Will the US defend Taiwan after TSMC has build chip factories in Arizona and Japan?


TSMC says has begun construction at its Arizona chip factory site

“Wei said the planned factory remains on track to start volume production of chips using the company’s 5-nanometer production technology starting in 2024.”

Nikkei Asia:

TSMC in Japan: 5 things to know about its chip factory plans

“TSMC’s new plants will not have an immediate impact on the chip shortage, as neither the Arizona plant nor the Kumamoto one are expected to enter mass production until 2024.”

Surprise attacks are an essential aspect of war, so it’s basically impossible to know if or when PLA will attack Taiwan. I speculate and guess however that China will start an invasion in October of 2023 or March 2024, since the weather is optimal in those months. But when the US has secured its chip supply by getting semiconductors from TSMC in Arizona and Japan then it’s less likely that Washington will be motivated to defend Taiwan if mainland China begins an invasion with hypersonic missile attacks on TSMC in Taiwan.

In late 2023 it’s likely that Japan, South Korea and the Philippines will be so heavily armed that no domino effect will occur if mainland China uses the military to reunite with Taiwan.

One can assume that Beijing will attack Taipei in October of 2023 if CCP notices that DPP and US Republicans have a good chance of winning elections in 2024. But a war may not lead to an easy victory, far from it. The Diplomat:

Why a Taiwan Invasion Would Look Nothing Like D-Day

” … The country of Taiwan (also known as the Republic of China) is made up of over 100 islands, most too tiny to see on the map. Many of Taiwan’s outer islands bristle with missiles, rockets, and artillery guns. Their granite hills have been honeycombed with tunnels and bunker systems.”

“The main island of Taiwan is 394 kilometers long and 144 kilometers across at its widest point. It has 258 peaks over 3,000 meters in elevation. The tallest, Yushan, or “Jade Mountain,” is just under 4,000 meters high.”

“Unlike Normandy, the coastal terrain here is a defender’s dream come true. Taiwan has only 14 small invasion beaches, and they are bordered by cliffs and urban jungles. Linkou Beach near Taipei provides an illustrative example. Towering directly over the beach is Guanyin Mountain (615 meters). On its right flank is the Linkou Plateau (250 meters), and to its left is Yangming Mountain (1,094 meters). Structures made of steel-reinforced concrete blanket the surrounding valleys. Taiwan gets hits by typhoons and earthquakes all the time, so each building and bridge is designed to withstand severe buffeting.”

“This extreme geography is densely garrisoned by armed defenders. In wartime, Taiwan could mobilize a counter-invasion force of at least 450,000 troops, and probably far more. …”

“Over 2 million young Taiwanese men are in the military’s reserve system, along with a large number of registered government personnel and contractors. …” (…)

“It would be the first country-on-country war where both attacker and defender had modern, long range missiles in their arsenals capable of cracking open ships and devastating land targets with precision from hundreds of kilometers away. No one actually knows what such a fight would look like because it’s never happened before.”

“Both sides would have advanced cyber weapons, electronic warfare suites, smart mines, and drone swarms that have never been tested in real-world combat. Both would have satellites and at least some ability to attack satellites. Both would have economic leverage to use and the ability to cripple the other’s economy.”

“Both would have large numbers of its citizens living in the other’s territory, a certain but unknown number of whom are saboteurs and spies (and some of those double agents). Both would have the fearful option of using weapons of mass destruction to disperse biological, chemical, and radioactive agents against the other. And both might apply more exotic weapons, such as directed energy weapons and hypersonic missiles.” (…)

“Unlike the U.S. military, the PLA has not seen combat since 1979. As a result, nobody serving today in China has any combat experience except for a handful of geriatric generals. Equally important, the Chinese military does not train in realistic, highly complex environments. These two facts call into question whether or not the PLA could actually pull off a complex invasion operation successfully. If the U.S. came to Taiwan’s defense, few experts would give China good odds.” (…)

“… Commanders planning offensive operations typically want a 3-to-1 superiority over the defender. If the terrain is unfavorable, they might want a 5-to-1 ratio (and sometimes more). Assuming Taiwan had 450,000 defenders, the PLA general in charge would therefore want to have at least 1.35 million men, but probably more like 2.25 million. …” (…)

“The invasion of Taiwan would be the supreme emergency for all sides. It would be unlike anything ever seen before. It would [be] new, different, and unpredictable.” (…)

“… The current ambiguity surrounding Washington’s policy toward Taiwan is destabilizing because it isolates Taipei, emboldens Beijing, and invites miscalculation on all sides.”

China appears in principle (or theory) not to be deterred by a war of attrition. Global Times:

US scheme revealed, not to accept cross-Straits reunification: Global Times editorial

“GOP senators introduced two bills this week, seeking to provide $2 billion to $3 billion in aid to Taiwan island per year to bolster the latter’s defense. US foreign military aid is usually much smaller.”

“We need to make the US aware that no matter what threats it poses or forces it uses, China’s reunification will eventually happen. Setting stumbling blocks to reunification across the Straits would mean a fundamental confrontation.” (…)

“… But even if the US offers adequate defense, it will be to no avail. Washington should sober up to the fact: Although the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) authority has a strong will to promote Taiwan independence, and the US also has a strong will to play the Taiwan card for a long time, the determination of the Chinese mainland to achieve reunification is much stronger. If they do not retreat, it will be even less likely for the Chinese mainland to take a step back.” (…)

“The DPP authority must give up any illusion on resisting reunification by using force, or “uniting the US to fight the mainland.” Peace in the Taiwan Straits can only be achieved through political means. The DPP authority must return to the 1992 Consensus, and abandon the path as an anti-Chinese mainland outpost in the US’ Indo-Pacific Strategy, as a political prerequisite to cool tensions across the Straits.”

“In the future, there will be no such possibility of Taiwan island separating from China peacefully. And the current situation across the Straits will hardly last. If the DPP authority does not change its course, and if the US keeps encouraging Taiwan authorities to go their own way, a military showdown will come eventually. When that day comes, let a knock-down, drag-out fight decide everything.”

Taiwan will not back down, partly because it feels confident that America will rescue it. In the messy, chaotic and darkly comic July of 1914 it first looked like Serbia would accept the ultimatum from Austria-Hungary but then rejected it after support from Russia. Christopher Clark in The Sleepwalkers:

“With the Tsar urging the Serbs to fight ‘like lions’, it was unlikely that Belgrade would entertain second thoughts about the terms of the ultimatum.”

People today who think the global economic system will limit a Taiwan War should read The Guns of August:

“Besides the two Moltkes, one dead and the other infirm of purpose, some military strategists in other countries glimpsed the possibility of prolonged war, but all preferred to believe, along with the bankers and industrialists, that because of the dislocation of economic life a general European war could not last longer than three or four months. One constant among the elements of 1914—as of any era—was the disposition of everyone on all sides not to prepare for the harder alternative, not to act upon what they suspected to be true.”

Those who are still optimists about the 2020s are perhaps right, but listen to Martin Wolf in this video from Center for China and Globalization:

China and the World in an Era of Crisis and Renewal: Conversation with Martin Wolf, Financial Times

Maybe surveillance resistance and cultural conservatism are walking dead in today’s 4IR (fourth industrial revolution). I’m a 70% realist and 30% cultural conservative, so I can easily adapt if I so chooses, but the above shows that 4IR may end up dead first, if a Taiwan War escalates, thereby liberating humanity from surveillance, 4IR and techno-feudalism. Yanis Varoufakis (a lefty dude… ):

Technofeudalism: Explaining to Slavoj Zizek why I think capitalism has evolved into something worse

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