The Threat to Taiwan may be Lower than We Thought

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David1346
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09 Jan 2024, 10:09 pm

For many years, Taiwan has been bullied by China. While Taiwan is the refuge of the Nationalists who were pushed out of China by the People's Republic following nine years of Civil War, the latter have long claimed that this island nation is a renegade province.

It turns out that the Chinese military may be as much of a paper tiger as the Russian army has been. Just as the Russian army has been plagued by internal corruption in which equipment and key components of weapon systems have been sold off to the point where the military has largely lost the ability to have secure military communications or to even have working vehicles; similar things have been happening in China.

It was recently reported that someone had sold off the rocket fuel that should have been used to fill the tanks of various rocket systems. Instead of rocket fuel, it was found that these tanks had been filled with water.

Just as Chinese retail products have been found to be increasingly shoddy and unreliable, Chinese military equipment has been found to be subpar. The underpowered Shenyang J-15 fighter jet keeps crashing. The life cycle of these engines which should have been rated in thousands of hours has instead been found to only last a few hundred. Road wheels on their Type 96 B main battle tanks have literally fallen off the vehicles during field maneuvers. The F-22P frigates have had any number of technical issues including premature engine degradation, faulty sensors, and missile systems that refuse to lock on target. These frigates comprise nearly 13% of the PLA Navy.

Since China has always been secretive regarding any issues they may have, a lot of what is known about Chinese military equipment comes from countries like Pakistan that have purchased these fighters and frigates.

While it's always possible that the Chinese leadership may choose to invade Taiwan as a way of distracting their people from a failing economy that has been coupled with soaring unemployment, doing so could result in a significantly higher casualty count than previously anticipated.

Of course, as we know from the conflict in Ukraine, a high casualty count won't necessarily deter the PLA leadership any more than it's deterred Putin's Russian Federation.



funeralxempire
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09 Jan 2024, 10:21 pm


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10 Jan 2024, 3:36 am

Because of the difficulties of invading Taiwan, the CCP is probably going try and starve the nationalists out via blockade. That might set up a Cuban missile crisis-type situation where the U.S. tries to run the blockade. The experts are saying China will act in 2027 or 2030 when they are militarily fully ready. Why not in the near future when the U.S. is stretched thin in the Mideast and Europe and increasing internal turmoil due to the election?


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naturalplastic
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10 Jan 2024, 4:37 am

^
Not likely.

The US navy controls the whole pacific. And is bolstered by the navies our allies, Japan, and south Korea.

China cant "blockade" Taiwan for the same reason that they cant land an army on the island. They dont control the sea or airspace around Taiwan.

Now if a war officially broke out then China might do to the island nation of Taiwan what Germany tried to do in both world wars to the island nation of Britain, and what the US succeeded in doing to Japan in the Second world war...which was to launch a submarine campaign to sink shipping to Taiwan ...to starve it out that way. But there is no way that the weaker surface Navy of China would challenge the stronger US surface Navy for Taiwan during peacetime.



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10 Jan 2024, 4:56 am

naturalplastic wrote:
China cant "blockade" Taiwan for the same reason that they cant land an army on the island. They dont control the sea around Taiwan.


That's a two-fold problem. They lack the capacity to land enough forces, even if they could temporarily establish local superiority to begin such an operation.

Even if China's A2/AD efforts went perfectly and they succeeded at preventing the US from interfering for an extended period, they wouldn't be able to get enough bodies and gear there at a high enough sustained rate to make it worth the effort of accomplishing the anti-access/area denial goal in the first place.

Taiwanese forces would erode their sealift capabilities further as the operation continues until finally there's a bunch of Chinese troops who get to choose between surrendering or starving.

Not to mention the complexity of such an operation. China, who haven't fought a war since the '70s, who have zero experience conducting amphibious assaults or really any sort of serious naval operation (while shrugging away from the opportunity to attempt to participate in one**), are going to conduct one of the most ambitious amphibious operations of all time?
Not. f*****g. Happening. :lol:

People act like China is suddenly a threat now that they have a carrier they don't know how to use and lack suitable aircraft for.

The threat China poses is greatly exaggerated. They might have a more powerful military than Russia, but it has far less operational practice compared to the Russians and it has a much more difficult goal than the Russian invasion of Ukraine ahead of it, if it wants to invade Taiwan.

The best case scenario (for the PRC) is a lot of dead bodies to end up with status quo ante bellum. If China wants to take over former Qing territory there's probably some Russian territory they'd have an easier time taking.

**If China wanted their navy to demonstrate they can operate like pros they could send forces to the Red Sea. They won't because their poor operational competence will be exposed if they operate as part of a coalition with actual professional navies.


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David1346
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10 Jan 2024, 5:45 am

funeralxempire wrote:
They lack the capacity to land enough forces, even if they could temporarily establish local superiority to begin such an operation.


Good point. While Taiwan has numerous broad beaches that could be used if the CCP had sufficient landing craft (which they don't), the island's terrain would make a lot of these landing sites useless since many of these beaches run into hilly, steep terrain.

From what I understand, the Taiwanese military have identified two dozen of these beaches to be vulnerable in that armored vehicles rolling off CCP landing craft could then potentially access roads or terrain that's suitable for armor.

I know that a study was done a few years ago regarding the construction of artificial reefs just off these beaches. The theory was that these reefs would obstruct any approaching landing craft. I don't know if these reefs were ever built.



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10 Jan 2024, 6:59 am

The best militaries do not always win wars. I am not doubting U.S. military capabilities, I am doubting its willpower.


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David1346
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10 Jan 2024, 3:25 pm

ASPartOfMe wrote:
The best militaries do not always win wars. I am not doubting U.S. military capabilities, I am doubting its willpower.


This will depend upon who wins the election in 2024. Trump would likely not support Taiwan. He doesn't want to support Ukraine. If Trump were to win the presidency, he would likely withdraw from NATO.



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11 Jan 2024, 3:37 am

Here's a sticker you don't want to see on your military equipment:

Image

David1346 wrote:
ASPartOfMe wrote:
The best militaries do not always win wars. I am not doubting U.S. military capabilities, I am doubting its willpower.


This will depend upon who wins the election in 2024. Trump would likely not support Taiwan. He doesn't want to support Ukraine. If Trump were to win the presidency, he would likely withdraw from NATO.

Some law was passed recently in the USA to prevent any president from unilaterally withdrawing from NATO. https://thehill.com/homenews/4360407-co ... wing-nato/


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11 Jan 2024, 3:59 am

goldfish21 wrote:
Some law was passed recently in the USA to prevent any president from unilaterally withdrawing from NATO. https://thehill.com/homenews/4360407-co ... wing-nato/

wow


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11 Jan 2024, 4:01 am

belijojo wrote:
goldfish21 wrote:
Some law was passed recently in the USA to prevent any president from unilaterally withdrawing from NATO. https://thehill.com/homenews/4360407-co ... wing-nato/

wow

Yep.

Sane adults realized that there could be another goof like trump in the president's office someday so they'd better put up some safety guardrails to make sure it's not so easy for a mentally ill president to ruin the USA and the world.


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11 Jan 2024, 4:10 am

ASPartOfMe wrote:
The best militaries do not always win wars. I am not doubting U.S. military capabilities, I am doubting its willpower.


What does THAT have to do with it?

Its sounds like you're make an absurdly wrong analogy to the Soviets in Afghanistan or to the US in Vietnam. In both cases the stronger invader lost to the weaker local guerrilla fighters in a protracted war of many years.

If the US were to invade the mainland of China and tried to conquer and occupy mainland China...then yes...the Chinese would be galvinized into defending their homeland against the foreign US occupier even if the US were stronger. And the Chinese would have more will than we would have to win.


But in this Taiwan situation both nations (China, and the US) would be crossing the sea to a foreign territory. So both would have the same LACK of willpower of an invader. Both sides would be essentially invaders. Neither would be motivated to defend a "homeland". And there is no evidence that China would have will nor even the means to engage a protracted years long asymetrical war with us over Taiwan. How would they even be able to do that?

If you're talking about diplomatic will rather military will then...yes ...its conceivable that the US might try some policy of appeasement similar to that of Neville Chamberlin to Hitler at Munich (give them Taiwan in exchange for a promise of peace...like they tried to get peace from Hitler in exchange for giving Hitler a slice of Czechoslavakia in 1938). The world chessboard might change in some way. And..Trump might be POTUS. And Trump would be eager give everything away to Putin and to China.



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11 Jan 2024, 6:16 am

naturalplastic wrote:
ASPartOfMe wrote:
The best militaries do not always win wars. I am not doubting U.S. military capabilities, I am doubting its willpower.


What does THAT have to do with it?

Its sounds like you're make an absurdly wrong analogy to the Soviets in Afghanistan or to the US in Vietnam. In both cases the stronger invader lost to the weaker local guerrilla fighters in a protracted war of many years.

If the US were to invade the mainland of China and tried to conquer and occupy mainland China...then yes...the Chinese would be galvinized into defending their homeland against the foreign US occupier even if the US were stronger. And the Chinese would have more will than we would have to win.


But in this Taiwan situation both nations (China, and the US) would be crossing the sea to a foreign territory. So both would have the same LACK of willpower of an invader. Both sides would be essentially invaders. Neither would be motivated to defend a "homeland". And there is no evidence that China would have will nor even the means to engage a protracted years long asymetrical war with us over Taiwan. How would they even be able to do that?

If you're talking about diplomatic will rather military will then...yes ...its conceivable that the US might try some policy of appeasement similar to that of Neville Chamberlin to Hitler at Munich (give them Taiwan in exchange for a promise of peace...like they tried to get peace from Hitler in exchange for giving Hitler a slice of Czechoslavakia in 1938). The world chessboard might change in some way. And..Trump might be POTUS. And Trump would be eager give everything away to Putin and to China.


I was thinking more of the Americans in Afghanistan, the Americans in Somalia, the Americans in Lebanon the last two were not protracted. Right now we seem to be in the process of throwing Ukraine under the bus even though no American lives are on the line there. If in trying to run a blockade a carrier or two is sunk and a few thousand lives are lost defending the "yellow people", I can see "America First" arguments gaining traction.

I agree with you that a President being aware of our national personality might be overly avoident.


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11 Jan 2024, 8:39 am

"A president being overly aware of our national personality".

You will hafta translate that phrase into English.

If those were the examples you were thinking of than your analogy still makes no sense because those examples were the US invaders vs the local people staging insurgency.

The US vs China in Taiwan - would be one group of invaders duking it out with another invader...in the waters around the land in question. . Totally different situation. The people of Taiwan would not be waging any kind of insurgency against us, and neither would the mainland Chinese.

It takes months for a blockade to work. The US is not going step aside in its own backyard of the Pacific and just allow the Chinese Navy surround Taiwan in the six months to a year for a Chinese blockade to starve Taiwan.

The US (with the help of S.Korea, Japan, and maybe even Vietnam) would just blast the Chinese fleet out of the water in one afternoon.



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11 Jan 2024, 1:21 pm

naturalplastic wrote:
"A president being overly aware of our national personality".

You will hafta translate that phrase into English.

Americans expect a quick resolution to problems and if that does not happen get impatient quickly. All the examples I cited above while different seem to share that as a factor. That is one reason the U.S. has adopted “shock and awe” post Vietnam. China, Russia, Iran notice this and it factors in their decisions. Even if the China loses the war in three hours arguably the decision to go to war in the first place may not have been made.

I would caution against assuming that if the Chinese fleet is quickly destroyed the war would be over. I would assume we have not seen nearly their full cyber attack capabilities. You think we are at each others throats now? We may be unable to respond to whatever they can reconstitute.


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11 Jan 2024, 2:34 pm

Dude...stop it.

you're talking nonsense. And descrediting yourself.

you're talking about asymmetrical (guerilla type) warfare. That only works if you're the defender against a foreign would be conqueror.

If China wants to seize Taiwan they themselves have to project power across a water way to become the would be conquering invader. Which means they would have to launch a conventional SYMMETRICAL war. With conventional naval and army and airforces. They would need sea lift for troops and supplies. Warships to guard the amphibious operations and so on. They would have to play by our rules, and not by insurgent rules. And China doesnt even "do" Maoist style guerrilla warfare much anymore because theyre becoming a first world country.

Drones alone could not bring down a western alliance defending Taiwan.

What you're talking about wouldnt matter.

What matters would be the issue of "brinkmanship". Much like the old Soviet Union vs the US in the Cold War days over Cuban missles and Berlin.

The US doesnt want war China...much less global nuclear suicide. And China doesnt want war with the US, much less does it want global nuclear suicide either.

So the question is how close is each power willing to come to...the "brink" of global war to take its respective stand (saving or seizing Taiwan).