On March 24, the cargo ship called “Ever Given” ran aground on the Suez Canal due to adverse weather conditions. Blocking the canal horizontally for exactly five days, Ever Given made it absolutely impossible for other ships to pass. The Suez Canal is one of the world’s most critical supply canals, and thus constitutes a major percentage of the flow of global trade. The shortest route to transferring Middle Eastern oil to the West, the Suez Canal connects the Mediterranean to the Indian and Pacific oceans. Taking all of this into consideration, the Canal occupies an extremely strategic position commercially and militarily.
A similar event occurred once in the history of Egypt in 1956. When Gamal Abdel Nasser came to power in 1952 with a coup, he nationalized the British-controlled Suez Canal. By pulling France and Israel to her side, England, whose control over the fuel in the Middle East had atrophied, launched war against Egypt. Nasser, who knew he couldn't win against this trio, sank a few useless cargo ships at the entrance of the Canal after filling them with rocks. Naturally, with the canal blocked and its access to the Persian Gulf and the Indian-Pacific region hindered, England took a step back. Furthermore, Nasser got the support of that day’s U.S. administration, which also played a major role in England withdrawing. According to strategists, this last adventure of England was the burial ceremony of the "British Empire.”
The U.S., which assumed the role that the British Empire had vacated after World War II, started its hegemony over maritime trade routes, particularly the Middle East and the India-Pacifics. Last week, a Chinese air fleet entered Taiwanese airspace through the Bashi Channel. American media is currently buzzing about China’s military drill on the south of the Bashi Canal. Because Taiwan is the most sore point of the "geopolitical power rivalry" between the U.S. and China.
The Beijing regime considers Taiwan as a part of China. And according to Beijing there is only one China in the world. Defeated by Mao Zedong during the Chinese civil war, anti-communist Chinese forces moved to the island of Taiwan. Up until the early 1970s, Taiwan used to represent China at the United Nations. Branded as “Patriotic China” during the Cold War, Taiwan was removed from the UN following a deal between the U.S. and China in 1971. And this is how the People's Republic of China became one of the UN’s five permanent members. Currently, Taiwan can only contact other countries of the world through commercial representation offices. However, the U.S. has guaranteed that Taiwan will not be taken over by means that are not peaceful.
China now represents the world’s second largest economy. Furthermore, it is exponentially fortifying its military power. According to hawkish foreign policy elites in America, “rising China” will invade Taiwan in the near future. The Beijing regime on the other hand considers Taiwan as a fundamental issue in Sino-U.S. relations. The U.S.’s Indo-Pacific Command, comprising of 36 countries, hosts approximately 360,000 military personnel. The Pentagon is lobbying so that the U.S. Congress will pass a budget that will render the Indo-Pacific Command more deterrent against China. Meanwhile, the U.S. is trying to transform the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, otherwise known as QUAD, which also includes Australia, Japan and India, into a security alliance.
There are those who also compare the Taiwan issue to the Cuban Missile Crisis in the early 60s, which brought the U.S. and the Soviet Union to the verge of a nuclear war. Washington had accused the Soviet Union of turning the island of Cuba, which was under the administration of Fidel Castro, into a weapons arsenal. The width of the strait between mainland China and Taiwan is 130 kilometers at its narrowest point. The Beijing regime also wants to override the U.S. commitment to defend Taiwan.
According to some analysts, Taiwan is the American Suez. British-American historian Niall Ferguson says that losing Taiwan will be the end of the Empire in all of Asia and the Indo-Pacific region. In his article published on March 22 on Bloomberg.com, Ferguson points that “Taiwan will turn out to be to the American empire what Suez was to the British Empire in 1956.” Many analysts also see Taiwan as a breaking point for "proxy wars" between China and the U.S.