PLA anti-aircraft

After the Next War

The Fourth Taiwan Strait Crisis is in full swing. The PLA has continued its military exercises after Speaker Pelosi’s departure from Taiwan, the PRC has imposed targeted sanctions upon Taiwan. Beijing’s diplomatic service and propaganda outlets compete to emphasize the overwhelming response that Taiwan and the West will suffer if Beijing’s demands are not met. Beijing’s demands, of course, cannot be met. Hence, we are headed for a cross-strait confrontation, sooner rather than later, likely before the early 2030s, and possibly sooner depending upon American political events.

As it stands, the cross-strait military balance is relatively even. However, we must reckon with the worst-case scenario: a decisive Chinese attack succeeds. China achieves its coup de main. Moreover, given China’s likely strategy, the U.S. cannot respond immediately – its only options are the cession of Taiwan and a new Pacific demarcation line or a multi-year Pacific war.

The primary question for American strategists must be: can the U.S. win this sort of war? Could Taiwan be traded for time?

First, China’s plan of attack against Taiwan should be recognized. It is not a long-term blockade that erodes Taiwanese economic capacity until some months later the lights go out. Certainly, the PLA’s recent exercises simulated a blockade, and a blockade would likely be an element of a Chinese invasion plan: as historical parallels demonstrate, sea and air control are prerequisites to a successful amphibious assault.

Read the rest at RealClear Defense.

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