Written by Piero Messina
How to prevent China from attacking Taiwan? The gurus at the US Army War College in Carlisle in Pennsylvania have clear ideas. To make Taiwan less attractive, it is enough to destroy its semiconductor companies. The paper is called “Broken Nest, deterring China from invading Taiwan” and was presented in November last year by two researchers from the military study center, Jared M. McKinney and Peter Harris.
The idea must be taken very seriously. Us Army War College is one of the most authoritative think tanks in the US military world. The college was born around the Carlisle Barracks, founded in 1757. Since 1904 the center has formed the military elite of the United States and allied countries. From the courses of the US Army War College have passed soldiers who have made the history of the US army such as George Patton (Landing in Normandy in the Second World War) William Westmoreland (the commander of the US forces in the Vietnam War) and Norman Schwarzkopf Jr ( the General who led the forces of the anti-Saddam coalition in the first Gulf War). In recent years, the College of Carlisle has also trained foreign armed and intelligence forms, including ISI, the Pakistani secret service.
In the report published by the College, it is clearly written that the destruction of semiconductor factories makes Taiwan unattractive for China. It is a crazy proposal: destroying Taiwanese chip factories means bringing the entire world industry to its knees, from the computer and smartphone and hi-tech sectors to the automotive sector. The repercussions would be devastating on a planetary scale. Taiwan produces more than 90 percent of all chips made globally.
Here’s what McKInney and Harris write: “To start, the United States and Taiwan should lay plans for a targeted scorched-earth strategy that would render Taiwan not just unattractive if ever seized by force, but positively costly to maintain. This could be done most effectively by threatening to destroy facilities belonging to the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, the most important chipmaker in the world and China’s most important supplier. Samsung based in South Korea (a US ally) is the only alternative for cutting-edge designs. Despite a huge Chinese effort for a “Made in China” chip industry, only 6 percent of semiconductors used in China were produced domestically in 2020. If Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company’s facilities went offline, companies around the globe would find it difficult to continue operations. This development would mean China’s high-tech industries would be immobilized at precisely the same time the nation was embroiled in a massive war effort. Even when the formal war ended, the economic costs would persist for years.
According to the two researchers, moreover, “Deterring a Chinese invasion of Taiwan without recklessly threatening a great-power war is both possible and necessary through a tailored deterrence package that goes beyond either fighting over Taiwan or abandoning it”.
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