Here’s What Happens If China Invades Taiwan












in the summer of 1995 China sent a bunch of its troops to the province of Fujian, they then started testing missiles and putting it on tv they then started running highly publicized combat exercises very similar to what it would look like to cross this 130-kilometer-wide strait to invade the island of Taiwan a place that China doesn't think is a real country but rather a part of China itself a rebellious island province in an unfinished civil war another round of Chinese war games near Taiwan has the u's and other nations concerned China did all this saber-rattling because Taiwan's president had asked for a visa to visit the United States and the u's congress voted to give it to him to find Beijing and undermining China's claim to Taiwan oh and Taiwan was holding their first democratic election these are the first free elections of a Chinese leader in 5000 China announced Friday that it would start the new military exercises less than a week before Taiwan's presidential election China hated that 

all of this was happening on this island that they think is theirs hence all of the military flexing but look who shows up next diplomatic trouble may be brewing again between China and the united states it's the us military and they're sending their biggest show of military force in Asia since the Vietnam war right here in China's neighborhood president bill Clinton sent in all of the Us's best stuff aircraft carriers guided-missile cruisers destroyers' powerful weapon systems from the most powerful military on earth so all of this concentrated us 

military power comes into the region and enters right here through the strait of Taiwan it was a response to China and all of its efforts to intimidate Taiwan the message was very clear China we are way more powerful than you so back off and let Taiwan do its thing and guess what it totally worked China backed down and the u's reasserted itself as the global powerhouse a power that no one can mess with okay so now let's fast forward to last fall, a lot has changed in these 20 or so years and China is at it again flexing on Taiwan their favorite way of doing this lately is flying military aircraft into this air border Taiwan's air defense identification zone or Ades an adaz is airspace that if you enter you should identify yourself or else the nearby country will assume that you're coming to attack them China has started flying military aircraft over this airspace without asking permission without identifying themselves not just like once or twice but like dozens of times per day hundreds of times a month these are the actual recorded flight paths of Chinese aircraft flying over Taiwan's ADA's and then back to China, it's a giant fu to Taiwan or rather remember who's boss here luckily there's some really amazing data on every single one of these Chinese flyovers they're all documented Taiwan's air force scrambled again today this is research from the foreign policy research institute and it's incredibly useful to see China's activity in Taiwan's ages you can see this massive surge late last year in flyovers this is a graph that shows every single time a Chinese jet has flown over Taiwan's ages in 2021 you can see that it comes to a peak in the first week of October this was the week that China was celebrating its founding and they were sending a very clear message to Taiwan you will be ours that week this Chinese state-owned publication comes out with this headline time to warn Taiwan secessionists and their fomenters war is real this is not fair play so guess who shows up to the region to calm things down a u's warship has sailed through the Taiwan street so right after this huge bulk of flyovers of Taiwan's ages the u's sends in guided-missile destroyers through the Taiwanese strait and they're accompanied by a Canadian ship worn off 25 Chinese aircraft that entered its defense zone oh, but this time it didn't work here's when the u's sailed through the strait and here's what China does after tons more flyovers of Taiwan's Adas looking at the raw data, you can see that these flyovers start happening almost every day it's not the 90s anymore things have changed bill Clinton can't just send a bunch of naval ships to the Taiwan strait and expect China to back down we're living in a different era the biggest difference is that China's military has become way more powerful in the last 20 years add to that that their zeal for taking over Taiwan to reunite it with mainland China has grown immensely every year since the reason I'm telling you this story and showing you the difference between how China reacted in the 90s and how it reacted last fall is because that difference is really important if we want to think about what war looks like in this region I've been talking to military experts I've been diving deep into military reports and writings from the Chinese military itself to try to understand what war with Taiwan would look like it's something that is becoming more likely year by year so what's to follow is my best attempt at understanding what war in the Taiwan strait looks like a war that drags in the United States and its allies war is impossible to predict and so, we don't know for sure but what I hope we can do here is look at a scenario and learn how conflict works and what calculations all the countries involved would have to make in what might become the next world war I just want to make China understand that we are not going to step back China's aggression against Taiwan is accelerating and it's blaming the u's raising has been getting increasingly tough on Taiwan so are you saying thatthe United States would come to Taiwan's defense yes, and yes and now let's dive into this scenario about potential war between Taiwan and China okay I'm going to dive into a very specific scenario of how conflict could escalate in the Taiwan strait but first I have to say something I have to get this off my chest which is I felt a little bit conflicted making this blog I feel very against the sort of machismo fascination with conflict like it's some sort of cool good thing when at the end of the day what we're talking about are people's lives we were talking about valuable taxpayer money we are talking about the future of entire societies being ripped apart by a power struggle this is not sexy and cool this is a nightmare secondly let us all just acknowledge right now how easy it is to dehumanize China and its leaders and its military but let me just remind you that China doesn't want war they don't want bloodshed they will probably try much less violent ways to try to force Taiwan to the negotiating table before resorting to all-out invasion but the reason I want to make a blog about the nightmare scenario because even if a military has a goal for a less violent intervention that's not how war works conflict is very messy and one miscalculation can lead to an escalation in the conflict and now you have a wildfire that is out of control on both sides it's incredibly easy for the momentum of conflict to bring us into that kind of situation and that's why I want to Suss out what it could look like okay those are my disclaimers let's dive into this I'm gonna start rolling here I'm just two okay I'm gonna clap here comes okay I need to bring you over to my desk to show you some documents I've been staring at any invasion of Taiwan starts with this document this is a Chinese law meant to stop any parts of China from seceding from China itself and it mentions Taiwan it basically says that if Taiwan tries to assert its independence from China or and this is the most important part or if the possibilities for a peaceful reunification should be completely exhausted that China shall employ non-peaceful means and other necessary measures to protect China's sovereignty and territorial integrity translation if they run out of diplomatic solutions China is required by law to invade Taiwan and force it to reunite with China and no I don't read or speak mandarin but google translate come on listen we're like 70 years into peaceful solutions being tried and not working meanwhile on the island of Taiwan support for any sort of reunification is at an all-time low like it's not looking like peaceful reunification is gonna happen which is making the interpretation of this law more and more on the side of China should do this forcibly okay so that's the legal justification from a Chinese perspective pair that with the fact that unlike in the 90s, China now has a massive military there's new concern at the pentagon about China's military buildup with all sorts of new missiles China could soon be able to deploy a nuclear-tipped missile that u's defenses would find much harder to detect tanks helicopters submarines ships I mean this isn't from me this is the us government they recently came out with a report that said that the Chinese navy now is bigger than the Us's navy at least by numbers they have 360 versus our 297 ships now caveat to that data our ships are much bigger but still China's recent military buildup is nuts and this is why the u's military is kind of freaking out my opinion is this problem is much closer to us than most think we have to take this on with urgency China is upping the ante on Taiwan and there are fresh fears of a Chinese invasion of Taiwan taking over Taiwan remains China's number one strategic priority okay so this is the moment that a lot of you probably came to this blog for which is what does the war actually look like let's say that China feels confident that the only way that Taiwan is going to join China which is again a legal imperative is if they forcibly invade blockade isn't working negotiation isn't working the first strike on Taiwan would likely look like just another Chinese provocative Aedes flyover China's done this hundreds of times so at this point Taiwan thinks that they're just doing another one of their routine flex our military might exercises but this time the fighter jet turns towards the island and begins firing at the same time China fires guided missiles from the mainland and deploys tons more jets and they all start firing in a fast highly coordinated attack the target here is anything that Taiwan can use to defend itself like weapons that can shootdown planes or boats that are coming onto the island I mean this could be anything radar communication nodes military command centers navy bases bridges communication networks power stations even government buildings they would have a wide variety of targets to effectively deny Taiwan the ability to respond effectively I mean unfortunately for Taiwan a lot of these targets are left out in the open they're easy to see a runway is really easy to see and really hard to hide this first attack would happen very quickly one military expert Ian Easton put it very succinctly when he said assuming the intent is invasion these attacks could be expected to be concentrated in a short time frame as a prelude to invasion with no pauses other than those required for moving reloading and repairing equipment sounds horrible so Taiwan's leaders are caught off guard and they immediately retreat underground to a command bunker where they can plan their response luckily China will not be able to take out all of their military targets some of their aircraft hangars are deep in mountains and some of their missile sites are really well camouflaged they would escape the bombardment so Taiwan would have the ability to respond they would likely be able to get some air power into the air and fire some missiles towards mainland China to hit airbases radar and military batteries on the mainland at this point Taiwan also sends troops to their western beaches to start laying mines and preparing for an oncoming barrage of Chinese troops who are probably now on their way across the strait this has all happened within just a few hours and the u's is just barely hearing about this China has likely jammed much of the communication channels that would allow the us to have a clear picture of what's going on this will slow their response time the thing is China has gotten really good at sending little robots up to satellites in space their civilian satellites to like help repair them they could use the same technology to latch on to an American spy satellite and block its ability to view what's happening on the ground yes, we're now talking about conflict in space as a feasible part of the scenario so the u's is trying to get up to speed the u's president and military leaders now have to decide how they're going to respond are they going to risk American lives to protect this far away island it's something that the American public broadly would not be into but they have to do something they have to make a plan meanwhile back over in the strait Taiwan's military assets are severely damaged and China is now sending hundreds of thousands of troops and loads of supplies across this 130 kilometer stretch of water they're using boats of all kind military boats merchant boats that don't need to defend themselves because Taiwan can't respond adequately and each of these vessels is carrying tons of supplies and troops but again, on Taiwan's western beaches there are probably Taiwanese troops who have been planting mines ready for this invasion so there's now a battle on the beaches as Chinese amphibious attackers try to hit the beaches and push back the Taiwanese defense we're going to continue assuming Taiwan doesn't give up and capitulate and surrender to China at this point if that's the case the u's is now just starting to respond likely from their bases in the region Japan and Guam they deploy aircraft carriers with jets and bombers stealth fighters as well as fast attack submarines that will focus on one thing hitting all of these ships the ones that are bringing stuff and people across the strait Japan and Australia likely come in as allies to help out on this defense and now the us and its allies are in direct combat with China two nuclear nations fighting each other this is exactly what we try to avoid because we don't know where it goes from here we don't know where the ceiling is war always escalates and when there's nuclear weapons involved that's a very scary momentum there's even a scenario where China actually strikes first hitting us bases in Japan and Guam at the same time that they hit their initial targets in Taiwan this would be a much more provocative move and would certainly, bring the us full force into a war with China so now you have Chinese troops who have pushed back the Taiwanese defense on the western beaches and they are now moving in towards major city centers the us is fighting on the water and in the air and from here it becomes impossible to predict what could happen next there are so many different directions depending on the Us's tolerance for bloodshed there could be American troops on the ground trying to push back Chinese advancements inland but if you look at Chinese military writings on this you'll see that as a part of this scenario when they're thinking about it they're not just thinking about the us and its allies in Taiwan they also predict that India will take advantage of this moment of chaos and invade the Himalayan borders to the south they even foresee Tibetan freedom fighters' way out here in the west who have long been hostile towards Chinese rule rising up and taking advantage of the instability to gain back control of their region I mean you can see how this starts to unfold before you know it the entire region is devolving into a war that threatens to engulf many more countries hundreds of thousands of lives and this is where I want to stop because from here it just becomes so speculative as to be completely useless but I tell you this scenario of a potential invasion of Taiwan not because it's the most likely it's actually not the more likely situation is China will pressure Taiwan through blockades or through other painful pressures that will get them to come to the negotiating table I tell you this because this scenario is still absolutely a possibility what's scary to me about all of this and I've said this a bunch but I'm just gonna keep saying it once something like this starts it's really hard to reverse it to put the cat back in the bag no one's in control that's a concept that's really hard to get your head around if you didn't live through a global war we live in an international system that feels like it has rules we have the un we have treaties and conventions we have global trade it feels like there's some sort of order but let me remind you that that's because we live in the most peaceful time in human history this long piece where few people alive today witnessed what it looks like when two powerful countries clash in all-out war it usually happens when some powerful leader feels strongly that he deserves land that the rest of the world says isn't his so he uses his big powerful army to go take it and in the process he sparks a horrible tragedy and while I hope more than anything that doesn't happen in this case we have to remember how commonplace it is and that the peace between these big powers is actually the outlier here I really hope that we are past needing to resort to this version of conflict to settle our disputes at this time in our history but I'm not totally convinced that we are yet and I think China and Taiwan this specific case is the best thing to look at to test whether or not we we can we can talk about it we can find creative ways to solve this instead of resorting to the thing humans have done forever which is just fight each other and see who wins.