By Aaron Kliegman\u00a0 Just three days after President Joe Biden\u2019s inauguration, the Chinese military\u00a0simulated\u00a0an attack on a US Navy aircraft carrier during an incursion into Taiwan\u2019s airspace.\u00a0 China\u2019s message to the US was clear: Taiwan is ours, and we\u2019re ready to\u00a0use military force to\u00a0conquer it.\u00a0 Of course, this message is hardly new.\u00a0 China has\u00a0long\u00a0considered\u00a0Taiwan an unruly, insubordinate province\u00a0which needs to be\u00a0brought to heel.\u00a0Indeed, to the Chinese government, Taiwan\u2019s mere\u00a0existence as an\u00a0independent democracy\u00a0just 100 miles away\u00a0poses\u00a0an existential threat. Add the island\u2019s alignment with the US, and the threat becomes that much greater.\u00a0 Hence Beijing\u2019s hellbent\u00a0push\u00a0to reunify Taiwan with the Chinese mainland.\u00a0 In recent years, however, China\u2019s belligerence toward Taiwan has\u00a0increased\u00a0\u2014 and along with it the prospect of China\u00a0launching a military campaign to subjugate the island.\u00a0 For the ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP), Taiwan is truly an obsession.\u00a0 In\u00a0January\u00a02019,\u00a0the US Defense Intelligence Agency\u00a0released\u00a0a report identifying\u00a0Beijing's desire to "compel Taiwan's reunification with the mainland and deter any attempt by Taiwan to declare independence" as the "primary driver for China's military modernization."\u00a0\u00a0 That same month, Xi Jinping, general secretary of the CCP, threatened to use military force against Taiwan.\u00a0 "China must be, and will be reunified," he said. "We do not forsake the use of force."\u202f\u00a0 Xi also described unification as the "great trend of history,"\u00a0an inevitable force that will keep China\u2019s authoritarian boot on the free Taiwanese people\u2019s necks.\u00a0 Later that same year, the Chinese government\u00a0declared\u00a0in a new defense white paper that\u00a0solving\u00a0"the Taiwan question and\u00a0\u00a0complete reunification of the country is in the fundamental interests of the Chinese nation and essential to realizing national rejuvenation."\u00a0 The document added that\u00a0China "must be and will be reunited" and that\u00a0not only\u00a0China makes "no promise to renounce the use of force"\u00a0but also\u00a0reserves "the option of taking all necessary measures" to seize Taiwan.\u00a0 China has only become more belligerent since then,\u00a0leading\u00a0a growing number of experts to\u00a0acknowledge\u00a0that military conflict between the US and China over Taiwan is only becoming more likely with time.\u00a0 Which makes it more important than ever for the US to deter a Chinese invasion.\u00a0 For decades, the US has adopted an ambiguous policy toward Taiwan. We\u2019ve tried to deter China from attacking\u00a0while reassuring Beijing that Washington won\u2019t\u00a0accept Taiwanese independence.\u00a0 This delicate balancing act\u00a0is outdated,\u00a0according\u00a0to\u00a0Nobuyasu\u00a0Abe, a former commissioner of Japan\u2019s Atomic Energy Commission and former UN under secretary-general for disarmament.\u00a0 Abe, whose resume hardly screams\u00a0foreign policy hawk, recently\u00a0told\u00a0the\u00a0New York Times\u00a0that,\u00a0when Xi\u00a0\u201cis so explicit on Taiwan,\u201d America\u2019s policy just emboldens Beijing.\u00a0 The US needs to stop trying to appease both sides and instead\u00a0focus\u00a0on deterring China and reassuring Taiwan. This requires America flexing its military muscles and using hard power more overtly to assist the Taiwanese and show the CCP that, without question, invading Taiwan is unacceptable.\u00a0 Some readers will inevitably ask why Taiwan matters. Why not just stay out of it and save American blood and treasure?\u00a0 Simply put, the\u00a0strategic importance\u00a0of Taiwan is crucial.\u00a0Taiwan\u00a0is the critical point of the so-called "first island chain," the first line of archipelagos off the east Asian continental coastline.\u00a0If China wants to challenge American power in the Pacific, it needs to break through that chain, which is composed of America\u2019s allies. And Taiwan is the spot where China\u00a0thinks it\u00a0can break through.\u00a0 Plus, as a vibrant democracy standing up each day\u00a0to\u00a0the Chinese juggernaut, Taiwan is a\u00a0key\u00a0weapon to undermine the CCP\u2019s power inside China.\u00a0 In short, anyone who claims to be concerned about China isn\u2019t serious unless they support Taiwan.\u00a0Any strategy to counter China necessitates a vigorous effort to deter an invasion of the island.\u00a0 Indeed, Taiwan is the fulcrum of the nascent Cold War between the US and China. How\u00a0Taiwan\u00a0goes will signal how the world goes \u2014 either toward a bright future of freedom and prosperity\u00a0led\u00a0by the US\u00a0or down into a dark abyss of cruel autocracy\u00a0dominated by China\u00a0 The US cannot afford to get Taiwan wrong \u2014 or, soon enough, what happened three days after Inauguration Day will happen again. Only this time it won\u2019t be a simulation. Newt hosts monthly virtual events in which he discusses news of the day and why it matters to you and your community. These Newt Live events are your opportunity to communicate directly with Newt. We hope you will join us next time and let Newt answer\u00a0your\u00a0questions and provide his insight on the issues that concern\u00a0you\u00a0most. JOIN TODAY to be a part of this special event and receive a BONUS GIFT.\u00a0Click here to join Newt\u2019s Inner Circle.