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Old 04-30-2021, 11:34 AM
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Default The USA-PRC Alliance in T2k

Early days...

This article highlights the IRL improving, cooperative relationship between the US and China during the 1980s, culminating in a collaborative defense development program called 'Peace Pearl'. This IRC scenario dovetails nicely with the v1 timeline.

https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zon...rn-jet-fighter

Peace Pearl fell apart and the relationship deteriorated after the Tiananmen Square Massacre in 1989. The PRC then pivoted back to the USSR/Russia for support of its defense industry. Obviously, this all occurred sometime after GDW published v1.

I think the Tiananmen Square Protests happened in the updated v1 timeline, but I can see it playing out two ways that would maintain a relatively good working relationship with the USA.

Option one is that the Chinese government implemented pro-democracy reforms, mollifying the protestors. This outcome likely would have strengthened the relationship with the USA even more. It would also explain why the USSR started to perceive the PRC as a greater threat.

Option two is that the massacre and subsequent crackdown occurred like IRL, and that US-PRC did indeed sour again. But then, when the Soviets attack China c.95, the US acts opportunistically to assist the enemy (PRC) of its greater enemy (USSR).

The former option would give GMs an opportunity to build a T2kU where a close US-PRC economic/defense industry relationship has existed for several years before war breaks out between the USSR and China. The latter option lends itself more to an ad-hoc, unofficial alliance developing quickly only after the Soviets invade.

I'm not sure how the Tiananmen Massacre fits into the v2-2.2 timeline. That T2kU is not really my cup of tea. But I'm interested in your thoughts on that as well.

In your T2kU, did the Tiananmen Square Massacre occur? If so, how did it effect the US-PRC relationship?

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Old 04-30-2021, 07:27 PM
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In V2.0 they start the timeline in 1989 and make a reference to Tienanmen Square without actually saying it specifically:

Quote:
Elsewhere, the Chinese political reform
movement is brutally crushed by government
military forces. An attempted coup against
President Aquino of the Philippines is foiled
(with the help of American air cover), and the
republic of Panama is invaded by the U.S. to
remove the government of Manuel Noriega.
So it does exist in the V2.0 and V2.2 timeline.
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Old 04-30-2021, 10:45 PM
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Even in my heavily modified timeline, Tienanmen Square happens. But when the USSR invades, all sins are forgiven as most western countries align with China. Western support is crucial to China surviving into 1997 and beyond, though most of China turns into a mass grave with most major cities getting a nuclear warhead or two. I have Shanghai and Hong Kong surviving the worst of it.
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Old 05-01-2021, 01:21 PM
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Iíd expect that Tianamen probably happened but following the start of the Sino - Soviet War in 1995 Realpolitik would kick in (if it hadnít already done so) so I donít really see it having a big impact (if any impact at all) on US - Chinese relations as theyíre established in the V1 timeline. Quite apart from anything else Iím sure that all the US defence contractors would be eager to make sure they got their slice of the pie.
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Old 05-01-2021, 01:25 PM
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Iíd expect that Tianamen probably happened but following the start of the Sino - Soviet War in 1995 Realpolitik would kick in (if it hadnít already done so) so I donít really see it having a big impact (if any impact at all) on US - Chinese relations as theyíre established in the V1 timeline. Quite apart from anything else Iím sure that all the US defence contractors would be eager to make sure they got their slice of the pie.
With wartime censorship, there's a real chance that footage never got out to have an impact on American public support.

- C.
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Old 05-01-2021, 10:40 PM
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With wartime censorship, there's a real chance that footage never got out to have an impact on American public support.
I may have missed your point, but the TMSM occurred in mid-'89, and the Sino-Soviet War (v1) started in '95 or so, so the cat would have already been out of the bag as far as censorship would have gone. IRL, the US wasn't censoring images of the massacre in '89.

That said, I agree that realpolitik would have most Americans conveniently forgetting about that unpleasant incident when the opportunity to stick it to the Soviets with a proxy war in East Asia arises.

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Old 05-02-2021, 04:11 AM
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Yeah, never mind. I can't read calendars this weekend.

- C.
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Old 05-02-2021, 01:11 PM
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Default HELP!

What kinds of weapons systems do y'all anticipate the US selling (or Lend-Leasing) to the PRC once the Soviets invade?

I see it as an opportunity for US defense industry underdogs* to sell systems that were rejected by the Pentagon, or developed with the export market in mind. Aircraft like the F-20 Tigershark, for example, or the Scaled Composites ARES (thanks to Tegyrius for sending me the name) CAS jet.

I can also see the US Military offloading older gear that it was in the process of phasing out, like the Dragon ATGM, for example.

Lastly, I can see the Pentagon using China as a combat testing opportunity for newer tech. But then again, it wouldn't want the Soviets to capture working examples of that stuff (as the Soviets were likely to reverse engineer it for their own use, or use it to engineer countermeasures).

*The US defense industry wasn't as consolidated back in the 1980s and '90s as it is today.

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Old 05-02-2021, 04:39 PM
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I agree I see older weapons system being sent as well. For Tanks, I see M48 and M60s along with the US helping to buy T-55 and T-62 variants from allies Israel, Egypt, etc) rather than M1s being sold. Canon does say that Tank and Assault Breaker systems are sold to PRC. I have a hard time believing ATACMS was sold to China, I can see Javelin going though definitely dragon as well. As far as aircraft. I could see the F-20 going into production as well as some older aircraft being sold such as A-4s, and A-7s, possibly F-4s. Helicopters, Blackhawks and Hueys along with some variants of the Cobra.
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Old 05-05-2021, 06:35 PM
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Originally Posted by shrike6 View Post
I agree I see... the US helping to buy T-55 and T-62 variants from allies Israel, Egypt, etc) rather than M1s being sold.
Good call. I hadn't thought about facilitating third-party sales. Soviet-made weapons would probably be easier to integrate into the PLA's force structure than US-made gear due to commonality of parts, and training (most indigenous Chinese AFVs at the time were based on Soviet designs, if not direct copies).

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Originally Posted by shrike6 View Post
As far as aircraft. I could see the F-20 going into production as well as some older aircraft being sold such as A-4s, and A-7s, possibly F-4s. Helicopters, Blackhawks and Hueys along with some variants of the Cobra.
How about these?

https://foxtrotalpha.jalopnik.com/ca...fig-1591155307

I see the A-7F Strikefighter and F-20 Tigershark as being a bargain one-two punch for the Chinese Airforce.

In my T2kU, once the USA enters the war, the USAF takes delivery of ex-ANG reserve A-7Fs converted from Bone Yard A-7 stocks. This would make even more sense if the conversion process had already started up (to supply the PRC).

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Old 05-06-2021, 01:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Raellus View Post
Good call. I hadn't thought about facilitating third-party sales. Soviet-made weapons would probably be easier to integrate into the PLA's force structure than US-made gear due to commonality of parts, and training (most indigenous Chinese AFVs at the time were based on Soviet designs, if not direct copies).



How about these?

https://foxtrotalpha.jalopnik.com/ca...fig-1591155307

I see the A-7F Strikefighter and F-20 Tigershark as being a bargain one-two punch for the Chinese Airforce.

In my T2kU, once the USA enters the war, the USAF takes delivery of ex-ANG reserve A-7Fs converted from Bone Yard A-7 stocks. This would make even more sense if the conversion process had already started up (to supply the PRC).

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Yeah I don't see a problem there. A-7F sounds like a good idea as well.
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Old 06-04-2021, 05:30 AM
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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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Old 06-04-2021, 07:10 AM
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Given the real-world current events, it would seem that a PRC-US alliance is highly unlikely even in an alternate history scenario. Other than Biden's missteps and the lack of action after the two US-DPRK summits, it would seem that a DPRK-US alliance would have been more likely. Especially since the Korea's, Japan, Taiwan, Malaysia, and Vietnam are all pretty riled up about the PRCs moves in the regional sea lanes

Additionally, Russia's actions and rhetoric in relation to Belarus and the Ukraine could see a Poland/Ukraine/Baltic States alliance against Russia and Belarus.

The question becomes what happens in the China-India border dispute. Does Russia side with India? How does Pakistan take advantage of the situation?

Lastly - Turkey and Iran coordinating against Iraqi Kurds. How does Iraq react? How does Syria play in this? How do the various normalization of relations between Israel and various other nations impact this? Would Jordan, Egypt, UAE, etc. work with Israel to counter the Turks and Iranians?

How does the belt and road initiative affect what China does in Africa and their threats to Australia for cancelling Victoria's belt and road agreement since the US will come to the aid of the Aussies?

I think China's imperial ambitions nowadays mean that there won't be any US Alliance against Russia. I think the key sticking point on who does what to whom may rest on China-India and on Chinese aggression in the regional sea lanes.
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Old 06-04-2021, 09:22 AM
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Originally Posted by 3catcircus View Post
Given the real-world current events, it would seem that a PRC-US alliance is highly unlikely even in an alternate history scenario. Other than Biden's missteps and the lack of action after the two US-DPRK summits, it would seem that a DPRK-US alliance would have been more likely. Especially since the Korea's, Japan, Taiwan, Malaysia, and Vietnam are all pretty riled up about the PRCs moves in the regional sea lanes.
I don't follow. The OP is about the v1 or 2.2 timelines. The above would make sense, potentially, for v4 or a c.2030 scenario, but it doesn't work for v1 or 2.2.

In v1-2.2, the Soviet Union attacks China, effectively starting WW3. Being as the USSR is still perceived by the West as a much bigger threat than the PRC, in those timelines (c. 1995 in both), China receives military aid from the West. In realpolitik terms, "the enemy of my enemy is my friend". It makes almost perfect sense.

I agree with you that in a more up-to-date timeline, a US-PRC alliance is highly unlikely, even in the equally unlikely event that Russia attacks China. I think the PRC could hold its own, if not curb-stop the Russian military, nowadays.

However, a DPRK-US alliance is even more unlikely- it's almost completely out of the question- in any plausible timeline. The PRC sees the DPRK as a useful catspaw/foil. Yeah, Pyongyang can be an annoyance to Beijing, but the DPRK is useful buffer against capitalist, democratic powerhouses, South Korea and Japan, and a perennial nuisance to the USA. China has far more economic and diplomatic influence on the DPRK ever had, or likely ever will have. Pyongyang does not view the PRC as an existential threat. It's a de facto ally. Its entire military is oriented south, not north. On the other hand, Pyongyang sees the USA as its mortal enemy, and an existential threat. It developed nuclear weapons because of a genuine fear that the US would someday attack North Korea to overthrow the Kim dynasty (this fear was only heightened after G.W. Bush's "Axis of Evil" speech and the subsequent invasion of one of the named countries- Iraq- and toppling of its dictator, effectively catalyzing the DPRK's nuclear weapons program).

The last US presidential administration's theatrical overtures notwithstanding, there's been no genuine detente between the US and the DPRK. The DPRK threatened to nuke the USA as recently as 2018. Tensions remain high to this day. I just don't see any possibility of a US-DPRK alliance against China or anyone else for that matter, in this timeline or in any other.

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Old 06-04-2021, 02:31 PM
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Originally Posted by 3catcircus View Post
Given the real-world current events, it would seem that a PRC-US alliance is highly unlikely even in an alternate history scenario. Other than Biden's missteps and the lack of action after the two US-DPRK summits, it would seem that a DPRK-US alliance would have been more likely. Especially since the Korea's, Japan, Taiwan, Malaysia, and Vietnam are all pretty riled up about the PRCs moves in the regional sea lanes
We're talking the 1990s. I don't understand how events 30 years later and technically another timeline are relevent to this?
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Old 06-04-2021, 03:25 PM
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We're talking the 1990s. I don't understand how events 30 years later and technically another timeline are relevent to this?
My point being that everything that happened in the 90s has led to where we are today - there is nothing in the Chinese political trajectory that is vastly different than back then that would result in forming an alliance with the US. The supposition in the v1/v2 timeline seems fallacious in hindsight - they would be more likely to maintain an uneasy truce rather than fight over Manchuria.

While I agree that a US-DPRK is very remote, I think China-US is too. People forget that China's dealings with the US since the time of Mao have been them playing the long game for one purpose only - Chinese communist world domination.
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Old 06-04-2021, 03:55 PM
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My point being that everything that happened in the 90s has led to where we are today - there is nothing in the Chinese political trajectory that is vastly different than back then that would result in forming an alliance with the US. The supposition in the v1/v2 timeline seems fallacious in hindsight - they would be more likely to maintain an uneasy truce rather than fight over Manchuria.
I still don't follow. The v1-2.2 history diverges from our reality before 1989 and 1991 respectively.

In any relevant timeline, China was a very important trading partner of the USA c.1995. Allowing our Cold War arch-rival, the USSR, to conquer one of our top-3 trade partners doesn't make sense. On the other hand, providing material support to China in its war against the USSR would have helped the USA close (or even reverse) the trade deficit with China, and/or reduce its debt to China. It would also stick it to the USA's main rival, the USSR.

I just can't see the USA sitting idly by and watching as the Soviet Union seizes control of Chinese resources and markets. If that's the end result of a mid-1990s Sino-Soviet war, the US is going to be in a much weaker geopolitical position vis-a-vis the victorious USSR. It makes a lot more sense that the USA would use the PRC as a proxy to strengthen its own position by weakening the Soviets, especially if doing so would improve our balance of trade and debt situations in the bargain; it's not like China is going to immediately emerge from a draw with the USSR as a richer, more powerful nation. They're both going to be beaten up.

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Old 06-04-2021, 05:40 PM
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I'm also lost as to your point, Cat. Both Rae's original thread and my post from this morning are specific to the v1 canon timeline, which explicitly has the US and other NATO nations sending military aid to China.

- C.
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Old 06-04-2021, 06:41 PM
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I'm also lost as to your point, Cat. Both Rae's original thread and my post from this morning are specific to the v1 canon timeline, which explicitly has the US and other NATO nations sending military aid to China.

- C.
I guess what I'm getting at is this: China's trajectory in the late 80s/early 90s in the real world is what has led us to where they are in 2021. That trajectory in the v1 timeline is the same in the late 80s/early 90s as it is in the real world. Why would a communist regime with ambitions of world domination suddenly change course to align with a capitalist democracy and go against another communist regime? Sure there is no love lost between China and Soviet Russia, but history before the v1 timeline diverges from reality shows that communist regimes have promoted other communist regimes as a means to an end, even if they don't culturally care for them...

In the real world, in 1996, China ordered Sovremenny destroyers, Kilo submarines and SU-30 fighters from Russia... Even after the fall of the USSR. I just don't see any realistic scenario in v1 or V2 timelines where China and the US ally.

Last edited by 3catcircus; 06-04-2021 at 06:48 PM.
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Old 06-04-2021, 07:19 PM
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I just don't see any realistic scenario in v1 or V2 timelines where China and the US ally.
Fair enough. I'm not trying to change your mind, but I do want to challenge a couple of assumptions that you presented.

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Originally Posted by 3catcircus View Post
I guess what I'm getting at is this: China's trajectory in the late 80s/early 90s in the real world is what has led us to where they are in 2021. That trajectory in the v1 timeline is the same in the late 80s/early 90s as it is in the real world. Why would a communist regime with ambitions of world domination suddenly change course to align with a capitalist democracy and go against another communist regime?
If the communist Soviet Union attacked the PRC, then yes, absolutely. IRL, there was always tension between Red China and the USSR. Both thought that they were doing communism "right". Both wanted to be in the driver's seat of global communism. That tension, on occasion, escalating to shooting. There were several border clashes between Soviet and Chinese troops between 1949-1989.

https://www.globalsecurity.org/milit...prc-soviet.htm

Just because they were both communist did not mean that they were allies.

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In the real world, in 1996, China ordered Sovremenny destroyers, Kilo submarines and SU-30 fighters from Russia... Even after the fall of the USSR.
Ironically, the reason for this is free market capitalism. In 1996, home-grown Chinese weaponry lagged behind Russia and the West. The PRC could get top Russian gear a lot cheaper than they could get comparable western gear. The Chinese also, by 1996, had almost 50 years experience reverse-engineering Soviet weaponry and then producing their own versions. Plus, the west was reluctant to sell top gear to the PRC, especially after the Tiananmen Square massacre. The Russians had no such qualms. In 1996, they were still pretty desperate for hard currency. It was a mutually beneficial short-term financial agreement, and not indicative of close military, economic, or diplomatic ties the two nations (heck, even Malaysia bought SU-30s from Russia).

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