After an earlier post on Taiwanese and Japanese counterstrike capabilities, a student emailed with questions. Here are my explanations and clarifications. In this analysis let’s separate the strategic from the tactical. The strategic objective for any democracy – Taiwan Republic, Japan, Ukraine, Poland – is to avoid war without surrendering democratic sovereignty and independence. The strategic cost of a democracy not having counterstrike capacity is sadly being played out in Ukraine – where the invading belligerent can lob long-range missiles at any location inside Ukraine, yet residents of Moscow can go on their business as if they did not start a war of annexation. It has also forced the Ukrainians to tolerate the democratic West offering weapons with an eyedrop – in pace, in quantity, in quality since 2014. The democratic west is even able to impose the unreasonable and irrational rule that the Russians can hit Ukraine, but Ukraine may not strike targets inside Russia.
On the tactical. Japan’s current inability to strike at any targets in communist China means that when the Chinese communists hit at strategic Japanese installations, at best Japan could take defensive measures, but must rely on the US to prevent the sources of attack from perpetuating the violence. Meaning, that in any conflict where one side is artificially forced to not have counterstrike capabilities, the conflict always lasts longer – there is no incentive for the Russians to stop; there will not be an incentive for the Chinese communists to change course. Worse, it means convenient and comfortable Chinese military bases to strike Japan will all be available to Beijing – and Tokyo must rely on a US POTUS to not get weak at his knees and to act.
How many democratically elected leaders of any nation would voluntarily allow her nation’s national security to be contingent on the determination and courage of a foreign leader – even the President of the United States of America? This is also why the labels “hawks” and “doves” or even “peace” and “war” as used among western academia and officialdom and press are meaningless. Before February 24 not one soul in democratic Kyiv wanted war, hawkish or not. Ukraine did nothing to provoke, unless you, like some western enlightened believe, by merely breathing and existing Ukraine was provoking an attack. The unfortunate situation Ukraine found itself in was being forced by western powers to be under armed. Not coincidentally, the same western policymakers who ensured Ukraine was weak enough to look attractive to Moscow to attack are the same who have tried to sabotage Taiwan’s ability to counterstrike and be fully armed for decades. Japan is a great nation and a regional-multiregional power. It cannot and must not remain without the ability to strike at the sources of thousands of Chinese communist ballistic missiles aimed at Japan and its democratic allies. This is why I keep predicting, that not only will the Japanese double their military, we will see full-sized carriers, tactical and strategic nuclear-capable missiles, and Japanese officers returning to Taiwan Republic very soon. 5.8.2022
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