I am back, after sometime away in a country that makes the UK feel very cheap indeed.
Watching the Afghan disaster from afar, as we all did, I could not help but see the Chinese rush in behind, like the fools they are, thinking that for them it will be different. As different, as it was for the Americans from the Russians, is the predictable outcome. The Chinese have invaded with money at least, rather than weapons, but it will soon be frittered on corruption, just like home for them.
However, as much as the US did need to back out of the Country, the cack-handed way it has been done has created a new post-Vietnam environment. For a good decade or more after Vietnam, the US was very isolationist and not very interested in policing the world. Reagan made do with an arms race against the Ruskies which he won at a canter, but involved no hot war at all. Only a little bit of hanky panky in Iran and Iraq was allowed, to keep the hawks busy.
Now Biden has really shaken the game, by ending it. The US is engaged nowhere in the world, certainly not Africa and won't be going into the Middle East anytime soon, save for some face-saving drone strikes against ISIS when it can find them.
Meanwhile, in the economic world, the huge shortage of silicon chips continues to drag on the economy and push up prices everywhere. UK car sales have cratered, as there are a lack of vehicles to sell, just as the second hand market has taken off. Computer abusers have not had new gaming or mining chips for nearly 2 years - unheard of.
Over 50% of the world's production sits in Taiwan. Just off the coast of China, a boat ride away. Taking this over would give a hug short-term boost to China, just taking the factories off line for a few weeks would wreak more havoc on the West to go with the Virus they gave us.
President Xi must be very tempted by this play. The US has no appetite for hot wars and would be a huge risk trying to defend Taiwan. China, with good planning, could do a Crimea and present it as a fait accomplit, welcomed by a new puppet Government etc.
China will do this one day, today is an opportune time as the adversary is weak and distracted and led by a senile and unpopular President. It could well be now. There are risks of course, the untested PLA could prove a disaster and the whole escapade resemble more the Bay of Pigs than Crimea, this will weigh in the thoughts of the Politburo who are very conservative, so we shall see in the near future how they fall.