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Military The Collapse

Paper Eagle

China is about to invade Taiwan. I know that Taiwan’s intelligence chief says it won’t happen this year, but hear me out. I would say it will happen before the end of October. Let’s look at why I think so:

Weather

The weather in that area of the world becomes too treacherous for an amphibious invasion from the end of October through the end of March. Once fall sets in, the water around Taiwan is too rough for an invasion force. That means putting things off until at least April. Why won’t they do that?

Preparations

China has mobilized large portions of the PLA, moving a large number of forces to the area, I think we are looking at an invasion within the next 90 days. No country mobilizes a large military force only to call it back.

Those air incursions into Taiwanese airspace haven’t just been saber rattling. Nor was the model of American carrier battlegroups they were using as target practice. These point to a country practicing for war. They are ready to fight and win. Our military is busy learning to put on drag shows and recognizing each other’s pronouns.

Every simulation run by the US military shows China defeating the US in detail. While China has carriers in the area, they won’t need them. The order of battle is impressive:

Military Situation Overwhelmingly Favors China:

The US carriers in the area are the USS Ronald Reagan with Carrier Airwing 5, which has less than 60 F/A-18E Super Hornets embarked. The USS Tripoli with its 20 embarked F-35B‘s is there, as is the USS America, but only carries aircraft for transporting its embarked marine battalion. Taiwan themselves have several hundred first line fighters, but the combined Taiwanese and American aircraft would quickly be overwhelmed by the sheer number of aircraft China has in the area (over 1,000).

There are some airbases on Okinawa (400 miles or so away) where there are a couple of squadrons of F-15s, F-35s, some AWACS, aerial tanker support, and there are a few strategic bombers there (I think B-1s). The rest of the US forces in Okinawa are marines, some spec ops people, support units, and some air defense units. I don’t know if Okinawa based units can get involved, since Japan would have a say and would not want to get drawn into the conflict. If these units DO get involved, expect Japan to get hit with some missile strikes, which would be HUGELY unpopular with the Japanese people, who overwhelmingly don’t want US forces there anyway.

The US is likely to put a dent in an invasion force, if they decide to intervene. A US submarine is likely lurking in the area, and China would lose some amphibious ships to it, that is almost a certainty. If the US becomes involved, there is a better than 50-50 chance that we would lose at least one of those carriers, and a near certainty that we will lose several ships. All of this means thousands of US casualties, perhaps 10,000 or more, within days of the onset of hostilities. Is the US ready for that?

In the end, there is only one possible outcome: Taiwan will fall. The only possible answer for the US would be to accept the loss of Taiwan, or go nuclear. Biden doesn’t have the stomach for nukes, and even if he DID use them, Taiwan will eventually be lost.

So what will happen?

Joe Biden has said that the US is committed to defending Taiwan. South Korea is fully expecting the US to honor that commitment. This puts him in a bind. If we refuse to defend Taiwan, the US looks weak, and we lose more influence in the region. If Biden tries to defend Taiwan then loses anyway, the US looks even weaker and loses influence worldwide. Then we also know that China owns Biden’s greedy, crooked ass.

The US has never been weaker, with a weak leader, weak economy, and a failing military. American political and military leadership is a joke.

In short, we have already lost. China knows it. The US military knows it. So does Foggy Bottom. I’m not sure Joe Biden knows it, but he is a senile old man. The only reason that China hasn’t invaded yet is that they don’t want to lose the US as a trading partner, but the US is quickly failing as an economic powerhouse and is no longer the profit center it once was.

For all of the above reasons, I think China invades Taiwan before Halloween. I think the US does nothing but whine and complain to the UN. I also think that this does severe damage to our influence in the Far East.

This is strangely reminiscent of Japan’s actions a century ago. Japan’s big failure then was that they didn’t have raw materials and depended on imports. China learned from that. They have access to all of the raw materials they need. We are looking at China becoming THE dominate world power for the foreseeable future.

The US, on the other hand, is staring at economic collapse and political instability. The peak of the American empire has come and gone.

EDITED TO ADD:

Okinawa also has a squadron of F-22 Raptors, but China has them outnumbered ten to one with their own advanced fighters. Even if the Raptor is a better airplane, quantity has a quality all its own.

20 replies on “Paper Eagle”

I don’t actually see what they gain in invading.

Any type of disruption to the chip fab of TSMC will kill it.

Any.

A fab is a very fragile living organism.

It takes years to build one and billions of dollars in normal times.

China has small fabs with older tech that can do simpler ICs, but nothing like TSMC or Intel.

If you really believe that it’s going to happen and want a physical investment will probably double in price, buy phones and computers that use chips produced by TSMC like Apple, AMD, Nvidia, etc.

What China gains from an invasion is a buffer zone to the east. Looking at China’s establishment of man made islands, the Spratly islands, and then Taiwan, they would gain a chain of “unsinkable aircraft carriers” several hundred miles from the Chinese coast that would protect their east coast from invasion and attack. They have never forgotten the lessons of the 1930s and what the Japanese were able to do to them.

The Rape of Nanking remains a deeply rooted phobia amongst the Chinese leaders, both military and political.

The cliche’ we hear all the time is that China thinks long term and we don’t. The west thinks days or weeks ahead, while the Chinese think years or decades. Is it the best move considering their view of the next hundred years?

All that said, they have to see they’ve been given a tremendous gift here in getting a US administration so corrupt and so incompetent that I can’t imagine any scenario in which they don’t take Taiwan. They own Biden. They own large chunks of DC and the Deep State, if not all of it.

The most effective defense is probably nothing to do with our military. It’s probably that Taiwan should destroy their semiconductor industry. It would economically ruin them and make them a liability to China instead of a resource. China has economic problems (too many fake/worthless US dollars) and while they could throw slave labor at rebuilding things, that only works for the buildings and not the high tech machines.

Someone I ran across over the past few days says think of US vs China in terms of who needs whom. I honestly can’t tell.

I don’t think it is all financial. I think that it is about security. See my above comment to Ratus.

Over the past several years China has been stockpiling grain and meat. Everyone in the commodities trading world has been watching and wondering why, because the Chinese now have enough food stored to feed their entire population for *two* years. After the Russian invasion, China and Russia have launched their alternative to SWIFT, have launched an alternative to the USD for settling international transactions, a currency other than USD has been used to buy oil, and it looks like the BRICS are well on their way to becoming alternative to US dominance. I think all the pieces are in position and Pelosi’s trip was just the provocation was needed to announce the blockade and forced reintegration of Taiwan. The destruction of the US and European economies will be complete, and China will be able to pick up the pieces well before their deadline of 2045.

Boy this is a tough one for sure. The timeframe for invasion is anyone’s guess. Dive makes some good points, and really – anytime during Biden’s remaining time in office is paramount for China. Our response is anyone’s guess as well. I would think if the intelligence community was up to snuff on this, and invasion was imminent, we would have more movement of assets in the Pacific than what we are seeing. Maybe that means we aren’t going to defend Taiwan? If all of the wargames and predictions are correct and we lose our ass, maybe we’re planning on not intervening.
If China takes Taiwan without us in the fight, not only do we look weak, but China will surpass us as the worlds economic superpower. Chips that power everything, phones, and nearly every home appliance is made there. China would literally have the on/off switch to the world’s economy.
If we did fight, besides the conflict spreading to WW3, and the use of nukes aside, China has a ton of leverage over us already. The US automotive industry is still drunk on parts with cheap labor and material from China (although some are starting to localize to NA). Think dealer lots are empty now? We would have at least a 1 year pause on most vehicle manufacturing until everything could be moved and restarted. And pharmaceuticals – almost all of our antibiotics and OTC meds are manufactured in China. They certainly won’t trade with us while we are fighting them. Life in America would become very difficult. And that’s on top of the domestic divide between progressive leftists and the rest of the country in which we’re already mired.

A year? I don’t think that, at this point, America could restart manufacturing here at all. We no longer have the skilled labor. We don’t have the machinists, welders, and other skilled labor needed to manufacture anything.
Not only that, but thanks to the “participation trophy” attitude in our schools, we don’t have the education levels necessary to train any. We are a nation of college educated morons who don’t even know the difference between “your” and “you’re” that think blue collar work is beneath them and are busy demanding a job that allows them to work from home at a four day, 24 hour workweek with unlimited paid time off for whenever they don’t feel like going to work.

I wouldn’t write us off yet DM, the welding classes are still full and so are the machining ones.

Dive, I’m in the auto industry working for a Tier 1 supplier who is absolutely high on China parts. I mentioned moving parts back to NA, not necessarily the US. Some of it could be managed by the US, but by NA I meant Mexico. A lot of the OEs and the supply base started moving some stuff when Trump slapped tariffs on stuff overseas, and it accelerated after covid and we started having all of the supply chain issues. MX has the labor and capacity to do a lot of this stuff. It will still cost more than China, and vehicle lines that have a very high China part content will not make the one year hiatus, but some will.
Another issue (longer term) is the auto industry betting the farm on EVs. That’s a larger discussion on it’s own, however the minerals for the batteries come from overseas, and yep – China. They would literally own huge swaths of our economy.

I read a logical contradiction: 1) youth are mostly dissapated losers; however, 2) that same youth will volunteer to enforce the governments’ policy whims, and be militarily efficient and successful at doing so like the Appalachian recruits during WWII.

If you, the older American with a good work ethic, believe most younger Americans have a lousy work ethic, then don’t “give” them any food to eat, or gasoline, or houses, or healthcare. The young folks aren’t going to be able to steal food from you by organizing into military teams with lousy work ethics.

Socialism is self-inflicted by older White Christian middle class Americans; they are attempting to vax/freeze/carb/starve themselves to death. Weaken the economy enough and the government can no longer project power onto the remnant.

The real prize is living on the North American landmass, fat and happy, self-sufficient in fossil fuel and food and minerals, and protected from foreign attack by oceans.

They equipment is very, very specialized and it’s not easy to hide building something like it.

They are absolutely trying, but that’s not an easy thing to do. TSMC is the world leader in advanced semiconductor fab technology. Samsung is number 2, and Intel is number 3. Intel is at least 3 years behind TSMC, and it isn’t for lack of trying. There is a lot of fundamental technology development required in creating a fab that can manufacture devices with state of the art features. It’s not just a matter of ordering the right equipment. China will try to get there, but they are currently far behind. Europe and the US are also attempting to get back into competitive shape, but it will probably take a minimum of 10 years before that is a possibility.

I don’t think many people realize just how dependent the world and the US in particular are on Taiwanese semiconductor manufacturing. All of our advanced defense systems make heavy use of parts built in Taiwan, and those parts just be ordered from another fab. Taiwan is not Ukraine – the US really does have a vital national interest in keeping Taiwan in the chip making business, at least until we can build some domestic capacity. However, having the vital interest does not imply having the military capability to defend it. I can’t see the US winning against China in their own backyard.

Matt Bracken recently suggested that China won’t invade Taiwan, but rather impose a complete blockade on the island and essentially starve them into submission. That makes sense and would also fit the military buildup. It would give China a good chance of capturing Taiwan with the tech base intact and would avoid the meat grinder an actual invasion would be. It also makes it more difficult for the US to intervene. If China isn’t actually invading or bombarding the island, it’s much harder to justify the US launching military strikes on China, and it would also leave more Chinese forces free to deal with any US force that did choose to engage. I agree that there’s no chance we could stop China short of nukes if they choose either route. Carriers are in the same position battleships were at the start of WW2 – obsolete, but not recognized as such. China has fielded two manueverable hypersonic anti-ship missiles with ranges exceeding the carrier aircraft range, and they can saturate the carrier group air defenses even if those defenses prove effective against such threats (doubtful).

Except that it won’t be intact.

The buildings are just a part of the system, the skilled personal that work in them are as important as the equipment.

The workers in the factories will still have to eat. If China takes over, it will go the same way that Hong Kong did.

Like Ratus said, the chip factories Red China covets could easily be destroyed. It’s also true that Taiwan has the type of rugged terrain that would be a nightmare for invaders. That said, my wife’s relatives who live there think the population is demoralized. If the mainland senses the majority won’t fight, then I would expect an invasion.

Some more news on this:
https://andmagazine.substack.com/p/the-chinese-blockade-of-taiwan-may?r=19iqgx&s=w

Pelosi arrives, makes 82 year old mumbling noises to Taiwanese leaders while sipping a Smirnoff on the rocks, then leaves. China announces drills off of every major port on the island. A would-be blockade? As the article mentions – all of their fuel and food is imported. China can choke them out to force reunification. And if no lead is flying, I’m betting we let it happen.

One consideration that wasn’t explicitly addressed: do the Taiwanese have even the minimum capability to fight? Most of their military training is centered around defense of the island. I was involved in an iteration of training the Taiwanese that hit the news not so long ago. Two things stand out from my experience:
1) Junior enlisted are conscripts. To a person, they didn’t want to be there. Senior NCOs and Officers were volunteers much like our .mil. In the conscripts’ view, it was a prison sentence. Much of their effort was spent lollygagging. Their readiness was more pencil-whipped than the Afghans.
2) My team spent about 2 weeks training a “battalion” (actual size was closer to a company in U.S. terms) on Planning, CRRC Ops, AAV Ops and Dismounted Ops. It culminated in a live fire exercise executed by the Battalion and was supposed to integrate everything learned. The Taiwanese Marine Commandant and staff were on hand to observe. The Battalion had made strides; however when briefed, the Commandant wanted to see the standard exercise execution, which is a “hey diddle-diddle, right up the middle,” with zero priority given to fire and maneuver, let alone integration of AAVs or any concept of combined arms.

One could argue that their mandatory military service sets them up with plenty of reserves to call upon. I would lean toward disagreement, if only because the population has a political rift; return governance to the mainland or be an independent nation. That’ll definitely impact reserves and even current conscripts.

True. Hard to decide what is worse: A military made of involuntary conscripts, or one who is only there to get a paycheck that they can use to buy dresses after their taxpayer funded sex change operation.

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