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Thread: conventional deterrence

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    conventional deterrence

    just thinking through this with respect to the NK example. i'm in the middle of writing an article about conventional deterrence.

    prior to the Kims having nukes, they exercised effective conventional deterrence by threatening to turn Seoul into rubble through artillery.

    could conventional missiles or radar-guided long-range artillery replicate this effect? if so, how much would you need? I'm thinking of the Taiwan Strait. counter-value conventional deterrence.
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    2Arty already done the work for this. The CCP is so tight ass with the release codes, even in exercises, that they said screw it, they'll go conventional and don't have to goto the CMC for release authority. 5x500lb bombs to replicate the effect, ie the desired damage, not the actual blast, of a tac nuke. For hardened targets, 2 bombs are required, a hardened penetrator to crack the barrier to be immediately followed by a thermobaric to leak the explosives into the cracks before ignition.

    For comparision, Baghdad suffered the equivelent of a nuclear strike by 700+ cruise missiles but those cruise missiles were specifically aimed targets to achieve the desired damage. For equivlent damage, it would be a 3x3 nuke strike. 3 nukes per target (redundency) at 3 targets in Baghdad, so a total of 9 nukes.

    Obviously, this does not apply to Kim. He has nowhere near the accuracy needed to replicate the effects. Lastly, it was not NK's artillery threatening Seoul that was the problem. It was KJI's actual ability to march to Seoul. He lost that during the famines and never regained it.

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    i'm thinking the other way around. what if Taiwan were to threaten the PRC with conventional strikes-- counter-value attacks instead of trying to knock out military facilities. too many military facilities anyway, and too much defense.

    the idea is that ANY taiwan invasion scenario will end up with tens of thousands of Taiwan civilian dead. how effectively could Taiwan repay that favor.
    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

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    The immediate targets that comes to mind are the stock echanges and the communications hubs. We're limiting to single buildings instead of a whole city. The electrical grid can be crashed with relative ease. Then, there is the 3 Gorges Dam though I don't know if it can be done via conventional explosives.

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    hmm, great point. precise conventional strikes could make counter-value attacks much more horrific and would be qualitatively different from the type of counter-value attacks that the usually second-rate military of a nation reliant on counter-value could usually generate.

    i'm trying to envision what a non-nuclear Taiwan Samson Option would look like. it seems to me that if the PRC knew that Taiwan was planning something like this, this would be a much bigger deterrent than merely inflicting more casualties on the PLA.
    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

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    There won't be a lot of blood and dead bodies but the effects are nonetheless terrifying. Chinese coastal cities are now reliant on electronic money transfers. Destroy the banking servers and people don't have money to buy food or worst, their life savings disappears if the Taiwanese targets those servers and the off site back ups.

    But here's the thing, it does not have the same deterrent value as a nuke. We can see the nuke and we know what a nuke can do. All we see here is a 500lb bomb and we know what a 500lb bomb can do. Unless you're trained to look at the threats and also know where you're vulnerable, you're not going to fear that 500lb bomb as you do a nuke and hence, the deterrent value is much, much less.

    In the case of 2Arty, they have 2000+ SSMs aimed at Taiwan. That's 2000+ 500lb bombs. We can imagine what those 2000+ bombs would do. We just don't imagine them making our smart phones useless.

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    would there be any substitutes that would be able to approach the nuke in visible destruction? i remember the earlier discussion about how a conventional campaign could devastate iran by targeting things like water pipes and sewage plants.

    the CCP fears disorder and chaos. what would be the linchpins that a Taiwan strike could hit that would maximize this?

    for the US this is a much dicier option because the US existence is not at stake. but this wouldn't be true for Taiwan after all.
    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

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    Match 2Arty missile for missile is about the only thing I can think off without tipping your hand. Taiwan CANNOT idenitify their target priorities, else the ML would just create more defences. Let's use the ML's banking system as the example. If Taiwan specifically states that they will attack Chinese banks, then the banks would just make sure they have back up servers out of reach of Taiwanese missiles and back ups on back ups. If the Taiwanese states they would go after the electric grids, then you can be sure the PLAAF would be stationing ABM and SAM sites around their electric grids, making an attack that much harder.

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    it'd still be asymmetric, though. how many ABM and SAM sites would you need to defend an electric grid? similarly, could the PLAAF defend a significant number of sewage plants/water purification plants/etc?

    re-targeting the missiles and doing a barrage would not be difficult, yet the PLAAF would need to defend all of the plausible sites as they don't know which one will get all of the love.

    right now being on the offense is a lot cheaper than being on the defense. hezbollah launches cheap shitty rockets and israel needs to expend several magnitudes more to defend against them via iron dome.
    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

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    Quote Originally Posted by astralis View Post
    it'd still be asymmetric, though. how many ABM and SAM sites would you need to defend an electric grid? similarly, could the PLAAF defend a significant number of sewage plants/water purification plants/etc?

    re-targeting the missiles and doing a barrage would not be difficult, yet the PLAAF would need to defend all of the plausible sites as they don't know which one will get all of the love.

    right now being on the offense is a lot cheaper than being on the defense. hezbollah launches cheap shitty rockets and israel needs to expend several magnitudes more to defend against them via iron dome.
    And this will have to lead to an arms race of sorts. Right now, 2Arty got a 2000+ SSM lead. If 2Arty's numbers stay the same with retiring older SSMs for newer ones, then Taiwan needs at least 1000. There has to be some sort publication (obvsiously not class protected) on how the Taiwanese is aiming to inflict unacceptable damage onto the ML. Just enough info to worry the Chinese but not enough for the Chinese to figure out an effective defence.

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    as far as i know, there already is an arms race, it's just that China is participating and Taiwan isn't, lol. Taiwan is already pretty much covered by 2Arty, so further additions by 2Arty would just be making rubble bounce.

    reading through the white paper Taiwan is looking at asymmetric counter-force options, but even then i think China has enough resources to overwhelm that-- to the point where it's not a particularly strong deterrent by the Taiwanese. counter-FORCE, though, that's a lot more difficult to protect against.
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    Quote Originally Posted by astralis View Post
    as far as i know, there already is an arms race, it's just that China is participating and Taiwan isn't, lol. Taiwan is already pretty much covered by 2Arty, so further additions by 2Arty would just be making rubble bounce.
    Too many targets and not enough bombs. Do recall during the Kuwait War, we launched 2000 sorties a day. That's the enitre 2Arty SSM force right there. During the Iraq War, 750 cruise missiles were tasked with targets just on Baghdad alone. 2Arty is situated to be the straw that broke the camel's back, it is not the decisive force.

    Quote Originally Posted by astralis View Post
    reading through the white paper Taiwan is looking at asymmetric counter-force options, but even then i think China has enough resources to overwhelm that-- to the point where it's not a particularly strong deterrent by the Taiwanese. counter-FORCE, though, that's a lot more difficult to protect against.
    Defence White Papers. Can you point to one, just one, anywhere in the world where they even tried to make it come true? Even for just one year?

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    Wouldn't submarines be a more effective force?

    China is quite dependent on its ship lanes for both imports and exports.Like the Colonel said,2nd Arty cannot win the war alone.The main force has to be a land component raising a flag atop smouldering ruins.But that force has first to sail in sub infested waters(hypothetically).
    The sub force can go for either landing ships or merchant ships,depending on the scenario.

    Which raises the question why there are only 2 Taiwanese subs?
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    Too many targets and not enough bombs. Do recall during the Kuwait War, we launched 2000 sorties a day. That's the enitre 2Arty SSM force right there. During the Iraq War, 750 cruise missiles were tasked with targets just on Baghdad alone. 2Arty is situated to be the straw that broke the camel's back, it is not the decisive force.
    it'd be different mission sets, though. Taiwan's built up enough where the difference between counter-force and counter-value become difficult to discern. those missiles targeting Taiwan political/military leadership will be landing in the middle of taipei and killing a crap ton of civvies. thus there's a political deterrent to the 2Arty mission in addition to the military deterrent.

    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.

    Defence White Papers. Can you point to one, just one, anywhere in the world where they even tried to make it come true? Even for just one year?
    yeah, of course-- that's why i'm writing an article telling them they might consider doing something else :-)
    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

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    Which raises the question why there are only 2 Taiwanese subs?
    main issue, money. Taiwan defense spending is sad. second issue is that China has done a pretty good campaign of shutting down foreign countries from selling subs to TW, so TW is only at the start of designing its own.

    those factors mean that politically Taiwan is dependent upon US action for anything else past the immediate defense of the island.
    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

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