Thursday, April 4, 2024

No, the earthquake wasn’t a weapon!

I’m not exactly allergic to conspiracy theories, but this one is just silly. Vox Day has written that the recent quake in Taiwan was “A Warning to Taipei” from Beijing. Given the geopolitical context — tensions between the two One Chinas are high, as they often are — “This is no more an act of nature than . . . a tidal wave that just happened to hit Manhattan would be one.”

The thing is, Taiwan lies on a plate boundary, where quakes are a regular occurrence, and this one is not even remotely comparable to tsunami hitting New York City. It hit near Hualien on the east coast, the most sparsely populated (and least militarily important) part of the whole island, which is why the death toll was only 9 — as opposed to 2,400 when a quake of comparable magnitude struck the central region in 1999. If a 7.3 was going to hit Taiwan — as the laws of geology decree must happen from time to time — this was the least-bad place for it to hit. Still a tragedy for those affected, of course, but overall the Taiwanese feel lucky, not threatened.

I guess Vox’s logic is that this is a warning shot, that China is demonstrating its quake-causing powers in a low-casualty region first, with the implied threat that Taipei is next unless the Taiwanese fall in line? But such a threat would only work if the quake were widely understood to be a Chinese attack, which it certainly is not. If your show of force is so cleverly disguised as a natural phenomenon that no one has any reason to doubt that it is a natural phenomenon, it loses all efficacy as a show of force.

Vox’s only argument for the quake being artificial is the amazing “coincidence” of its happening at a time when cross-strait tensions are somewhat high. But cross-strait tensions are usually high. That’s not a coincidence at all.

If China really was trying to make a subtle threat, it was too subtle for its own good. No one in Taiwan perceived this as an attack, and no one will change their political behavior in response to it.


jason said...

Vox Day is claiming the US did the earthquake, not China.

"...amidst rumors that the island province is working steadily toward a reunification agreement with the mainland."

The man who mistook his wife for a hat said...

This earthquake was only a size IV on the Medvedev–Sponheuer–Karnik scale (China rattling Taiwan). Next time you can expect a size V earthquake (China clashing with Taiwan).

Wm Jas Tychonievich said...

Jason: Which further demonstrates how ineffective it is as a bullying technique. Even if we somehow conclude it wasn’t natural, we have to guess which country did it and what they’re trying to push Taiwan to do.

Also, what rumors? The anti-China/pro-globohomo party was just roundly re-elected.

A said...

I suppose it’s sort of like attributing every form of death to the peck.

Chrstphre Campbell said...

🙂 glad to discover that you’re okay !

Wm Jas Tychonievich said...

Good to see you around these parts again, Chrs. Give the Xi.6 Controllers my regards.

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