Prof. ST Hsieh
Director, US-China Energy Industry Forum
January 29, 2023
War is not a game, especially if the US and China engage any war over Taiwan. Take the advice from Professor Gartzke: “The easiest solution to this very complicated, expensive problem for the U.S. Navy is just to stop pretending that it can operate with impunity anywhere in the world. There might be certain areas that are no-go areas.”
Further, there is no reason to believe that the battle between the two superpowers, both equipped with nuclear weapons, will be limited in and around the Taiwan strait. Even though many of the simulated war games from the US seem to focus on such scenarios. There are some fundamental questions that should be answered before the trigger is pulled.
- Is the will of people in Taiwan fully united to fight with China?
- What is the redline that will cause China to attack Taiwan? Who will break that redline, when and why?
- The US is still the only military superpower around the world, but the US has been engaged in global conflicts, nonstop. The US federal debt ceiling is exceeded every year. Military budget increase is not sustainable. The war in Ukraine is a proxy war for the US to weaken Russia without committing any boots on the ground. But the military and financial support that the US has provided so far is also not sustainable. The war is far from being concluded so it will drain more resources from the west. It is not wise to speculate that the US will engage war with Russia and China at the same time.
- The war in Ukraine has ruined European’s economy for years to come. No wonder the world is seriously concerned that “how the world would be screwed if the US and China go to war!”
- A realistic scenario of China attacking Taiwan will include preemptive attacks to US military bases around Taiwan. Because the US has committed to defend Taiwan with military forces, and only then the US has any reason to strike back against China. Otherwise, US and Japan will have no ground to respond, especially if Taiwan does not call for help.
Is helping Ukraine reducing US preparedness, security?
Questions are mounting as to how long the United States can continue to supply Ukraine from its own weapons stockpiles without hindering its own security.
With more than $27 billion in weapons committed to Kyiv since the start of Russia’s Feb. 24, 2022, attack on the country, Washington shows no sign of slowing down on shipping munitions and other lethal aid overseas.
But experts question what that might mean for U.S. military readiness should another conflict arise with China in the near future, with a U.S. defense industry that is far behind where it needs to be to account for a major war.
The war in Ukraine has “exposed serious deficiencies in the U.S. defense industrial base,” according to Seth Jones, the report’s author.
How America Would Be Screwed If China Invades Taiwan
Sascha Brodsky Sun, January 29, 2023 at 4:35 PM PST
The vaunted fleet of the U.S. Navy may not be ready for a conflict with China.
“We are nowhere near adequately prepared,” said William Toti, who led the Navy’s anti-submarine China strategy before his retirement. “I fear that we’ve awakened a sleeping giant. They have more ships than we do. They have more industrial capacity than we do.”
A Dwindling Advantage
A report by the Center for Strategic and International Studies concluded that the U.S. Navy, which had a budget of about $220 billion last year, would likely suffer heavy losses if the U.S. seeks to defend Taiwan from a Chinese invasion.
The war games conducted for the study reflect the reality on the seas, said Toti in an interview with The Daily Beast. The U.S. is facing a rapid increase in Chinese military capabilities, including advanced anti-ship missiles. “Anything that floats is vulnerable, and that includes aircraft carriers and surface ships,” Toti said.
Paul van Hooft, an analyst at the Hague Centre for Strategic Studies, said that China’s military has been successfully trying to catch up with the U.S. fleet by copying American designs for precision weapons. But, he said, China is having a harder time narrowing the gap in areas like stealth fighters and has tried to make up the gap by investing in artificial intelligence.
Technological innovations work for, as well as against, surface ships, including aircraft carriers, pointed out Sam J. Tangredi, a retired Navy captain who now teaches at the U.S. Naval War College. He said that many of the assessments of missiles versus surface ships—such as the claim that China’s new anti-ship ballistic missiles make aircraft carriers obsolete—are inaccurate.
“Warships do not operate individually against an enemy; they operate as mutual-supportive battle groups or as an overall fleet (at least as the U.S. Navy operates). Thus an engagement does not consist of a weapon versus a ship, but a fleet (and joint force) against the enemy’s forces,” he said.
A war with China might involve keyboard warriors as much as missiles because ships are also vulnerable to cyber threats. Tangredi predicted the initial phase of a future naval battle would be electronic warfare in which both sides would struggle for control over the electromagnetic spectrum and cyberspace to blind or deceive the opponent’s sensors and targeting systems.
Tseng said the Navy’s Distributed Maritime Operations (DMO) struggles with incorporating AI into its acquisition processes and cyber infrastructure and fielding a force ready to develop and employ AI. “As always, technology is the greatest military differentiator and will ultimately determine whether large-scale global conflict can be deterred. We risk falling behind the PLA because of a lack of investment in these technologies,” he added.
To prevail in a future conflict with China, the U.S. needs to build more ships, particularly submarines, Toti said.
“Submarines are the one ship type that can stop the cross-Taiwan Strait invasion because they can get in there with relative impunity and take out the Chinese ships that are out to invade Taiwan.”
But building more ships will take time and billions of dollars if it ever happens. In the meantime, some experts say the U.S. Navy may need to face up to its own limitations versus a growing Chinese fleet. “The U.S. complaint is, hey, we can no longer operate with impunity anywhere we want to,” said Erik A. Pr, a professor at the University of California San Diego, who studies the impact of information on war. “The easiest solution to this very complicated, expensive problem for the U.S. Navy is just to stop pretending that it can operate with impunity anywhere in the world. There might be certain areas that are no-go areas.”
A Chinese invasion of Taiwan is a real and dangerous possibility that could wreck armies and ruin the global economy worse than the 1929 stock market crash
Jacob Zinkula,Jake Epstein Sun, January 29, 2023 at 3:00 AM PST
- It could be only a matter of time before China invades Taiwan.
- Experts say the military and economic impacts for could be catastrophic, and not just for China and Taiwan.
- The conflict could bring about a global recession and significant military losses.
War with China over Taiwan is likely in 2025, warns U.S. General Mike Minihan: ‘I hope I am wrong’
Steve Mollman Sat, January 28, 2023 at 3:39 PM PST
- The U.S. and China will likely be at war over Taiwan in 2025, a high-ranking American military officer has warned.
- U.S. Air Force General Mike Minihan outlined the series of circumstances that would embolden Chinese president Xi Jinping to invade Taiwan in a memo sent Friday to leaders of Air Mobility Command, which he heads.
- “These comments are not representative of the department’s view on China,” a U.S. defense official told Reuters in response to the memo.
McCaul: Odds of conflict with China and Taiwan ‘very high’ with Biden in White House
- Lauren Sforza Sun, January 29, 2023 at 1:42 PM PST
- Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas) suggested on Sunday that the risk of a conflict with China and Taiwan is “very high” with President Biden in the White House.
Military Posturing Continues in the South China Sea
Sun, January 29, 2023 at 3:01 PM PST
- Bloomberg’s Chief North Asia Correspondent Stephen Engle traveled to the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz to report on military posturing and the risk of war as tensions continue to simmer between China and the US.