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"Taiwan Can Win a War With China " Topic


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306 hits since 11 Oct 2018
©1994-2018 Bill Armintrout
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Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP11 Oct 2018 3:50 p.m. PST

"Over the last month or so we have had a few raucous discussions about Taiwan and its future here at the Scholar's Stage. In these comment threads I have expressed the belief that Taiwan is in a much stronger military position vis a vis the PLA than most people inside or outside of Taiwan realize. Today I have a column up in Foreign Policy that lays out my argument. I encourage you to go an read the whole thing, but I will quote the core of the argument here:

To understand the real strength of these defenses, imagine them as a PLA grunt would experience them. Like most privates, he is a countryside boy from a poor province. He has been told his entire life that Taiwan has been totally and fatally eclipsed by Chinese power. He will be eager to put the separatists in their place. Yet events will not work out as he has imagined. In the weeks leading up to war, he discovers that his older cousin—whose remittances support their grandparents in the Anhui countryside—has lost her job in Shanghai. All wire money transfers from Taipei have stopped, and the millions of Chinese who are employed by Taiwanese companies have had their pay suspended….."

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Thresher0111 Oct 2018 6:35 p.m. PST

Given the disparity in troops, defense budget, and force levels, I find the official premise to be a bit optimistic.

At best, perhaps a stalemate, but I imagine China would most likely win.

They can employ their "fishing boat" reserve fleet as amphibious vessels, and a lot of cargo ships as well.

Chinese troops can also be airdropped over the island too.

In a full court press, I suspect the war would be over in just a week or two, and my money's on the communists, I'm sad to say.

A US naval force would be hard-pressed to intervene before Taiwan's forces have suffered major losses.

I hope I'm wrong, but I doubt it.

Would be interesting as a wargame exercise to see how it plays out.

StarCruiser11 Oct 2018 7:05 p.m. PST

I suspect the real idea here is to deter China for a while longer.

Basically, it sounds like the plan is to make the invasion more costly to China, in lost equipment and personnel (not that they really care about people but…).

Andrew Walters12 Oct 2018 8:42 a.m. PST

The question needs more dissections before you can formulate an answer.

People always treat the "who would win" question as if it were an arena match to the death, but wars don't always go that way. If the war goes on long enough the vast, vast manpower and resources of PRC will tell, but the PRC hardly want to pay the highest price if they can avoid it and ROC will obviously want to find a way to end the war soon, because that's the only way they don't get bulldozed. So both sides have a motivation to end the war some other way. Demonstrate a will to fight, give the other side a black eye, then negotiate? Bring in the US or Japan? Russia? Economic maneuvering?

Given this, you have to identify each sides two or three options, and maybe make a chart to show how each option would fare against each other option, and how military force would fit into each of those pairings.

Keep in mind China wants to capture all that economic power, bombing Taiwan flat is possible, but not an option PRC will ever use.

As for just wargaming it, you need a bunch of assumptions before you can even start, and you're back to the same set of questions.

Personal logo Cacique Caribe Supporting Member of TMP12 Oct 2018 9:20 a.m. PST

I get the feeling that we might see lots of our own planes drop from the sky unexpectedly:

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