If Beijing decided to attack Taipei, Japan, Australia, India, and the U.K. would all be important U.S. allies. That’s according to Bloomberg columnist Hal Brands after he took on a mission to analyze four countries’ stances on the geopolitical map in case China invades Taiwan.

According to Brands, Japanese and Australian politicians have a particularly close tie with the U.S. There’s a general sense that a disaster is looming, and it will probably happen soon rather than later.

The columnist said that among four countries, officials from Japan were the most worried. There is a clear feeling in Tokyo that a very aggressive Chinese move in the Western Pacific is becoming more likely. Time is running out. Japan would be severely threatened, maybe even on a territorial level, if we consider how close some of the islands in the southwestern part of Japan are to Taiwan. It’s just one hundred miles away. 

Hal Brands said Japan needs to improve its military capabilities quickly. Japan will spend about twice as much on defense over the next five years. It is trying to make some of those small islands on the far shore more solid. It is spending money on long-range, precise-strike weapons like U.S. Tomahawk cruise missiles. This missile could be very effective against either North Korea or China.

Next comes Australia. The Bloomberg columnist said Australia is America’s most reliable military ally and has joined the U.S. in all major wars since 1917, including the Vietnam war. 

Moreover, most Australians agree that if China attacks Taiwan, they would support Australian troops fighting alongside U.S. troops.

Last year, 3 countries, including Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States, signed a security deal named AUKUS. The agreement covers the Indo-Pacific region. According to the agreement, Australia will get submarines that run on nuclear power from the U.S. and U.K.

The deal also covers advanced cyber, artificial intelligence, autonomy, quantum technologies, submarine capabilities, hypersonic and counter-hypersonic, electronic warfare, innovation, and information exchange.

The nuclear-powered submarine will get into Australia’s hands in the late 2030s or early 2040s. While waiting, the U.S. can also help develop autonomous maritime vehicles for Australia. And it might rent the Australians a Virginia-class attack submarine to deal with the newly built boats. 

However, according to Hal Brands, Australia depends heavily on China for its foreign trade, making up roughly a third of its volume. If war breaks out between China and Taiwan, Australia and China will also separate economically, so Australia needs to find alternative markets. 

Then comes India, the Bloomberg columnist said India is not a faithful ally to the U.S. It disagrees with the U.S. in the Ukraine issue, as it imports large amounts of Russian gas, energy, and military weapons. 

However, on the other hand, India has a big problem with China: a tense and disputed border. So, India will be glad to work with the U.S. on defense and diplomacy.

How can India help the U.S. if the Taiwan strait breaks into full war mode?

According to Hal Brands, India might help block China’s energy imports by letting the U.S. access the Andaman and Nicobar Islands off the Malacca Strait. India might also help maintain security in the Indian Ocean so the U.S. can focus more on the Western Pacific—the main battlefield. 

Besides, India has a lot of influence power with developing countries. New Delhi might help lead these countries to criticize China’s invasion of Taiwan. 

Last comes the U.K. 

The U.K.’s Royal Navy has a small but persistent presence in the Indo-Pacific. It shows the country’s real concern with the region. 

The U.K., and other European countries, such as Germany and France, have become convinced that China is a systemic threat to the world. They are concerned with Taiwan – a vulnerable democracy in their eyes. 

In addition, China is America’s top national security threat. They know that if NATO allies don’t help the U.S. deal with China, Americans may start to have suspicious eyes of NATO in the future.

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