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Thread: conventional deterrence

  1. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by astralis View Post
    for Taiwan's case the issue of too many targets and not enough bombs is far, far worse. so that's why i'm looking at counter-value because that should require a lot fewer munitions for servicing.
    You're looking at this wrong. The ML has to destroy Taiwan's military infrastructure in order to help in their invasion. Taiwan needs only to inflict unacceptable damage, specifically, Taiwan doesn't need to target the whole of China. Just pick one city and devastate it.

    Quote Originally Posted by astralis View Post
    yeah, of course-- that's why i'm writing an article telling them they might consider doing something else :-)
    At times, I wonder why we spend so much time and money on white papers. Nobody believes them and nobody uses it as the bible.

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    Just pick one city and devastate it.
    would threatening to devastate one city really be enough as deterrent pressure? or is that just what would be in the boundaries of the realistic for Taiwan munitions?

    IE, LeMay firebombed Japan into oblivion-- but with modern targeting systems and munitions how much would it take to replicate that today? i don't know that we've ever considered this because in the modern era we've not sought to use conventional weapons in a counter-value way. closest we get is Vietnam but not even then.
    There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "My ignorance is just as good as your knowledge."- Isaac Asimov

  3. #18
    Senior Contributor SteveDaPirate's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by astralis View Post
    would threatening to devastate one city really be enough as deterrent pressure? or is that just what would be in the boundaries of the realistic for Taiwan munitions?

    IE, LeMay firebombed Japan into oblivion-- but with modern targeting systems and munitions how much would it take to replicate that today? i don't know that we've ever considered this because in the modern era we've not sought to use conventional weapons in a counter-value way. closest we get is Vietnam but not even then.
    Japan was fighting for survival at that point, not for the luxury of returning a lost island to the empire. I think deterring aggression has a much lower threshold than bringing about regime capitulation.

  4. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by astralis View Post
    would threatening to devastate one city really be enough as deterrent pressure? or is that just what would be in the boundaries of the realistic for Taiwan munitions?
    I don't know what is realistic for Taiwan. They're not committing the necessary moneys for anything.

    Quote Originally Posted by astralis View Post
    IE, LeMay firebombed Japan into oblivion-- but with modern targeting systems and munitions how much would it take to replicate that today? i don't know that we've ever considered this because in the modern era we've not sought to use conventional weapons in a counter-value way. closest we get is Vietnam but not even then.
    False comparison. The bombing raids of even Vietnam inflicts extremely high casualties but overkill was the onlly way to ensure a target's destruction. Precision has replaced overkill. However, the death toll would just come from cholera and starvation instead of bombs.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SteveDaPirate View Post
    Japan was fighting for survival at that point, not for the luxury of returning a lost island to the empire. I think deterring aggression has a much lower threshold than bringing about regime capitulation.
    Like

  6. #21
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    so here's the sense i'm getting-

    - it is difficult for conventional weapons to work as a substitute for nuclear weapons for a counter-value attack due to lack of shock
    - precision bombing of counter-value targets like sewage plants/fuel/etc would still require an enormous number of bombs
    - on the other hand, in this invasion scenario, you would not need to credibly threaten to devastate all of China to create a political deterrent value, just one important city

    all very useful for my understanding.
    There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "My ignorance is just as good as your knowledge."- Isaac Asimov

  7. #22
    Senior Contributor Mihais's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WABs_OOE View Post
    You're looking at this wrong. The ML has to destroy Taiwan's military infrastructure in order to help in their invasion. Taiwan needs only to inflict unacceptable damage, specifically, Taiwan doesn't need to target the whole of China. Just pick one city and devastate it.

    At times, I wonder why we spend so much time and money on white papers. Nobody believes them and nobody uses it as the bible.
    Sir,with respect,that is not effective detterence.Detterence functions by telling the bigger guy you're going to break his arm so that he'll be impotent when other big guys show up.Devastating a city is just a pinch for PRC.Especially since they can easily evacuate the population(by foot if needed) and/or supply it with water,food and medical equipment real fast.You need 100 water bowsers doing 5 trips/day to keep a city like Shanghai supplied with water.
    Unacceptable damage is going for one of their COG's.Like hi-tech equipment for industry or maritime lanes.
    Those who know don't speak
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  8. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mihais View Post
    Unacceptable damage is going for one of their COG's.Like hi-tech equipment for industry or maritime lanes.
    To this point, the easiest (and most cost effective) way for Taiwan to inflict significant strategic pain on China might be an investment into a large stockpile of Quickstrike-ER mines. They can be deployed by any aircraft equipped to drop JDAMs, can glide for 45 miles from 35,000ft and retain the GPS level accuracy with a CEP of only 6 meters on the bottom! This would give ROC F-16s a fighting chance to do significant damage from standoff ranges before they are overwhelmed by the PLA's greater capabilities.

    Mining the waters around major Chinese export zones like Guangzhou/Hong Kong and Shanghai would cut into the mainland economy HARD as all commercial traffic would stop and exports are the muscle behind China's economic health.

    This might actually prove to be more effective than attacking cities directly as it wouldn't inspire the same nationalistic desire for vengeance on the mainland since civilians aren't being slaughtered. Perhaps more importantly, it would undercut the CCP's social bargain of political quiescence among the masses in exchange for economic growth. This would undermine the CCP's authority and lay the groundwork for political unrest at home that Beijing would have to put down.
    Last edited by SteveDaPirate; 16 Mar 18, at 14:42.

  9. #24
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    Gentlemen,

    You both are thinking Clausewitz, not Sun Tzu. Deterrence is NOT warfighting. It is an extremely hard concept but the idea is actually NOT to fight a war but to make the entire concept unappealing. A thorn bush between you and a lion is a deterrence. You with a .30-06 against a lion is warfighting. If the lion is hungry enough, he will go through the thorn bush to get to you but he will bleed and be sick for days on end and might even die afterwards. That thorn bush, however, will persuay the lion to look for an easier meal first.

    In this context, the ability to destroy one city actually threatens several cities. The Taiwanese ain't stupid enough to tell the Chinese which city they would have chosen. Shanghai, Hong Kong, Xiamen, Zhangzhou, Quanzhou and Fuzhou would be under threat. That means that the Chinese would have 6 different civil defence plans for each city. It also means planting fear in 6 different cities. A man losing his job is hardship. A man with his children under threat is fear.

    There is a 2nd part to deterrence and that is the olive branch. The first part is to make clear what the Taiwanese is capable of. The 2nd part is Taipei reaching out to Beijing and saying, let's not go there.

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    Sir,I believe we're thinking at the same thing.Detterence is not warfighting,but it needs a warfighting capability,otherwise is just a bluff waiting to be called.To function it needs a variant of MAD .Only the small party dies quickly ,while the bigger one takes a little longer(or risks others coming for the kill).With both sides understanding this,the olive branch can be used.

    The issue is that the Chinese can make 6 civil defense plans,but since they know only one city will be attacked with any effect,they might risk it.Because it's one city hurt vs Taiwan gained.
    The other 5 may live in fear,but the PLA will be relieved.The man with children under threat :1.decides nothing,the PLA and the Party do that 2.he'll be very angry and will want a quick end of it 3. if kids die,he'll want revenge.
    Nothing that might make him throw rocks at the Party office.
    I know I'm thinking what can happen if missiles start flying,but telling PRC to look for other prey when you are the ROC might not work.
    Those who know don't speak
    He said to them, "But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don't have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one. Luke 22:36

  11. #26
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    i think it MAY work under the context of PRC aggression. if Xi decides he wants to finish the Taiwan question once and for all, that is a different kettle of fish than Taiwan deciding that today's the day to declare independence.
    There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "My ignorance is just as good as your knowledge."- Isaac Asimov

  12. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mihais View Post
    Sir,I believe we're thinking at the same thing.Detterence is not warfighting,but it needs a warfighting capability,otherwise is just a bluff waiting to be called.To function it needs a variant of MAD .Only the small party dies quickly ,while the bigger one takes a little longer(or risks others coming for the kill).With both sides understanding this,the olive branch can be used.
    How is China deterring the US being protected by an ABM shield?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mihais View Post
    The issue is that the Chinese can make 6 civil defense plans,but since they know only one city will be attacked with any effect,they might risk it.Because it's one city hurt vs Taiwan gained.
    The idea is to complicate the planning up the ying-yang, not to actually suffer the attack. Both Taiwan and China sufferred losses of entire provinces through earthquakes and both emerged relatively stronger with new builds and new code enforcements. You have to actually prepare for the loss of six cities, including what it means to your economic picture afterwards. You can't just evacuate 6 cities. That would halt your economy right there.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mihais View Post
    The other 5 may live in fear,but the PLA will be relieved.The man with children under threat :1.decides nothing,the PLA and the Party do that 2.he'll be very angry and will want a quick end of it 3. if kids die,he'll want revenge.
    And if that man decides to leave the city before the bombing starts and take his family to safety at the farm? What happens when a mass exodus of your workforce in 6 cities happens?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mihais View Post
    I know I'm thinking what can happen if missiles start flying,but telling PRC to look for other prey when you are the ROC might not work.
    Yes, none of this is insurmountable but it is headache and heartache no one wants to think through, especially when the other guy is trying to do bigger business with you.

  13. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by WABs_OOE View Post
    Gentlemen,

    You both are thinking Clausewitz, not Sun Tzu. Deterrence is NOT warfighting. It is an extremely hard concept but the idea is actually NOT to fight a war but to make the entire concept unappealing.
    Any capability that increases the cost of an attempted invasion of Taiwan to unacceptable levels is considered to be deterrence is it not?

    You've described how ballistic missiles could hold mainland cities at risk, complicating PLA defensive planning.

    Would rapidly deployable sea mines be any different? It once again complicates defensive planning as China has a number of busy ports and sea based commercial exports are the lifeblood of their economy. I would actually argue that sea based mines would have relatively little ability to stop an actual invasion, but would massively increase the economic cost imposed on the mainland as exports are brought to a standstill for months dramatically raising the overall cost of an invasion.

  14. #29
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    The hard truth is that Taiwan should be planning both. They're doing neither.

    Mihais and I are talking targetting priorities, not capabilities. If it comes down to a matter of dollars, SSMs are more flexible than sea mines which is a one dimensional threat, the sea trade. SSMs threatens a city, CoG nodes, and piers (which would replicate your sea mine results). However, the more assets, the more complicated the counter would have to be. So, sea mines should be included.

    Instead, however, the primary Taiwan deterrence is to NOT declare independence.

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