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So we just agree on the nine-dash line, and allow the PRC to run roughshod by relying on "self defined historical' interpretations.
Can the UK then reclaim most of the continent of North America, the Spanish a good chunk of South America, and the Dutch the West Indies, based on real life historical activities?
Asking for a friend.
I think you're being a little obtuse. I specifically differentiated between the Taiwan situation and the rest of the contested areas surrounding China.
The government of the Republic of China themselves in their constitution consider the island of Taiwan as part of China. Almost the entire world subscribes to the One China policy and doesn't recognize the Republic of China as a sovereign state. Curious, have you ever heard the United States or any other nation declare publicly and definitively that they will defend Taiwan from a Chinese invasion? They are purposefully ambiguous about it. The reason is that it may not be in their national interest to go to war with China to defend Taiwan. The circumstances of any such invasion (e.g. the ROC unilaterally declaring independence) may impact the decisions that the US makes at the time.
How about Hong Kong? It is also Chinese territory but historically a separate political entity with freedoms and rights similar to the West. It's been effectively occupied by the communists. Hong Kong democracy is no more. When do we start launching our missiles?
As for the rest of the territories I never said we should step back and let China unilaterally seize the territory out to the Nine Dash Line. I only suggested that should China seize these islands that due to their tiny size it may make more strategic sense to simply bombard them and deny the Chinese the ability to hold them rather than sending in the USMC to occupy them where they would be fairly easy targets themselves.
Kirkhill's containment strategy above makes more sense to me but really only works if Chinese seizure of the Nine Dash Line is by military force and leads to open war with China. In my opinion the more difficult (and likely) scenario is that China works on taking defacto control of these territories through means other than open warfare. That's why I raised the question as to whether the US will be the first to open fire in a war with China by sinking civilian fishing ships, or missile attacks on construction contractors? Coming up with an effective "multi domain" response to this threat is I think ultimately more important and will have more of an impact on the situation in the South China Sea than whether the USMC has anti-ship missiles or howitzers in its artillery units.