A war over Taiwan would likely involve the largest and most complex amphibious invasion ever mounted. Were the conflict to drag on, it might well evolve into a building-to-building, mountaintop-to-mountaintop ground war in one of the most densely populated and economically advanced countries on Earth. And that’s just in Taiwan itself.
It’s an open question whether the U.S. would come to its longtime ally Taiwan’s aid; if the United States got involved, we would see a scenario the world has managed to avoid over the 75 years since the introduction of the atomic bomb: direct exchange of fire between two nuclear-armed superpowers.
China’s best bet for moving troops and supplies onto the island will be to seize a port. That means the Taiwanese may have to take the drastic step of destroying their own ports to prevent a landing.
“[The Chinese] have to have that combo of sufficient combat power ashore plus air superiority,” said Chris Dougherty, a senior fellow at CNAS, who has designed numerous Taiwan war simulations. “In almost all of our war-games, there’s a big scramble to see if Taiwan can destroy their ports and their airports fast enough.”
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