The impact of the Russian military’s withdrawal from Kherson City and the west bank of the Dnipro River in Ukraine earlier this month following humiliating setbacks on the battlefield has resulted in analysts rushing to rethink their projections of the endgame in the stand-off between the West and Russia.
The Ukraine-Russia conflict has become a guide for the United States to prepare a strategy to defend Taiwan against a possible attack by China, according to an analysis.
The US military has in a report on the strategic assessment of the Ukraine crisis detailed the need to prepare a strategy on how to defend Taiwan in case of a possible attack by China, air superiority is the deciding factor in defence against the Chinese forces.
Notably, the US did not agree to the Ukrainian request for enforcing a no-fly zone over its air space as that would have brought it into direct combat with Russia. However, Taiwan is not like Ukraine as it is in a far more vulnerable position, The Hong Kong Post reported citing a military analysis website DefenseOne.
“No matter what other idea guides the defence of the island republic, air superiority will be critical. Washington and Taipei must prepare now to ensure this air superiority….planning for Taiwan’s air defence must be grounded in hard truth, the media outlet quoted the website as saying.
However, according to American military experts, Taiwanese airspace is “much more difficult to defend” than that of Ukraine as Taiwan is separated from US bases by thousands of miles of open Pacific waters and the closest supply routes are through “the Philippine Sea, south along the Ryukyus, or north from Luzon” and all these regions are beyond Taiwanese territory and its Exclusive Economic Zone.
Thus, approving a no-fly war zone over Taiwan means a large territory beyond the island of Taiwan will need to be defended. However, Seth Cropsey, a naval officer and former US Deputy Undersecretary of the Navy, has come up with a four-point strategy that is being discussed within the military circles.
According to this strategy, the US must ensure its naval and aerial superiority in the Ryukyu archipelago which can be turned into an anti-air nest, packed with forward-deployed US Marines and Air Defense Artillery. Further, the US should have an “integrated air defence network” to protect Taiwan from Chinese “missile bombardment”.
The US should also obtain more tanker aircraft as a “no-fly zone would require air combat over Taiwan and near the Taiwan Strait which is extremely close to Chinese territory. Lastly, the US must begin the fight with a significant numerical advantage as according to the naval officer, the fight will boil down to numerical superiority of either force.
In a comparison of the Russia-Ukraine situation to that of China-Taiwan, Cropsey laments US’ casual attitude toward Russian President Vladimir Putin’s attacks on the other Black Sea targets.
“Had we (Americans) taken more seriously (Vladimir) Putin’s attacks on such other Black Sea targets as Georgia and Crimea and acted with greater resolve years ago to help Ukraine defend itself, the war might have been averted. Xi Jinping and his predecessors’ declared intent to subdue Taiwan–if needed, by force–is clear as blue skies. Those skies must be defended over Taiwan if the US is to remain the Pacific’s pre-eminent power and our friends and allies in the region are to continue casting their lot with us,” the media outlet quoted him as saying.