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China’s Likely Strategic Impulses Towards Taiwan Post-Ukraine Will Be Determined By US ‘Will To Use Power’ – Analysis

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China’s strategic impulses post-Ukraine Invasion by Russia will necessarily be focused on forcible annexation of Taiwan and be determined and crafted based on China’s perceptions of United States “Will to Use Power” to pre-empt a repeat of Russian Ukraine Invasion by China and in case of surprise Chinese invasion and occupation of Taiwan, will United States escalate China’s ‘Limited War’ on Taiwan into a full-blown US-China War?

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China has already tested United States “Will to Use Power” and found it lacking when China from 2013- 2020 established ‘Full Spectrum Dominance’ over the South China Sea. The United States hurried military exit from Afghanistan reinforced China’s perception of United States as a ’Power on the Decline’.

Sequentially, it can be surmised that Russia preying on the same perception of United States as of China felt emboldened to undertake the Ukraine Invasion in early 2022. The Russia-China Axis has concretised and strategic & military consultative processes more coordinated in terms of confronting the United States.

The United States and NATO’s lack of ‘Will to Use Power’ against Russia over Ukraine Invasion even after 100 days, has led to Russian destruction of Ukrainian cities reminiscent of World War II and reflect United States and NATO impotence to confront authoritarian regimes military adventurism.

 Limiting US responses to arms supplies to Ukraine and economic sanctions against Russia is likely to be a strong determinant which could ignite China’s strategic impulses for Taiwan Invasion. 

In my assessment, China and Russia at the political level would have war-gamed the scenarios both of Russian Ukraine Invasion and China’s intended Taiwan Invasion.

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China has not condemned Russia’s impulsive invasion of Ukraine and short of putting Chinese Army boots on the ground is seemingly intensely involved in aiding Russia to prolong the Ukraine Invasion.’

Russia’s Ukraine Invasion as stressed by me in earlier writings was a ‘War of Choice’. Perceptionaly, it was the personal choice of President Putin aimed at bringing former USSR territories under Moscow control.

China’s likely invasion of Taiwan viewed with similar aims of forcible merger of breakaway Taiwan with Chinese Mainland, however, in eyes of Chinese President Xi Jinping will figure as a ‘War of Necessity’ impelled by his grandiose ‘Greater China Dream’ and more significantly as a validation of his legacy to be equal to Chairman Mao.

China’s intention for merger of Taiwan, by force if necessary, is not debatable. Nor is debatable Chinese President Xi’s intention to do it during his Presidency. In both cases China’s merger of Taiwan with Mainland China becomes a “War of Necessity”.

The question therefore is not “if” China will invade Taiwan, but when does China feel it is opportune to do so?

The next question that then comes to the fore having established that China does have intentions for a Taiwan Invasion, is an assessment of Chin’s military capabilities for Taiwan Invasion? 

China certainly has the military capabilities for Taiwan Invasion ad military occupation in a ‘Limited War’ scenario achieved by surprise invasion before United States and Allies can spring into action to pre-empt Chinese Invasion of Taiwan.

The only factor that is bound to weigh heavily on China is United States ‘Will to Use Force” to pre-empt the Taiwan Invasion and also United States “Will to Escalate” the conflagration to an all-out US-China War?

Going by present indictors, the United States & Allies have initiated China-deterrent strategies to dissuade China not only from a Taiwan Invasion but also from further military adventurism in Indo Pacific.

Geopolitically and strategically, China can be said to be isolated in Indo Pacific unless US President Biden reverses former US President Trump’s ‘Hard Line China especially on trade. US President Biden post-Ukraine also has to exhibit to US Allies and Strategic Partners in Indo Pacific that United States has the “Will to Use Power” to compel China to desist from Taiwan Invasion.

President Biden to order exit of US Military Forces from Afghanistan ostensibly to stiffen US military presence was understandable.  But post-Ukraine, the decision of US President Biden that United States to increase US military presence in Europe can only come at expense of US military Forward Military Presence in Japan, South Korea and Guam.

This would send wrong signals to China and reinforce China’s decision that now would be the opportune time for the Taiwan Invasion when United States is getting strategically distracted to Europe.

Finally, two things need to be stressed for the United States to deter China from its strategic impulses post-Ukraine for Taiwan Invasion and further military adventurism in Indo Pacific.

The first, the United States should learn from historic mistakes when it neglected Indo Pacific and got strategically distracted by Afghanistan and Iraq interventions during 2001-2015 wherein China un-checkmated built up its exponential military and naval power, which United States has now to contend with.

Secondly, the United States can ill-afford to send mixed signals to its Allies& Strategic Partners,  in its policy approaches to China post-Ukraine, which smack of United States REVERSION once again to “China Appeasement” and “Risk Aversion”.

This REVERSION would be the ‘Tipping Point’ for China to seize the moment as opportune for Taiwan Invasion.

Dr. Subhash Kapila

Dr Subhash Kapila combines a rich and varied professional experience of Indian Army Brigadier ( Veteran), diplomatic assignments in the United States, Japan, South Korea, and Bhutan. Served in India's Cabinet Secretariat also. He is a Graduate of Royal British Army Staff College, Camberley, UK, Msc Defence Studies from Madras University and a Doctorate in Strategic Studies from Allahabad University. Papers have been presented by him in International Seminars in Japan,Turkey, Russia and Vietnam. Credited to him are over 1,500 Papers on geopolitical & strategic topical issues and foreign policies of USA, Japan, India, China and Indo Pacific Asia. He has authored two Books : "India's Defence Policies & Strategic Thought: A Comparative Analysis" and "China-India Military Confrontation: 21st Century Perspectives"

One thought on “China’s Likely Strategic Impulses Towards Taiwan Post-Ukraine Will Be Determined By US ‘Will To Use Power’ – Analysis

  • July 3, 2022 at 1:17 am
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    Dr Kapila has hit the nail on the head

    Reply

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