I Wonder Where They’re Getting Their Inspiration

For some time now, we’ve been talking about how China continually makes noise about how they might just invade Taiwan.

My take on it has always been that China can’t win as long as the United States would oppose an invasion, and it’s going to be a long time (if ever) before China could hope to match the US forces that could be surged to the area in the event of a shooting war.

Something very interesting was mentioned by the readers in the comments. Since economic ties with both Taiwan and the United States are very strong and are growing every day, any invasion would mean devastation to the Chinese economy. It’s doubtful that the Communist government could survive such a disruption.

I’m mentioning this because Strategypage.com has a post that essentially says the same thing. (Post from April 11, 2005)

Most Chinese also realize that war with Taiwan would mean war with the United States. This would mean an interruption of trade with the U.S., and massive unemployment in China. Chinese are more concerned with economic matters, than whether or not Taiwan is ruled by China. Millions of Chinese work for Taiwanese owned companies, and they are not keen on losing their jobs because the government wants to attack Taiwan.

I think that the guys at SP need to cough up some royalties. One of those little packets of peanuts they pass out on commercial flights would probably do it. Then I could mail off an individual peanut to every reader who mentioned China’s growing financial dependence on the US.

3 thoughts on “I Wonder Where They’re Getting Their Inspiration”

  1. The problem is that the people that run China are surrounded by synchophants [sp?]. And the cultural revolution did lasting damage to a couple of generations of Chinese that ended up almost completely uneducated. Don’t trust them to be sensible.

  2. In 1938 Nazi Germany’s biggest trading partner was France. In 1940 Imperial Japan’s biggest trading partner was the U.S.
    Wars are frequently not begun for rational reasons, at least in retrospect. Sort of a ‘what were you thinking?’ kind of thing. What they were thinking is that they would win, which justifies the risk. The dangerous group to watch are members of the status quo who have something to loose by changing circumstances. The chinese also have cultural assumptions about life unlike any in western society.

  3. For more on the military capacities of the PLA and PLAN, commentary and a link to Jane’s Defence here.

    In practical terms, from the mainland rulers’ perspective, the Taiwan status quo can continue indefinitely; if Taiwan really becomes a problem for the Politburo, it will be because of other, unrelated matters coming to a boil (e.g. a mainland democracy movement drawing inspiration from the island). In the meantime, so many of the Mainland Chinese one meets in the US are drawn to the CCP position by patriotism; it seems the same effect is powerful in China itself.

    If I were a Politburo member, I’d be very leery of a solution based on amphibious assaults (etc.). The downsides, such as listed in the post, would strike me as too serious and too likely. I’d be re-reading my dog-eared copy of Sun Tzu’s Art of War, looking for a subtle approach that alters the strategic situation and, over time, makes the status quo risky and unattractive for my adversaries, the government of Taiwan and of the US.

    As pointed out in earlier comments, the continuing integration of the economies of Taiwan, the mainland, and the US cut multiple ways.

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