travel half way round the world to acquiesce to the USSR taking over half of Europe. FDR also agreed to casus belli Poland losing its independence and becoming a Soviet satellite – Taiwan should read the tea leaves.
Back in the 1980s, Vietnam held off a punitive military assault from China. But that was then – very difficult for Taiwan to hold off any attack from China today or in the coming years. And the main point of Biden kowtowing to President Xi on the timing of this videoconference is that Taiwan should not rely on the US to do anything to help. Without US backing, expecting support from Japan or Korea or India or Vietnam is a very weak hope.
What should Taiwan do?
You may remember a scene from the movie “Blazing Saddles” in which the sheriff held off townsfolk intent on lynching him by threatening to shoot himself – a hilarious scene using dialog which now gets trigger warnings. Taiwan should mine its world-leading computer chip plants and other key locations, and announce that it will blow them up when the first Chinese troops land on the island. Rather like Dr. Strangelove’s Doomsday bomb.