Mon, Dec 09, 2019 - Page 6 News List

Richard D. Fisher, Jr. On Taiwan: Starships, TacNukes and Taiwan

While Taiwan faces a clear and mounting threat of invasion by China, the center of strategic gravity is moving from the Earth to space, which offers Taiwan and other democratic allies of the United States opportunities to devise long-term deterrents to aggression by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

After 2020 Taiwan faces the prospect of China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) being able to mount surprise multi-domain strikes, combining non-kinetic operations like cyber and economic warfare with daunting kinetic warfare capabilities, ranging from massive missile strikes to comprehensive blockade and air-sea invasion operations. Should the CCP-PLA prevail, it will destroy Taiwan’s democratic culture in concentration camps, mass deportations to China’s starker regions and massive youth conscription into the PLA. Taiwan will be turned into a massive PLA base to support global nuclear, naval and air projection.

For the first part of the next decade it may be possible for Taiwan to deter PLA invasion by rapid investments in conventional capabilities enabled by new F-16V 4+ generation jet fighters, new more modern M-1A2T main battle tanks plus a range of asymmetric weapons like rapidly deployed sea-mines, long-range artillery and new sea and land-attack cruise missiles. Taiwan’s capabilities could be enhanced by continued American investment in 5th generation fighters like the F-35, new bombers like the B-21 and several types of new ballistic, cruise and hypersonic missiles.

But should the CCP manage to suppress internal challenges by destroying Hong Kong’s democratic culture and eradicating Islamic culture in Xinjiang, from the mid-2020s onward the CCP will pose a greater direct military challenge to Taiwan, as well as a growing indirect threat from its accumulation of global economic, political and military influence.

China today is building toward global hegemony by creating scores of regional and global networks to achieve regional elite capture, become the dominant economic partner of most countries, leading to the creation of military networks that facilitate PLA military access for its global projection. In early July 2019 none other than Chinese Defense Minister General Wei Fenghe (魏鳳和) admitted that the massive global Belt and Road Initiative was also intended to expand China’s global military influence.

When the PLA is able to project multiple aircraft carrier battle groups and amphibious assault groups into the Persian Gulf to support Iranian nuclear terror threats, or into the South Atlantic to defend Argentina’s attempt to re-take the Falklands Islands from Great Britain, this may force Washington to rapidly shift military forces from Asia, thus accentuating China’s indirect threat to Taiwan.

However, there are opportunities to strengthen the longer-term deterrence of CCP aggression, as a consequence of the current US-China race to dominate the Earth-Moon system. China’s civil-military dual use space program could produce armed space stations by the early 2020s and armed Moon bases by the mid-2020s. China’s Strategic Support Force today controls the largest Earth-based laser and missile force for attacking US satellites in low and medium Earth orbits. The CCP understands that in order to achieve hegemony on Earth, it must also secure hegemony in space.

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