Sunday, August 13, 2006

Not So Fast

This article discusses the balancing act the United States must engage in over the Taiwan issue.

But what I find really interesting is this bit of information:

According to U.S.-Taiwan defense doctrine, the Taiwanese military would have to fight an invasion alone for at least four days until American naval forces arrive.

Four days? That's all the Taiwanese think they have to last? Well no wonder they don't buy much ammunition or spend a significant percent of their GDP on defense. Four days is nothing.

Sure, F-15s on Okinawa could start putting small numbers of fighters over Taiwan within four days. And we could put a carrier east of Taiwan. Maybe a nuclear sub or two could get in position, too. But this isn't 1976 or even 1996. A single carrier and a handful of fighters aren't going to do more than signify our commitment to Taiwan's defense.

For a serious effort we need more time than four days. I don't know if we can make the political decision to intervene in four days let alone move forces that fast. Shoot, I assume Taiwan needs to fight two weeks on their own and I think I'm being optimistic on how fast we'd react and put significant forces over and around Taiwan.

I think the defense doctrine needs to be re-examined seriously.