CCP leaders hoped that Russia would win the war in Ukraine, Hanson said during a recent interview with EpochTV’s “American Thought Leaders” program, because it would vindicate the regime’s own imperial ambitions.
“If the Chinese had a choice between an independent Taiwan or a destroyed Taiwan that they were responsible for, they would take the destroyed Taiwan,” Hanson said. “In other words, they say ‘we own Taiwan, and we don’t really care that it has been leveled.’”
“Let’s be clear, they want Russia to win,” Hanson added. “And they want Russia to establish the precedent that a strong nation can have an ‘irredentist’ agenda, a fancy Italian word for taking back territory that has similar attributes to the motherland and reclaiming them this mystical empire.”
Hanson’s aside about irredentism was a reference to the fact that the communist regime claims that Taiwan is a breakaway province of China. CCP leader Xi Jinping has thus vowed to unite the island with the mainland and has refused to rule out the use of force to do so.
Taiwan has been self-governed since 1949. The island has never been controlled by the CCP.
Strategists and policymakers believe that China has been closely watching the Russian invasion of Ukraine with interest, seeking to learn from Russia’s victories and losses, and to augment its own invasion plans as necessary.
U.S. intelligence leaders believe that the united front presented by the international community in leveraging sanctions on Russia “unsettled” CCP leadership whom, like Russian leadership, likely expected an easy war for Russia.
That united Western front and the stark economic consequences imposed on Russia may have given the CCP pause with regard to its plans for Taiwan, but Hanson believes it also presented the CCP with an opportunity to profit from Russian isolation.
He said that Chinese leaders were initially pro-Russian due to a belief that Ukraine would be easily absorbed, but can ultimately still benefit from the international outrage and sanctions by buying Russian goods and services at low prices and selling needed commodities at a steep premium, as the CCP has thus far refused to acknowledge international financial sanctions as legitimate.
Thus, while the CCP may not have gained the blueprint for an invasion of Taiwan that it was seeking, Hanson believes the regime will still benefit through a wait-and-see approach.
“Now they’re thinking, wait a minute, Putin didn’t tell us it was going to take a month and he’s gonna lose 10 to 20,000 soldiers,” Hanson said. “So let’s just wait a minute, let’s say in principle, we’re for it. But let’s see how this works out.”
“Privately, they’re thinking as the Communist Party always does: What is in it for us in the most amoral, profitable terms?”
When asked if the CCP would ultimately abandon Russia if the latter’s myriad military blunders continued, Hanson expressed doubt, and said that the regime would find a way to spin the successes or failures of Russia to its own benefit.
“I think they’re gonna play it out,” Hanson said. “They’re going to sit tight [and] they’re going to buy a lot of Russian oil.”
“They’re going to have a full-fledged enhanced commercial relationship [and] they’ll probably have an increased military relationship. And they’re going to sit there and see who wins, and they hope Russia wins.”
To that end, Hanson said that Western leaders, and particularly American leaders, needed to understand the scope of the threat posed to the world by the CCP, and to work aggressively to prevent the Party from profiting more.
He said that a “spirited and muscular” leadership in the United States was needed to prevent China from becoming ascendent on the global stage, and that strong and sound leadership would recognize “that our common enemy, the world’s common enemy, is China.”
“We can’t [currently] get Australia and Japan and Taiwan and South Korea on the same page to check Chinese aggression,” Hanson said. “And China in that void is … going to control all the major choke points of the world.”
He added that China’s investments in key ports and choke points throughout the world, from the Suez and Panama canals to major deep water ports in Greece and Africa, would result ultimately in Chinese dominance over global trade and traffic.
Western leadership had the material and technology necessary to defeat China in competition or conflict, he said, and pointed to the much larger per capita productivity of the United States. But, he added, current leadership seemed to lack the will or know-how to adequately curb the malign influence of the communist regime.
“We should tell China right now, they can’t split us, we’re gonna have a uniform policy of sanctions against them if they try it,” Hanson said. “And [concerning an invasion of] Taiwan, we’re going to be tough on their trade [and] our military is going to be 10 times stronger than theirs.”
“All of us have learned that we need to be energy independent, we need to be united, we need to be physically and materially and militarily strong armed forces, because we have a China on the horizon.”
“We have to find a way to check Chinese power.”