World War 3?

  • 2017 '16 '15 Organizer '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    China also doesn’t really have a comprehensive seaborne landing capability

    exactly my point, however my prediction is that this invasion wont take place until about 14-18 years. At this point in the future the world will have changed quite a bit. China is slowly gaining her footing as an emerging power, but eventually according to my view of geopolitics to truly flex her muscles she has to get into some war as a demonstration to other “competitors” to stay within their own realm. Right now you only see the surface of an iceberg, China has many vast capabilities that are being developed and as such she is in a holding pattern until the moment of truth. I am 100% sure she will strike , but not until the time when things are ready. If China tried this stunt right now they would lose their entire fleet in short order. Again this would be not a land war , but a seaborne invasion. AS you know Germany had the largest army in the world from 1938-1942 and she never made that invasion of England because she didn’t possess those capabilities Germany was a Behemoth of the land while England was a Leviathan of the seas. Both had to respect this fact and each other.

  • Chengora,

    Very good points and I agree with them all.  The only thing I want to comment further on is the idea that integration between China and Taiwan is inevitable.  I think this assumption may not be true.  Might Taiwan be growing apart from China rather than towards China?  In other words, is it possible that the people in Taiwan do, or will, think of themselves as Taiwanese rather than Chinese?

    If this is the case, then I would think China would rather integrate Taiwan sooner rather than later.

    Furthermore, if this is the case then the possibility of resistance and gurreila warfare also exists, assuming that China suceeds in taking the island.  And as we have seen taking something is not the same as keeping it.

  • Hi Baker,

    Good to hear from you.  I agree with your sentiment.  Opinion polls in Taiwan have shown a slight, but general trend away from integration with China.  Around 10-15% of Taiwanese oppose reunification, while around 5% are favorable towards it.  In any assessment, however, there are the 80% who are largely undecided.  If President Chen or the DPP ever puts out a referendum on independence, the balance of numbers will likely favor independence, but that’s not fully guaranteed.

    Also, the people of Taiwan already think of themselves as not Chinese, or at least, only aesthetically Chinese.  Yes, artistic culture, etc. the people on Taiwan are very similar.  Even the Taiwanese language has strong roots in the Mainland.  However, the history of Japanese occupation, the political culture engendered by democracy, and the widespread use of Taiwanese as opposed to Mandarin put firm social and cultural barriers to reunification.  Plus, what’s going on in Hong Kong isn’t exactly inspiring confidence for Taiwan’s leaders.

    That’s the limitation with SUD and Mary’s points, and I think you’re absolutely right to point out that China would be impatient in that regard.  The PRC are fighting against multiple pressures:  internally with separatist groups in Xinjiang and Tibet, internally with rising labor riots, internally with gigantic gaps in wealth.  Externally in their ability to secure sufficient energy resources to maintain growth and satisfy those internal concerns, a regional security system which really isn’t all that secure, etc.  In all that, however, the issue of Taiwan has been a steady policy concern, no matter the idealism of Mao, the retrenchment of Deng, or the technocracy of the current rulers.  As such, even if China goes democratic, it likely will maintain its position of sovereignty over Taiwan.  The question is the actual political and security environment they operate in, and the possibility that Taiwan will break away amid some internal upheaval.  This is why the PRC gets so rattled about any sign that the international community recognizes Taiwanese political sovereignty.  In some sense, they are racing or operating against themselves.

    For IL’s point, you haven’t been paying attention to security affairs in that region.  It’s not necessarily true that the US will defend Taiwan.  Bush won big points in the Taiwanese community for saying that the US will do whatever it takes to defend Taiwan.  He then backtracked the next day.  Last year, during the Taiwanese Presidential election and the referendum controversy, the Bush administration made a stated policy of “no unilateral separation,” despite the fact that if Taiwan did hold a referendum and it passed, it would have been legal in international terms and the US probably would have recognized it.  But, that statement was taken as a sign that the U.S. does not consider a “unilateral separation” to be part of a criteria to “defend Taiwan,” as stated in the Taiwan Relations Act.  In such an environment, the temptation towards earlier invasion is stronger.  And like I said, strategically, China may not even have to invade, just launch a couple missiles.  As part of its rise, China is developing more military and political options, so don’t discount them and think only of invasion.  As a small but important point, I don’t see how you can say you have a better impression of what China is doing under the surface.

  • As part of its rise, China is developing more military and political options, so don’t discount them and think only of invasion.

    I read an article a while back that discussed the possibility, not of an amphibious assault, but rather of a different sort of military attack.  It went something along the following lines:

    With coordinated special operations forces, the key leadership of Taiwan is taken out.  At the same time, new leaders are immediately inserted into these positions (either being in place as agents of China or by force - a small force can effectively control governmental offices for a short time - when necessary).  China immediatly recognizes/formally assigns the new government and proceeds to send additional officers from the mainland to “assist” the transition which happens before the US/EU/UN can effectively respond.  Due to the lack of coordination by the remaining agencies on the part of Taiwan (in part because of mainland Chinese agents), the Taiwanese are unable to resist effectively.  As the only governing leaders in Taiwan now are pro-China, the reunification takes place and there is no choice by the world but to recognize this.

    What are the odds of something like this working?  I’d say pretty slim, but it is at least a possibility.

  • @Chengora:

    … and the widespread use of Taiwanese as opposed to Mandarin …

    AFAIK Mandarin is the official language of Taiwan. Brought and enforced by the KMT, they had a strict anti-Taiwanese (language) program. Although this has changed i don’t think the use is “widespread” and then surely the use of Mandarin should be widespread (being the offical language).

  • True in an official sense, but not as reflective of reality.  More than 80 percent of Taiwanese speak, well, Taiwanese, which is highly related to Fukienese.  The further south you go on the island, the less useful a knowledge of Mandarin is, to the point of being at times useless.  In addition, for the elderly generation right now, don’t forget that their native languages are Taiwanese and Japanese because of the occupation, further limiting the number of people who speak Mandarin.  While the KMT used to enforce a strict anti-Taiwanese, pro-Mandarin policy, that has ended, and KMT politicians are all learning Taiwanese now in order to communicate with voters.  No doubt, Mandarin is widespread, but Taiwanese is likely equally so.  What is particularly amazing is how Taiwanese, despite official policies to restrict it, was preserved and is now seeing a marked resurgence, particularly outside of Taipei.

  • For your post, Baker, I’d agree:  it’s a pretty slim (although in a strange way, cool) possibility.  The Chinese currently do not have the proper command and control systems in place for such a strike, although they are trying to develop it.  The US DOD is encouraging Taiwan to stop buying weapons platforms and instead increase training on their operations with the US, which will further erode China’s ability to pull this kind of stunt off.  Plus, Taiwan’s radar systems are better than China’s, and can likely detect most of their rotary aircraft.

    There would also of course be big problems with international and Taiwanese pressure following such a strike.  That would certainly be seen as a unilateral move, and the US may then in fact move in the 6th fleet down to the Strait to separate them.  I think it takes less than a day to get there, so the PRC would need a sufficiently large amphibious force to follow the insertion and then occupy the island before the U.S. gets there.  Plus, I think they still may have to content with Taiwan’s missile and naval defense systems, even if they are fully successful in such a decapitation strike.  Internally, you’d probably see riots and protests against the new government, as all political parties have staked a position saying that military attack from China is reprehensible.

  • 2017 '16 '15 Organizer '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    is it possible that the people in Taiwan do, or will, think of themselves as Taiwanese rather than Chinese?

    Hell they are closer to Japan under 50 years of rule in their recent modern past and the united states then China. They have nothing to do with china anymore. WE rebuilt all those post war Japanese colonies and they take kindly to what we have impressed upon them, China didnt do anything except try to reoccupy them following WW2 after the “coast was clear” but it didnt gain a real result , and Taiwan just went ahead with the toy soldier assembly line and put their nation back in black!

  • Don’t go too far in other direction.  Culture connections are still very important.  And cross-Strait economic ties are burgeoning, which feeds into Mary and SUD’s points about trade power.

    Also, the rebuilding of Taiwan is more complicated than you portray.  First off, the U.S. only took an indirect hand in rebuilding the island, which wasn’t damaged all that much anyway from WWII.  Mostly, the U.S. gave money to the KMT, who did some not so nice things with it (the 2/28 massacre readily comes to mind).  Incidentaly, while yes, the KMT did a better job eventually of economic development in Taiwan, while on the Mainland, they did horribly, which is a large part of the reason they were defeated in 1947.  Moreover, I am reading into your comments a bit, so correct me if I’m wrong, but the China versus Taiwan economic development case is not one of Communism versus traditional liberal development policy.  Rather, it’s best thought of as import substitution versus developing export-oriented industries.

  • 2017 '16 '15 Organizer '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    And dint forget the looming conflict with Israel and Iran coming soon to a TV near you. This wasn’t touched yet, but its pretty inevitable that something is afoot.

  • @Imperious:

    And dint forget the looming conflict with Israel and Iran coming soon to a TV near you. This wasn’t touched yet, but its pretty inevitable that something is afoot.

    Sure it won;t just be an air strike on Iranian nuclear facilities much like Israel did in Iraq in 84?  Would be in keeping with 30+ years of the US letting Israel do our dirty work in the middle east…

  • Don’t know if an airstrike will do it.  Didn’t Iran build the facility underground?

    Rune Blade

  • A nuclear war between Israel and Iran is as likely as a nuclear war between the USA and the USSR or one between India and Pakistan.
    Gov’t people know what they do and what they say, and where the difference between the two is.

    A question to some (if you don’t understand, then you are not one of them and it is not polite to answer questions that others  are asked directly):

    Why is what Ahmadinejad said not a hyperbole … ?

  • Sure it won;t just be an air strike on Iranian nuclear facilities much like Israel did in Iraq in 84?

    I assume you’re referring to Osirak in 1981?  In any event, a similar strike is unlikely to be repeated.  Only at a stretch would Israel have the capability of launching such a strike, as is widely acknowledged in the security field.  Any strike would inevitably bring recriminations of collusion with the US, as they are the only ones which could supply such a mission to ensure a reasonable chance of success.  And, like IL said, the Iranians have learned from the Iraqi mistake, and moved some of their facilities underground.  Plus, intelligence is not that good, so even the US does not know how many and what kind of facilities Iran has.  A pre-emptive strike would only teach the Iranians more about what Israel and the US know.

  • i believe they are called bunker-buster bombs. i have seen these bad boys in action. they could get the job done by either blowing it up or dumping a bunch of earth on it, either way the facility would be useless after wards. America also knows where these things are, anything nuke like glows for our pretty satalights, so dig all you want but we can still see you. :lol:

  • Careful, now.  The US military admits that it cannot know or take out all potential reactors in North Korea, let alone a country the size of and as isolated as Iran.  Plus, only high-energy reactors are detectable.  If it’s far enough underground or not producing a lot of energy (which the enrichment process generally does not), then satellite surveillance will be unlikely to be effective.  Also, could you imagine the consequences of any unilateral action by the U.S.?  That’s why the US is trying to go through the Security Council on this one, and why it’s been quiet about Russia’s plan to process nuclear material on Russian soil as opposed to Iranian.

  • don’t let the enemy know all of your capability’s, sun tzu knew his sh*t

  • Clausewitz would be quite astonished.

  • @F_alk:

    Clausewitz would be quite astonished.

    touche! 😉

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