Aug 24 2009

Radical Islam is not our only problem

Category: China,freedom,national securityharmonicminer @ 9:06 am

Not very long ago, it was assumed that the US ability to project power with carrier battle groups was sufficient to deter the Chinese from an attempt at military reunification with Taiwan. But while we’ve been busy elsewhere, the the Chinese have been busy, too, according to a recent RAND report.

The new report, in typical RAND style, uses sophisticated modeling to simulate a Chinese invasion of Taiwan in the 2010-2015 timeframe, including a preemptive ballistic missile bombardment, a cyber assault on the island’s infrastructure and a Normandy style amphibious landing.

In a 2000 report that looked at a similar scenario, RAND predicted a bloody repulse for the attacking Chinese as Taiwanese and U.S. aircraft savaged the Chinese air fleet and seaborne landing force. However, this time around, RAND sees China establishing air superiority over the strait within hours of the first shots being fired.

How to explain such a reversal? Primarily, it’s due to China’s burgeoning stock of increasingly accurate short range ballistic missiles (SRBMs), around 1,000 of which are deployed opposite Taiwan. Launching a preemptive strike, RAND figures that with 90 to 240 SRBMs, China could: “cut every runway at Taiwan’s half-dozen main fighter bases and destroy essentially all of the aircraft parked on ramps in the open at those installations.” Follow on bombing raids by Chinese aircraft armed with precision bombs would destroy any surviving Taiwanese aircraft parked in hardened shelters.

The questions I have are two:

1) Will the USA do what needs to be done to protect Taiwan, including making it very clear to the Chinese that the USA is militarily commited to Taiwan’s independence?

2) Will the USA let the Chinese know that in the event of an invasion of Taiwan by the Chinese, the Chinese can simply kiss the US market goodbye, and no, we won’t be paying back any of our loans?  You don’t pay back the money you owe to the neighborhood bully in the next block.

This is going to be the premier test case of whether engagement and economic relationship with a potential foe trump the simple desire for power. That’s been the assumption of US foreign policy for awhile, now. Thomas P. M. Barnett thinks so.

I hope he’s right.  But I think it will aid the Chinese in reaching the proper conclusion if we build two more carrier battle groups and park them in the Taiwan Strait, and sell the Taiwan government some seriously powerful weapons.

Call it peace through superior firepower.