The US can’t fight China for Taiwan, but it can help Taiwan make China think twice about starting a war – .

The US can’t fight China for Taiwan, but it can help Taiwan make China think twice about starting a war – .

    Le meilleur moyen de dissuader la Chine d'attaquer Taïwan est d'encourager Taïwan à investir dans sa propre capacité à faire payer la Chine si jamais elle recourt à la force.
    <ul class="summary-list"><li>Taïwan est devenu un foyer de tensions entre les États-Unis et la Chine.</li>
  • Many in the United States have called for a commitment to defend the island from Chinese attacks, but a war with China over Taiwan would likely be devastating.
  • The United States can and should help Taiwan improve its ability to defend itself and better deter China.
  • Daniel L. Davis is a senior fellow for Defense Priorities and a former lieutenant colonel in the United States Army.
  • On Thursday, the Wall Street Journal reported that U.S. special forces and Marines secretly trained Taiwanese troops in counterinvasive tactics.

    The semi-official Chinese Communist Party spokesperson, the Global Times, on Friday warned that the presence of US troops in Taiwan would speed up “preparations for military action” and that once “war breaks out in the Straits from Taiwan, these American soldiers. the staff will be the first to be eliminated. “

    Combined with the recent increase in the number of Chinese fighter jets flying in the Taiwan Air Defense Identification Zone, this latest development continues a trend of rising tensions between the United States and China over the point. lightning bolt from Taiwan.

    As I have already written in these pages, there is hardly any scenario in which the United States fights a war with China without our being seriously injured; in the worst case, we fall into a catastrophic nuclear conflict.

    Shiyu, or Lion Island, one of the islands off Taiwan, in front of the Chinese city of Xiamen, April 20, 2018.
    Carl Court/Getty Images

    Before a crisis is forced upon us, it is clearly imperative that the White House consider the ramifications of being drawn into an un-winnable war. Of even greater importance, the United States should identify non-kinetic means to protect our country, its security and future prosperity in the event of a crisis in Taiwan.

    Fortunately, there are viable alternatives to war that could see our security vis-à-vis China enhanced. Unfortunately, few in Washington are interested in these more cautious solutions.

    Navy Secretary Carols Del Toro on Tuesday gave a lecture to midshipmen of the Naval Academy, in which he said it was “the Navy’s ultimate responsibility to deter [China] of what they’re trying to accomplish, including taking control of Taiwan. “

    Essentially, the secretary seeks to make the US armed forces Taiwan’s de facto security force. In any case, this aspiration should not become American policy.

    Del Toro isn’t the only one who thinks we should commit to defending Taiwan, as a growing chorus of prominent voices are calling for such a policy shift.

    Representative Guy Reschenthaler co-sponsored the Taiwan Invasion Prevention Law which would allow “the president to use military force to defend Taiwan against direct attack.” Such a provocation would make war more, not less, likely. Meanwhile, the promise of American protection would perversely induce Taiwan to do less for its own security.

    Taiwanese troops fire a BGM-71 anti-tank missile during military exercises in central Taiwan, July 16, 2020.
    AP Photo/Chiang Ying-ying

    My Defense Priorities colleague, Political Director Benjamin Friedman, argued Thursday that instead of making the Taiwanese authorities believe that the United States will fight China on their behalf, Washington “should push Taiwan to invest more in its capacity to fight China. self-defense – especially radar and mobile anti-ship and anti-aircraft missiles, which makes an amphibious attack on the island more expensive. “

    America’s overwhelming imperative in the Indo-Pacific must be to avoid useless war with China and the preservation of American security and economic prosperity. Both would be seriously affected by a war with China.

    The best way to deter China from attacking is to encourage Taiwan to invest in its own defense and acquire the kinds of defensive weapons and training that will impose the most severe pain on China if Beijing ever had recourse. to force.

    However, we must be frank and direct and recognize that a time may come when China will not be discouraged and attack Taiwan, whatever the price it has to pay. If Beijing chooses this destructive path, it is imperative that the United States does not make a bad situation worse by being drawn into a dead end war with China.

    Choosing to wage a war out of pride or out of understandable affinity for democratic ideals will greatly harm our military, likely not prevent the capture of Taiwan, and take us decades to recoup military losses; in the worst case, things could get out of hand and lead to a nuclear exchange.

    In short, we have everything to lose and nothing to gain by fighting China – but much to gain by refusing to be dragged into an impossible war.

    Taiwan Tien Chien missile
    Soldiers carry a surface-to-air missile to a launcher during an exercise at an air base in southern Taiwan, August 24, 2010.
    Nicky Loh/Reuters

    If China attacks Taiwan, it will have an albatross around its neck for years to come – as we did throughout the Vietnam War – as part of Taiwan’s defense strategy of waging indefinite guerrilla warfare. against the Chinese invaders. Even if China’s conventional attack goes well, they will still suffer considerable losses in warships, fighter jets, and troops.

    The PLA would then be severely weakened, even if successful, and it would take more than a decade to rebuild its strength to its pre-invasion level. Meanwhile, the task of convincing Europe and other Asian nations to join us and unite for a balancing coalition would be much easier, complicating Beijing’s economic goals for decades to come.

    I cannot stress this enough: refusing to get drawn into a dead end war with China against Taiwan will see our comparative advantage over China increase dramatically. Their soldiers would be seriously degraded by losses in combat, while ours and all our allies would be at full strength.

    We must therefore do all in our power to help Taiwan strengthen its self-defense capacity and encourage its political leaders to maintain the status quo.

    China wants a possible reunification with Taiwan, but Beijing overwhelmingly prefers to do so without the use of force. As long as the status quo is maintained – and if the cost to the PLA of an invasion is high enough because Taiwan can defend itself – the chances of war across the strait will remain low.

    Daniel L. Davis is a senior fellow for Defense Priorities and a former US Army lieutenant colonel who has deployed to combat zones four times. He is the author of ” The eleventh hour in 2020 in America. »Follow him @ DanielLDavis1.


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