For a long Time, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has been making an all-round plan to “unify” Taiwan, with a four-pronged approach of diplomatic isolation, economic cooptation, social infiltration, and military suppression, in an over-the-top war, with a military solution as the last resort. Due to the evolution of China’s domestic and international situation, there is no hope for “peaceful reunification” and the CCP is increasingly emphasizing military means, making Taiwan the most dangerous potential trigger for war in the world.
From a military perspective, there are upper, middle, and lower options for attacking Taiwan, according to the thinking of the CCP.
Upper strategy: “Give up without a fight”
The core goal is to break Taiwan’s will to defend itself and force it to submit. The CCP’s all-around plan for the “unification” of Taiwan is aimed at achieving this goal. On the military front, the CCP’s approach stands out in two ways.
First, the “three wars” – “public opinion war”, “psychological war”, and “legal war” – have been waged at the strategic level for a long time. The “Political Work Regulations of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army” revised in December 2003 formally introduced the “three wars”, and Taiwan is the training ground and main battlefield for the CCP’s “three wars”. The main battlefield. From the introduction of the Anti-Secession Law in 2005, to the crushing defeat of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and the rise of South Korean Yu in Taiwan’s nine-in-one election in 2018, to today’s “Chinese Communist Party’s false messages threatening Taiwan” (in the words of Luo Bingcheng, a member of the Executive Yuan and spokesperson of Taiwan), all of these can be seen. The “three wars” of the Chinese Communist Party can be seen as a ghostly shadow.
Second, the “gray conflict” that has suddenly escalated since 2020. For example, intensive military exercises, frequent incursions by Chinese military aircraft into Taiwan’s southwestern airspace and the square air identification zone, repeatedly crossing the “strait center line” and so on. Taiwan’s former Defense Minister Yang Nien-zu believes that the war of attrition created by the gray conflict will create enormous pressure and challenges to Taiwan’s security; the CCP’s political, military, and psychological “war of attrition” against Taiwan is aimed at depleting Taiwan’s capabilities and breaking the morale of the people.
According to Shu Hsiao-huang, a scholar at the National Defense Security Research Institute, a think tank of Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense, there are 14 types of “military/clandestine tactics” related to “gray conflict. Clandestine), there are 14 types, distinguished into high, medium and low levels. The “high” levels are nuclear posture, military and threat operations, fait accompli, large-scale covert operations to weaken regimes, use of non-sustained violence at critical moments, use of special forces to conduct direct denial operations, and support for large-scale proxy violence; the “medium ” is large-scale military exercises, sending signals, small-scale covert operations to serve specific targets, supporting small-scale proxy operations, expanding or adjusting military presence in specific regions or countries; “low” is small-scale covert operations for minimal targets, minimal support for proxy offensives. According to Shu Hsiao-Huang, the CCP’s actions have reached the highest level of gray conflict.
Looking at the situation since 2021, the intensity of the CCP’s “gray conflict” should only be greater, not less. The Chinese Communist Party is also preparing for war.
Medium-Term Strategy: “War to Conquer”
The core goal is to “promote unification by fighting”, and war is only a means to achieve Taiwan’s surrender. This is divided into three categories: “small war”, “medium war”, and “large war”.
A “small war” means capturing Taiwan’s outlying islands, such as the Dongsha Islands, Kinmen, A-Ma, and Penghu, and forcing Taiwan to surrender with a limited blockade. This is similar to the so-called “Beiping model” during the Communist civil war. Historically, the unification of Taiwan by Kangxi was similar to this, as in 1683, Shi Lang, the Fujian naval governor, led his division to annihilate the main force of the Ming Zheng army in the waters of Penghu, occupying Penghu, and the Zheng dynasty surrendered.
The “Middle War”, to wit, refers to the seizure of Taiwan’s outlying islands and the full blockade of Taiwan, while not excluding some degree of attack on important military facilities and the main forces of the Taiwanese army on the island itself. This is similar to the so-called “Shanghai model” during the Communist civil war. In that year, Tang Enbo, the commander-in-chief of the Beijing-Shanghai-Hangzhou police force, evacuated by ship from Wusongkou with 50,000 remnants of his troops, leaving behind Liu Changyi, the deputy commander of the Shanghai police force, who surrendered. Although Shanghai was taken by arms, it was taken over relatively intact, and the city was not too damaged, so the CPC achieved the purpose of “using it for me”.
The “Great War” meant the capture of Taiwan’s outlying islands, a complete blockade of Taiwan, a showdown on the island, and the eventual occupation of Taiwan. This is similar to the so-called “Taiyuan model” and “Changchun model” during the Communist civil war. The “Taiyuan Model” refers to the Communist attack on Taiyuan from April 9 to 22, 1949, which took a heavy toll and resulted in the destruction of Taiyuan. The “Changchun model” refers to the setback of the attack in 1949, when the CCP imposed a military and economic blockade on Changchun, and at least 120,000 of its 500,000 residents starved to death during the 150-day-long siege of the city.
The next strategy: “Leave the island, not the people”
The core goal was to seize Taiwan, and to achieve this goal, the “scorched earth policy” was carried out by all means, and a devastating blow was dealt to Taiwan in the context of Taiwan’s resistance to the end. This is a situation that no one wants to see; but for the CCP, “there is only what we can’t think of and what we don’t dare to do”.
Taiwan’s Chance of Survival: Heaven Helps Self-Help
In the world, Israel’s security situation is already very bad; but compared to Israel, Taiwan’s security situation is even worse, because Taiwan’s sworn enemy, the CCP, is not only more powerful, but also acts with absolutely no bottom line. For Taiwan, war in the Taiwan Strait is already an unavoidable problem, and any illusion is fatal.
What Taiwan must do is to create and use all conditions to deter the CCP from violating Taiwan by force, and to seek peace with strength and wisdom, instead of getting lucky with the CCP’s fear of fighting, inability to fight, or lack of fighting.
What Taiwan can do is to seek to be invincible. In the Art of War, Sun Tzu said, “In the old days, those who were good at war first fought for what they could not win, in order to wait for what the enemy could win. The unbeatable is in oneself, the winnable is in the enemy. Therefore, a good warrior, for the invincible, can not make the enemy can win, so it is said: victory can be known, but not for.” (General idea: In the past, people who were good at warfare always first created conditions to keep themselves from being defeated by the enemy, and then waited for the time to defeat the enemy. To create conditions to make oneself invincible is to grasp the initiative of war; whether the enemy can be defeated next depends on the enemy’s performance. In other words, a general who is good at fighting first makes sure that he will not be defeated by the enemy, but does not necessarily guarantee that he will be able to defeat the enemy. (Therefore, victory can be foreseen, but not forced.)
What Taiwan must do is to plan its response to the Communist Party’s forceful invasion of Taiwan from the national strategic level, the military strategic level, and the battle tactical level, respectively. For example, what if the war is fought tonight? What if it is fought in a year? What if it is fought in five years, or in 10 years? In an extreme situation, should a government in exile be formed overseas? And so on. All of these require proper planning, forward-looking contingency plans, medium- and short-term plans, and medium- and long-term plans, and effective implementation.
Nowadays, the Chinese Communist Party’s strategy toward Taiwan is still to seek to “give up without a fight. In this regard, Taiwan should insist on “comprehensive national defense” and “all the people as soldiers”, adhere to the free and democratic institutions and thus form a tough and strong national will, and strictly prevent and stop the CCP from using infiltration, alienation and disinformation to create social division and turmoil.
The use of force against Taiwan is also a huge problem for the Chinese Communist Party. It is true that the military and comprehensive national power of the two sides of the Taiwan Strait are vastly different, and the evil of the CCP is beyond the imagination of normal people; however, the attraction and motivation of the mainland people to the successful transformation of Taiwan into a free and democratic society by continuing the lineage of the Republic of China, the general trend of the CCP’s demise, and the rise of the international alliance to besiege the CCP are all factors that are restraining the CCP from invading Taiwan by force. Therefore, it is not inevitable that the CCP will attack Taiwan, and there is still much room for Taiwan and the international community to deter the CCP from doing stupid things.
For Taiwan, blind optimism, numbness, helplessness, fear, despair and submission are all poison.