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How China Will Take Taiwan
And there's nothing we could or should do about it...
Unless China’s dictator-for-life, Xi Jinping, wants to get rid of thousands of his young citizens without jobs by using them as cannon fodder in an invasion of Taiwan, there is a much less painful way to take that island – a blockade.
As a young naval aviator who flew in the Cuban Missile Crisis, I know a few things about blockades. The U.S. blockade of Cuba was over in 28 days, except for the usual speeches by politicians.
Why was it so successful? Because of:
Home field advantage. Cuba was 90 miles away from U.S. supplies of fuel, ammunition, aircraft, and weapons.
Naval and air supremacy. With the world’s largest navy, we were able to deploy a huge task force that included four aircraft carrier battle groups: Enterprise, Independence, Essex, and Randolph.
Strategic nuclear weapon (ICBM) supremacy. Soviet general Anatoly Gribkov stated that Khrushchev and his military advisers knew “that U.S. strategic nuclear forces outnumbered ours by approximately 17 to 1 in 1962.”
If China establishes a blockade around Taiwan in 2023, they will have the same template the U.S. had in Cuba in 1962, only with a lesser number of ICBMs. To offset that, however, they will have a greater number of intermediate-range missiles (IRBMs) in the theater of operations than will the U.S. and Taiwan. China is 100 miles from Taiwan, and that ensures air supremacy. With 355 combatant ships plus 85 patrol ships carrying anti-ship cruise missiles, the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) can easily block Taiwan’s eight major ports.
Of course, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) will have a different objective for a blockade of Taiwan than the U.S. had for the blockade of Cuba. The U.S. wanted the Soviet Union to cease sending IRBM missiles to Cuba and remove those already there. The CCP's objective will be to stop ships carrying energy and food in order to beggar Taiwan into submission.
Once the CCP declares a blockade no civilian vessels will dare to cross the blockade line for lack of maritime insurance. Lloyds of London is already raising risk rates for ships sailing into Taiwanese waters. The only commercial vessel I saw near the Cuban blockade line was a cruise ship off southern Florida, with its passengers dancing under the stars. There will be no cruise ships in the Taiwan Strait when the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) declares it to be closed to all traffic.
How could Taiwan deal with a Chinese air and sea blockade? Let’s examine some facts about Taiwan.
First, Taiwan’s population is close to 100% ethnic Han, as is the population and rulers of mainland China. To this day there is an abundance of close and traditional family connections between the mainland and Taiwan. It is therefore no surprise that at least two million Taiwanese, ten percent of Taiwan’s population, lives and works on the mainland now. It is also no surprise that China is Taiwan’s best trading partner. In 2020 Taiwan sold China goods worth $120.7 billion – 25% of their total exports and almost double their trade with the United States.
Second, Taiwan is even more dependent on imported food and energy than mainland China. Given the size of its population and geography, Taiwan has a drastic shortage of farmland, a problem worsened by conversion of arable land into solar energy farms and factory sites. As a result, in 2021 Taiwan imported about $15 billion worth of food. Even with storehouses of prepackaged meals, cutting off food imports would mean the 20 million Taiwanese remaining on the island would ultimately be on starvation rations. Add that to Taiwan’s reliance on shipping to import 97 percent of its energy, and it becomes obvious a blockade would quickly put the island Taiwanese in dire straits.
Because Chinese families in China and Taiwan are close in bonds of affection and business, the question arises, will the Taiwanese on the island and on the mainland fight a blockade by China? If so, what could they do? It is certain that an attack on blockade ships by Taiwan’s aircraft and missiles would result in an overwhelming missile, bomb, and gunfire counter-attack by China and its blockade warships. The Taiwan government knows all this, and so it can only rely on the United States and its regional allies to break the blockade for them.
We have arrived at the crucial question. To break the blockade, will the U.S. and its Indian, Australian, and Japanese allies attack the armed forces of China?
Since none of America’s regional allies have formally agreed to join in an attack on China except, perhaps, in logistical support roles. That means the United States will do the heavy lifting, just as it did in the Korean “UN police action,” the Vietnam War, and countless other foreign wars and battles. It is unlikely that the American public will be enthusiastic about joining a war between two Chinese countries 7,000 miles away, despite the constant drumbeat of globalists, neocons, and the other Dr. Strangelove “defenders of democracy” who are now urging us to go to war over Taiwan.
It seems we have only two choices.
Option One: Support Taiwan covertly by selling the Taiwanese all the weapons they can afford, teaching their military how to use them, and then hoping they want to fight mainland China. After all, during the Korean War, the Soviet Union supported the North Koreans fighting the U.S. by selling them equipment including aircraft, and even supplying them with pilots. We knew all about it, but the U.S. and the Soviet Union did not go to war. Neither has China nor the U.S. gone to war because of American F-16 fighter sales to Taiwan.
Option Two: Send what warships we can spare into the far Pacific and attempt to break the blockade by force. War games, even with the usual loaded dice, show the U.S. winning a few at the cost of aircraft carriers, aircraft, and the death of many thousands of American soldiers and sailors. The war games we do win assume that the Taiwanese will fight like tigers and that our allies are willing to join us in the bloodbath. Those scenarios also require that we strike mainland China and the islands built by China in the South China Sea in order to neutralize runways, missile batteries, and shore installations.
What will happen when we attack those islands and China’s mainland? They will respond by attacking the American homeland. They will attack us with ICBMs, biowar pathogens, cyber attacks to destroy critical infrastructure, with the thousands of Chinese saboteurs crossing our border daily, and with high altitude electromagnetic pulse (HEMP) attacks on our undefended electrical grid that will ultimately kill 90 percent of the American population.
I cannot know what readers of the realities I list here might think.
As for me, I choose Option One.