Monday, July 04, 2005

Olympic Warm-Up Event

I took some grief for my post Ready. Set. Go? that speculated that China was getting ready to invade Taiwan on the eve of the 2008 summer Olympics. The element of surprise could be quite huge if done then. Who'd think Peking would blow their coming out party?

Well me for one. Hitler's Olympic pageant didn't work out so well for him in the long run so why wouldn't China figure that solid real estate gains were more important? And if the Chinese think that people wouldn't dare miss the pageant, how powerful would they seem if countries still attended despite a brazen conquest of a free island?

Many thought it was silly of me to assert and that China did not have the capability of invading any time in the near future. (Though I was looking ahead three years strictly speaking, so this should be irrelevant. Nonetheless I do think China could attempt an invasion today if it had to.)

Well, I may have been a little too cautious in my estimates of when China would invade (via Winds of Change):

Meanwhile, one crucial element in China's overall consideration is the 2008 Olympics, which Beijing is set to host. Professor Dreyer says if China thinks Taiwan is acting provocatively, it could, in her words, "act sharply," sooner rather than later. "I think they (Beijing) would like to get it over before the Olympics, because I think they don't want the Olympics disrupted. But they consider it the business of taking Taiwan to be more important than the Olympics. Nonetheless, if they could get it over with in, let's say, 2006 or early 2007, the heat would be off. The Olympics would take place anyway," she said.

But security expert, Mr. Fisher, says he believes it would not be so easy for China to win back the rest of the world if it did attack Taiwan. "I think the government in Beijing is deluding itself if it believes it can overcome the global reaction, a reaction that will likely include very destabilizing economic embargoes, which will last a long time and have a fantastic effect on stability and political relations that China has around the world," she said.

The key to the issue is whether Beijing thinks Washington will get involved. The United States has promised to help Taiwan defend itself if the island is attacked by China.

The article also notes that the example of democracy on Taiwan could be destabilizing to Peking as I wrote here.

If the key is whether or not Peking can delude itself into thinking the world and America will just look the other way, I'm not going to sleep easily the next few years. I assumed that the Chinese would attack in 2008 to maximize surprise. If the Chinese think the world is so timid that they don't need this maximum surprise, why not invade sooner?

Still, China is building for a 2008 timeframe it seems so I still think that China would go early only if they felt they had to based on events on Taiwan. Here's my invasion scenario.

I'd sleep better if the Taiwanes would buy enough ammo to do more than fire a symbolic volley before surrendering. Everything depends on Taiwan holding out long enough for Japan and America to intervene.

At least China's intentions are getting a serious hearing instead of just blanket dismissals. The Chinese aren't ten feet tall but they are capable enough to harm us.