Sunday, April 11, 2004

The Red Menace Revisited

The year to fear for Taiwan: 2006

TAIPEI - If China ever makes the decision to invade Taiwan it is unlikely to be a large-scale Normandy-style amphibious assault. The reality is that China is more likely to use a decapitation strategy. Decapitation strategies short circuit command and control systems, wipe out nationwide nerve centers, and leave the opponent hopelessly lost. As the old saying goes, "Kill the head and the body dies." All China needs to do is seize the center of power, the capital and its leaders.

If China decides to use force to reunify the mainland with what it terms a breakaway province, the window of opportunity is believed to be 2006. This would give China a couple of years to clean up the mess before the 2008 Summer Olympics. Most analysts estimate that China's military strength will surpass Taiwan's defense capabilities by 2005. So 2006 - the Year of the Dog - is clearly the year to fear.

The Asia Times piece offers a very alarming picture of the near future. Earlier, the Weekly Standard had warned that the that Chinese Government or the "80-year old chain-smoking communist dwarves" as Pat Buchanan once called them, were becoming more hawkish in terms of Taiwan and believed that the balance of forces was rapidly shifting in their favor. This article, written by Janes Taiwan correspondent, in conjunction with recent events (the disputed elections in Taiwan and Bush's increasing softness with regards to China) are really worrying. In the short term the US ought to take a clearer, sterner posistion so that the Chinese undestand that any military aggression will have severe consequences. In the long run though, it is essential that Taiwan expand and improve its armed forces, a buildup that might include the development of unconventional weapons. China is so influential that the United States will probably need to rely on its cooperation more, not less in the years to come and Taiwan will most likely lose out unless it is capable of protecting its own interests.


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