China’s invasion of Taiwan will fail, but at a huge cost to the US, analysts’ war game finds | TaiwanThank you for reading this post, don't forget to subscribe!
Chinese invasion of Taiwan it is likely to fail if the United States helps defend the island – but it will come at a debilitating cost to the US military itself, according to a US think tank.
Military experts collected by Center for Strategic and International Studies to the war game, the conflict said that every likely direct participant in a war – the United States, China, Taiwan and Japan – would suffer “enormous” losses.
Chinese missiles would probably destroy US air bases Japan and all the way to Guam and sink two US aircraft carriers and between 10 and 20 destroyers and cruisers when the invasion begins.
But the Chinese invasion force itself would be destroyed before it could ever occupy a significant portion of Taiwan, and would ultimately be thwarted in its goal of capturing the island capital of Taipei, according to most scenarios tested.
That, along with the damage inflicted on mainland targets by Taiwanese counterattacks, could destabilize Chinese Communist Party rule, the report said.
“We came to two conclusions,” said Eric Heginbotham, a security expert at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
“First, in most circumstances, China it is unlikely to succeed in its operational objectives or occupy Taipei,” he said.
“Second, the cost of war will be high for all involved, certainly including the United States.”
Wargaming tested 24 different scenarios focused on China’s attempt to invade the island in 2026. The United States was decisive: without America’s help, Taiwan would have been conquered by the People’s Liberation Army in three months or less.
The war game assumed that the invasion would begin with an initial bombardment from China that destroyed most of Taiwan’s navy and air force in a matter of hours. The Chinese navy will encircle Taiwan and begin ferrying a landing force of thousands of PLA soldiers and their equipment across the Taiwan Strait.
In what wargamers called the most likely scenario, Taiwan’s military would swamp the invaders ashore.
“Meanwhile, US submarines, bombers, and fighter/attack aircraft, often reinforced by the Japanese Self-Defense Force, are rapidly crippling China’s amphibious fleet,” the report said.
“China’s strikes on Japanese bases and US surface ships cannot change the outcome: Taiwan remains autonomous,” it said.
Matthew Cansian of the US Naval War College said there are crucial variables on which that success depends.
First, he said, Taiwan itself must be determined to fight back.
Second, Japan must authorize the United States to launch counterattacks from its bases on Japanese soil.
Without that, Kanchian said, “then US intervention would not be enough to continue Taiwan’s autonomy.”
In such cases, human losses would have been high, around 10,000 in the first weeks of the war. The war game raised important unknowns, such as whether the United States would risk nuclear war by attacking China directly.
He also questioned whether the US and Japanese publics would be willing to accept the losses that came with defending Taiwan, saying US losses could damage Washington’s ability to project global power for a very long time.
“The United States may win a Pyrrhic victory, suffering more in the long run than the ‘defeated’ Chinese,” the report said.
The report said both Taiwan and the US military should build up forces, focusing on the most survivable and effective weapons, to create a greater deterrent to a Chinese invasion.
“Despite the rhetoric of adopting a ‘porcupine strategy,’ Taiwan still spends most of its defense budget on expensive ships and aircraft that China will quickly destroy,” it said.
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