A Chinese invasion of Taiwan = national suicide
China is the world's largest Importer of :
- energy : crude oil, petroleum gas and coal;
- commodities : iron ore, bauxite, copper, wood products, cotton and semiconductors.
- food : beef, pork, chicken, sheep meat, rice, sugar, soy beans, dairy products, barley and edible vegetable oils.
It is the second largest importer of fish products and the 5th largest importer of Wheat.
This is far from a complete list but it's clear that if the free flow of these products is interrupted then the results would be catastrophic. China has large internal production of all of these products but they are totally inadequate to meet their massive daily needs, so imports are essential to the survival of the population and the economy.
Estimates suggest that China has about 6 weeks supply of petroleum products in storage so a halt in supply would mean that the majority of cars and trucks would stop running after about 2 months. China is already experiencing electricity supply shortages requiring rationing with the current normal access to imported coal and gas. If international deliveries were stopped completely then it would not be long before a significant proportion of homes and businesses would be blacked out. Interruption in the supply of commodities like iron ore, bauxite and copper concentrate would be a problem but with severely restricted energy supplies, factories using these products would have already been unable to function.
China's domestic food production is huge but so is the population. A sudden interruption in food imports would not take long to result in famine. Domestic production of chicken and pork rely heavily on feed grains imported from north and south America. China has the world's largest fishing fleet.
Consider the scenario following an invasion of Taiwan. Regardless of any international military response, the first and simplest strategy would be a naval blockade of ocean supply lines and the fishing fleet. Since China has alienated almost every country around the world with its bully boy tactics, it would be a simple matter for a global coalition to block all merchant marine traffic to and from China. Add to this an easy interruption of cross border road and rail links along with savage international economic and financial sanctions and China would very quickly be bankrupt, hungry, cold, in the dark and back to riding bicycles to search for food in empty shops and supermarkets.
The US navy is more powerful than all of the world's navies combined with 20 aircraft carriers compared to China's 2. Any blockade would be swift, global and complete with China powerless to break it in any material way.
How long will the Chinese leadership last after they deliver this type of outcome to their citizens? The Chinese Communist Party might be authoritarian bullies, but they are not stupid. They must know that the back of the envelope blockade scenario above is not unrealistic, and that they could not survive the enormous revolutionary backlash from more than 1 billion citizens whose lives they will have destroyed. Then again, the CCP has form in this area when they created one of the world's greatest famines with Mao's Great Leap Forward (1958-62) and shortly after unleashed shocking violence, chaos and misery during Mao's next social experiment, the Cultural Revolution (1966-76).
Perhaps the question is, does the Chinese leadership want to wait to be kicked out by their citizens as they gradually come to appreciate what a massive social, political and economic mess the CCP has created over the last 2 decades or do they want to go out with a suicidal, nationalist bang and devastate the economies of the rest of the world in the process?
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