As we approach a year since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, there is considerable speculation that China is closely watching how the world reacts to President Vladimir Putin’s invasion and Russia’s attempt to absorb Ukraine back into the fold. Some have suggested that President Xi Jinping may try to find parallels between Russia and Ukraine and between China and Taiwan.
This prompted an increase in war games last year, with all simulations showing that China will not succeed in its bid to secure Taiwan. However, the cost to our allies and, most importantly, the United States is always too high.
A recent extensive war game conducted by a prominent DC think tank had similar results, which begs the question, what does victory really look like? A logical follow-up question is whether the United States defense machine knows what success looks like, or whether we are setting ourselves up for another military failure in the future.
Taiwan declares independence from China and the US supports Taiwan over China
Luhansk and Donetsk declare independence from Ukraine and we support Ukraine over Luhansk and Donetsk
America’s foreign policy is stupid
— Libertarian-in-Chief (@ToddHagopian) January 5, 2023
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The Center for Strategic and International Studies conducted this particular war game. Unlike other war games that usually play one to two rounds, this war game went through two dozen scenarios, making it one of the most comprehensive war games with this particular scenario to date. The situation was just three years later in 2026 when China invaded Taiwan.
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Each round of play had similar results; Massive Chinese, American, Taiwanese and Japanese casualties. CNN, which got a sneak peak of the report titled “The First Battle of the Next War,” boiled down the results to a simple statement.
“A war against Taiwan could weaken a victorious US military as a defeated state by Chinese forces,” the report said.
The Chinese navy, arguably the most formidable in the world, is left in “shambles”. However, the United States and Japan will simply perish. In each scenario, the United States lost two aircraft carriers to the depth, and both the United States and Japan lost dozens of ships, hundreds of aircraft, and thousands of service members.
What about the island we are fighting to protect the thought? How will Taiwan fare as a result of this potential war?
Related: New US vs. China War Game Shows America Will Suffer Big Losses
The war games showed that Beijing was “unlikely” to win, meaning they would fail in their invasion of Taiwan. Of course, the word “unlikely” does not inspire a lot of confidence, but for the sake of a war game, how will Taiwan fare at the end of the first war of the next war?
Horrible, there’s no other way around it.
According to the report, “Though Taiwan’s military is not broken, it is severely depleted and left to fend for itself on an island without electricity and basic services, a battered economy.”
So why is this assessment important? Even if China’s military declines, it is more likely that they will be able to rebuild faster and better than Taiwan. The Chinese government has a long memory and the idea that China will abandon its goal of unification is ludicrous.
I venture with an early crushing defeat; China will bounce back and be better positioned than ever to overtake Taiwan. While many compare Ukraine to Taiwan, these countries have different challenges.
“Whatever the Taiwanese are going to face the war with, they should have it when the war starts,” said CSIS senior adviser Mark Cansian.
Because of the small matter of the Pacific Ocean, our ability to ship weapons to Ukraine is very different from what we have with Taiwan.
Jack Posobik: US Can’t Help Taiwan In Case of CCP Invasion Because US Is “In Hot Proxy War With Russia And Ukraine”
— The Post Millennial (@TPostMillennial) January 9, 2023
Are the blind leading the blind?
This particular war game, like most, involved not only advisers working at CSIS, but also retired generals, naval officers, and former Pentagon officials. I think it’s important to note that our military and defense leaders have not been known for winning victories in wartime theaters in recent years, look no further than Iraq and Afghanistan.
One need only look to the epic failure of our perpetual wars in the Middle East and the devastating moral wound known as our subsequent withdrawal to Afghanistan to see evidence of institutional military incompetence. So far, no military or defense leaders have been held accountable for that failure.
Gone are the days when Admiral Nimitz, if the Battle of Midway went south, or General Eisenhower, wrote a letter of resignation before the Normandy invasion if D-Day failed. Instead, our failed military leaders remain in their positions only to retire to jobs at the Pentagon or to advise think tanks like CSIS.
While this fact gives me some pause over the CSIS results that say Beijing is “unlikely” to win, I have yet to see any evidence that I should believe any advice or predictions from the military complex. So what do these ‘experts’ suggest for the post-war game?
Throw in more money at the military-industrial complex and Taiwan, of course.
To put the world in a better place to defeat China, the report suggests, the United States should “prioritize submarines and other undersea platforms.” On top of an already incredibly bloated defense budget, we must throw even more money at weapons systems that may or may not be operational.
Sounds like a good deal for defense contractors. Meanwhile, we cannot persuade young Americans to raise their right hand to join an awakened military, let alone seek out fellow Americans who serve.
The Army recently adapted its basic training to accommodate overweight recruits and those with low academic scores. However, I highly suspect that China faces the same problem.
According to the report, we should provide more funding and security assistance to Taiwan than the recent NDAA, which promises $10 billion over five years.
The report highlighted, which I think is important to note, that the expected losses to the United States would “damage the U.S. global position for many years.”
I think our Department of Defense is ready for a protracted war with China because of failed weapons systems and a bureaucracy focused on the personal and professional gain of the military brass and civilian leadership, but I don’t believe the American public will feel a heavy stomach. Those who fight across the great ocean wearing battle uniforms are not made of the same materials as our grandfathers.
“Victory isn’t everything,” War Game Report clearly states.
Even victory is not certain, and I would argue that how we measure victory will cause the American public to lose again.
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