Reinforcing Taiwan

uk 75

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During the Cold War the US developed a series of exercises designed to bring Army (REFORGER) and Air Force (Crested Cap) units from the States to Europe.
At what point should the US consider doing the same for Taiwan?
 

Archibald

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The September 1996 crisis, when they send carriers in the straits ?
 

Opportunistic Minnow

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Does Taiwan need a REFORGER equivalent per se? An amphibious invasion would necessarily be of enormous magnitude and quite unwieldy. I would argue it better to engage the invasion forces at sea, before it can make landfall and hopefully render any Army units superfluous. CBGs, SSNs, various mines, a PACAF FW or 3 and the occasional B-52-launched Harpoon/JASSM/something better(?) wall all being of greater use in the strait than a division twiddling it's thumbs, waiting for the hammer to fall. The slightly detached nature of such a force might also sit better with the US populace?

I have read (though happy to be corrected) that there are few viable landing sites on the island. If so, funnelling threat forces into lanes of doom should be quite doable. Amphibious landings can be fraught without anyone firing a shot so despite the hyperbole, the unfriendly geography and a willingness/ability to exploit it might be deterrent enough.
 
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edwest2

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The other factor is favorable weather. The current U.S. surveillance situation in the area is the main deterrent.
 

shin_getter

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Does Taiwan need a REFORGER equivalent per se? An amphibious invasion would necessarily be of enormous magnitude and quite unwieldy. I would argue it better to engage the invasion forces at sea, before it can make landfall and hopefully render any Army units superfluous.
Taiwan is a small island that is not remotely self sufficient. A prolonged siege can induce capitulation if not resupplied sufficiently. It takes capability to reinforce and resupply the island to make sustained aggression ineffective.

The alternative to reinforcing the island in a long war scenario is economic attack to make China give up. Given that the Chinese is certainly to have prepared for a blockade (as such, I do not think attempts would be made until after energy independence) in any war scenario, and there is enough strategic depth to deny destruction of armed forces, this may be mean it'd escalates counter-value strikes. This may lead to retaliation strikes on Taiwan and other supporting Asian countries.

A quick defeat of Chinese invasion fleet can transition into an pan-Asian "war of the cities", a very ugly outcome. Wars don't end until one side loses capability or will to fight, not when the first bit of shiny toys gets blown up.
 

Orionblamblam

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The alternative to reinforcing the island in a long war scenario is economic attack to make China give up.

Something that should already be underway: reliance upon the ChiComs for our *electronics* is criminally insane and should be ended. I am about as small-l libertarian as they come, but it seems to me that it'd be a *damned* good idea for the US and its allies to spend substantial sums (wisely, with fatal consequences for corruption) on transferring back home manufacturing of vital products. Chips, consumer electronics, steel, solar panels, drugs, food products... all these should be taken from China. Return to China the economy appropriate for their political system: starvation wages. The Chinese people would then do yeoman's work on letting the Chinese government know just how important it is to spend scarce resources on viral weapons, genetic weapons, space weapons, invasion plans.

These sort of plans are not optional. If China attacks Taiwan, trans-Pacific commerce is virtually assured to dry up anyway. Better to have the ability to shrug it off ("drat, no new MCU action figures this year") than to face societal collapse ("drat, everyone with diabetes is going to die and half the lights are going to go out and our military weapons systems have all been compromised and GPS doesn't work anymore and a Kessler syndrome has trashed low Earth orbit for the next decade.")
 

uk 75

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China skilfully used the street protests in Hong Kong to divide opposition movements there from the wider population. What the West sees as "repression" then becomes restoring normal life and business.
Taiwan's democracy is relatively fragile and the island's politics may be as easy to disrupt as those of Hong Kong.
China's big advantages remain the size of its economy and the fact that it is not the United States.
If Hong Kong accepts and even prospers under tighter Chinese control, this will have an impact on life in Taiwan.
However, Xi's personal rule may provoke his undoing by the Chinese Communist Party.
 

publiusr

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The alternative to reinforcing the island in a long war scenario is economic attack to make China give up.

Something that should already be underway: reliance upon the ChiComs for our *electronics* is criminally insane and should be ended.
I want to go a step further and get chips OUT of as many products as possible.

As for Hong Kong, Covid might have been a way to bring them to heel under the auspices of containing an outbreak and it got out early with an employee taking test animals to the wet market instead of the incinerator. Taiwan was to be next. It would have been a great cover story about how China “saved” Hong Kong and Formosa from an outbreak caused by loose living…blah blah…

I think the next thing to watch for are Texas City type port explosions.

Three guys walk into a bar…I mean a port. An LNG, a VLCC, and a cargo ship level full of ANFO dead between them. Another ship is scuttled…still another trying to escape the conflagration “accidentally” does a Stockholm to a USN’s Andrea Doria and there’s your reactor leak.

I don’t need military craft at all to bring Taiwan to its knees. Just freighters…a chain reaction…a heaping helping of plausible deniability…and chaos.

(Charles Dance voice off.)
 
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