“Evaluating the Threat,” by Thomas X. Hammes, The Sling and the Stone, 12 September 2005, http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0760320594/104-4477264-4543134?v=glance.
“Balance of Forces in the Taiwan Strait,” by Bill Rice, Dawn’s Early Light, 8 April 2005, http://dawnsearlylight.blogs.com/del/2005/04/del_takes_a_clo.html.
China is building up her conventional forces in preperation to seize the island of Taiwan and discourage American intervention
To better understand the Taiwan issue between China, Taiwan, Japan and the United States, it is helpful to understand the military capabilities of the principal players. s A critical component of this analysis is the naval one. There are growing questions and conflicting information about China’s ability to launch a successful attack against Taiwan. China’s goal would be keeping the United States at bay long enough to overwhelm Taiwan’s defenses and take control of the island.
Taiwan’s strategic position grows increasingly precarious as it falls behind an economically expanding China that continues double-digit defense increases annually for the past decade. Dr. Cole continues his comparison:
We’ve been here before. During the Cold War we defended a distant friend from a close enemy. Western Europe was kept safe not by our conventional forces, which were weak, nor our sea lanes, which could be attacked, but by nuclear terror.
However, merely encouraging Taiwan to develop nuclear weapons would not suffice. It is not clear if a KMT (ethnic Chinese) Taiwanese President would launch a nuclear strike on China. A Taiwan Bomb by itself would not suffice. Fortunately, we can learn from China’s strategy…
The pattern of China’s alliances, combined with this book [Unrestricted Warfare by Qiao Liang and Wang Xiangsui], reveals a nation that does not want a direct confrontation with the Untied States but seeks to have enough allies and 4GW weapons to discourage any use of U.S. power in what China consiers its sphere of influence. It also shows that Chian does not envision a war with America as a second- or third-generation struggle. They do not seek conventional superiority. Rather, they seek ways to use a network of alliances and human ingenuity to overcome the U.S. lead in technology. They are considering not only information attacks but also purely economic atacks,. They may take a wide variety of forms, all designed to avoid the conventional strength embodied in our amred forces.
Imagine the economic impact on the United States if a series of containers blew up in our ports, necessitating one hundred precent inspection of arriving container freigh and the ships that carry it. We have seen that interruptions due to stevedore strikes on our West Coast can cost hundreds of millsion, even billions of dollars per day in economic activity lost from America’s seven trillion dollar econony, Whether China conducts a false flag operation or funds terrorists to conduct such an attack, the result is the same. we have no one to retailate against militarily, despite suffering huge economic damage.
China can use a number of 4GW avenues to attack the United States — or, more likely, to neutralize our power in what they consider their sphere of influence by threatening such attacks. At the same time, they can limit our ability to concentrate power by ensuring that our enemies throughout the world obtain more advanced weaposn that require us to maintain forces in those regions. This is a more sophisticated appraoch than the Soviet Union’s use of proxies. The Soviets attempted to control the proxies. The Chinese simply provide whtem with resources to use for whatever goals the proxies devise. China is engaging her allies in a fashion more resembling that of a venture capitist than the vertical, bureaucratic approach the Soviet Union used.
So let’s update the nuclear terror approach to China.
- Encourage our allies to develop nuclear weapons.
- Encourage the pre-positioning of these weapons in China. There is no need to develop advanced rocketry if human teams have control them in Beijing, Nanjing, Shanghai, and other cities.
- Encourage China’s neighbors to have alliances of conveniences with internal seperatist groups. If a nuclear weapon detonates in Shanghai, is it from the Vietnamese-backed Hainan Liberation Front of the Kazakh-backed Uigher Liberation Front?, etc. China will have no one to lash out against.
There is no need to actually provide sub-state actors with thse weapons. But our friends must have the capability to do so quickly. This suggestion is nothing more than what China is already going — preparing for worst case scenarios. As long as China does not try to violently restore Mythic China no neighbor will have cause to destabilize the reason and risk war. But our willingness to do so might prevent Beijing from doing something dangerous in the first place.
Update: Redhunter had addressed similar issues
One cannot discuss war between the United States and China without discussing nuclear weapons. Indeed, some have used the threat of escalation as a reason why China would not attack. This may well be so. But it also may be an example of the “mirror image” thinking that we need to avoid.
During the Cold War we adopted the theory of MAD, or Mutual Assured Destruction. MAD said that neither side would dare to attack the other because both would end up destroyed. But while the Soviets gave lip service to this theory, a review of their internal literature showed that they did not necessarily buy into it. They conducted war games with the express intent of finding a way to fight and win a nuclear war.
So it may be with China. Not that they would want to fight such a war, but they may well believe that they can “absorb” losses better than we could. During the 1950s, when the Soviets and Chinese were still on somewhat friendly terms, the former “…professed not to fear nuclear war because they did understand the force of nuclear weapons, but the believed they could afford to lose a few hundred million of their people, people being the one thing they had in abundance.” (Operation Solo, p 94). Although the days of Mao’s rule are long gone, his government is still in place.
Nuclear War was survivable for Beijing in Mao’s day because China was agrarian, and power came from the country. In that world, cities were prizes of war, not tools of war. Today, China’s economy is completely different.
Nonetheless, Redhunter’s analysis underlines the importance of 4GW techniques. American nuclear retalation is an uncertain trumpet. But if, within days of a nuclear attack, a Uigher seperatist group with ties to Vietnam detonated a bomb in Shanghai’s port – who is there to retaliate against?