US Provocations Over Taiwan and Beijing’s Steady Remedy

September 3, 2022 (Brian Berletic - New Eastern Outlook) - The early August visit by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi took place amid heavy protests from Beijing. The visit was a blatant violation of Washington’s bilateral agreement with Beijing regarding the “One China” policy as well as a violation of international law regarding political independence and territorial integrity.

As was pointed out by many analysts, US provocations over Taiwan mirror a similar pattern by Washington used to cross Moscow’s “red lines” regarding Ukraine, done deliberately to threaten Moscow’s national security concerns. These provocations eventually resulted in now ongoing Russian military operations in neighboring Ukraine. A similar conflict could potentially stem from ongoing US provocations over Taiwan.

China’s Other Military Means

In addition to very public protests by Beijing, Chinese military forces followed Speaker Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan with large-scale exercises, crossing the Taiwan Strait median line and into Taiwan’s self-declared “air defense identification zone” (ADIZ). Initially the US and its allies along with the Western media dismissed these exercises as a “tantrum” thrown by a highly displeased Beijing. However, shortly after, US representatives and the Western media began discussing a “new normal” being incrementally established by Beijing.

Articles like CNN’s, “’New normal’ across the Taiwan Strait as China threat looms ever closer,” would note:

China is attempting to establish a “new normal” across the Taiwan Strait, eroding self-ruled Taiwan’s territorial control and increasing the threat of a strike with each military sortie, officials and analysts say.

Chinese military exercises also included firing missiles over Taiwan. The BBC in its article, “US ‘must contest’ Chinese missiles over Taiwan, says admiral,” would note:

“It’s very important that we contest this type of thing. I know that the gorilla in the room is launching missiles over Taiwan,” Vice Admiral Thomas told reporters in Singapore. “It’s irresponsible to launch missiles over Taiwan into international waters.

“If you don’t challenge it… all of a sudden it can become just like the islands in the South China Sea [that] have now become military outposts. They now are full functioning military outposts that have missiles on them, large runways, hangers, radars, listening posts.”
US Vice Admiral Thomas did not suggest any measures the US could use to “contest” Chinese military activity around and now over Taiwan, and in actuality, there is little the US could do in order to do so.

US Provocations Help Beijing Justify “New Normal”

Lacking any sort of ability to “contest” Chinese military activity around Taiwan, the US appears instead committed to further provocations. Following Speaker Pelosi’s early August visit to the island, a group of US Congressmembers likewise touched down in Taiwan in mid-August, the BBC would report.

Just as Speaker Pelosi’s visit allowed Beijing to justify military exercises around and over Taiwan, this more recent visit by US Congressmembers gave Beijing an opportunity to stretch out and expand its military activity. The Associate Press in its article, “China announces new drills around Taiwan as a US delegation visits the island,” would note:
The exercises are intended as a “resolute response and solemn deterrent against collusion and provocation between the US and Taiwan,” the ministry said.
The United States, having provoked Russia into launching military operations in Ukraine mistakenly believing Moscow would not (and for some reason couldn't) escalate, is now putting Beijing up to a similar test. Beijing’s strategy of increasing military control of territory around and now in the skies above Taiwan appears to be a strategy that could eventually give Beijing an advantage in this growing crisis without requiring hostilities.

China’s Growing Military Might

 August 18, 2022 (Brian Berletic - New Eastern Outlook) - What many in the West at first dismissed as a tantrum thrown by Beijing over the unauthorized visit of US Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi to Taiwan appears instead to be a carefully thought-out strategy designed to incrementally reassert Chinese sovereignty over the island territory. Beijing’s ability to do this is underwritten by the nation’s growing military might.

Through a unique and powerful missile arsenal to a capable and growing air force, navy, and ground force, China has created the means through which to reverse decades of injustice, encroachment, and encirclement by the West against the Chinese people and their territory. Even Western analysts and military experts admit that China’s military capabilities have grown to world-class levels. These capabilities will be key to achieving and defending Chinese sovereignty now and into the future, through deterrence if possible, or through force if necessary.

The Long Sword: China’s Missile Force

Throughout human history weapons have been used to give a fighting force a greater reach than their adversaries. Be it sword, spear, or arrow, those with the longest and most effective reach often dominate the battlefield. On today’s battlefield, this reach is achieved through missiles.

China’s modern missile forces are the largest and most capable on Earth according to even Western analysts. Through a combination of long, medium, intermediate, and short range missiles as well as a variety of cruise missiles, China has the ability to hit targets near and far.

The US government and arms industry-funded Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) through its “China Power” project wrote a paper titled, “How Are China’s Land-based Conventional Missile Forces Evolving?,” which admitted:

Conventionally armed (non-nuclear) missiles have become an increasingly important component of military power. They can be employed to deter threats or project power hundreds or thousands of kilometers away. As part of sweeping efforts to modernize the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), China has developed one of the most powerful land-based conventional missile arsenals in the world.

The same paper would also admit:

According to the US Department of Defense (DoD), China’s missile forces in 2000 “were generally of short range and modest accuracy.” In the years since then, China has developed the world’s “largest and most diverse” arsenal of ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles.

The PLA Rocket Force, which maintains and operates China’s land-based conventional and nuclear missiles, has fielded multiple new missile systems over the last several years. Many of these missiles are capable of carrying both conventional and nuclear payloads.

The paper describes cruise missiles able to hit land targets anywhere on potential battlefields like Taiwan, carrier-killer missiles reportedly able to target and destroy US carrier groups, and hypersonic missiles that can penetrate the most advanced Western missile defense systems. Even without the ability to penetrate Western missile defenses, the sheer number of Chinese missiles could saturate and overwhelm them.

China’s missile forces have been built up specifically to keep the United States and its allies from building up military forces along its periphery and thus threaten Chinese territorial integrity. Together with Chinese air defenses and anti-ship systems, China has assembled formidable anti-access, area denial (A2AD) capabilities that would prevent US military forces from even reaching Chinese targets let alone engaging them.

It is also worth noting that China has developed significantly capable multiple launch rocket systems (MLRS) in the form of its Type PCL191. It fires more rockets than its US counterparts, fires them further, and with at least as much accuracy guided by China’s BeiDou Navigation Satellite System.

A Business Insider article titled, “China’s new rocket launcher system is its most powerful ever, and it’s looming over the Taiwan Strait,” would note:

The system is capable of firing eight 370 mm rockets a distance of 350 km or two 750 mm ballistic missiles 500 km.

This means that China’s MLRS capabilities can reach any location in or around Taiwan from the mainland. In fact the bulk of any potential Chinese military operation regarding Taiwan and potential US intervention can be carried out from the mainland with China’s extensive and capable missile and rocket forces.

The Shield: Chinese A2AD

Russian military operations in Ukraine have been defined by Russia’s own long range fires as well as A2AD. It’s premier S-400 air defense system exists at the top of an ecosystem of other shorter range air defenses that when networked and layered make the air space they protect virtually impenetrable. Together with long range strike weapons like artillery and short-range ballistic missiles like the Iskander, there is nowhere for Ukrainian forces to hide and certainly no way for them to advance into Russia positions. By moving these capabilities forward, Russia has been incrementally securing territory from the regime in Kiev.

Not only has China emulated many tactics and strategies from Russia, it has also outright purchased the best the Russian Federation has to offer. Between 2018-2020 China purchased two regiments of Russia’s S-400 systems. China also produces a wide variety of its own air defense systems based on the Russian S-300, Russia’s Tor system, as well as systems incorporating certain aspects of the US Patriot missile system.

Update on Russian Ops in Ukraine (August 14, 2022)

August 14, 2022 (The New Atlas) - Update on Russian military operations in Ukraine for August 14, 2022.

  • Russian forces continue to make incremental progress along the Siversk-Bakhmut defense line even according to pro-Ukrainian sources; 
  • There is no sign of any Ukrainian offensive around Kherson, even according to the Western media;
  • Another US-supplied HIMARS has been destroyed according to the Russian MoD, that is now 8 out of 16 sent to Ukraine destroyed; 
  • The Pentagon is now struggling to explain why it is unable to supply Ukraine with sufficient weapons needed to execute the ever-pending “Kherson Offensive” yet to materialize;
  • Claims made by the Pentagon regarding the effectiveness of various weapon systems sent have been contradicted by recently discovered documents from the US military itself; 
  • The US Army claims the effectiveness of common US anti-tank weapons like the Javelin and the AT-4 is around 19% among trained US soldiers. This would be much lower among Ukrainian troops; 
  • The Western media has decided to assign credit to Ukraine for a recent explosion in Crimea despite Kiev denying any involvement; 
  • Ukraine is shelling Zaporozhzhia Nuclear Power Plant in an attempt to force Russian troops to leave through international pressure;

China Gives America a Taste of its own Geopolitics

August 12, 2022 (Brian Berletic - New Eastern Outlook) - Under the US’ own one China policy, Washington recognizes there is only one China, that Taiwan is a part of China, and that there is only one government of China, the People’s Republic of China (PRC) in Beijing. Despite this, the US undermines Chinese sovereignty over Taiwan by treating the island as a de facto nation and the Republic of China in Taipei as its de facto legitimate government.

This culminated most recently in the visit by US Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi to Taiwan against Beijing’s warnings and has predictably triggered what many analysts in the West are considering the “Fourth Strait Crisis” in which tensions between the US-backed regime in Taipei and the legitimate government of China have escalated to near-conflict levels.

Also as predicted, with the continual rise of Chinese economic and military power, the US’ own maxim of “might makes right” has boomeranged around and now threatens the very status quo Washington was abusing to incrementally infringe on Chinese sovereignty.

Chinese Military Might Seeks to Make Taiwan Question Right

In the wake of Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan, massive Chinese military drills were launched including a de facto air and sea blockade of the island as well as simulated assaults on Taiwan’s military infrastructure around Taipei and its southern Tainan and Kaohsiung regions.  What was first dismissed as a “tantrum” by an “embarrassed Beijing” is quickly shaping into a much more deliberate and complex reaction meant to reshape both the status of the Taiwan Strait as well as the status of Taiwan itself.

US representatives appear to believe that the recent exercises are only the beginning of what is an incremental process of implementing greater and permanent control over Taiwan by Being. A Guardian article titled, “China resumes military drills off Taiwan after shelving US talks,” would note:

The US defence department policy chief, Colin Kahl, said the Pentagon had not changed the assessment given last year by the former chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, Mark Milley, that China was unlikely to invade Taiwan in the next two years. However, Kahl said Beijing was trying to “salami-slice their way into a new status quo”.

“A lot has been made of the missile strikes but really it’s the activities in the strait itself, the sheer number of maritime and air assets that are crossing over this de facto centre line, creeping closer to Taiwan shores, where it’s clear that Beijing is trying to create a kind of new normal,” he said.

The article would also note that the recent exercises demonstrate China’s growing abilities. The article claimed:

Timothy Heath, a defence researcher at the Rand Corporation, said China’s drills over the past few days showed the PLA was strengthening its ability to carry out a blockade.

“A blockade could be executed alone or in conjunction with other military options such as missile barrages or an invasion of Taiwan,” he said.

Indeed, China has one of the largest and most capable missile arsenals in the world even according to Western experts.

The US-based government and arms industry-funded Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in a China Power paper titled, “How Are China’s Land-based Conventional Missile Forces Evolving?,” would explain:

As part of sweeping efforts to modernize the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), China has developed one of the most powerful land-based conventional missile arsenals in the world.

Chinese missiles combined with formidable air and sea defenses make up its anti-access, area denial capabilities, capabilities advanced enough to prevent the United States from intervening should Beijing choose to fully resolve this crisis of Washington’s making.

China is Pushing Back, But How Far?

It is now a matter of waiting to see just how far Beijing is willing to go down each respective path; economically, politically, and militarily. If China’s recent Global Times article, “PLA extends ‘Taiwan encirclement’ exercises with anti-submarine warfare, showcases unrivaled area denial capability; ‘drills will not stop until reunification’,” is any indication, Beijing is prepared to go all the way.

Poland’s Position as the “Next Ukraine”

July 30, 2022 (Brian Berletic - New Eastern Outlook) - While Western governments and the Western media continue clinging to the hope of an eventual “victory” for Kiev’s forces in Ukraine, the “frontline” is quietly being moved back to western Ukraine and even Poland just across the border. Recent pledges by NATO as well as arms deliveries this year and next appear to be headed in the direction of using Poland as the next battering ram with which US-led NATO will use against Russia.

More immediately, Poland could serve as a springboard for launching a NATO incursion into Ukraine, not necessarily to confront Russian forces directly, but to establish a “buffer zone” in western Ukraine just as the US and NATO-ally Turkey did in Syria.

The Build Up Continues

Poland has hosted a build-up of US troops since as early as the beginning of February 2022. US state media Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty in their February 5, 2022 article, “US Soldiers Arriving In Europe To Reinforce NATO Amid Russian Buildup,” noted the movement of US troops to Europe and specifically Poland as well as the transfer of US troops in Germany to Romania which also shares a border with Ukraine.

More recently, a Retuers article, “US to boost military presence in Europe as NATO bolsters its eastern flank,” would note:

US President Joe Biden pledged more American troops, warplanes and warships for Europe on Wednesday as NATO agreed the biggest strengthening of its deterrents since the Cold War in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The article also mentioned Poland specifically, stating:

The United States will also create a new permanent army headquarters in Poland, which was immediately welcomed by Polish president Andrzej Duda, as Warsaw long sought a permanent US military base on its soil. “It is a fact that strengthens our safety a lot … in the difficult situation which we are in,” Duda said.

It should be kept in mind that similar sentiments had helped reinforce US-NATO involvement in Ukraine since 2014, ultimately precipitating the current crisis rather than strengthening any sense of “safety.”