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Old 06-04-2021, 05:30 AM
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Tegyrius Tegyrius is offline
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I'd like to revisit this in light of this Reddit thread on military units involved in Tiananmen Square. Based on the accounts of some formations' political unreliability, there seems to have been some real danger of a military coup. Given our willingness to accept a more Western-friendly regime in the Twilight War's Iran, it's not too much of a stretch to see a T2kU where the Chinese government of 1995 is also on better terms with the West.

Further support for a Western-aligned China comes from the first paragraph of the 1996 section in the v1 history:

Quote:
Originally Posted by T2k v1
Winter had witnessed a flood of new, modern equipment through Chinese ports from the NATO nations, particularly the United States. Now Soviet and Pact tanks were not facing obsolete wire-guided missiles, but modern Tank Breaker and Assault Breaker systems that made the massed tank assaults, which had been so successful the year before, suicidal.
There are three things worth emphasizing here. The first is that Western military aid to China was not surplus cannon-fodder - it was new, front-line hardware (with further implications for T2kU vs. real-world military procurement levels, if nations had enough to send to China while still bringing/maintaining their forces at the level necessary to fight the Twilight War themselves).

The second is that military support to China was at least more extensive than the United States alone, and potentially a NATO alliance initiative. I say "potentially" because it's open to interpretation, but the authors' use of "NATO" rather than "Western" or "other" implies to me that there was some NATO policy of overtly supporting China against the Soviets (which has additional implications for subsequent events in Europe).

The third is the deployment of Tank Breaker and Assault Breaker. The real-world fruit of DARPA's Tank Breaker program became Javelin, which didn't enter full production until 1997. Assault Breaker's real-world yields included the E-8 JSTARS (first operational flight 1991), the ATACMS (i.e., MLRS ICM/smart submunition guided missiles, entering service between 1998 and 1991), and the BLU-108 smart anti-tank submunition (in production 1992). All of this hardware would have been cutting-edge - and classified - in the T2kU's 1996. None of that is the sort of hardware a nation casually hands over to an "enemy of my enemy" state.

All of this is to say Option One from Rae's original post seems plausible. Similarly, an Option Three could be a successful coup sparked by Tiananmen Square, leading to radical regime change in 1989 (or earlier, given that v1's generally-accepted point of divergence from real-world history is the publication date of 1984). This also provides further rationale for the "period of increasing tension and escalating border incidents" that sparked the Sino-Soviet conflict.

I'm not fully awake yet so there are probably a lot of holes to punch in this, but I'd like to examine it as a working outline.

- C.
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