Not every lesson from the Russian invasion of Ukraine is clear yet because many things about how the war has been waged are shrouded in mystery – the #1 mystery about the war I want answered, and for which I have not yet seen a plausible explanation for, is how the hell was Ukraine able to deny Russia air supremacy during the first six months of the conflict when Ukraine had limited amounts of non-MANPAD air defense systems donated to it by NATO.
There are, however, already a number of lessons for Taiwan that are clearly applicable to its strategic circumstances.
Enhancing Taiwan’s drone and anti-drone capabilities has been widely mentioned for obvious reasons.
Other lessons aside from drone strategy and tactics that are at least as important are –
- Taiwan’s missile forces need to maintain high readiness offensive capabilities against air and logistical targets on mainland China, not just anti-ship capabilities.
Taiwan is correct to increase mass production of anti-ship missiles.
However, the island also needs to have longer range missiles such as Tomahawks and/or Tomahawk equivalents (mostly on mobile ground based launch platforms) that can strike targets at over 1,000 kilometers in order to destroy key logistical and air assets located on mainland Chinese.
The summer Russian offensive was brought to a halt by HIMARS missiles that destroyed Russian logistics and air defense systems. These strikes brought an end to most of Russia’s offensive power and allowed Ukraine to finally launch counter-attacks.
The Ukrainians could have caused even more havoc against Russian air power if they were given missiles with range that could strike air bases deeper in Russian territory than HIMARS.
Taiwan should therefore be given longer range cruise missiles to enable it to strike Chinese naval logistics hubs and supporting air assets in order to halt any naval offensive by the mainland.
They also need to keep their anti-ship and cruise missile forces in a high state of readiness so that in the event of an invasion they are able to immediately strike hundreds of Chinese warships as well as logistical and air force targets deep in the mainland before Chinese missiles can disable Taiwan’s offensive power.
- The US and Japan should sign a formal treaty that will legally bind them to defend Taiwan from an invasion.
Ending strategic ambiguity and formally committing America and Japan to defend Taiwan will both give Taiwan extra time to build up its defenses and ensure Taiwan’s independence in the event of war because China would not be able to conquer the island, which enjoys many anti-ship defenses as well as defense-favorable geography, for at least a decade if China would also have to fight, in addition to Taiwan, the powerful US and Japanese navies.
- Enhancing Taiwan’s electronic warfare capabilities and defenses.
Russia erred by not fully exploiting its early advantage in electronic warfare against Ukraine.
Taiwan should not bet China will make the same mistake that Russia did.
- Opening naval and air bases for Taiwan on the Japanese mainland.
In the opening of a conflict the Taiwanese Navy and Air Force would not last long in head-to-head engagements with with PLA Navy and Air Force due to their small size.
They would, however, be a good auxiliary force to link up with a combined American and Japanese naval and air task force while Taiwan’s land based missile systems inflict damage against the Chinese invasion forces.
Therefore, Taiwan should have preexisting naval and air bases setup on mainland Japan so that they could use those bases to deploy their ships and planes in the event of war.
From there, they could link with American and Japanese forces for engagements against China.
One thought on “The Military Lessons of the Russo-Ukrainian War for Taiwan & America”
This conflict is an inevitability.
China received the benefit of what was referred to “outsourcing” in the nineties, when I first entered the business world. Since the seventies, coincidentally aligning with the formation of the Trilateral Commission, major efforts undertaken in gutting the United States manufacturing segment of the macro-economy and relocating this manufacturing, en masse, to China, alongside other nations, where “cheap labor” would be exploited by the newly emerging supranational business conglomerates.
Some examples that come to mind are GE, Nike, Cisco, IBM, Apple, Walmart, Schwinn Bicycle, Converse. In varying degrees and timeframes, the manufacturing of goods – radios, raincoats, refrigerators, razors, rope, rotors – uprooted from the fabric of the United States “Main Street” way of life and profitably outsourced, Jack Welch style to China.
China thrived and has grown into a juggernaut and this economic backbone has given gusto to the Civilizational-state of China. The politburo maintains that being Chinese is the defining characteristic of China. Whoa, a novel concept..and it is a novel concept for in the United States if one dares even refer to the nation-state as more than “an idea, an experiment” – well that person is castigated as racist/bigot/Nazi/Fascist/white supremacist/conspiracy theorist/etc etc. The bottom line is that China has gone against the grain of the economic reforms put in place formally in 1978 that were spearheaded by Kissinger, Rockefeller, those connections – stems of the Trilateral Commission – that pool of resources saw China as the fertile ground for a neoliberal, consumerist system of capitalism , just as the United States is today.
And Xi will not have it. Proud people of China who are proud to be Chinese will not have it. China is a Civilizational-state that is doing seemingly good business with it’s neighbors, we see the Belt and Road Initiative, BRICS, etc.
We saw China consolidate Hong Kong without much blowback from the US/EU neoliberal, militaristic – thing. This debt laden thing of financialization legerdemain – with the best weapons – did not push back at the early consolidation of Hong Kong.
But Taiwan is different. And that is the reason for the formation of AUKUS. This was right after the publicized portion of the pullout from Afghanistan. AUKUS is a big deal – for this is the crowning of Australia as a nuclear armed nation. That is the purpose of AUKUS, to have nuclear weapons, alongside the spirit of the NATO blob.
This is all very sad. The world is in for massive conflict escalations all across the globe. Batter, bruise and bombard people with psyops, radical culture war shocks, inflation, recession, deepfakes, marketing of overpriced items that serve little necessity, Cold War 2.0 and Hot War- the world is on fire.
Who will save us from the flames?