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Taiwan scenarios
You are probably aware that the USA has committed to provide defensive arms to Taiwan.

The exact nature of "provide" and the exact nature of "defensive" are poorly defined.

The USA provides a lot of business for armament companies who produce very expensive specialties, such as Patriot missile batteries.

Some USA servicemen have attempted to hint that Taiwan should expand its domestic defense industries.  For example, US Navy admirals have tactfully suggested that Taiwan could build its own submarine.

Other USA intellectuals have impugned their own government's lack of courage.  William S. Lind, notably, has suggested that China could explode a battlefield nuke near a USA carrier group and cripple the entire USA war effort.

I don't believe that China is interested in world domination - at most the PRC wants a few local conquests - water from Tibet, etc.  The PRC would prefer to incorporate Taiwan without a war, and indeed a PRC-Taiwan war that captured Taiwan's land but destroyed Taiwan's high-tech industries would be devastating to the PRC (and to the rest of the Pacific region).

Currently very few people in Taiwan love the PRC government.  Many Taiwanese want better personal opportunities in China - they may want to travel in China, to find friends, mates, and customers with PRC citizenship. However Taiwanese people have long been accustomed to autonomy - they are not eager to pay tribute to some far-off capital.

The possibility of an economic collapse in the USA might disrupt Taiwanese public opinion.  I doubt that it would make the Taiwanese eager to unify with the PRC, but the PRC would certainly exploit opportunities to the hilt.
Relevant link:

Reelevant quote:
While the extent of the actual damage to the US military is not yet clear, it is clear that besides the Taiwanese military, Taiwan's Kuomintang (KMT) government has suffered a big blow.
During the Cold War the question was often asked, "Would an American president sacrifice Chicago for Frankfurt?" It related to NATO's strategy of massive retaliation - to offset the Warsaw Pact's numerical superiority in conventional forces, NATO was officially commited to the early use of nuclear weapons -specifically, American nuclear weapons- in order to prevent defeat in Europe. The theory rested on deterence of course, it was assumed the USSR was less likely to be militarily adventurous in Europe if such adventurism was likely to result in a nuclear war. At the same time many people, not leastly America's own allies, doubted that if push came to shove the US would really be willing to risk the near certainty of nuclear retaliation against American cities by using nuclear weapons to prevent a Soviet victory in Europe. As a strategy massive retaliation would have been judged a massive miscalculation and monumental failure the moment it would actually have to be used.

America's security guarantee to Taiwan is a lot like massive retaliation - its effectiveness rests on the assumption that the mere fact it exists means it will never have to be used. China's interests are best served by bidding its time. America is a declining power and China is a rising one, so the correlation of forces over time increasingly favours China. I doubt China will actually have to invade Taiwan however, as the US becomes less reliable as a security guarantor, and given that Taiwan is historically, ethnically and culturally a constituent part of China, I think in time Taiwanese themselves will take a more favourable view of some form of re integration with the mainland, both to end the abnormality of a "divided China" and for practical security and strategic reasons.
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Latest Post: February 14, 2011 at 8:47 AM
Number of posts: 3
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