Is Taipei ready to become Eastern Kyiv?

By Shazia Anwer Cheema

The United States sells weapons to Taiwan with the State Department’s justification that the sales are in line with a long-standing US policy of supplying defensive weapons to the island and describes the “prompt supply” of these weapons as being “essential to the security of Taiwan”.

The Pentagon’s Defense Security Cooperation Agency said Sept. 3, 2022, that the weapons package would include 60 anti-ship missiles, 100 air-to-air missiles and contractor logistical support for a radar program from surveillance.

George Lakoff, a cognitive linguist, says that “most of what we understand in public discourse is not in the words themselves but in the unconscious understanding we bring to the words”. Words as a linguistic unit give a particular denotation but with the process of language and speech they change meaning. Semiotically, if a word signifies inference A, it can evolve to the point that inference A becomes irrelevant and new new inferences attach to it. Take the example of the words “peace and security”, which mean harmony and rhythm in nature and nurture, however, these words tend to be exploited, especially political exploitation. Once peace in a society would have meant brotherhood and no violence, but human genius is able to attach new inferences with exciting ideas, which is why we see the American version of the words “peace” and ” security “. In American doctrine, the linguistic units “peace” and “security” have a special place. Over the past two decades, the United States has managed to dissociate the old meaning of peace by creating fanciful new ideas, such as “war for peace” and “struggle for peace”. peace”, peacekeepers, etc. Apparently the word peace is always opposed to war, arms, conflict, but the US peacekeeping process is pure destruction and devastation as we can see in Libya, Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan.

The point to understand here is how the political and military doctrine of the United States persuades the masses that waging war is a process of peace and that the answer lies in the mechanism of human understanding.

The human brain understands in terms of metaphors, whatever the human mind acquires from embodied experience, it acquires through combinations of words. Words combined with other words create new ideas, such as smooth sailing, bumpy life, true love, fair wind, etc. when two or more linguistic entities combine, they create strange inferences and the human mind accepts them, these connoted inferences are called metaphors, again George Lakoff wrote in his book, Metaphors by which we live “The heart of metaphor is inference. Conceptual metaphor allows the use of inferences in sensory-motor domains (e.g., space and object domains) to draw conclusions about other domains (e.g., subjective judgment domains, with concepts like intimacy, emotions, justice, etc.). Because we think in terms of metaphors, the metaphors we use largely determine how we live our lives.

After bringing peace to the Middle East and Afghanistan, the US peacekeeping mission has now entered the Indo-Pacific

As cognitive semiotics is my subject and how we create and understand meaning is my quest, but the most important phenomenon I experience is the impact of the process of meaning-making (cognitive semiotics) on our politics. Let us return to the point of American politics which relies heavily on diction, unquestionably the most reliable weapon for its hegemonic enterprises.

The linguistic engineers of the United States since the Cold War reinforce the importance of society and social norms by forcing us to think of the world as a “global village” and we, as members of this intertwined society, must agree on shared commitments for the greater good of supporting peace. Playing this whole world a village game The United States delights in the slogan that we must uphold shared commitment which is in fact imposed commitments to endure. However, how much and how far we, citizens of the global village, must endure to achieve peace is ambiguous.

There is an important point to note: why is the United States, after a lull of more than 20 years, putting Taiwan back on the world stage?

After bringing peace to the Middle East and Afghanistan, the United States peacekeeping mission has now entered the Indo-Pacific, for each new alignment, cooperation and engagement, the face statement is always “Let’s follow our common commitment for a lasting peace”. For reference, take an example of AKUAS, QUAD, Indo-Pacific Framework, and now Liberation Taiwan, the slogan remains the same “let’s unite soldiers for peace, save humanity by bombing them, fight for global justice via war crimes, sell arms for a better society”.

In a public announcement, the United States confirmed in 2017 that Taiwan had faced a backlog of $14 billion in foreign military sales from the United States. What is the total sale of the United States until 2022 has not yet been shared publicly, but many Chinese think tanks believe that the sale could exceed 20 billion dollars since the year 2017. However, no one knows. how many weapons have been delivered to Taiwan because the United States has publicly claimed that China is blocking the delivery of American weapons to Taiwan by sea. Lara Crouch, Republican staff member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committeeduring his speech to the Heritage Foundation panel last August, said the United States needed to start getting new legs to fly to Taiwan (perhaps to deliver weapons by air).

We are already facing the consequences of US-led European adventurism that has thrown Ukraine and Russia into war and this situation has already wreaked havoc on world food security.

There is an important point to note: why is the United States, after a lull of more than 20 years, putting Taiwan back on the world stage? The American political investment of open de facto Taiwanese embassies in Eastern Europe, US statements that China is America’s greatest threat, and Biden’s announcement in his first speech as president that the US would place everything, including engagement in the Middle East and Afghanistan, on the back burner and the only US focal point would be China are serious developments to be noted. We know the rise of China is the biggest worry and saddest development for the United States but that does not mean that the world should allow Washington to once again interfere in world peace by starting another conflict that may become the bloodiest. We are already facing the consequences of the US-led European adventurism that has thrown Ukraine and Russia into war and this situation has already wreaked havoc on world food security. I am sure that the members of NATO led by the United States have done their homework to present Taiwan on the stage of war by putting Ukraine ahead of Russia. I believe that the US-led NATO is inclined to engage every rising power in a war with its neighboring countries. I fear that Turkey and Qatar will be their next targets as they are all emerging powers in strategically important regions.

Is Taipei ready to become Eastern Kyiv?

In response to the arms sale to Taiwan, Liu Pengyu, spokesperson for the Chinese Embassy in Washington, DC, said: “It sends the wrong signals to the separatist forces of ‘Taiwan independence’ and puts gravely jeopardize the Sino-US relations as well as peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait, China will resolutely take legitimate and necessary countermeasures in light of the developing situation.

After a long time, I hope to deduce “peace” and “security” as they are supposed to be. China is not Afghanistan, the humiliating pack of peace and security drama is enough to gauge the deterioration of the United States’ ability to interfere. China is going to be a perfect language teacher for the United States, I am convinced that the time is near when China will help the United States realign its linguistic inferences by giving new metaphors for peace and security, especially in terms of war.

Note: Writer Shazia Anwer Cheema is a Prague-based author, columnist and foreign affairs expert who writes for national and international media. She is a doctoral student and researcher in semiotics and philosophy of communication at Charles University in Prague. She can be reached at her: Twitter @ShaziaAnwerCh Email: [email protected]


The views and opinions expressed in this article/opinion/commentary are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the DND Think Tank and Dispatch News Bureau (DND). Assumptions made in the analysis do not reflect the position of the DND Think Tank and the Dispatch News Desk.

Martin E. Berry