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Friday, May 20, 2022

How can Taiwan be prevented from becoming the next Ukraine?

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The United States and its allies are aggressively seeking to curb the Russian military attack on Ukraine and bear the greatest possible economic losses for Moscow, and it seems that their eyes are on China to discourage it from repeating the same experience with Taiwan.
According to Bloomberg News, as reported by official Chinese media, it appears that President Xi Jinping focused more on the Taiwan issue than the Russian invasion of Ukraine when he spoke with his American counterpart, Joe Biden, last week.

And if Xi fears US support for what he calls Taiwan independence forces, many US analysts worry that the opposite is true, that China could be inspired by a Russian attack to try to take over Taiwan and, at the very least, The US should draw some important lessons from the crisis in Europe about how to prepare for this eventuality.

In theory, Vladimir Putin’s difficulties in Ukraine should give Chinese leaders pause. The Russian military has suffered a series of tactical failures on territory friendlier to Chinese leaders if they were to lead an amphibious assault on Taiwan, and Western nations imposed heavy economic costs. In Russia with astonishing speed, even the limited weapons provided by NATO countries to Ukraine have proven lethal, and in Taiwan, China may have to go head-to-head with a combat-proven and technologically advanced US military. .

On the other hand, China’s clanging of swords has intensified dramatically under Xi, and if China begins to pay for its support of Russia, or if domestic critics question Xi’s handling of the situation, it can easily seek to galvanize the support shifting focus to Taiwan. . .

Still, a public commitment to US intervention remains unwise, says Bloomberg, adding that abandoning the “strategic ambiguity” that has characterized Washington’s policy on Taiwan for decades would unnecessarily provoke China and could encourage the Taiwanese leaders to take undue risks.

However, the Ukrainian crisis should spur action on other fronts – for example, the Ukrainian military benefited greatly from intensified training after Russia’s takeover of Crimea in 2014 – and the US should expand its own training of forces. Taiwanese, while accelerating the delivery of countermeasures. Tanks and air defense systems like those launched by Ukrainian soldiers are very effective and should help Taiwan strengthen its cyber defenses, perhaps even looking for direct threats to Taiwanese networks.

It should provide more anti-ship missiles, sea mines and drones that would be needed to defend against a Chinese invasion attempt, and Bloomberg believes that Taiwan’s leaders, for their part, should begin a serious discussion about increasing requirements for national service. . there from four months to a year or more. As is the case in countries like Singapore and Israel, the process of strengthening the paltry Taiwanese reserves must also be accelerated, and like the Ukrainians, the Taiwanese will have a better chance of attracting foreign aid. if they show that they are willing to fight for their freedom.

To be in a better position to provide such assistance, the United States should redeploy its forces now. The US military has talked about deploying small mobile forces to Japan’s southern islands and elsewhere in the Pacific to bring forces closer to the fight while offering a smaller target for Chinese missiles Rotate troops and equipment across from those areas now, ensure future access for its forces, and should also bolster missile defenses at its current bases in Guam, a key objective in any conflict.

More generally, the United States and its partners should use this time to reflect on how they would respond to measures short of a full-scale invasion, and China could stifle Taiwan’s trade-dependent economy through a combination of so-called measures. gray area, for example. example, or even quarantine the Marines, claiming that Taiwan is importing components to build a nuclear weapon.

Taiwan’s friends must determine how they will respond to such provocations. Similarly, the United States and its allies should calmly brainstorm what an effective sanctions campaign against China would look like. China’s economy is 10 times larger than Russia’s, more diverse, and more integrated with the rest of the world. Given the number of countries that depend on China for trade, it will be difficult to find partners willing to impose sanctions, and officials must identify measures that will cause China real pain, strengthen defenses against any backlash, and devise an escalation strategy that could gradually bring in a larger group of countries.
Finally, says Bloomberg, the United States must not forget that stable relations with China have been as crucial to maintaining peace across the Taiwan Strait as military force has been, and maintaining stability will require stronger communications, including high level like Xi- Biden Call, sustainable diplomacy and increased investment in crisis management tools.

Ultimately, Bloomberg concludes, real success will not be measured by whether the United States was able to win a war against Taiwan, but by whether it was able to prevent it.


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