Ladakh Flash Point


plawolf

Brigadier
Remember that the US and Europe also have vaccines in development, which would only be a few months behind China at most.
And the US has already decided to go with herd immunity anyway,
Given the absolutely colossal cost in lives and economic damage, would you take a working vaccine now, or wait months for one that might also work?

You also need to factor in that developing the vaccine is only half the equation. Just how much longer would it take to manufacture the hundreds of millions of doses of it needed to effectively inoculate western populations without China’s manufacturing and support infrastructure networks (if it is even possible)?

So even in the scenario you posit, I don't see a Chinese move on Taiwan happening, because the odds are against a successful Taiwan invasion.
And just how did you calculate such odds? Because the only way Taiwan can fend off a full force invasion from China is with massive and immediate direct foreign military involvement. Even then it’s at best a close run thing, and most likely will only serve to increase the time and cost for China to take Taiwan.

So why take the risk of failure now, when Chinese military spending will be a lot higher in 10 years time.
Because COVID19 is a once in multiple-generations freak event; and I am not naive enough to think of Chinese National policy as purely reactionary and so principled that China is not able to take a hard nosed approach to evaluating the impact of such events to not consider all possible opportunities it presents.

As mentioned above, the lion share of the cost and risk of a military solution to the Taiwan issue would be from direct foreign military intervention and potentially from economic damage from sanctions and boycotts afterwards.

The PLA will be stronger in absolute and relative terms to better dissuade and even fight off foreign military involvement in the future yes, but the costs to China of fighting off the US in 10 years time is still going be to orders of magnitudes more than just fighting Taiwan tomorrow. In addition to the significantly less likelihood of direct US military involvement in a Taiwan takeover under the scenario described, there will almost certainly be far less economic fallout as neither the US or EU could afford to impose economic sanctions on China if they are relying on the good graces of Beijing to supply them with COVID19 vaccines.

There are always at least two sides to each calculation when it comes to game theory - your own strengths and motivations, and your opponents. The best outcome you can reach is usually achieved when making your move when the relative difference between the two sides is most in your favour, so you cannot simply only look at how your own power and motivational curves develops, but also need to be mindful of how your opponent’s change as well.

Going by current trends, it seems likely American hostility towards China will be far more entrenched and deep rooted at all levels of government and society in 10 years’ time give the great power competition at play and how China is increasingly catching up and exceeding America. As such, even though both the absolute power of the PLA will be much stronger, and the relative power different between the PLA and the US military will be much smaller in 10 years time, the likelihood that America will commit to direct military action may actually also be higher given that will probably be their last and only chance to decisively change the course China is on to comprehensively overtake America.

Far more concerning for China is that as things stand, China is the reactionary side. America and trigger war any time it wants by merely giving Taiwan a secret node that it would support its declaring of independence. That means China needs to be constantly ready to fight for Taiwan and not have any moments of weakness.

Imagine what could have happened had China not been as effect at dealing with COVID19 as it was. If China was hobbled by COVID19 and it was America that managed to decisively contain the outbreak, there would be a huge likelihood that America would choose and capitalise on that sudden shift in power by pushing Taiwan to formal independence.

Can you guarantee that it will always been success and smooth sailing for China for the next 10, 20 or 30 years until China is so far ahead of America that even during a moment of national weakness and calamity that China would still be able to fight off the fully might of the US military who can pick and choose when to fight to best suit their timetable?

Yes, the youth in Taiwan will continue to drift away from China, but I think this should be manageable.

And at the end of the day, the legitimacy of the Chinese government still depends on delivering economic progress for the 40% of people who are still struggling.
As decided by who? If given the choice of some personal economic hardship and Taiwan, I doubt many ordinary people in China will choose money.

This focus on economic delivery is just more western prejudices and wishful thinking being projected on China.

The obsession on money is a western semi-racist charcuterie of Chinese much like the same anti-Semitic stereotyping against Jews.

The focus on economic performance is just western wishful thinking that the year China has a bad economy is the year the people will all rise up and do a colour revolution for them.
 

AndrewS

Captain
Registered Member
Given the absolutely colossal cost in lives and economic damage, would you take a working vaccine now, or wait months for one that might also work?
I'm going to wait a few more months for a vaccine, rather than be the first ones to receive it.

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In the USA, they are going to wait till their own vaccines are ready, rather than take a Chinese vaccine.

The USA is at a new peak in terms of new confirmed daily cases, yet the state government(s) are only advising modest measures to reduce more infections.

So the USA has accepted that its population is going to get infected over the coming months.
The CDC have an estimate of 20million already infected.

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There are likely to be multiple (similar) vaccines that pass Phase 3 trials in China, Europe and the US.

But the issue is that even with Phase 3 trials completed, you still don't pick up:

1. lethal complications that only affect say 0.1% of the population when they get infected.
2. complications that only appear after some months/years.

So for healthy low-risk adults under the age of 50 which comprise the majority of the population, it may be worse to give them a vaccine.
The fatality rate is pretty low, and is only getting lower because existing drugs are being repurposed.

And don't forget that there is a limited production capacity for each type of vaccine, and it will be months before enough doses are produced for everyone.
You don't want to concentrate your risk (in terms of production capacity and people) on a single vaccine.
 

Nobonita Barua

Junior Member
Registered Member
For a century, the USA has been the largest (and most advanced) economy in the world.
At times, it was far larger than any competitor or group of competitors.

The USA is separated by the vast distance of the Pacific and Atlantic oceans.
It's so difficult to project military power across these distances, unless you have local bases and ports you can use.

The USA has 2 land neighbors which are small.
The US also typically had an economy that was 2x larger than everyone else in the Americas combined
So the USA did have enough economic and military influence to ensure no one establishes a hostile military alliance against the USA.
Which frees up the US military for expeditionary missions in distant lands.

NB. The modern exception is island-state Cuba, but what other country in the Americas wants to end up like Cuba?
Every super power rises & falls. If you don't find weakness that means you are accepting they will remain as it is always.
Last 100 years has been most volatile in human history.We had 2 world war. Plus i don't think US has been super power most of the time. Only after WW2 US established itself as true super power. Even after that it had been in loggerhead with USSR. So sole super power status was only established after USSR collapsed.
And i have mentioned earlier, to project power, you don't need to go there, you need to crack open the fault line. It is there for the world to see.
 

AndrewS

Captain
Registered Member
You also need to factor in that developing the vaccine is only half the equation. Just how much longer would it take to manufacture the hundreds of millions of doses of it needed to effectively inoculate western populations without China’s manufacturing and support infrastructure networks (if it is even possible)?
The biggest pharmaceutical companies are mostly American or European.

They already produce a large mount of influenza vaccine every year anyway, which can be repurposed.

For example, half the UK and US population is vaccinated for the annual influenza season

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AndrewS

Captain
Registered Member
And just how did you calculate such odds? Because the only way Taiwan can fend off a full force invasion from China is with massive and immediate direct foreign military involvement. Even then it’s at best a close run thing, and most likely will only serve to increase the time and cost for China to take Taiwan.
I agree Taiwan by itself can't fend off a full force invasion from China.

But even a moderate level of US intervention would make a Chinese invasion highly unlikely to succeed.
That is my read on the military balance.

You don't agree with this, so let's go with your view that it's could be a close run thing eg. 50% chance of success

These odds are unacceptable given the catastrophic effect of China trying to take Taiwan and then failing.
In the aftermath, Taiwan would be independent AND become a massive military base for the US military.
There are numerous other negatives.

Contrast that with the situation in say 15 years time, when China could have an overwhelmingly large economy and military with respect to Taiwan.

That is why I think your assertion that China has to act now with respect to Taiwan is flawed.

Anyway, back on topic.
 

AndrewS

Captain
Registered Member
Because COVID19 is a once in multiple-generations freak event; and I am not naive enough to think of Chinese National policy as purely reactionary and so principled that China is not able to take a hard nosed approach to evaluating the impact of such events to not consider all possible opportunities it presents.

As mentioned above, the lion share of the cost and risk of a military solution to the Taiwan issue would be from direct foreign military intervention and potentially from economic damage from sanctions and boycotts afterwards.

The PLA will be stronger in absolute and relative terms to better dissuade and even fight off foreign military involvement in the future yes, but the costs to China of fighting off the US in 10 years time is still going be to orders of magnitudes more than just fighting Taiwan tomorrow. In addition to the significantly less likelihood of direct US military involvement in a Taiwan takeover under the scenario described, there will almost certainly be far less economic fallout as neither the US or EU could afford to impose economic sanctions on China if they are relying on the good graces of Beijing to supply them with COVID19 vaccines.
So let's look at the situation in 10 years time as you say.

The Chinese economy is on track to grow to almost 2x the size of the USA, up from 30% larger today in PPP terms.
  • So Chinese economic, trade and investment influence will presumably track such growth.
  • China will also have moved up the technology ladder and replaced much of the foreign technology imports it relies on today.
  • Chinese military spending in the past was very modest, because of the smaller size of the Chinese economy. But in 10 years time, the stock of advanced Chinese weapons will be a bare minimum of 10x larger than today, and probably a lot higher. In comparison, the US stock will remain roughly the same. Look up the numbers for yourself and do an analysis.
When you look at that growth, China can almost certainly take Taiwan fairly easily and at low cost in 10 years time, irrespective of anything the US or Taiwan can do.

So will the USA decide to go to war against China, if the US knows that it will certainly lose anyway?

There are always at least two sides to each calculation when it comes to game theory - your own strengths and motivations, and your opponents. The best outcome you can reach is usually achieved when making your move when the relative difference between the two sides is most in your favour, so you cannot simply only look at how your own power and motivational curves develops, but also need to be mindful of how your opponent’s change as well.

Going by current trends, it seems likely American hostility towards China will be far more entrenched and deep rooted at all levels of government and society in 10 years’ time give the great power competition at play and how China is increasingly catching up and exceeding America. As such, even though both the absolute power of the PLA will be much stronger, and the relative power different between the PLA and the US military will be much smaller in 10 years time, the likelihood that America will commit to direct military action may actually also be higher given that will probably be their last and only chance to decisively change the course China is on to comprehensively overtake America
Yes, there are always multiple sides to the equation, which I've already considered.

I agree that the next 10 years will be a time of entrenched great power competition between China and the USA.

But afterwards, China can demonstrate a huge margin of superiority in terms of economic and military power over the USA in the Western Pacific. That will lead to East Asia nations aligning with China, or remaining neutral in a China-US competition, which is good enough.

There simply will be less reason for the USA to be involved in the Western Pacific, as the US has to accept a lesser role and the US-China relationship will become better.

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So your argument is that the USA needs to stop China now, before all this happens.
Fair enough.

So why does China need move on Taiwan now as you say, and give the US military a reason to go to war against China?
Remember the Coronavirus is actually not very deadly to healthy young adults who comprise the US military.

Plus China losing Taiwan doesn't actually change the trajectory of Chinese growth in economic or military terms, as this will be determined by the already huge domestic Chinese market, which will be served by rapidly-improving Chinese technology companies.

Anyway, back on topic.
 
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