Gen. Wilsbach needs to learn key lessons from Russia-Ukraine conflict
Published: Mar 16, 2022 12:48 AM
Vessels in the Taiwan Straits, July 20, 2017. /CGTN Photo

Vessels in the Taiwan Straits, July 20, 2017. /CGTN Photo

Gen. Kenneth Wilsbach, commander of Pacific Air Forces, on Monday said he hopes that one of the "key lessons" the Chinese are taking from the military conflict between Russia and Ukraine is "the solidarity of the global community" in opposing "an unprovoked attack on a neighbor," according to US-based Air Force Magazine. He added that if China behaves in a similar way against the island of Taiwan or a neighboring country, "something more robust will happen." Wilsbach made those remarks during an AFA Mitchell Institute streaming discussion.

There are so many logical loopholes in Wilsbach's bluffing remarks, and apparently key lessons for the US in the ongoing Russia-Ukraine military conflict. For one, don't push a major power to the corner or you need to prepare to face a strong reaction. In addition, after the US has repeatedly failed its commitments to allies, the more it tries to pretend to be strong, the weaker it actually appears.

It should be underlined once again that the Ukraine issue and the Taiwan question are totally different. The Taiwan question is China's internal affair and China will never tolerate the interference of external forces over the Taiwan question. Furthermore, it is the US that has intensified regional contradictions and triggered regional conflicts.

US politicians and the military tend to use "unprovoked" and "unjustified" to portray Russia's military conflict with Ukraine. 

Is it unprovoked? The escalation of the Russia-Ukraine conflict is mainly due to the eastward expansion of NATO led by the US, which has squeezed Russia's strategic space, and the US had repeatedly incited Ukraine to confront Russia, eventually triggering a strong reaction from Russia. In terms of the Taiwan Straits, the US has also repeatedly instigated the secessionist forces in the island to provoke the Chinese mainland by practices such as upgrading arms sales to Taiwan island. 

Amid the Ukraine crisis, although the US has provided weapons and equipment to Ukraine, it has not directly intervened. This is because Russia is a military power as well as a nuclear power. The US is clearly aware that once it sends troops to Ukraine, it will definitely be countered and retaliated by Russia. The US does not dare to go to war with Russia.

In regard to Wilsbach's threatening rhetoric against China, "something more robust will happen," just as a Chinese netizen commented, "the only lesson we learn is that the US is a paper tiger." If a military conflict breaks out in the Taiwan Straits instigated by the US, Washington will not dare to directly step in militarily either. 

If the US simultaneously confronts two major military powers, the US' consequence will definitely be failure. And the US' allies, including NATO members or allies in the Asia-Pacific region, are unlikely to follow the US to get involved in a war between great powers, Lü Xiang, a research fellow at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times.

At the moment, the US is short of confidence and needs to bluster to embolden itself. Threatening China is totally irrational. The nonsense of US military officials will only ramp up the risks they may encounter. It is hoped Gen. Kenneth Wilsbach will learn the lessons; otherwise, Washington will be more embarrassed when China takes actions to solve its internal Taiwan question.