Chinese war over Taiwan

The linked article predicts that China will attack Taiwan before the end of the decade.

The thesis is that “peaking-power syndrome” — the tendency for rising states to become more aggressive as they become more fearful of impending decline — has caused some of the bloodiest wars in history. The examples are Germany in 1914 and Japan in 1941.

The article points out that China has grown rapidly over the past few decades until it has the largest economy in the world on a PPP (Purchasing Power Parity) basis. China has the largest navy by number of ships and conventional missile force. China’s population is over three times the U.S. and they have a massive military with near-infinite replacements.

The argument that China is peaking is demographic. Thanks to the legacy of its one-child policy, China is approaching demographic catastrophe: It will lose 70 million working-age individuals over the next decade while gaining 120 million senior citizens.

It seems to me that the U.S. is also a peaking power, or possibly beyond our peak. The mid-2020s will witness the mass retirement of aging U.S. cruisers, guided-missile submarines and long-range bombers, leaving the U.S. military with hundreds fewer missile launchers — the key metric of modern naval firepower — floating and flying around East Asia. The U.S. has a large trade deficit with China. Our economy relies on China to suppress inflation and interest rates in our economy by selling cheap goods and buying U.S. Treasury bonds. Like China, we have a growing aging population.

This frightening scenario describes two nuclear-armed superpowers with the world balance of power at risk. China’s current belligerent actions around Taiwan is potentially far more dangerous than Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. China is rapidly deploying missiles, aircraft, warships and rocket launchers that can pummel Taiwan; it is assiduously rehearsing large-scale amphibious assaults.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-coming-war-over-taiwan-1165…

**The Coming War Over Taiwan**
**With its global power at a peak and domestic problems mounting, China is likelier than ever before to make good on its threats.**
**By Hal Brands and Michael Beckley, The Wall Street Journal, Aug. 4, 2022**

**....**

**China's war plan could well involve a surprise missile and air attack against Taiwan and U.S. military bases in the Pacific, strikes on the satellite communications that underpin the American way of war and a wave of sabotage and assassinations within Taiwan—all as prelude to a massive airborne and amphibious invasion.**

**Both U.S. and Taiwanese forces could be crippled as the PLA rushes toward its objectives. Even if America avoids rapid defeat, the nightmare scenario currently envisaged in Ukraine — direct clashes between the U.S. and a nuclear-armed great power — would be the reality at the outset. A Sino-American war could escalate rapidly because it will involve technologies that work best when used first, including cyberattacks, hypersonic missiles and electronic warfare. The side that is losing might decide to use low-yield nuclear weapons to turn the tide or force its opponent into submission.**

**The economic fallout would also be horrendous....the world might find itself cut off from the more than 90% of cutting-edge semiconductors that are manufactured in Taiwan. ...** [end quote]

The rest of this long article is a military analysis of capabilities, allies and strategies. All of it very scary and high-risk.

The Pentagon ran a war game analysis and concluded that the U.S. couldn’t win due to being outnumbered, very long supply lines and vulnerability of bases to attack.

China has made no secret that Taiwan must be absorbed someday. This article makes the case that “someday” will probably be soon.

A superpower conflict between China and the U.S. over Taiwan is the maximum Macroeconomic Risk for the U.S. economy (not to mention markets). It’s not a matter of if, but when.

Wendy

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I suspect China would act in a fashion that its activities did not create an existential risk for the US. That would mean a surgical approach to Taiwan, avoiding direct aggression against the US.

Jeff

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I expect lots of patience and a very long term strategy. Definitely not in a hurry.

Many US companies would be unable to survive without goods manufactured in China. Similarly blockage of shipments to the West would have a major economic impact in China. What will all those workers do?

Russia ships mostly commodities like oil and gas. China is much more integrated with the West.

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If CalPERS still has investments in China then that would be a good reason for California politicians to panic.

Do they row out to the commie sub like the Marxists in Hail, Caesar!?*

I’m kidding, of course

*great movie, BTW

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It seems to me that the U.S. is also a peaking power, or possibly beyond our peak.

I tend to doubt this. I think China holds a risk. But Xi will be out of power.

The US public has turned to demand side econ. All of our major economic and military advances were really out of 1949 to 1980 period. The 1981 to 2020 was a corrupt deceitful living off of the past honest work of others. If the US truly dumps those who were supply side econ as total user idiots we can have back are economic prowess and military might.

Odd that because we spend so much on the military. We are at a juncture where our military equipment is hackable by major foreign powers. Our military equipment can all be scrapped as it stands today.

The coming military retooling depends on our becoming a much wealthier nation. There are huge honest profits to be made throughout our society.

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air attack against Taiwan and U.S. military bases in the Pacific, strikes on the satellite communications that underpin the American way of war

I agree with Jeff, China isn’t about to start WW III, they just want Taiwan under their belt as cleanly as possible.

If they just take Taiwan, US and allies may be unable to respond until it’s fait accompli.

If they strike US military bases, it’s not just about Taiwan any more, it’s a superpower-superpower war.

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The US at least and in my stay in Dublin, I am finding people in the west are surprised at the language commonly used to discuss us.

China and Taiwan have been arguing for decades this way. Suddenly we are hearing it very loudly. Nothing has really changed.

I agree with Jeff, China isn’t about to start WW III, they just want Taiwan under their belt as cleanly as possible.

If they just take Taiwan, US and allies may be unable to respond until it’s fait accompli.

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IMO they do not need to take Taiwan for a long time. They will wait for a time when all the cards are in their favor. China plans for long term - US plans for short term.

Jaak

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<I suspect China would act in a fashion that its activities did not create an existential risk for the US. That would mean a surgical approach to Taiwan, avoiding direct aggression against the US.>

I agree. However, if the U.S. steps in to defend Taiwan (which we do not have a treaty obligation to do) China might consider that direct aggression against China and retaliate in kind.

Wendy

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We operate under the nuclear umbrella.

You expect both Russia and China to avoid a Pearl Harbor mistake. But nibbling at the edges to see what they can get away with is fair game.