America’s Suez Moment, by Philip Pilkington

Every empire has its inflection point when it starts going downhill. From Philip Pilkington at theamericanconservative.com:

The American obsession with Taiwan, much like the British obsession with the Suez Canal, is merely a distraction from much broader global geopolitical shifts.

In late-July 1956, three months before the Suez Crisis, British Prime Minister Anthony Eden wrote a letter to U.S. President Dwight Eisenhower. At this stage it had become clear that Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser wanted to seize the Suez Canal, a key global shipping route and at that time still under the control of the British. “We cannot afford to allow Nasser to seize control of the canal,” Eden wrote, “If we take a firm stand over this now, we shall have the support of all the maritime powers. If we do not, our influence and yours throughout the Middle East will, we are convinced, be irretrievably undermined.”

The situation in the South China Sea today is very different to the situation in Egypt in the summer of 1956. The British at the time could be confident that Nasser was indeed moving to nationalize the Suez Canal. Today, despite much noise emanating from Washington, it is by no means clear that the Chinese have any intention of seizing the island of Taiwan with military force. Yet one can imagine that letters very similar to the one written by Eden are being written in Washington and read in capitals all over the world.

In 1956 the British sensed, correctly, that if they fought for the Suez Canal and lost this would precipitate a sharp decline in British influence in the world. Today America senses something very similar with respect to Taiwan. This feeling has built up in Washington because of what can only be described as the dismal failure of U.S. foreign policy strategy in Europe. This failure has become manifest in the wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

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