William Katz:  Urgent Agenda

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IT ISN'T ONLY UKRAINE – OVERNIGHT:  The president is in Asia.  So is China.  While we're understandably focused on the land war in Europe – the invasion of Ukraine by Russia – our competition with China is heating up.  The Chinese are giving Mr. Biden a hot welcome.  From Daily Mail: 

Are you watching, Joe? China buzzes Taiwan jets and holds military exercises in the South China Sea on the first day of Biden's six-day Asia trip amid pressure to confront Beijing.

As President Biden visited South Korea and Japan to bolster Asian alliances against China, the nation conducted military exercises in the disputed South China Sea to flex its muscle over Taiwan. 

China's Maritime Safety Administration said the drills began Thursday and will continue until Monday. Biden arrived in Seoul for his five-day Asia trip on Friday and will later travel to Japan. 

China said that other aircraft and vessels will be barred from entering the area but did not provide details. China claims almost all of the South China Sea, although Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines and Taiwan also make similar claims.

The Philippine coast guard said Friday it had established outposts on three islands in the contested waters, a move that will likely be frowned upon by Beijing.

Since the beginning of the month, China's first aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, has been conducting a mission in the Sea of Japan. The Defense Ministry described it as 'routine training' aimed at boosting performance that is 'in line with relevant international law and international practice, and not targeting any party.'

China also flew a pair of long-range nuclear-capable H-6 bombers through the area on Wednesday, Chinese media reports said.

Meanwhile Friday, the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan and its strike group left their home port at Yokosuka, Japan, for a 'routine at-sea period,' the 7th Fleet said.

COMMENT:  China, according to knowledgeable observers, is watching our actions in Ukraine closely.  If our effort to help Ukraine falls short, Beijing will be encouraged to try to take Taiwan, which it regards as its territory.  If we are successful in Ukraine, and demonstrate our eternal loyalty to a friend, China might well be deterred. 

The nightmare is that we could be involved in two wars at the same time – one in Ukraine, and the other in defense of Taiwan.  I doubt if we are ready for that.  We might be looking at a return of the draft, the call-up of reserves, and accelerated war production.   And this all might occur under a President Harris.

Have a nice day.

May 20, 2022