China's Accelerated Taiwan Plan
In an analysis published at Monsters & Critics, I noted that "recent U.S. intelligence reports indicate that communist China has accelerated preparations for a possible invasion of Taiwan." While the United States remains engaged in the War on Terror, China's grand strategy - which includes the retaking of Taiwan - remains unchanged and even aided by America's engagement elsewhere. As Taiwan's American protector focuses on the Middle East and terrorism, Taiwan and China tensions continue apace.
Offered are three primary pro-active military steps aimed at enhancing Taiwan's defense and deterring China from offensive military operations against the island.
First, the Bush administration must convince its allies, the American public and in many ways itself, that a growing body of evidence – from the construction of enormous underground bunkers near the city of Shanghai to the development of offensive nuclear weapons – proves without question that China has become a “clear and present” danger to U.S. global interests and world peace.
Second, U.S. force posture in the western Pacific, already being reinforced, should continue, with the addition of another aircraft carrier to the Pacific fleet, amphibious landing ships and support vessels, long-range bombers, attack submarines and fighter aircraft. Existing assets located on the islands of Guam, Japan and Hawaii should be strengthened with the introduction of land-based anti-missile defense batteries and sea-based Aegis ships, creating a “tiered-defense umbrella” to protect against any Chinese aggression.
Third, during the first few hours of any conflict with China, it will be critical for U.S. armed forces to not only withstand an attack, but also to organize an effective counter-offensive – projecting concentrated power at multiple points to eliminate any immediate or latent threats. To achieve this objective, U.S. forces dispersed throughout Asia and the western Pacific must be given the ability to quickly consolidate, making any offensive military operations undertaken by China’s newly christened combat forces extremely difficult.China increasingly believes it can undertake a lightening strike on Taiwan, occupying the island using a strategy of overwhelming, intense and concentrated force, making the potential costs of island defense and reclamation far too costly for Washington. By making adjustments to improve overall force strength, diversity and rapid-strike capabilities, the U.S can keep Beijing tactically off-balance, making any first strike by China’s military a catastrophic proposition. Finally, with the assistance of our allies in Asia, a new collective defense strategy must be put in place that assures Taiwan’s sovereignty, independent of Beijing’s communist influence.
How the United States responds to the Chinese military posture towards Taiwan will have significant influence over the Chinese communist leadership's decision making process with regards to military action against Taiwan.
As I asked at the conclusion of the analysis offered, could Washington live with a communist controlled Taiwan, or will it defend Taiwan against unwarranted aggression? We may soon find out.