A new important book ”The Chinese Invasion Threat, Taiwan’s Defense and America’s Strategy in Asia” by Ian Easton”, (Project 2049, US dollar 20.00, 389 pages) warns that China will be much more aggressive in the coming decades.On October 10, 2017, the book was reviewed in Washington Times by Richard D. Fisher Jr., a senior fellow with the International Assessment and Strategy Center. Excerpts below:

For the first time since the early 1950s China is close to being able to attempt its never-abandoned goal of conquering Taiwan.

[It is] the CCP’s fear of Taiwan’s strengthening democratic culture and identity [that it will make] peaceful “unification” unlikely while increasingly undermining the legitimacy of the CCP’s dictatorship. But politics may also be pressing current CCP and People’s Liberation Army (PLA) leader Xi Jinping; starting the “historic mission” of unification near the end of his second term in 2022 may help justify an unprecedented third term as leader.

Using PLA-related publications with restricted access in China Mr. Easton provides new insights into the details, deliberations, planning and even some doubts of PLA invasion planners. He details an expansive PLA order of battle, modernized with advanced intelligence, information capabilities, and fourth-generation weapon systems, which soon will be more fully prepared for rapid offensive operations.

He notes the PLA is prepared to mobilize large numbers of civilian cargo ships and aircraft to supplement formal PLA invasion transport. His review of PLA sources shows they are well aware of the challenges, such as the need for surprise and favorable weather in the tricky Taiwan Strait. The PLA knows it must capture vital ports and airfields quickly to surge follow-on forces. Some of these PLA source estimate 1 million troops may be needed, especially to fight grueling urban campaigns against Taiwan’s defenders, who they do not expect to surrender.

Mr. Easton points out that CCP control of Taiwan will pose an immediate threat to Japan — PLA planners note that from occupied Taiwan they could quickly reduce Japan’s foreign trade by 30 percent.

After seizing Taiwan, could China come to lead an anti-democratic coalition with America as its main target.

[The author] details how Taiwan has used recent decades to build a fortress that could hold out for a considerable period. But what vexes both PLA and Taiwanese planners is the potential reaction of the United States to a PLA invasion campaign. For Taipei, will the U.S. arrive soon enough, and for the PLA, can they both politically and militarily delay the U.S. rescue mission, perhaps by distracting and debilitating attacks of a cyber or kinetic nature?

There is still time to deter a Chinese attack. Washington may have less than 10 years, but much can be done to change the CCP-PLA’s deadly calculus. Mr. Easton recommends integrating Taiwan into U.S. security policy in Asia with the eventual goal of restoring full diplomatic relations.

Washington can also offer decisive arms sales, such as the fifth-generation F-35 fighter, and technology enabling Taiwan to build thousands of cheap cruise missiles, better to deter China’s invasion fleets.

Comment: There is growing unease concerning China. The American administration is conducting a review of China policy led by the National Security Council and the National Economic Council. Everything seems to be on the table but the focus is on economy more than security. The threat of a Chinese invasion of Taiwan should also be included.

China has during the past decade been waging an economic war against the United States. The Chinese state is subsidizing own companies and stealing American inventions on a grand scale. The forcing of technology transfers is creating a threat to the whole world trading system. America is not the only target. All foreign competitors are threatened.

There are now similarities between China and the Soviet Union in the 1980s. It is necessary for groups outside the US administration to wake up the West and help change thinking in the United States and Europe about China. Foreign policy is seldom of importance in the West during elections. This need to be changed in the coming 2018 and 2020 American elections. The present thinking about China as a friend or partner is wrong. The West must consider if the Chinese Communist Party is an economic enemy.

Geopolitically China may be considering forming an Eurasian coalition against the United States. So far experts in the field of geopolitics have concentrated on the influence of Alfred Thayer Mahan on Peking geostrategy. Most likely both Sir Halford Mackinder and Nicholas Spykman are classical geopolitical theorists China will be looking at.


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