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[P]
China, Taiwan, and the US

By weirdling in Op-Ed
Wed May 02, 2001 at 05:50:56 PM EST
Tags: Politics (all tags)
Politics

Netscape is reporting today the remarkable ire Bush's comments on America's commitment to protecting Taiwan have generated. Is this really all that surprising of an issue?


Since the ROC was formed, the US has been careful to walk a thin line that ensures the freedom of Taiwan and also does not significantly anger China. Today, Bush's statements have angered the Chinese and finally said overtly what should have been obvious to China and the rest of the world: The US is committed to the protection of Taiwan from mainland China. The US has always been so committed, but it has not always said so. Nixon started the policy of not acknowledging Taiwan as a separate state at the same time as defending their right to be a democracy.

Now, the question to me is why, after forty some odd years of being effectively an independant state, why doesn't the world recognize their independence? Former Soviet republics are already recognized. What is the reason we don't recognize Taiwan?

Mostly, it seems the UN and Western nations are afraid of angering Mainland China. The problem with this statement is that China has far more to lose if the rest of the world stops trade than the other way around. China is not a serious threat to any Western nation that I know of, militarily, while an expansionistic China in the Asian Rim is a serious threat to many Asian Rim countries. Another factor is China's seat on the security council, making it unlikely that a resolution allowing statehood and membership to Taiwan would pass, so any recognition of Taiwan's statehood would have to be made by various countries independantly.

I believe that what Bush has done is a good idea, as it is less dishonest than previous presidents, as the US in general has no intention of letting Taiwan become part of China, and even Clinton demonstrated this by sending two fleet carriers to Taiwan when China started lobbing missiles. So, why not unilaterally recognize their statehood? The US has nothing at all to fear from the Chinese, and arguments that the Chinese would attack Taiwan if it declared independance are not very strong, given their force package and Taiwanese defensive capability. I expect that such a war would be a short one once US Naval might showed up, although it is true that the US probably wouldn't stomach a long war with China, and even a short war would be bloody. Now, I understand that this article is necessarily US-centric, but I invite comments from other countries as to their view on Taiwan's statehood. To me, if we merely granted them statehood, they would have a legal leg to stand on instead of depending on the good graces of the US for their existence.

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Poll
Should the US
o Make Taiwan the 51st state 13%
o Give it back; it really is China's 6%
o Make it a country 23%
o Proceed as now, arming it heavily but saying it really isn't independant 7%
o Build a land bridge from China to Taiwan so they can better trade 1%
o Why can't we all just get along? 16%
o Attack China today in a pre-emptive move 8%
o Send all the Beanie Babies to China in a pre-emptive move 22%

Votes: 109
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o reporting
o Nixon
o Also by weirdling


Display: Sort:
China, Taiwan, and the US | 72 comments (50 topical, 22 editorial, 0 hidden)
Why would you choose (3.60 / 10) (#3)
by aphrael on Thu Apr 26, 2001 at 02:37:14 PM EST

to antagonize China in that fashion? Is picking a fight with a country that you are much stronger than going to make the rest of the world percieve you as anything but a bully?

More to the point .... even if you concede that it's true that China can't threaten the US (which is arguable; they have nukes, and can get ICBMS), what are the side effects of such a change on the relations between countries in the region? As far as I can see, all such an action would do is make the situation less stable by increasing tension between states in the area and risking a Chinese invasion of Taiwan, and for little gain; Taiwan's position if it declared legal independance wouldn't be noticeably different then it is now.

And then there's the really disturbing political part. If Taiwan declares independence, China will have no choice but to attack; the current government rests on nationalism as its basis for popular support and letting China's soveriegnty be infringed by hostile western powers again (which is how they would see it) could potentially cause the government to fall. Knowing this risk, the government would fight.

The US would get involved. Our soldiers would die. Now, given how reluctant we were to allow our soldiers to die in Kosovo, or in the Gulf, how is that going to work? How long is there going to be public support for having our family members die to defend Taiwan? And what happens when public support shrivels up?

You'd have to be insane to force the issue this way. Ambiguity is good for both sides --- it lets Taiwan be functionally independent while allowing China to claim sovereignty. Disambiguating isn't really good for anyone.

how long can ambiguity last (5.00 / 1) (#4)
by alprazolam on Thu Apr 26, 2001 at 02:41:07 PM EST

could this state of ambiguity between china and taiwan (and the u.s.) go on forever anyway?

[ Parent ]
Nukes?:) (3.60 / 5) (#5)
by trhurler on Thu Apr 26, 2001 at 02:58:28 PM EST

Come on, man. They have less than fifty nukes. Even if they shot their whole load and hit every target they aimed at, they'd achieve no useful military objective and would then be removed from the face of the earth in a hail of destruction of a scale never before seen on this planet. Sure, a lot of us would be dead, but they would no longer exist, which means they won't do it, which means they're no threat.

The truth is, their conventional forces are no threat either; they have lots of soldiers, but no navy to speak of. They lack transportation; any war outside of mainland Asia is beyond their reach for all practical purposes. If we protect Taiwan, then effectively there isn't a damned thing the Chinese can do about it - that's why they're pissed.

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
Yes, nukes (none / 0) (#29)
by wiredog on Fri Apr 27, 2001 at 09:17:13 AM EST

They have less than fifty nukes. Even if they shot their whole load and hit every target they aimed at, they'd achieve no useful military objective

But, if you take out only 5 or 6 major seaports, the USA ceases to be a superpower. Force projection relies upon sea transport, and if you remove the ports, the force can't be projected. Any action that looks likely to get the US attacked with nukes is unlikely to be taken.

The idea of a global village is wrong, it's more like a gazillion pub bars.
Phage
[ Parent ]

Nope (4.00 / 2) (#31)
by trhurler on Fri Apr 27, 2001 at 10:51:36 AM EST

That's the thinking from, say, the 60s. These days, we can use ports all over the world, and have treaties to let us do so. Our carrier groups can stay at sea for months on end, perhaps years, without anything ever having to arrive from US soil that isn't already on foreign soil today. In that time, we could lay waste to any country that was stupid enough to do this and reconstruct naval ports in the US as well.

However, this is irrelevant. The US leadership knows as well as you or I that the Chinese are not suicidal. They may be willing to suffer horrendous losses, but they are not willing to see China totally destroyed out of pure spite. This means that there is zero - that's right, ZERO - chance of China using nukes against us unless they can totally disable our counterstrike capabilities. They can't, they know it, and therefore, there is NO action that is "likely to get the US attacked with nukes." We could drop one on Beijing, and the odds are they'd retaliate with nothing more severe than conventional warfare, because loss of their capital is not as bad as loss of China as a whole. You see, if you nuke us, even just one or two, our standing policy is, "you will be removed from existence, period." That's a powerful disincentive.

This was the whole pivot of the Cold War. If either side could destroy the other's ability to retaliate, he might have attacked, so both sides tried to make sure that could never happen. As long as a war meant destruction for the aggressor, it was essentially guaranteed never to happen. They called it mutually assured destruction, but all that really mattered was assured destruction of the aggressor, and we have that with respect to China as a nuclear aggressor.

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
Nope (none / 0) (#33)
by wiredog on Fri Apr 27, 2001 at 11:08:56 AM EST

These days, we can use ports all over the world

Kind of difficult to export from/import to the continental US if there aren't any good ports. How do we export grain if Houston and New Orleans are gone? If the Puget Sound and the LA/San Diego area are unuseable we can't import from, or export to, Asia. Take out New York, Baltimore, and Charleston and the east coast, and Europena trade, is shut down.

During the Gulf War we could get the troops there by air, but the heavy equipment had to go by sea. Sure, naval vessels can carry several months of supplies, but what happens when the supplies run out? Take out the ports and, in a few months, the USA is no longer a naval power.

The idea of a global village is wrong, it's more like a gazillion pub bars.
Phage
[ Parent ]

Maybe I wasn't clear on one issue... (4.00 / 1) (#34)
by trhurler on Fri Apr 27, 2001 at 11:36:53 AM EST

That being, there is ZERO chance of China doing this. None. Nada. Zip. We'd utterly annihilate them if they did, so even though they might want to, they wouldn't push the button.

As it happens, you're wrong; we could maintain our carrier groups and subs for years without any shipping from the US. However, I don't care to get into an argument with you about this, because neither of us can prove he's right by citing a source, and you clearly do not understand the full impact of the various treaty agreements we have with practically every nation on the planet. However, those nukes aimed at our ports would never fly anyway, so it doesn't matter at all.

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
Yup (4.00 / 1) (#37)
by Rocky on Fri Apr 27, 2001 at 12:55:15 PM EST

> Take out New York, Baltimore, and Charleston and the east coast, and Europena trade, is shut down.

Crap.

Try:

Portland, ME
Boston, MA
Newport News, VA
Savannah, GA
Brunswick, GA
Jacksonville, FL

All have heavy equipment (containers/vehicle) capability. Five of the Carrier groups are out of Newport News, one is out of Jacksonville.

The U.S. has too damn many ports. I haven't even included the West Coast ones you've overlooked. San Fransisco is one of the largest ports in the world.



If we knew what it was we were doing, it would not be called research, would it?
- Albert Einstein (1879 - 1955)
[ Parent ]
Canada, Mexico (none / 0) (#64)
by weirdling on Wed May 02, 2001 at 06:26:35 PM EST

Ok, to totally seal off the US, you'd have to hit every single port, starting with Maine and going to Washington state on the other side, including dozens in the golf that are just small wharfs but that a ro-ro could back up to.
Then, what about the armored division in Germany? Going to bomb Dresden?
How about the various half-strength divisions all over the world? How about Korea? Almost a full division there, and it's darn convenient.
This doesn't even go into the MEU (Marine Expeditionary Units) scattered all over the globe, which could make a beach-head on Taiwan as the Chinese hit the other side. MEUs are a threat to just about any government, as there is close to three divisions of marines available at any one time.
The MEUs were in Saudi Arabia first because their hardware *can* be airlifted *and* is often on the boat with them. As well, an MEU can provide its own air support.
Then, what about our allies? Do you think England, for instance, would deny our request to purchase tanks for use against the Chinese? German Tiger tanks are almost an exact analog to the US M1. The Saudis have a large supply of M1s, as do the Israelis.
No, a nuclear strike to remove US merchant marine cap is not a viable alternative, especially given the massive response it is likely to provoke.

I'm not doing this again; last time no one believed it.
[ Parent ]
sorry :) (4.00 / 1) (#53)
by SEAL on Mon Apr 30, 2001 at 07:58:10 PM EST

Had to comment on this one. We have many overseas ports available as trhurler mentioned. Diego Garcia was one of the major supply points used for Middle East operations, for example. Attacking multiple nations with nukes is a ridiculous notion (as if attacking just one isn't bad enough!)

Also consider that the U.S. keeps a large portion of its Navy out to sea at any given time. This is especially true of ballistic missile submarines. Our Ohio class subs that are out to sea could quite easily annihilate China on their own.

Your argument is flawed in this context however. Conventional force projection relies upon sea transport. Even then this is only true for large scale operations. Nuclear power projection does not have this limitation. Some of our subs are already out to sea, some of our bombers are already airborne, and our missile silos are hardened and ready to go.

Destroying U.S. ports would only cause a medium-term inconvenience. The retaliation capability, however, is not diminished.

- SEAL

It's only after we've lost everything that we're free to do anything.
[ Parent ]

I'm not sure (none / 0) (#7)
by gametheory on Thu Apr 26, 2001 at 03:18:33 PM EST

Well, IMHO, I don't think that the US is trying to "pick a fight"; instead, the current administration is trying to make sure China and Taiwan settle their problems with diplomacy, not with weapons. By leveling the playing field, the US is trying to ensure that China will not just march in.

Why? Because, again IMHO, if China did invade, I don't believe the US would get involved past supplying equipment. To date the US still refuses to acknowledge Taiwan as an independant nation. Before Taiwan were to do that, I think they would have to acknowledge that one of their biggest backers is not willing to send in warm bodies, just cold steel.

If Taiwan declared independance, and China attacked, I think the repurcussions would be made by way of (or lack of) diplomacy in the world court.

-GT

[ Parent ]
Granted (none / 0) (#8)
by aphrael on Thu Apr 26, 2001 at 03:25:07 PM EST

the US isn't currently picking a fight on this issue. But the article suggests that the US should. :) I'm arguing for status quo against the article's suggestion of a change.

[ Parent ]
Fsck the PRC (2.75 / 4) (#16)
by Bad Harmony on Thu Apr 26, 2001 at 06:37:02 PM EST

Maybe I just don't understand the nuances of diplomacy, but I'm sick of hearing the PRC's protests, threats and complaints, every time someone, somewhere on the planet, does something that they disapprove of. To make things worse, any complaints about the actions of the PRC produce a response of "Oooh, look, the running dog imperialists are trying to interfere in our internal affairs."

The USA should officially recognize Taiwan as a sovereign and independent country. If the PRC doesn't like it, they can file a complaint in triplicate with appropriate office in the State Department.

5440' or Fight!

clearly you don't (none / 0) (#17)
by heighting on Thu Apr 26, 2001 at 06:57:35 PM EST

it's just posturing, the US does it as well.

[ Parent ]
Why force it on them? (4.00 / 1) (#26)
by Vulch on Fri Apr 27, 2001 at 04:56:17 AM EST

The USA should officially recognize Taiwan as a sovereign and independent country. If the PRC doesn't like it, they can file a complaint in triplicate with appropriate office in the State Department.

You have checked with the Taiwanese that they actually want recognition as a separate nation then?

Both parts of China consider themselves to be components of a single nation, as did Hong Kong and Macao before they rejoined the mainland. They just disagree on the form of government that the unified state should employ. The "One State, Two Systems" approach to Hong Kong seems to be working well and, if it continues to do so, could swing the Taiwanese into adopting a similar status for reunification.

Anthony

[ Parent ]

USA probably ought to just butt out. (3.33 / 6) (#19)
by vastor on Thu Apr 26, 2001 at 07:37:59 PM EST

It's quite simple: China has a historical claim to Taiwan. There are dozens of islands like that about the place where multiple nations lay claim to them (though the rest are generally much smaller and relatively insignificant).

Since the foreign involvement/occupation of mainland China, China has major issues with soverignty and thus is very pushy towards those that try to "interfere".

I'd think it's a near certainty that China will take Taiwan back in the future and the USA should back down before China ends up resorting to force and potentially millions of lives are lost over it. If Taiwan was taken on as part of the one nation, two systems setup like Hong Kong, it'd lose some ground but still be better off than the bulk of mainland China (not that Taiwan is the most democratic of nations to begin with).

Hopefully in the future a more enlightened China will allow places like Tibet and Taiwan independance, but before then it's extremely likely it's going to be occupied by one means or another.

China is historically a non-expansionist country and even in modern times has shown little territorial ambition, there is no reason to think that if Taiwan falls then anywhere else will be taken over. Its return to China is non-negotiable as far as China is concerned, if the US insists on keeping it a seperate nation then things are almost inevitable to get very ugly sooner or later (I can't see the dispute lasting until the end of nationalism when it'd no longer matter).

Isolating countries isn't a very good option anyway - it was doing this that pushed Japan into WW2. Still, you can understand China getting annoyed by US statements of support for Taiwan, is always annoying to be told you're going to have to go to war with a major super power to recover what is a relatively small piece of rebelling territory (as Taiwan is relative to the size of mainland China).

Whether Taiwan has a legal leg to stand on or not is largely irrelevant while it's an issue of national prestige/image. There are really 3 solutions to this problem that I can see:

1) The USA backs down and lets China have Taiwan.

2) Taiwan votes democratically to rejoin China.

3) China keeps putting off the invasion indefinitely until it's sufficiently forgotten about in the public eye for them to be able to let it go.

Number three probably isn't too likely as it makes for a convenient rallying cry for the Chinese government against US imperialism and can be used to validate increased military spending and the like (liberating occupied territory is much more stirring than just defending yourself from invasion).

However it is quite possible that given a generation or two change in chinese leadership that they'll wonder what the big deal about Taiwan really is and be prepared to forget about it - I'm just not sure that it's likely to last that long. Countries don't like being pushed around and it's likely China is going to be in a position to stand up to the USA and retake Taiwan by force sooner than it'll be ready to forget about it (though a lot can happen in the 30 years it's predicted it will take for China to be of the same military might as the USA).

Number 2 probably isn't too likely, though if China sponsored some major terrorism in Taiwan things could be interesting. Number 1 is the easiest solution as far as I'm concerned especially since of all the parties involved it's got the least to do with the USA.


Check your history (2.25 / 8) (#23)
by qpt on Thu Apr 26, 2001 at 11:53:34 PM EST

China may have claim to Taiwan, but the PRC does not. Quit repeating the socialist tripe you heard elsewhere.

Domine Deus, creator coeli et terrae respice humilitatem nostram.
[ Parent ]

Nonsense (4.00 / 1) (#25)
by Tezcatlipoca on Fri Apr 27, 2001 at 04:36:30 AM EST

That has nothing to do with propaganda. Almost every nation in this planet and all serious international organizations recognize the current Chinese goverment as the legitimate goverment of China, and thus they can make claims in the name of China.



Might is right
Freedom? Which freedom?
[ Parent ]

Legitimate government of mainland China (none / 0) (#61)
by weirdling on Wed May 02, 2001 at 06:17:01 PM EST

Very few nations believe that the PRC is the government for the ROC. It is the mainland government. They are one China, and for the purposes of diplomacy, PRC is the recognized government, but ROC is also recognized as a different governmental entity.
It is much more complicated than it needs to be, but, essentially, the PRC has no claim to Taiwan historically, although the inverse is true: Taiwan used to be the legitimate government of the mainland...

I'm not doing this again; last time no one believed it.
[ Parent ]
Would the US really come to China's Defense? (3.70 / 10) (#24)
by jonnyfantastik on Fri Apr 27, 2001 at 03:33:58 AM EST

Hrm. Consider the following scenario:

China, for various reasons, decides that the situation with Taiwan is no longer bearable. It must be resolved immediately. Taiwan must be absorbed back into the mainland NOW. To accomplish this its mobilizes its million-man+ army and its billion citizens into a military effort to blockade and then conquer Taiwan.

Now, if you're the US, what do you do?

Most likely answer: absolutely nothing.

I think this is the simple truth and the reason why so many people are cursing Bush for making such stupid comments. This is why all the 'calm' and 'progressive' rhetoric is tossed around no matter what China does. The US has been traumatized by Vietnam and similar interventions like Bosnia. Taiwan would make Vietnam look like a walk in the park. Imagine the sacrifice in human life required to stop a concentrated Chinese attack upon Taiwan. You're talking about a billion people! Imagine the sacrifice in American lives. You're talking about an army of millions supported by a billion people!

Now, how much do you think the average American really cares about Taiwan? Very close to zero. The average American knows Taiwan is Democratic and thus Good (TM) and China is Communist and thus Bad (TM). The average American thinks about Taiwan ... almost never. So really, how do you justify to the average American, the immense cost in human life required to defeat a concentrated Chinese assault upon Taiwan?

You can't.

I'm pretty damn sure that if push come to shove and China said 'We want Taiwan by any means ' the US would do little more than sponsor a US resolution against them. You're not going to see World War III -- Taiwan simply isn't worth it.

But then again, if your China, you ask yourself the same question. Does it make sense to take Taiwan by force? Sure, you're talking about what is potentially a tremendous loss of human life ... but who cares, you've got a billion people. Plus, there's a very good chance that the US would not go to full scale war over Taiwan -- you're a nuclear capable country after all. But there is something the US would do: trade sanctions. If you took Taiwan by force, you'd have so many trade sanctions slapped at you that Iraq would look like a favored nation. And trade sanctions lead to economic stability -- and it's not like your economy is that robust anways -- and economic stability leads to revolutions. So if you did take Taiwan by force, there's a relatively good chance that the US would do everything in its power to simply topple your government.

Again, it's simply not worth it.

This is why there's an impasse. Neither side is willing to accept the sacrifices of an armed conflict over Taiwan. The truth is you have nothing to worry about it. World-War III, no matter what the stupid news stations say, is not gonna happen next week. What will happen next week is more hand waving.

But in politics, as we all know, handwaving is everything. Which is why Bush is such an idiot for declaring armed support for Taiwan, something no other President has emphasised because, as noted above, everbody knows Taiwan is not worth an armed conflict with China. This is what's called dangerous and pointless rhetoric. All Bush has managed to do is setback the peaceful reconcilliation process by a few years. The entire world agrees that Taiwan is part of China, even Taiwan itself which has declared 'One nation, two governments', so it's only a matter of time. But Bush, by making these comments, has just made the process harder. And this is dangerous because he's prolonging instability.

This is never a good thing.



not completly true..... (none / 0) (#40)
by CmdrRat on Sat Apr 28, 2001 at 02:25:40 AM EST

Pardon my spelling but.....


In the US people are slow to get involved with a conflict ( more so after vietnam) What we need is some sort of event to get us angry, then we can walk all over the "bad guys" ( even if there are a billion of them) If china comes along and says Fuck! them and invades we fight them. If they slowly billed power, a insergence or something then they might get away with it. If on the news we see dead kids in the street we get pissed off. Africa, not that many dead kids on TV, albania, dead kids, bombs.

Lots of people love to talk about the billion man army. Numbers are deceptive. Read that a second time. ok if you missed it I said that numbers are deceptive. one more time.

ok first problem you need to get a hundred thousand or so men across a large lake, a really large lake errrrr sea, a ski boat will not do. then they need to have food arms tanks water replacment parts. armies move slowly. lets look at the fight with Iraq. They had the forth largest army in the world, a million men. they out numbered us. they had more men then the US and all the allies, combined. they did not have to jump ANY water let alow the south china sea. When we finaly got in ( after months of talking ) at more than one point our army nearlly came to a stop....... we almost ran out of gas.....in the middel east. yes it's true. China has a small navy, imports oil and does not have the production capacity to stand up to us. yes they have alot of people. most of them farm and have never seen at tv. yes that is changing but it will take them alot longer than us to gear up, also note that we only have to stop an invasion. not actully invade them, that puts them in the position of having to transport men across the water that WE WILL CONTROL. like shoting fish in a barrel.



________
"Ford," he said [Arthur Dent]. "you're turning into a penguin. Stop it."
[ Parent ]

no need for big army (none / 0) (#55)
by camadas on Mon Apr 30, 2001 at 10:39:13 PM EST

Drag a marine on the streets and the war is over in a week.

[ Parent ]
But what would Taiwan do? (none / 0) (#48)
by sigwinch on Sun Apr 29, 2001 at 01:41:07 AM EST

But then again, if your China, you ask yourself the same question. Does it make sense to take Taiwan by force? ... Plus, there's a very good chance that the US would not go to full scale war over Taiwan ...
I think it's a mistake to treat Taiwan as a resource to be fought over. They're not an inanimate object but a nuclear-capable nation. That's right: nuclear-capable. They could pack 1000 tons of explosives around one of their fission reactors, run it up to full power for a few weeks to build up as many dirty isotopes as possible, turn off cooling to get the reactor close as possible to meltdown, and set off the explosives. I have no idea how bad the aftermath would be, but we can safely assume that China would not blithely risk such an event.
Which is why Bush is such an idiot for declaring armed support for Taiwan, something no other President has emphasised because, as noted above, everbody knows Taiwan is not worth an armed conflict with China. This is what's called dangerous and pointless rhetoric. All Bush has managed to do is setback the peaceful reconcilliation process by a few years.
By definition, there can be no peace as long as China is governed by murdering, totalitarian despots. Until they have inner peace, they can have no friends at the governmental level.
The entire world agrees that Taiwan is part of China, even Taiwan itself which has declared 'One nation, two governments' ...
America once had 'one people, two governments'. So they invented modern total warfare, effectively suspended their Constitution, built the first armored ships, and killed 600 000+ of each other. I think you overestimate the friendship between the governments of Taiwan and China. The people of Taiwan may not hate the people of China, but that doesn't mean they love the Chinese gov't.
But Bush, by making these comments, has just made the process harder. And this is dangerous because he's prolonging instability.
It's time for a little saber-rattling after Clinton's eight years of bland appeasement (or less charitably, his cheerful lackyism). Those murdering dictators must be made to understand that the rest of the world, and the U.S. in particular, will have nothing to do with their brand of government.

--
I don't want the world, I just want your half.
[ Parent ]

One word. (none / 0) (#65)
by physicsgod on Wed May 02, 2001 at 07:25:16 PM EST

I think it's a mistake to treat Taiwan as a resource to be fought over. They're not an inanimate object but a nuclear-capable nation. That's right: nuclear-capable. They could pack 1000 tons of explosives around one of their fission reactors, run it up to full power for a few weeks to build up as many dirty isotopes as possible, turn off cooling to get the reactor close as possible to meltdown, and set off the explosives. I have no idea how bad the aftermath would be, but we can safely assume that China would not blithely risk such an event.


Chernobyl.

I'm pretty sure the Chinese wouldn't like it, but neither would anyone else in the area. One thing's for sure, it'd end the fight over Taiwan.

--- "Those not wearing body armor are hereby advised to keep their arguments on-topic" Schlock Mercenary
[ Parent ]
Flawed threat assessment, flawed history (none / 0) (#60)
by weirdling on Wed May 02, 2001 at 06:14:04 PM EST

The US has regularly sent aircraft-carrier task forces to Taiwan when China got a bit too aggressive. Last time was in the Clinton administration, when he ordered the Nimitz to take a detour on its way back to be refitted such that it would pass the island at the same time the Abraham Lincoln, iirc, was sent to stand watch for a while. When the US puts two nuclear carriers in one area, it is serious. The Persian Gulf has two detailed, but we are in a state of low-level conflict there.
But, wait, there's more: the Kitty Hawk is stationed off Japan, not a very long trip, so, technically, there were three fleet carriers on station just because China was launching missiles into the Formosa strait.
Likely as not, the US response would be limited to committing the Kitty Hawk and whichever Nimitz-class is detailed to the Pacific at the time, while calling for rapid-transit of the free Atlantic carrier, simply to stop the Chinese air force from stopping the Taiwanese air force from sinking every boat the Chinese launch.
The Taiwanese are plenty capable of handling a para-drop assault. What they will have a problem with is a beach-head supported by the world's largest air force. That is what the world's largest navy would be on hand to help with.
Incidentally, that is why I'd like to see them acquire some boomers or some Seawolfs. I know giving them nuclear power would anger the Chinese, but it would also severely deter attack, far better than any amount of conventional weapons, particularly given the Ohio's ability to hide *anywhere*...

I'm not doing this again; last time no one believed it.
[ Parent ]
Sino-American engagement (4.00 / 1) (#67)
by locke baron on Thu May 03, 2001 at 04:40:56 AM EST

Besides no less than two fleet carriers, carrying full compliments of F/A-18 Hornet fighters, there would also be several Wasp-class amphibious assault ships on hand, carrying battalions of Marines and squadrons of A/V-8B Harrier attack planes. I know that I wouldn't want to fly or sail my troop transport through that hellstorm.

To boot, any Nimitz- or Wasp-class ship would be covered by several Arleigh Burke-class destroyers or Ticonderoga-class cruisers, which are capable of taking out air, surface or submarine targets with equal aplomb. RIM-66 Standard missiles have an effective range of over 400km. That, alone is enough to pose a huge threat to big, slow-moving aerial troop transports. MK-46 and MK-50 torpedoes can hit just about any subsurface craft in the Chinese arsenal (and surface ships besides), and the RGM-84 Harpoon anti-ship missile can make short work of the Chinese frigates and destroyers that will be screening the landing fleet. And that's all before the Taiwanese Navy and Air Force get involved. Don't underestimate the power that control of the seas gives you, especially on the defensive.
Micro$oft uses Quake clannies to wage war on Iraq! - explodingheadboy
[ Parent ]
Then there's the Los-Angeles class (none / 0) (#70)
by weirdling on Thu May 03, 2001 at 04:30:42 PM EST

Any serious invasion will have to use a surface fleet, and while the air is very inhospitable to Chinese planes, it will be easy to conduct unrestricted submarine warfare, as China has no significant anti-submarine capability. I'm sure one of the first priorities would be to gather up all the available 688s and send them as fast as possible to aid the Taiwanese diesel-electrics. Of course, this is one of the reasons I'm such a big supporter of the Seawolf class and boats like it, because they are a significant threat to Chinese launching points and naval bases, as well as their air bases and army bases, what with the Tomahawk capability.

I'm not doing this again; last time no one believed it.
[ Parent ]
Chinese Navy (none / 0) (#63)
by Woundweavr on Wed May 02, 2001 at 06:25:13 PM EST

One major reason China will not invade is the weakness of it navy. It has grown tremendously in the last decade or two to the point where they could bring more than enough ships to flood Taiwan with troops. However, they are WWII technology level ships. A few Nimitz class carrier led battle groups could destroy most, if not all, of its fleet before it reached the island. Thats why Taiwan has been buying modern destroyers. They alone could make military invasion too costly at this point. This would limit troop landings to mostly those parachuted and insurgents for the most part.

[ Parent ]
The Point (none / 0) (#72)
by jonnyfantastik on Fri May 04, 2001 at 12:23:39 AM EST

One thing the world should've learned but never really did: armies don't fight wars, countries do.

What do I mean this? Well, it's simple. There is no question that the combined might of the US Armed Forces and the Taiwainese Defense Forces could repel any Chinese invasion. The question is not can they, but would they. If the US were to repel this attack you've got to consider the cost.

  • 1. First, there would be a devastating impact on our political relations. If you thought the Cold War was a big waste of fear, money, and time, wait until you see what a US-China Cold War would look like. And China, unlike Russia, is not hampered by any sort of ideology. They may talk the Communist talk but, if you look closely, they will not hesitate to adopt the practices of capitalism in those fields that will bring about prosperity. And don't forget the population -- you're talking about a country with the support of 1/6th of the planet. Also the US-centric "wheel-spoke" world is rapidly decaying if it hasn't already. The Eastern hemisphere, dominated by China and Russia, is quickly realizing that as long as they trust the US more than they trust each other they will be easily manipulated by Washington. Attacking China would also cause severe damage to our relations with other countries.
  • 2. Next, you've got to consider the loss of life . This matters far more than any sort of situation statistics. In Vietnam, the US took about 50,000 casualities ... the Vietnamese on the other hand took about 2 million casualties. But most Americans, when watching those terrible CNN broadcasts, did not see a US victory on the tube. They saw pointless death and destruction. Assuming that nobody is crazy enough to deploy nuclear arsenal in a Taiwainese defensive action, you're still talking about an incredible loss of life - hundreds of thousands I speculate - for China and Taiwan, and moderate losses for the US. How do you justify this tremendous loss of life and property - those basic fundamental rights on which everything is based - over a little rebel island like Taiwan? How do you garner support from your allies and your citizens that Taiwan's continued freedom is worth the loss of hundreds of thousands of soldiers and bystanders?
  • 3. Finally, what most people do not want to consider, is the "larger truth." That is, what is really going on here. There are two forces which are guiding the world today. The first is globalization , bigger and better economic integration and trade for everybody in which everybody gets richer. The second force is technology. Both forces are deeply intertwined. Now, take a second and consider what a US-China "hot conflict" will do for either of these forces. Will it promote or hurt globalization? Will it set back the spread and development of technology? Sure it will. So which one, you've got to ask yourself, is more important. Defending Taiwan or promoting globalization and technology?
It all comes down to costs, gentlepeople. Nobody goes out and buys things just becuase they "can", they do it because the value they acquire from a purchase is greater than the cost of the purchase. Rather than discuss if we could repel China, discuss if we should .

[ Parent ]
China's military (4.50 / 4) (#36)
by hardburn on Fri Apr 27, 2001 at 12:04:14 PM EST

China is not a serious threat to any Western nation that I know of, militarily . . . The US has nothing at all to fear from the Chinese.

Er, China is probably the only serious threat to the United States. On paper, it has the largest military in the world (due to it's one abundent natural resource: people, over 1 billion of them). It lags behind the US technolgicly, but that will likely change over the next 10 years.

Thats why the spy plane incident was so intresting. Depending on how well sensitive equiptment on board was destroyed, China may very well get a huge leap in various technologies on board the plane. I know that the incident is being spun by both the US and China as an accident, but think of the conspiracy theories you could make if we think about what would happen if China decided to just give a US spy plane a little "bump" so that it would have to make a forced landing on Chineese soil.

Conspiracy theories aside, we're usualy not told whats really going on behind the curtains for 10 years, minimum. There are lots of examples of this throughout WWII and the Cold War. I wasn't alive to see a lot of the intresting things happening in the Cold War, so paying attention to this spy plane incident, I hope, will give me a facinating historical perspective later.


----
while($story = K5::Story->new()) { $story->vote(-1) if($story->section() == $POLITICS); }


I doubt it (4.00 / 1) (#45)
by klamath on Sat Apr 28, 2001 at 08:59:34 PM EST

Caveat: I know nothing about military technology, and I'm totally talking out of my ass. Enjoy.
Depending on how well sensitive equiptment on board was destroyed, China may very well get a huge leap in various technologies on board the plane.
I would guess that most (all?) American spy planes with any valuable technology have a self-destruct mechanism which would render the technology useless, and probably difficult to reverse engineer (I mean, not 'self-destruct the plane', just render the equipment useless). Even if this didn't occur, I don't think we're talking about a 'huge leap' anyway. Did this spy plane have any really revolutionary tech on board? Probably not; and even if it did, how much can the Chinese learn in one week? A lot of the difficulty in producing new technologies is getting the manufactering to be cheap and reliable. Discoving American tech would have very little influence on this.
the conspiracy theories you could make if we think about what would happen if China decided to just give a US spy plane a little "bump" so that it would have to make a forced landing on Chineese soil.
How is that a conspiracy theory? It would only involve the Chinese. I doubt China would be willing to take such a huge international relations risk just for a bit of tech -- which could easily have been totally destroyed if the plane was destroyed. The only conspiracy theory I can think of is that the pilot was in with the Chinese: they paid him to accidentally fuck it up so he was "forced" to land in China.

[ Parent ]
Various musings (none / 0) (#51)
by hardburn on Mon Apr 30, 2001 at 09:48:01 AM EST

I would guess that most (all?) American spy planes with any valuable technology have a self-destruct mechanism . . .

Yes they do. However, there is some question as to just how much the crew managed to destroy before landing (this was no doubt part of the crew's 2-day debreifing when they got back).

Did this spy plane have any really revolutionary tech on board?

While it's no U-2, it is a spy plane. It had very sensitive listening equiptment and crypto devices on board. Likely, the crypto was the first stuff to be blown up, but the listening equiptment is in doubt. Also, China was known to be removing equiptment from the plane, so they have more then two weeks to figure it out.


----
while($story = K5::Story->new()) { $story->vote(-1) if($story->section() == $POLITICS); }


[ Parent ]
I had heard (none / 0) (#59)
by weirdling on Wed May 02, 2001 at 06:05:01 PM EST

Don't know how reliable this is, so didn't include it in the story and wasn't able to independantly confirm, but I had heard that the second plane forced the spy plane down in China. After all, if it had gone down in international waters, a Taiwanese or US naval vessel could have been dispatched readily to pick it up, and if it managed to fly all the way from international waters into a Chinese air force base, it certainly could have flown elsewhere. Anyway, just a thought...

I'm not doing this again; last time no one believed it.
[ Parent ]
Problem with the poll... (1.50 / 2) (#38)
by Crashnbur on Sat Apr 28, 2001 at 01:57:03 AM EST

As if we have the power to (a) make Taiwan a country or (b) send all the beanie babies to China.

What goes through one's mind when voting for either of those? (I'm just curious... I mean no harm, really.)

crash.neotope.com


On a lighter side (3.66 / 3) (#39)
by decaf_dude on Sat Apr 28, 2001 at 02:03:13 AM EST

It'd be interesting from the whole Free / Open Source Software aspect to watch the war between US and China, bearing in mind that Chinese govt. endorses Linux, and US Navy runs WinNT.

Sino-American war: The ultimate benchmark!

--
http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=89158&cid=7713039


but i'll bet (none / 0) (#41)
by 31: on Sat Apr 28, 2001 at 05:17:10 AM EST

that the navy gets way better support from microsoft than china gets off the newsgroups...

-Patrick
[ Parent ]
True, but... (4.75 / 4) (#42)
by decaf_dude on Sat Apr 28, 2001 at 06:59:25 AM EST

A single Chinese destroyer can pretty much annihilate an entire US fleet, which is helplessly floating while rebooting because the Admiral browsed 1 too many pr0n websites with bad JavaScript (ah, isn't the integration of OS and browser a wonderful idea?).

Meanwhile, Chinese rocket launch has failed due to incompatible Glibc versions of the dynamically-linked Cha Zhing Whoa (aka Ship Destroyer 3000). Chinese quickly connect to their main server for necessary downloads, but will they manage to tar xvzf on time?

Relieved that Chinese failed to destroy them, US sailors enter a sequence to launch their own strike. Instead of a familiar whoosh of a launched missile, they're greeted by a strange image of an animated paper clip, who says to them: "You appear to be launching a surface-to-surface missile. Would you like me to: ..."

They never managed to read the rest, for in that moment a huge explosion ripped through the boat's hull, vaporising them all instantly. Little did they know that Chinese admins had all the right aliases in their /etc/profile...


--
http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=89158&cid=7713039


[ Parent ]
US Track Record (4.40 / 5) (#43)
by xdroop on Sat Apr 28, 2001 at 11:09:23 AM EST

...the US policy of supporting marginalized countries in unstable areas of the world has worked so well in the past. Why, with Isreal, Iraq, and Columbia to pick from, why on earth would anyone accuse the US of jeopardizing the long term stability of a region for its own short term goals? Not me, and I'm Canadian!
---
xhost +
Here's a scenario: (4.33 / 3) (#46)
by scruffyMark on Sat Apr 28, 2001 at 09:25:01 PM EST

Bush wants a big expensive ineffective Arctic missile shield that will destabilize international relationships and quite possibly bring on another arms race.

The American public is sure to start asking questions, when the bill for this thing starts surpassing the national debt. Especially if the U.S. has no credible enemies with nuclear weapons at all, most especially ones that would shoot missiles over the Arctic. (Iraq doesn't count. Saddam isn't dumb, he'd load a bomb into a freighter, sail into New York city, and save himself the cost of a ICBM program.)

Therefore, Bush must get himself a nuclear-powered enemy posthaste, so he can be justified in cutting every social program the U.S. has ever known to pay for his toys. With the fall of the USSR, the only country in the world that could possibly present a threat to America is the PRC. So - let the pathetically obvious antagonisation begin.

Anyone see things starting to make sense? Or should I get out my tinfoil hat?

I agree with you (none / 0) (#58)
by weirdling on Wed May 02, 2001 at 06:00:26 PM EST

The other angle is the fact that China has seized this opportunity to make itself the 'other superpower', thus generating a lot of publicity for itself. Why, exactly, they choose now to do so is beyond me, but there is no doubt they have gained significant international credibility in their recent propaganda attempts.

I'm not doing this again; last time no one believed it.
[ Parent ]
Most efficient solution.... (2.00 / 1) (#49)
by scriptkiddie on Sun Apr 29, 2001 at 02:53:29 AM EST

For the sake of argument, let's assume both that Jiang Zemin and George W. Bush are reasonable people, acting out of necessity and objectively analyzing the dipplomatic situation.

The basic problem in the Taiwan Strait is this: Taiwan and China are culturally similar, while the U.S. and Taiwan are politically similar. China has an unique political system among the three countries, and the U.S. has a unique culture.

Now, for various reasons, having two countries in the system with one political system and one country with another is an unstable situation. Note that it doesn't really matter whether Taiwan is a democracy or a dictatorship, there will be hostilities either way.

Note also that hostilities are an undesirable result (there is, after all, a possibility of nuclear war).

To achieve at least a nominal equilibrium in the system, one of two things must happen. A country could entirely leave the system (the only candidate is the U.S.), and leave the other two to fight it out. Or, either China or the U.S. must change its political system to be in concordance with the other.

So what I posit is necessary to resolve the current standoff without hostility or apathy is active involvement by the U.S. in China. Open up trade. Encourage the democratic process. I doubt the most strenuous efforts by America could make China fully democratic, but I could imagine, say, the mayor of Beijing being elected if the government got a strong push in that direction. Then China will, in essence, have an investment in the same government structure as Taiwan. China would love to have control of Taiwan's economy, and this sort of plan would make that possible.

What cann Jiang to change the current situation? Not much, other than build up arms. The Taiwanese leaders couldn't do anything to change the situation except surrender, which is certainly not in their best interests. Bush has the power right now. With an international summit or two, he could convince the Taiwanese to start moving capital into China, and convince the Chinese to make some of their low-level government positions democratically elected. The immediate institution of free speech in China would probably result in chaos, but perhaps 'free speech zones' could be established along the lines of the autonomous zones to help move things along. Bush alone has the authority to ask the Chinese to do this.

I sure hope he's thinking the same way I do!

A few things (4.00 / 2) (#50)
by paulT on Sun Apr 29, 2001 at 11:09:31 AM EST

Diplomacy

To use the Chinese term for it, diplomacy is about face. The return of the United States military personnel from the plane only occurred when the United States issued a statement that preserved both sides face. Think of all the nuances of everyday social interaction, magnify enormously, and give the participants weapons of mass destruction. Diplomacy is dance of high stakes.

Trade

How many things in the room around you are made in China or Taiwan? How many goods sold in North America are made in either? A war involving China, Taiwan, and the United States would have an enormous impact on the North American economy. In time, production from China and Taiwan could be transferred to other locations but the factories producing all these goods are not trivial to construct and staff. So if the United States went to war with China expect a decline in the number of cheap consumer goods in the country and an immediate rise in the price of what remains. A guess would be this would impact consumer electronics and small household appliances the most.

Production

This also speaks to the production capacity of China. China has a population of 1.2 billion (July 2000 est.). In the early nineties when I was studying Chinese politics it was estimated 20 per cent of Chinese people lived in the urban industrial economy. That would be over 252 million people. The population of the United States is 275 million (July 2000 est.) China is less developed than the United States in some ways but economically and militarily this is not Iraq. This is not war the United States wants to fight.

Power

All that said China would have a really hard time invading Taiwan, no matter how much they would like to. Go back to World War II and look over accounts of how difficult amphibious assault is, then read some accounts of D-Day. China would have to move a large landing force across the Taiwan Straight and when the survivors of that landed they would have the Taiwan military sitting above the beach waiting for them. The bottom line would be that China could do it but the military cost would be enormous. To top it off they would have an enormous morale problem as the troops would be aware that a lot of them were going to die to take an island they probably don't care much about anyway.

The Plane

Which brings us back to the plane. Neither China nor the United States want to fight each other but they have vastly different interests. In a major diplomatic incident they will dance for whatever gains they can get without losing face in front of their citizens. In this case the U.S. wants its plane back and China wants to learn us much from the plane as they can plus they don't want to be seen rolling over when the U.S. barks.

You just answered your own question... Sort of. (4.00 / 2) (#52)
by PlutoniumHigh on Mon Apr 30, 2001 at 02:04:42 PM EST

and arguments that the Chinese would attack Taiwan if it declared independance are not very strong, given their force package and Taiwanese defensive capability.

You are missing one small detail. The Chinese have stated that they WOULD use force to regain Taiwan if necessary. And just because the US has made an arms deal with Taiwan, dosen't necessaraly mean that they will have the the defense capabilities by the end of next month. A lot can happen between now and when Taiwan has recieved the products of the arms deal. Even though Taiwan is an island and has natural defenses, the fact that the Chinese military is over 10 times larger then the entire population of Taiwan is big thing to keep in mind.

I expect that such a war would be a short one once US Naval might showed up, although it is true that the US probably wouldn't stomach a long war with China, and even a short war would be bloody

This is where you answered your own reasons to NOT get involved. As I read your article, I get the feeling that you think war or conflit is just something that happens for no reason. Hate to tell you this, it isn't. People die. That is why I disagree with the mood of this article. The consequences of the US getting involved with safegaurding Taiwan are enormous. It will completely obliterate the already fragile relations with China. The US public would probably be outraged with such an act. Nobody wants to fight and loose hundreds if not thousands of lives no matter what the reason.

To me, if we merely granted them statehood, they would have a legal leg to stand on instead of depending on the good graces of the US for their existence.

As far as I know, Taiwan has never applied for US statehood. I won't argue the point that Taiwan can function as in independant country, it has shown the world that much so far. But to say that because the US "kind of" regonizes Taiwan as an independant nation (Which, I belive could be debated) and buys and sells with the US in all manners, is no reason that they depend on the US for their existance.

I encourage your thoughs on why we should "Defend Taiwan at all costs" and respect them. In the end, if these kinds of actions were to take place, where would the US be in 10-20 years? Probably about 10,000 people ligher in its population.

food for thought (4.25 / 4) (#54)
by SEAL on Mon Apr 30, 2001 at 08:15:25 PM EST

If Hawaii started ignoring the U.S. government, and only paid state taxes, and made trade agreements on its own with other nations, how would other U.S. citizens feel? Most likely, beyond the initial shock and anger, we'd feel like "oh they'll come around someday - once they get through this phase they'll realize it is more beneficial to be part of the union".

Now say China started propping up Hawaii with military sales, missile-equipped ships, and impressive radar systems. How would you feel then?

I don't care for the communist government in China. The way it manipulates propaganda and free speech is not something I support. Oh sure the U.S. has its own propaganda and spin control but I don't worry about getting thrown in jail for my religious beliefs or things like that. Apples and oranges.

HOWEVER, I do understand the desire that China has for reunification. I also understand the apprehensiveness created by U.S. involvement in Taiwan affairs. In this case, it really seems like an internal affair that the U.S. should steer clear of. Unfortunately, we rarely do that lately...

- SEAL

It's only after we've lost everything that we're free to do anything.
Except that Taiwan *IS* the legitimate "China (4.85 / 7) (#56)
by SvnLyrBrto on Mon Apr 30, 2001 at 11:37:30 PM EST

You left out critical details in your fictional account.

Let's say the US is happily chugging along, business as usual...

Then a hostile foreign power, spreading a malignant ideology that preaches it's own spread via the violent overthrow of democracy, invades the US and precipitates a civil war.

Said idieologues are propped up by a powerful foreign government (say.... Russia?) They use a sophisticated propaganda campaign to convert a portion of the populace. They brainwash others. They murder anyone who dares to speak out against them. And the rest of the populace keeps quiet and hopes everything works out and they don't starve to death.

For whatever reason, the US army is unable to prevail, and the eve before the insurgents attack Washington, the legitimate government packs into Air Force One and a couple other 747s, and flys off to Hawaii.

THEN...

>China started propping up Hawaii with military sales,
>missile-equipped ships, and impressive radar
>systems. How would you feel then?


john

Imagine all the people...
[ Parent ]

interesting (none / 0) (#71)
by SEAL on Thu May 03, 2001 at 06:42:20 PM EST

That is a very Western point of view. Don't be too quick to decide that all the Chinese feel that way. Certainly there are pro-democracy groups as well as the Taiwan government in support what you said. But there are many who support the communist government as well.

It's quite a leap to say that they were brainwashed, especially with the implication that it was by Russia. The former Soviet Union's communist government had deep fundamental differences with the communist government in China. The legitimacy of a government is determined by the people of that nation in the present. Otherwise we could say Japan's rightful government is an emperor, and Russia's is a czar.

If there were solid statistics that showed a majority of Chinese citizens backing the communist government, what then? I'm guessing many in the U.S. would still reject that, claiming that they are obviously victims of propaganda and that no one in their right mind would support that system.

- SEAL

It's only after we've lost everything that we're free to do anything.
[ Parent ]

Well, (5.00 / 1) (#62)
by trhurler on Wed May 02, 2001 at 06:18:36 PM EST

There seem to be a lot of people who don't know jack about the theory of war spouting off here. I'm no Norman Schwartzkopf, but here are a few things many people are forgetting.

One: China is never going to use nuclear weapons against the US unless we do it to them first. Ever. Why? Because we have thousands of them, and they have around 40 or so. They could harm us, and in exchange, China would cease to exist. They know that. War with China is, therefore, quite feasible, though undesirable.

Two: China is no match for the US on the open sea. We can crush their navy any time we like, and there is nothing they can do about it. They know this too. As such, if we agree to defend Taiwan, arguments about a billion man army don't mean jack; China couldn't get that army TO Taiwan, and armies aren't much use against carrier groups.

Three: China as a whole doesn't even really want Taiwan back. This is mainly a fantasy of their current leader, who is looking for a way to cement his image in the history books. When he dies, the odds are this will slowly become a nonissue. He's an old man.

Four: Economics is a nonissue; if they don't sell to us, their economy will collapse, whereas if we don't buy from them, we get hurt somewhat.

In other words, this is a big media hypefest with little real substance. As long as we didn't try to invade, we could beat the hell out of China militarily and economically, and they know this. They aren't really going to do anything about Taiwan unless their current leader decides he really has to save face, and even then, there isn't much they CAN do.

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

Tactical nuclear strikes (none / 0) (#66)
by swr on Thu May 03, 2001 at 01:50:48 AM EST

One: China is never going to use nuclear weapons against the US unless we do it to them first. Ever. Why? Because we have thousands of them, and they have around 40 or so. They could harm us, and in exchange, China would cease to exist.

This is not necessarily so. /me sits down in his "General" armchair...

Any armed conflict with China would probably involve naval forces in the Pacific. China could, conceivably, use a nuke against a U.S. carrier group. All legitimate military targets. Could the U.S. justify responding to that with a nuclear attack against the Chinese mainland, resulting in millions of civilian deaths? Maybe, but I doubt it.

I'm not saying the situation is likely to arise, only suggesting that total annihilation is not the only basis for nuclear war.



[ Parent ]
Um... (none / 0) (#69)
by trhurler on Thu May 03, 2001 at 12:29:27 PM EST

China can't even reliably track our carrier groups unless they're really near the Chinese mainland. What makes you think they can target one with a nuke? They might be able to drop one off a plane, if they can get the plane within range, but that's doubtful. They don't have advanced cruise missiles or antiship weapons with nuclear warheads. Yes, the US could target a carrier with a nuke, but that doesn't mean anyone with nukes can do so. This is not to mention the fact that if you nuked a US carrier group, even if you were China, you'd at least see your nuclear sites nuked, civilian casualties be damned, and then you'd find out that there's more than one carrier group. Oops. Time to suffer.

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
Econ (none / 0) (#68)
by jmullman on Thu May 03, 2001 at 08:54:02 AM EST

Four: Economics is a nonissue; if they don't sell to us, their economy will collapse, whereas if we don't buy from them, we get hurt somewhat.

I beg to differ with this opinion. If China's economy fails, we will suffer much worse than you think. Take a look at what was going on just before both world wars... potato famines, European economies failing... domino effect. We will get hit right in the gut with this thing, and some crazy fool with get into a position of power and blammo! We are looking at the third world war.

[ Parent ]
China, Taiwan, and the US | 72 comments (50 topical, 22 editorial, 0 hidden)
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