Various strategies have been put forth for conducting a war with
. Why is
having a strategy important? Because the
strategy determines what equipment, assets, training, and tactics we should be
focusing on. Is the LCS (or F-35 or
Zumwalt or whatever) useful? Well, that
depends on the strategy that we envision using.
One of the common
war strategies put forth is the distant blockade. In simple terms, this strategy envisions a
long range, stand off, world wide blockade imposed to deny raw materials. Over time, China will lose the ability to continue waging war and
will be forced to accept some sort of negotiated peace settlement. China
Before I go any further, let me clearly state that this is simply an objective evaluation of one possible strategy. It is not the strategy that ComNavOps would endorse!
This strategy has the following attributes.
- It ensures a very long term process.
has immense natural resources available within its own borders and has many overland supply routes through other countries. It is highly unlikely that the China would be willing to interdict many of the overland supply routes since they pass through other countries. US
- It minimizes large scale, direct combat in favor of small, lower end blockade actions and counteractions.
- It requires world wide military actions and necessitates using a large number of ships and aircraft, possibly more than we have available.
- It would be almost exclusively an Air Force and Navy action.
- It would cause immense disruption of the world’s economy for an extended period of time (to be fair, any war between superpowers will disrupt the world’s economy – the time frame being the key issue).
- It would result in a war of attrition.
Let’s examine the basic premise: that
could be “starved” into peace.
As stated, China has large amounts of natural resources within its borders. Consider how long N.Korea and China have held out in the face of severe sanctions (an
uncontested blockade, in essence) and neither of those countries has the resources
that Iran does. In
WWII, China was able to continue feeding the homeland and
securing sufficient raw materials to continue waging war for four years despite
being a very small country and an easily isolated island nation. Likewise, Japan was able to continue producing war materials right
up until the end of the war. Yes, each
experienced shortages of various materials (as did the Germany ) but the overall war production effort carried on
and the populations were at least minimally fed. US is many times larger and can’t be physically
isolated. How much longer could China hold out? Does
anyone think the welfare of its citizens is the Chinese government’s main
concern? We’re probably looking at
decades before any serious degradation of war effort would occur. Could the China and world economies withstand this? Could we absorb decades worth of attrition? US
In order to be successful in any useful time frame, the blockade would have to extend to
’s overland supply routes. This would require very long range forays by
aircraft to attack the routes, pipelines, etc. and would necessitate flying through
other country’s airspace. Many of those
countries would be unlikely to allow such intrusions – China , notably, comes to mind. Russia
The final and most important aspect of such a strategy is the end result. What would the end result be? Answering that starts with understanding the beginning of the war. The
will not initiate a war with US . Thus, the
assumed start of the war would, undoubtedly, entail the seizure by China of islands, land, or, specifically, China in an initial “blitzkrieg”. Then, after many years of blockade the end
result would be a negotiated peace settlement demanded by a war-weary Western
world that can’t match the long term willingness of Taiwan to continue the conflict. The reality, in such a peace negotiation, is
that China would offer to return a few pieces of land or allow
a semi-autonomous governing of China under Chinese control (to be later, slowly,
scrapped). There would certainly be no
return to the original boundaries and conditions. Thus, a negotiated settlement would be a win
for Taiwan . China would have secured the vast majority of its war
In fact, if
were smart, they would grab a few extra pieces of
land at the start of the war, that they don’t really want, to use as bargaining
chips during eventual peace talks at which point they would “magnanimously”
offer to return them, thereby demonstrating their commitment to, and extreme
desire for, peace. China
After the negotiated settlement giving
most of what it wanted, China would pause, rebuild its military and prepare for
the next round of annexation and conflict. China
We see then, that the net result of the blockade strategy is to allow
to achieve the majority of its wartime goals at a
relatively small cost while leaving China with a fully functioning military and supporting
defense industry and completely intact civilian infrastructure, thus ensuring
that the entire cycle will be repeated down the road. China
The blockade strategy is a flawed strategy that accomplishes nothing for the