Monday, September 23, 2019

Taiwan Needs a Military and Not a Missile Force

Taiwan needs a full military with a lot of missiles and not just an arsenal of missiles if it wants to deter and defeat a Chinese invasion.

I don't think Taiwan has the luxury of this kind of advice:

Instead of allocating its limited defense budget on expensive equipment such as stealth fighters, tanks or submarines, the Taiwanese military should invest in cheap, expendable, mass-produced weapons systems that can be easily moved, disguised, and deployed against an amphibious invasion force. In practical terms, this means a navy composed of missile patrol boats, mine-laying ships, small semi-submersibles, and underwater drones; an air defense component reliant on mobile surface-to-air missile batteries; ground forces armed to the teeth with aerial drones, land mines, and antiship and antiarmor guided missiles; a reserve force and civilian population fluent in guerilla tactics; and an industrial policy focused on developing breakthroughs in missile and drone technologies.

Taiwan doesn't spend nearly enough on its defense budget given the threat it faces.

Two, counting on keeping the Chinese off the island assumes that Taiwan can stop the invasion off the beaches. What if Taiwan can't do that? What if China can nullify some of Taiwan's missiles and is able to absorb the casualties and still get ashore? What then?

The very fact that the advice says Taiwan should get fluent in guerilla tactics concedes that Taiwan won't keep China's invasion force off of Taiwan. And it assumes that once China lands it will take the whole island.

Three, the advice assumes China will hit the beaches, which I doubt. Counting Chinese marines and amphibious warfare ships is a red herring. China will land at ports and airfields, I think.

Four, with a Taiwanese crust defense at sea without a capable army (with tanks), any weak Chinese landing on a beachhead can't be thrown back into the sea (or captured at an airhead), paving the way for a build up and offensive.

Even a ceasefire short of total Taiwanese defeat would just lead to a round two later when China has built up heavy forces in their landing areas behind the ceasefire line.

Five, if China successfully lands and sets up its own anti-ship and anti-ship missiles for A2/AD use, how will America approach Taiwan to liberate it any time soon even if Taiwanese are still resisting? Will Congress approve that kind of full war? Or say, "Oh well, too late. Too bad for the Taiwanese."

So what if the Taiwanese engage in guerilla warfare? Tibet and Xinjiang don't seem to be escaping their Chinese conquest any time soon. If I was in charge of China and conquered Taiwan I'd deport Taiwanese to those restive provinces to kill four birds with one mass expulsion of people.

Yes, Taiwan needs a lot of anti-ship and anti-aircraft missiles. But they need a lot of everything else, too. Because they need to fight China every step of the way. Although, yeah, I wouldn't sell stealth fighters to Taiwan. Although buying stealth fighters doesn't seem to be a real issue.