The Afghanistan debacle holds a stark warning for Taiwan

There is a grave danger that the U.S. public will take away the wrong lessons from the Afghan debacle, regarding both Afghanistan and Taiwan.  The media are now trumpeting that withdrawal was the right move but incompetently executed.  Is that really true?

George W. Bush undertook the Afghanistan invasion shortly after 9/11 for the purpose of taking the war to the terrorists, intending to fight the war there rather than here.  Nation-building was not the mission; that was mission creep.

Was the invasion a success?  Wikipedia reports eight relatively low-level Islamic terrorist attacks on U.S. soil since 9/11.  The reader probably recalls only two or three of them.  With the Taliban now back in power, what can we expect for the future?

Was this debacle truly a defeat?  There is an enormous gulf between an orderly withdrawal and a precipitous pullout.  A principle of law says a person is presumed to intend the natural and probable consequences of his acts.  Was not the collapse of the Afghan government and military and the arming of the Taliban the natural and probable consequence of a precipitous pullout?  Did the U.S. ruling elite intend that outcome?  Was this debacle a defeat or a deal?

In addition, this debacle is a matter of significant concern for those Taiwanese who have been living with the delusion that the U.S. will have their back when China invades.  Now a sober assessment of the outcome of a Chinese invasion of Taiwan calls for answering two key questions.

The First Question is, "How many nuclear silos has Taiwan?"  The answer is "zero," which means that China has no skin in the game.  If an attempted invasion failed, China can simply pull back, regroup, and try again later.  There is no Taiwanese offensive threat to China; hence, no deterrence.

The Second Question is, "In the event of an invasion, will the U.S. fight for Taiwan?"  The answer is clearly "no," for two obvious reasons: (1) Xi has Hunter in his pocket, and therefore Joe under this thumb.  (2) The U.S. military has war-gamed the battle, and China wins devastatingly.  The Afghan debacle reveals that the American professional military leadership is either incompetent or corrupt, a daunting reality for the Taiwanese to face.

Taiwan is standing on defense in an era in which defense does not exist, having been abolished at Nagasaki.  Today, the only military reality is an offense.  Taiwan is in China's front lawn, but around the globe for the U.S.

China will choose when and where, surprising both Taiwan and the U.S., who seem to share the delusion that China will line up its forces and sail across the strait in a re-enactment of the Battle of Gettysburg.  The far more likely scenario is that Chinese space-age information technology and weaponry will neutralize any potential opposition before Taiwan and the U.S. are even aware an invasion is afoot.

Image: The Taiwan military conducts live-fire drills.  YouTube screen grab.

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