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01/10/2022

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I am also skeptical that the existing interdependencies are sufficient to prevent Western countries from getting involved in these conflicts. There are many other factors that come into play that indicate whether Western powers will enter into conflict or not. For the purposes of this discussion, I will focus on the China/Taiwan relationship. Although a big player such as China has strong mutual trade links with the US and may make them more hesitant to get involved, Taiwan and the US also have a trade relationship. According to this article in Discourse Magazine (https://www.discoursemagazine.com/politics/2021/04/16/the-future-of-taiwan-semiconductors-alone-make-the-islands-continued-freedom-crucial-to-the-u-s/), Taiwan is America’s 10th-largest goods trading partner and 13th-largest goods export destination, with U.S. goods-and-services trade with Taiwan totaling $103.9 billion in 2019. As we’ve recently seen, chip shortages can impact the American supply chain heavily, which makes it less beneficial for the US to damage that relationship as well. These incentives could be strong enough to push in the opposite direction, leading the US to actively defend Taiwan in case of attack.

Another factor that affects the US’s decision to get involved with conflicts is China’s government and policies. As their human rights violations have been increasingly spotlighted, the US government might lose part of the electoral support favoring China. This increases the relative incentives to support Taiwan in case of conflicts. Furthermore, Taiwan has a democratic government, which is more aligned with the US, from a political standpoint. Therefore, the effect of economic globalization on the likelihood of conflicts appears ambiguous.

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