Shallow waters, limited access, a developed army: why the invasion of Taiwan would be more complicated than the Ukrainian one – analysis

The growing tension a Taiwan can be compared, with due proportions, to the conflict that broke out in Ukraine? Not exactly: the physical geographythe rearmament policies and the expectation level of aggression distinguish the two stories quite clearly. Meanwhile, Taiwan, once known by its Spanish name of Formosait is an island: on an area one and a half times the size Sardinia (36,000 sq km) hosts a population as large as the whole of Northern Italy (23 million). And it is important to say that it has an average elevation of 1,150 meters above sea level. Basically, there are only two flat areas: the largest is on the western side, facing the People’s Republic of China (PRC), goes from the capital Taipei up almost to the extreme south of the island, for a length of about 450 kilometers an average depth of less than 30, the other is on the north-eastern side, as a surface is comparable to the province of Genoais within the hisien (county, province) of Yilanoverlooks the sea for 30 km.

It is therefore clear that the former Spanish Formosa is a real one natural fortress. It is even more so because on the whole western side the depth of the marine waters fluctuates between 50 and 100 meters, with an average of 70. The water is scarce, the duck does not float, or better: the sea is too shallow for Chinese submarines and could never be used for a maxi-landing on the coast. However, these shallow waters offer the perfect conditions for Taiwanese to place thousands of defensive mines: certainly, the operation cannot be carried out in peacetime, in order not to damage trade, but in the event of a threat it is easy to carry out for a country that at the beginning of 2022, even before the war in Ukraine, had increased its military budget an additional $ 8.6 billion. To understand each other, in Italy there are those who rubbed their eyes at the German announcement to invest 2 billion euros one-off in arms.

We also add that Taipei has not only relied on the benefits offered by physical geography, but has also built fortifications on the coastsespecially in the southwest, and he placed naval and air bases alongside nearly all sensitive commercial ports and airports, should the PRC attempt an invasion. Certainly, Ukraine is almost seventeen times larger in comparison, but it is the heart of the European steppe, that is, of a low and flat area. In addition, it has almost 2,000 km of land border with the Russia and another 1,000 with the Belarusalmost all in plain or low hill regions, without natural defenses up to gorges and rivers already in Ukrainian territory on which to attest some defenses.

We add that Taiwan also has hundreds of planes, anti-aircraft and anti-ship systems of the latest generation, including the famous Harpoon missileswell known in Black Sea, which can be used both from board and from coastal batteries, whose range allows to cover the whole area of ​​the strait. As if that were not enough, as recently recalled by the well-known military and counter-terrorism expert Renato Scarfi“In Formosa they have been preparing for 70 years to the eventuality of a Chinese landing “. Add to this that “Taiwan would have acquired the ability to hit mainland China with missiles whose range would exceed 1500 km and would be equipping itself with long-range missiles which, in the event of a conflict, would have the ability to hit targets in the heart of Chinese territory “. We are far from the tragicomic situation of the Ukrainian armed forces in 2014, at the time of the first Russian aggression on Crimea and al Donbass, but also from Kiev’s naive insistence in denying the risk of an invasion – and the need to prepare for such an eventuality – until 23 February. For Taipei, doubt is not the if and where, but only the when.

In such a scenario, a Cold War never ended, Washington And Beijing the same reasoning goes back and forth: is it better for the PRC to act now, given that Taiwan has not yet been adequately strengthened and the Americans are not yet fully oriented towards the Asia-Pacific region? The Americans should secure the former Formosa, while building a new democratic and anti-Chinese security system, given that the PRC has not yet built an air and naval force capable, not so much of repelling the US and its allies, but at least to be sure of crushing Taiwan itself? The move of Nancy Pelosi, a long-standing policy and always opposing – from the left – of the Chinese Communists, confirmed, as can be seen from the images of the exercises, that the United States – taken alone or with its systems of alliances – is an adversary for the PRC of another category. As you stated Steven Goldstein, Harvard University scholar, “when the Chinese get mad at the United States for Taiwan, they punish Taiwan.” And then the Americans, speaking of defending democracy with Taiwan, are preparing to justify, in front of the Congress and in midterm’s election campaign, the need for invest in security in Taipei as much and more than in that of Kiev.

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About Banner Leon

Videogames entered his life in the late '80s, at the time of the first meeting with Super Mario Bros, and even today they make it a permanent part, after almost 30 years. Pros and defects: he manages to finish Super Mario Bros in less than 5 minutes but he has never finished Final Fight with a credit ... he's still trying.

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