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Old 01-28-2023, 12:07 PM
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Raellus Raellus is online now
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Default OT: China v. Taiwan?

I accidentally deleted this thread, so here are the posts (moved from Putin's War in Ukraine) that started it:

Heffe wrote:

I honestly can't see China going for Taiwan anytime in the near future, fully recognizing that there's a lot of hubbub from pundits regarding that exact scenario.

One, China's internal body politic is incredibly complex, and while Xi has consolidated a LOT of control within it, it's still a cumbersome beast, and takes a long time to come to decisions. Attacking Taiwan, clearly, would risk a heavy impact on nearly every aspect of China's economy and populace, and XI's opponents in the Politburo and Central Committee would see it as an opportunity to wrest power from him.

Two, China is watching what's happening in Ukraine with great interest. It's making note of the entire western world effectively coming together to stymy Russia's efforts through donation of arms and sanctions, and it knows that it risks facing something similar if it makes a move for Taiwan.

Three, while the PLAN has grown significantly, the US has pledged to defend Taiwan, and the Pacific Fleet is nothing to scoff at. Even if China decided to attack, there's no guarantee they'd be victorious even against only the combined might of the ROCN and the USN.

Four, China is nearly as dependent on the US for trade as the US is dependent upon China. When you take into account US trade disappearing, and then combine it with likely sanctions from the entire western world and an already fragile Chinese economy, attacking Taiwan would likely result in economic suicide. That suicide wouldn't only effect China, either.

That's my take at least. I'd be curious to know what others think.

Castlebravo responded:

rational analysis, I think, would show that China can't realistically achieve it's political goals, vis-a-vis Taiwan, via military action in the near term future.

If you look at just a US vs. China square off, China has two main advantages: manpower and industrial output. These are very important, to be sure.

But, critically, they are hugely dependent on energy imports (something like 80% of their demand) for their transportation, industrial, and agricultural output. Most of that energy is coming from the Persian Gulf, and it wouldn't take much naval power at all to disrupt that, and there is nothing China could do because they have few friendly naval ports between the Persian Gulf and their ports. The US could park a couple of attack subs in the Indian Ocean and sink every super tanker bound for China.

Oil stops coming in, and the lights go off in 6 months, and people start starving 3-6 months later.

But that doesn't mean China won't try.

I was very firmly in the "Russia is bluffing camp" because:
1) Putin had a pretty unbroken string of political successes and didn't seem to be the type to make dumb mistakes
2) They had secured guarantees that Ukraine would not join NATO
3) Their force composition was WAY too small to take over and control a country the size of Ukraine. I thought they would conventionally defeat the Ukraine military and maybe take key cities, but it would be a guerilla war nightmare for them.

So a bluff seemed a crafty way to get what they, on paper, wanted. Turns out Putin grossly miscalculated and it was a pretty epic blunder.

So, I can't discount that Xi might think things favor him (Biden is a weak President, the US and the West are distracted with Ukraine) and make some sort of miscalculation there.

Raellus responded:

I would add internal lines of communication and supply to China's list of advantages. A PRC invasion force has a relatively short distance to cover to arrive at the battle space (even helicopters are in range of Taiwan from the mainland). Any US intervention force would have much further to travel to the conflict zone from potential PTO bases. China knows this and has been developing the ability to strike those bases, as well as area denial weapons, for the last decade.

Re energy shortfalls, how much could Russian natural gas offset those?

Author of Twilight 2000 adventure modules, Rook's Gambit and The Poisoned Chalice, the campaign sourcebook, Korean Peninsula, and co-author of Tara Romaneasca, a campaign sourcebook for Romania, all available for purchase on DriveThruRPG:

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