What the War in Ukraine Says About Deterring China
Comment of the Day

February 06 2023

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

What the War in Ukraine Says About Deterring China

This article by Max Hastings for Bloomberg may be of interest. Here is a section: 

Leaders go to war because they believe they can win, as did Putin in Ukraine. It is entirely feasible to reinforce both Taiwanese and US capabilities in the region, to a point at which Beijing must doubt its ability to prevail in the necessary amphibious assault, a perilous and difficult undertaking.

The Ukraine experience has rewritten in lights a towering lesson of history: To deter aggression, there is no substitute for credible armed forces. We in the UK and the rest of the West are supremely fortunate that America still possesses these, despite the caveats about the Navy’s vulnerabilities in the Pacific.

Yet more important even than weapons is will. Many people, sometimes including myself, have doubted and continue to doubt whether, if China does invade Taiwan, the US and its allies will undertake military action in response. This is a reprise of the 1950 Korean uncertainty, with one important difference: 73 years ago, there was nothing in South Korea of material value to the West; its armies fought instead to defend a principle. In modern Taiwan, by contrast, advanced semiconductors represent an industry of towering importance both to China and ourselves.

Eoin Treacy's view

The USA downed a Chinese balloon over the weekend after allowing it to traverse the entire continent. That speaks to a great deal of indecision about the right way to deal with an airspace incursion and not least because it is so unexpected. 

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