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Hal Brands

Economic Chaos of a Taiwan War Would Go Well Past Semiconductors

A Chinese invasion is more likely than most assume, and would come sooner rather than later.

The PLA at practice.

The PLA at practice.

Source: AFP/Getty Images

There are plenty of reasons the US should seek to deter China from attacking Taiwan: that island’s strategic position in the Western Pacific, its status as a thriving democracy, the certainty that a successful assault would send shivers through America’s alliance network across the region.

Yet not the least of these reasons is that a major war over Taiwan could create global economic chaos that would make the mess produced by Russia’s war in Ukraine look minor by comparison, for reasons going far beyond the island’s crucial position in semiconductor supply chains.