TAIPEI, TAIWAN – A failure to deter China from invading Taiwan could well lead to a deadly conflict between Beijing’s troops and the U.S., lawmakers and policy experts warn.

As hot wars rage in the Middle East and Europe, the fragile peace in the Indo-Pacific is being regarded by some as one of the last barriers between the U.S. and a full-scale global fight not seen since World War II.

“What I do worry about is it would escalate to a scale that we have not seen,” House Foreign Affairs Chairman Michael McCaul, R-Texas, told Fox News Digital from a hotel in Taipei. “I talk about Churchill and the unnecessary war – we could have prevented it earlier and saved a lot of blood and treasure. We’re gonna be spending a hell of a lot more money, and a lot more blood and treasure, if we get thrown into what my father’s generation got thrown into.”

McCaul led a delegation to Taiwan to meet with its newly-inaugurated government days after China staged large-scale military drills in the region, sending dozens of warplanes and ships to simulate a blockade and rapid-fire takeover of the island.


House Taiwan Caucus co-chair Rep. Andy Barr, R-Ky., who is also on the trip, told Fox News Digital: “If the United States were to not show up in a conflict, or if we were to lose a conflict, and if the island were overrun, it would drive a wedge between our other allies – Japan, and the Philippines – and the broader Indo-Pacific in ways that would have massive negative repercussions.”

He pointed out that Taiwan is one of the few U.S.-friendly islands in the Pacific that sits between China and the U.S. West Coast. Barr said a takeover of Taiwan would “embolden” China to push its territorial claims further towards U.S. soil and its neighboring territories.

“So, the whole security structure of the world would be altered in a very negative way,” he said.


Dr. I-Chung Lai, president of The Prospect Foundation, a Taiwanese think tank, argued that a direct war between the U.S. and China could kick off if China took over Taiwan and was emboldened to hit U.S. military units elsewhere in the region.

He noted that China would feel threatened by the possible existence of a U.S. B-21 stealth bomber in the region – the development and testing of the high-tech aircraft has already prompted criticism from Beijing’s state media.

“They could attack the U.S. bases in Japan, for example, the Philippines for example. And even in [South Korea], because from Beijing’s point of view, the closest space that can threaten China [are] actually the U.S. bases in Korea, which is…probably just several hundred kilometers [away],” Lai said.

“And if there’s a B-21 there, they can shoot at Beijing, just [with] a snap of their fingers. So China definitely would try to take all those bases.”

Dr. Ming-Shih Shen of the Institute for National Defense and Security Research, said, “Of course, China will think about the cost of a direct war between the United States and China,” when considering an invasion of Taiwan.


“I don’t know how the Chinese wouldn’t perceive that an aggression to Taiwan would be perceived as an aggression to the United States,” said Rep. Chrissy Houlahan, D-Pa., another lawmaker in the delegation.

In addition to being strategically important to the U.S. for its location in the Indo-Pacific, Taiwan also plays a critical role in the global economy due to its massive semiconductor industry – 60% of the world’s semiconductors are produced here. China has the second-largest share of production.

“What would happen if there was any sort of invasion…not just Taiwan would shut down, but you’d see a major shutdown in a lot of parts of the world, including parts of the United States,” said delegation member Rep. Jimmy Panetta, D-Calif. 

“Look what happened in COVID. Look what happened when you drove by and wanted to buy a vehicle, the car dealerships were completely empty. When you needed an appliance, [stores] were completely empty. And that was just because of supply chain slowdowns.”

He pointed out that semiconductors are used in everything from everyday kitchen appliances to smartphones.

“This would be an actual stop of everything – not a slowdown – a stop of these types of semiconductor chips that are literally in almost everything we use right now,” Panetta said. “That’s what people need to realize that when they pick up their iPhone or go to the refrigerator or get in their car, most likely that semiconductor chip is coming from Taiwan.”