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Jovidah

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I didn't say it was trivial, moving troops and equipment during war is a major logistical nightmare. Australia's navy is tiny compared to the Chinese's navy, which is now the largest in the world. They overtook us a few years ago. Thank God quantity does not equal quality. We've got the upper hand in that area, but missile technology is making naval warfare (surface ships) obsolete. We've got the Aegis system, but the Russians are giving away their superior missile technology to all their allies, which happen to be our enemies. The Chinese will invade Taiwan, at least that's my opinion. It's just a question of when, not if.
It's really hard to predict how things will pan out given how long it's been since there has been any major naval combat between high tech opponents. Before WW2 almost no one predicted how carriers would supersede battleships as being the prime combatant. Before the Falklands war few had expected the damage the Argentinians could inflict upon the Royal Navy with just a handful of anti-ship missiles.
There's a lot of unknowns, also regarding how potent and mature the hypersonic weaponry on Russian and Chinese platforms really are, and for example what unknown aces the US has up its sleeve. The Chinese tactic of creating islands as unsinkable carriers is at least interesting, but it's debatable whether it'll be a strength or a weakness (they are after all immobile, so far easier to target with standoff weaponry, SOF, and other long range shenanigans - some US bases like Guam or Diego Garcia have similar issues).
I do agree that a Chinese invasion of Taiwan is becoming ever more likely. The buildup on the Chinese side is very much one of a nation preparing for war.

The PRC may invade Taiwan at some point but it isn't an easy calculation for them. Taiwan would try to delay full secure occupation until hoped for help from the US arrives, which it might or might not. Their bigger problem would be post taking over Taiwan only to see almost all major global markets closed to them and potentially some major limitations on ship traffic outside of the South China Sea. The knock-on effects of Evergrande are still unknown, China's economy may not be securely stable. If they face major economic turbulence Xi Jinping's grip on power may not be all that secure.
Honestly if I was Taiwan I wouldn't exactly be reassured by events in recent history. Russia's flash invasion of the Crimea was answered only in relatively mild terms; some sanctions, but we're still buying gas from them. When presented with a fait accompli most nations are simply not willing to go over war over these things if their vital interests aren't threatened. Corona has shown that in a lot of ways we are dependent upon Chinese imports for a lot of sectors, and if they took over Taiwan that would be even worse. In some ways you can already see the West trying to shift that dependency away and rejuvenating some of their own critical industries like semiconductor; a lot of that has to do with the current dependence on TSMC and the realization that TSMC would be under full Chinese control after an invasion.
I agree that China has plenty of financial skeletons in their closet; the real estate bubble has been a known problem for at least 5 or 10 years... it's nothing new to me... I'm mostly surprised it only reached the 'normal' news so recently.

I think it's dangerous though to think that some economical interdependency is enough to prevent war; the exact same argument was made on the eve of world war 1...

I am not deep enough into foreign policy and international politics to have a greatly informed view on this. While conflict in the region is inevitable... I do not think a full-blown hot war is inevitable... maybe not even likely. For my money, if China really sees value in annexing Taiwan, i think it is more likely they will keep chipping away using softer methods. A hot war would be disastrous for the region... including China. Right now I think it is more productive to view these things through the lens of political maneuvering.
Chinese defense build-up and for example naval acquisitions are far more than political maneuvering. I think it's dangerous to underestimate the situation... this is country that is most definitly gearing up for war, that has outright stated that it wants to reunify before 2050, and frankly, from a strategical perspective it would actually make sense to do it sooner rather than later (before the other militaries are finished with their shift towards China; there's plenty of stuff in the pipeline to respond to them but not a lot of it has come to fruition yet).

Australia was threatened early WW2 Japanese
air raids. Also had aims to isolate Australia with bases & lots of planes in Indonesia. US couldn't let that happen early naval attacks on islands were in part to keep shipping lanes open to Australia & New Zealand.

Chinese communist have always had a bug in their bonnet about Taiwan. They have the military to take it over easy. Their not stupid they produce goods for much of the western world. Of coarse could be wrong still think full military attack on Taiwan is not in China's best interest.

Boomer Nuclear Subs with multiple warheads
is one of the greatest don't F#@k with us big sticks.

Kim Jong-Un was asked if he would use nuclear weapons
His reply was are you kidding US would wipe us off the map. He wants them to keep his power
Intact. People think twice before invading North Korea.
Nukes are problematic as a foreign policy tool... Cuba crisis showed just that. If both sides have them they essentially become useless. But they're good as a 'get outta jail free card'-emergency ace up the sleeve.

Military invasion was until recently actually not within China's capabilities. Amphibious invasions are no picknick. Earlier amphibious efforts in the 50's on some smaller Taiwanese islands were problematic at best, and their military's showing in their war against Vietnam was also a shitshow. And for a long time they were so far behind technologically that any western help would have easily frustrated any attempt. Developments in the last few decades have slowly been changing that. Whether China is capable now is hard to say, but their capabilities are growing by the day. If they're not capable already it's still simply a matter of time, and a question of whether anyone else is willing to interfere.
 

LostHighway

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Xi is said to believe that Western governments are too captured by entrenched interests to permit necessary reforms. I am somewhat sympathetic to this perspective, although not entirely without hope. If the PRC can keep their own economy on the rails and growing it may well be that time is on their side.
 

Luftmensch

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@Jovidah,

Thanks for taking the time to write a thought provoking post. I agree with many of the things you have said. Although I believe the power of economic interdependence is more significant than perhaps you do?

I think it is probably true to say that Xi Jinping cares more about what Chinese citizens think than the rest of the world. Conflict between China and Taiwan goes back to the 1940's. This isnt new. China has held a "One China" policy for a long time. The West has happily lived in superposition on this issue... neither confirming nor denying Taiwanese sovereignty. I dont believe any major countries actually recognise Taiwan as an independent country. Apparently some analysts believe China is worried Taiwan is moving closer to a formal declaration of independence. Political maneuvering like Biden's pivot to the Pacific, the Quad alliance and AUKUS are provocations for China. For my money, the current saber rattling is a political response to these items. It is also notable that it is happening around around China's National Day. Again this is intended for the people of China to consume. Amongst all the chest beating, the parties involved size each other up. Is Biden's resolve to protect Taiwan actually "rock solid"?

It's really hard to predict how things will pan out given how long it's been since there has been any major naval combat between high tech opponents.
I believe this is made even harder by symbiotic relationships. It has kept the world free from global wars for several decades. The new front of conflict is 'colder' and utilises politics, trade, espionage and propaganda.

Global interdependence spans tangible and critical supply chains to the invisible web of debt. This interdependency works both ways. Although it is celebrated by all parties as win for trade and relations... it also forms a deterrent. That which can be shared, can be taken away. Like nuclear weapons, the threat of sanctions and tearing down trade is far more useful as a tool than using it.

China's prosperity went stratospheric in the 90's. That wasnt internal growth. That was the West offshoring production to China. In the 30 years since, China has not squandered the opportunity. They have modernised rapidly. Their capacity for innovation and manufacturing is advanced. However their continued prosperity still relies on access to global markets.

This is significant. Like I say Xi Jinping cares more about what Chinese citizens think than the rest of the world. China can't have it both ways - seizing Taiwan and no consequences. China knows there will be blow back. Will it be lip service and a wagging of fingers followed by nothing? Will it be sanctions? A complete Western withdrawal from China?

It is a lot to risk. In a worst case scenario the world would be plunged into a financial crisis. Probably worse than the GFC. Supply chains would have to be reconfigured. Debt would explode or have to be untangled. It could take a decade to recover. China's soft power (Belt and Road) could fall apart. The conflict could divide the political landscape by causing countries to collapse their wave function into either a pro-China or anti-China camp.

So the question is... Does it really serve Xi Jinping's interest to cause and suffer an immense amount of casualties (a full blown conflict in Taiwan would no doubt include civilians) followed by economic crash in China? For now... I dont see the calculus stacking up. These would be incredibly difficult to sell as a 'win' to the Chinese population.

The biggest risk right now is that an accident happens. Planes collide... or somebody fails to respond to a radio hail... itchy trigger fingers twitch. Then the conflict may be forced prematurely. Failing an accident, I rather suspect China will continue to do what it has stated it wants to do... take Taiwan 'peacefully'. Think of Hong Kong.


The Chinese tactic of creating islands as unsinkable carriers is at least interesting, but it's debatable whether it'll be a strength or a weakness (they are after all immobile, so far easier to target with standoff weaponry, SOF, and other long range shenanigans - some US bases like Guam or Diego Garcia have similar issues).
This is a related but separate issue. This is about exerting power over the South China Sea - a concern for ASEAN members. Most accutely: Vietnam, Brunei and the Philippines. Followed by Malaysia and Singapore. It shares similarities in that it is about an expansionist China, particularly with regard to territorial claims. But it is separate in that I doubt it will play much of a role in Taiwan-China tensions. China's military capabilities in that region do not extend upwards towards Taiwan. True, in a hot war, allies of Taiwan will be prevented from accessing Taiwan through that route. On the other hand, the most logical and clear route is from the pacific anyway!
 

Jovidah

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@Jovidah,

Thanks for taking the time to write a thought provoking post. I agree with many of the things you have said. Although I believe the power of economic interdependence is more significant than perhaps you do?
The problem with this is that the the economical interdependence argument has been made before in the past on the eve of big wars. Hence why I'm reluctant to give it much credit, especially when you see China shifting more and more towards developing a more internally focused economy (essentially to 'cushion the blow').

I think it is probably true to say that Xi Jinping cares more about what Chinese citizens think than the rest of the world. Conflict between China and Taiwan goes back to the 1940's. This isnt new. China has held a "One China" policy for a long time. The West has happily lived in superposition on this issue... neither confirming nor denying Taiwanese sovereignty. I dont believe any major countries actually recognise Taiwan as an independent country. Apparently some analysts believe China is worried Taiwan is moving closer to a formal declaration of independence. Political maneuvering like Biden's pivot to the Pacific, the Quad alliance and AUKUS are provocations for China. For my money, the current saber rattling is a political response to these items. It is also notable that it is happening around around China's National Day. Again this is intended for the people of China to consume. Amongst all the chest beating, the parties involved size each other up. Is Biden's resolve to protect Taiwan actually "rock solid"?
The development of for example the Chinese Navy, the naval acquisitions in the last decade and the whole 'island strategy' all go far beyond simple 'saber rattling'... it's a huge investment and traditionally such investments aren't made without at least some intent to use it. The best analogue I can give is the issue with Nagorno-Karabakh (between Armenia and Azerbaijan); that was also a frozen conflict. Even some analysts discarded the military investments Azerbaijan made in the last few decades as simple saber rattling or just for domestic consumption. Until they went for a full-scale invasion last summer.

A lot of the actions by the US and other nations are indeed focused on trying to counter China, and this is what's behind a lot of changes in the US defense arena. But you point out the most crucial question: is the US willing to go to full-scale war with China over Taiwan? Will they finally draw a line in the sand, or essentially sacrifice the Taiwanese? I don't have a good answer to that, and I'm not sure the US government does at this point. China's ideal scenario would be to increase their military capabilities in the region to a point where a US intervention to save Taiwan would be so unappealing and unfeasible that the US chooses to not even bother in the first place. I certainly wouldn't expect many European nations to go to war over this... why die for Danzig?


I believe this is made even harder by symbiotic relationships. It has kept the world free from global wars for several decades. The new front of conflict is 'colder' and utilises politics, trade, espionage and propaganda.
Both of these are highly controversial statements. Symbiotic relationships certainly exist within certain parts of the world, but at the same time we've seen pretty persistent great power conflict in the post world war two period (with maybe some reprieve after the cold war ended). There's some argument to be made that mutually assured destruction led to a certain 'nuclear peace' during the cold war, but how peaceful was it really; the entire cold war period was filled with proxy wars, and several wars were fought by both great powers. Similarly, this 'new front', was very much in existance during the cold war. I think the main reason it seems 'new' is that to most of us we have a 'limited' view of history because we only really experience the short term. So because we only experienced the last 20-30 years we think something is new, when in practise it's just like it used to be, only with a 20- year gap.
There's a similar problem with some studies that portray that 'the world is becoming more peaceful'; it largely relies on a restriction of range phenomenon. You could have made the exact same point in 1869, 1913 or 1938...

Global interdependence spans tangible and critical supply chains to the invisible web of debt. This interdependency works both ways. Although it is celebrated by all parties as win for trade and relations... it also forms a deterrent. That which can be shared, can be taken away. Like nuclear weapons, the threat of sanctions and tearing down trade is far more useful as a tool than using it.
The question is how much interdependence there really is. As corona has painfully shown there is mostly western dependence upon China. You can't sanction them, threatening that you won't buy their goods if it means destroying yourself. So sure, this might stop European intervention and limit the conflict, but it won't save Taiwan.

China's prosperity went stratospheric in the 90's. That wasnt internal growth. That was the West offshoring production to China. In the 30 years since, China has not squandered the opportunity. They have modernised rapidly. Their capacity for innovation and manufacturing is advanced. However their continued prosperity still relies on access to global markets.

This is significant. Like I say Xi Jinping cares more about what Chinese citizens think than the rest of the world. China can't have it both ways - seizing Taiwan and no consequences. China knows there will be blow back. Will it be lip service and a wagging of fingers followed by nothing? Will it be sanctions? A complete Western withdrawal from China?
I think there's 2 parts to it. One is that they have been shifting more and more towards an internal market to protect themselves from this vulnerability. Second, as I outlined, there's some major problems with trying to sanction the nr 1 producer of many of our goods (even many western companies still produce their stuff there), the nr 1 controller of rare earth metals, etc. You're getting to a point where they're holding all the cards. Third, this problem would only become a lot worse if they actually managed to seize Taiwan. If you look at for example electronics and semiconductor manufacturing, for a lot of products the only source outside of China is Taiwan.
 
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Jovidah

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It is a lot to risk. In a worst case scenario the world would be plunged into a financial crisis. Probably worse than the GFC. Supply chains would have to be reconfigured. Debt would explode or have to be untangled. It could take a decade to recover. China's soft power (Belt and Road) could fall apart. The conflict could divide the political landscape by causing countries to collapse their wave function into either a pro-China or anti-China camp.

So the question is... Does it really serve Xi Jinping's interest to cause and suffer an immense amount of casualties (a full blown conflict in Taiwan would no doubt include civilians) followed by economic crash in China? For now... I dont see the calculus stacking up. These would be incredibly difficult to sell as a 'win' to the Chinese population.
What you're summing up is a lot of reasons why the world is willing to vent a lot of anger in public, but at the end of the day swallow their pride and move on and essentially sacrifice Taiwan. The big question is the US and nations closer to China; for the US since they'll feel like their 'nr 1 status' is in question and they'll have to challenge China at some point, for surrounding countries because they'll all be wondering 'who's next'.
Selling it to the Chinese population is not the biggest problem in an autocratic country where the strongman is reasonably secure in his position. I think he's been fairly succesful at taking out most potential internal threats. Casualties... well.. in the bigger scheme of things a couple of thousand deaths isn't all that meaningful to most leaders who look at the long term.

The biggest risk right now is that an accident happens. Planes collide... or somebody fails to respond to a radio hail... itchy trigger fingers twitch. Then the conflict may be forced prematurely. Failing an accident, I rather suspect China will continue to do what it has stated it wants to do... take Taiwan 'peacefully'. Think of Hong Kong.
Hong Kong was a different story. China had the law on their side there; the lease has simply ran out. Legally the British didn't have a leg to stand on. And I don't think many would have stood beside them if they had chosen to go to war with China to hang on to Hong Kong, nor would that really be viable militarily. Taiwan is in a different situation since for all practical purposes they are de facto independent. And I don't think that giving up their claim to the mainland is going to cut it at this point. Nor will they just happily join China peacefully after seeing what happened in Hong Kong.
Accidents... they tend to only escalate when at least one side wants them to. Might get some pilots killed or a passenger jet shot down, which is tragic, and it might get used as an excuse for a war / invasion, but if both sides want to de-escalate after such a tragedy that's usually not much of a problem.


This is a related but separate issue. This is about exerting power over the South China Sea - a concern for ASEAN members. Most accutely: Vietnam, Brunei and the Philippines. Followed by Malaysia and Singapore. It shares similarities in that it is about an expansionist China, particularly with regard to territorial claims. But it is separate in that I doubt it will play much of a role in Taiwan-China tensions. China's military capabilities in that region do not extend upwards towards Taiwan. True, in a hot war, allies of Taiwan will be prevented from accessing Taiwan through that route. On the other hand, the most logical and clear route is from the pacific anyway!
I agree there's more to it than just defense interests, and part of it is an unintended consequence of the convention on the law of the sea (trying to secure a large chunk of economic exclusive zone). But its military value is still significant, even when it's not only against the US. Although it's still a questionmark how useful it actually would be in a real shooting war (unsinkable, but static), if they can provide a role in essentially securing an entire flank that is huge.

There's a few problems doing the same thing on the east side of Taiwan. One of the reasons it doesn't extend all the way is that the nautical depth quickly increases once you go east of Taiwan, making this artificial reef/island shenanigans thing problematic.
There are some small islands where it is less deep, but those are all Japanese islands, which also creates a problem in that any place that's remotely buildable is in their territorial waters. Which might be part of the reason why they're trying to make a fuss about the Senkaku islands.

A good reason to defend further south is that many naval and air weapons these days have significant standoff distance. Ideally you want to keep them your enemy a long way off, or they can still be very annoying, but when it comes to the islands in the south China sea their location is also largely determined by where the nautical depth allows it.

Don't get me wrong, I wished I was wrong, but I struggle to see a scenario where Taiwan remains independent in 30 years without at least a shooting war of some sort to secure it. Either they'll cave in when they realize the international community isn't willing to go to war with China to secure their independence (in which case resistance would be futile), or it's going to come to blows eventually. But especially after what happened to Hong Kong, I don't see Taiwan joining China willingly, nor do I really see China accepting the current status quo for another 50 years. The question is mostly what other parties will do.
 
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MarcelNL

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I also think we, the west, is depending much more on China than the other way around...with the all too easy dollars and euro's made by offloading costly production and services to low income countries 'we' sold our 'soul' to China and India.

Where China has a long term vision India likely has none, neither has the west...capitalism is not big on vision other than where dollars or euro's are involved. China is not (yet) driven as much by bottom line as the west seems to be, yet China is in a position where the government can afford to ignore the bottom line or even write it off.
 

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Time will tell with speculation of what will happen to Taiwan. Interesting note Polynesians sailed to Taiwan long before Chinese got there. Was watching a Taiwan travel show showed indigenous people immediately I recognized as Polynesians.

Later was looking at maps at Bishop museum
here showed the far reaches of the Pacific Polynesians settled, Taiwan was one of them.

Still a hot war to invade Taiwan not in China's best interest.

But anything is possible. Look at USA after 9/11 we went into longest war in US history.
Taliban took over even before got people out of there.
 

Keith Sinclair

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Not to mention climate refuges in the future over lack of fresh water for starters. It won't be about being police or moralist of the world anymore.
 

Jovidah

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I also think we, the west, is depending much more on China than the other way around...with the all too easy dollars and euro's made by offloading costly production and services to low income countries 'we' sold our 'soul' to China and India.

Where China has a long term vision India likely has none, neither has the west...capitalism is not big on vision other than where dollars or euro's are involved. China is not (yet) driven as much by bottom line as the west seems to be, yet China is in a position where the government can afford to ignore the bottom line or even write it off.
Yeah especially in Europe a lot of the economy has been very... short-term focused, while most governments took a handsoff approach. I think people on the top are finally waking up, looking at recent attempts to boost semiconductor production in Europe and bring some vital industries back. The question is whether this isn't 'too little, too late'. Time will tell.

Not to mention climate refuges in the future over lack of fresh water for starters. It won't be about being police or moralist of the world anymore.
This is essentially already happening in some places; desertification is for example reducing arable land in some places. The fresh water thing varies per region; in some places it's a non issue, in other places it's a big deal even without global warming. The classical examples are the Nile (where Egypt doesn't take kindly to dam projects further up stream) and the border conflicts in the Himalayas; most of the big rivers nations like Pakistan, India and China rely on source in this general area.

On the flip side, I think it's worth keeping in mind that 'global warming' isn't that simple. It doesn't just simply 'make everything worse for everyone'. Countries like Russia don't give a damn; global warming benefits them. It thaws out their northern harbors and searoutes, and will likely boost agricultural production. There's other countries that are in a similar position where they frankly aren't all that affected by it, or might even benefit from it. Then there's a decent group of countries that benefits for from fossile fuels than they have to lose from global warming. That's one of the problems with all these attempts at 'global action' tackling the problem, and surprisingly few observers and commenters mention it. The people around the table do not share the same interests.
 

big_adventure

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Australia was threatened early WW2 Japanese
air raids. Also had aims to isolate Australia with bases & lots of planes in Indonesia. US couldn't let that happen early naval attacks on islands were in part to keep shipping lanes open to Australia & New Zealand.

Chinese communist have always had a bug in their bonnet about Taiwan. They have the military to take it over easy. Their not stupid they produce goods for much of the western world. Of coarse could be wrong still think full military attack on Taiwan is not in China's best interest.

Boomer Nuclear Subs with multiple warheads
is one of the greatest don't F#@k with us big sticks.

Kim Jong-Un was asked if he would use nuclear weapons
His reply was are you kidding US would wipe us off the map. He wants them to keep his power
Intact. People think twice before invading North Korea.
To be fair, though, Australia isn't buying SSBNs (nuclear ballistic missile subs), they are buying SSNs (nuclear attack subs, used to hunt SSBNs, attack ground and shipping targets with conventional weapons, etc.).

The reason they dumped the French deal to move to the US deal was to get last-gen SSN gear from the states rather than last-gen diesel subs from France. Thing is, even last-gen US SSNs are much quieter and much more capable than anything in service from China.
 

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Jovida good points. Earth has been warmer for most of its history. Had more forest than today, less savanna and deserts. The human factor changes the equation. We consume vast amounts of water. Much of the world depends on Glacial melt & rivers. Countries upstream tend to screw those downstream.
 

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Glaciers currently melt rapidly .....last week I visited a long time friend in Austria living at approx 750m above sea level who told me where they used to snow in the last few years the snow did not stay on the ground in the valley anymore, it makes getting out of his driveway in winter much easier but still.
 

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To be fair, though, Australia isn't buying SSBNs (nuclear ballistic missile subs), they are buying SSNs (nuclear attack subs, used to hunt SSBNs, attack ground and shipping targets with conventional weapons, etc.).

The reason they dumped the French deal to move to the US deal was to get last-gen SSN gear from the states rather than last-gen diesel subs from France. Thing is, even last-gen US SSNs are much quieter and much more capable than anything in service from China.
Australia has not proposed to become a nuclear weapons state and I don't think that there is a very big appetite for this in Australia.

The French subs ("Attack" Class) were a dieselification of the French Baracuda SSNs and were to be built in Australia. The Royal Australian Navy (RAN) has discovered through bitter experience that the lack a sovereign sub building and maintenance industry significantly worsens sub downtime for maintenance (mainly waiting for spare parts) and risks ability to maintain in wartime, especially if you are in disagreement with your supplier.

One of (many) reasons the French are pretty upset is that they were prepared to negotiate to sell us Baracuda SSNs. There are certainly concerns about how we would refuel a Baracuda reactor (needed every decade) as we have no sovereign nuclear industry. The UK/ US reactors supposedly do not need refueling and this has been one of the arguments used in favour of them.

My understanding is that the US/UK technology subs were planned to be made in Australia but I wonder whether this will be all too hard and we will end up buying them "off the shelf". So much for a sovereign sub industry.

The main submarine role that is important to Australia is the sea denial capability, focussing particularly on protecting the sea approaches to our island nation but also potentially threatenening the sea lines of communication of an adversary. SSNs can certainly project that capability further and stay on station longer.

While diesels can be quieter while running on batteries, they are less flexible both tactically and operationally as they can't go as fast for as long while submerged and they need to periodically recharge which brings them close to the surface and necessitates the running of noisy diesel generators.

Should we have dumped the French deal to go nuclear? Should we have gone with the Baracuda? There are arguments each way. But given that the decision seems to have been made, it seems that:
1) There should have been some discussion between government and community around whether we wanted nuclear powered submarines. The announcement was a total surprise.
2) Our government could have done more to mitigate the alarm that the announcement has caused in some of our near neighbours.
3) Our government could have done much more to mitigate the offense that this seems to have caused the French.
 

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Australia & New Zealand are around parts of the world with highest population density.

China, India, Indonesia the US could learn from your countries policies on who you let move to your countries.
 

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To be fair, though, Australia isn't buying SSBNs (nuclear ballistic missile subs), they are buying SSNs (nuclear attack subs, used to hunt SSBNs, attack ground and shipping targets with conventional weapons, etc.).

The reason they dumped the French deal to move to the US deal was to get last-gen SSN gear from the states rather than last-gen diesel subs from France. Thing is, even last-gen US SSNs are much quieter and much more capable than anything in service from China.
The old Chinese stuff is noisy trash but I'd be hesitant to claim that all the newer sub generations are no good. They are catching up and some of the newer stuff actually looks like it might be half decent. The time when China just had ripped off designs and and was decades behind on everything military is coming to an end. The biggest question mark is how well they're training and doctrine is getting along; it's one thing to build ships, but another to use them effectively. But even there I'd be cautious. Western powers also severely underestimated the Japanese navy before WW2, thinking they were just a bunch of amateurs. Didn't work out so well the first few years.

Australia has not proposed to become a nuclear weapons state and I don't think that there is a very big appetite for this in Australia.

The French subs ("Attack" Class) were a dieselification of the French Baracuda SSNs and were to be built in Australia. The Royal Australian Navy (RAN) has discovered through bitter experience that the lack a sovereign sub building and maintenance industry significantly worsens sub downtime for maintenance (mainly waiting for spare parts) and risks ability to maintain in wartime, especially if you are in disagreement with your supplier.

One of (many) reasons the French are pretty upset is that they were prepared to negotiate to sell us Baracuda SSNs. There are certainly concerns about how we would refuel a Baracuda reactor (needed every decade) as we have no sovereign nuclear industry. The UK/ US reactors supposedly do not need refueling and this has been one of the arguments used in favour of them.

My understanding is that the US/UK technology subs were planned to be made in Australia but I wonder whether this will be all too hard and we will end up buying them "off the shelf". So much for a sovereign sub industry.

The main submarine role that is important to Australia is the sea denial capability, focussing particularly on protecting the sea approaches to our island nation but also potentially threatenening the sea lines of communication of an adversary. SSNs can certainly project that capability further and stay on station longer.

While diesels can be quieter while running on batteries, they are less flexible both tactically and operationally as they can't go as fast for as long while submerged and they need to periodically recharge which brings them close to the surface and necessitates the running of noisy diesel generators.

Should we have dumped the French deal to go nuclear? Should we have gone with the Baracuda? There are arguments each way. But given that the decision seems to have been made, it seems that:
1) There should have been some discussion between government and community around whether we wanted nuclear powered submarines. The announcement was a total surprise.
2) Our government could have done more to mitigate the alarm that the announcement has caused in some of our near neighbours.
3) Our government could have done much more to mitigate the offense that this seems to have caused the French.
Diesels vs nuclear both have their pros and cons; I wouldn't say one is necessarily superior over the other, which is also why some countries still have both. US doesn't really run diesels anymore because it has allies that do, so there tends to be a bit of a distribution of labor within NATO.

People 'in the know' always considered the French subs a terrible deal; the Australians were massively getting ripped off.... and after the project ran for over a decade there still wasn't a single weld or steel plate produced. Can't blame the Ozzies for pulling out if the French are simply not delivering, while overcharging at the same time. One of the advantages of just getting US nuclear subs is that the US has to capacity to simply crank out a few more and you can actually get something delivered in a reasonable timeframe.
Agree on the last part; it was the right call to cancel the French deal, but they could have gone about it differently. At the same time I think the French are too easily glossing over how Naval Group was simply failing to deliver while the cost of the program had skyrocketed over time; it was widely considered as 'another JSF'.
 

Keith Sinclair

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US policy with Taiwan is to help with defensive hardware, not to jump in to defend it if China attacks. US weapons in Afghanistan were complex with no support from Americans who wanted to end longest war in it's history it was a total failure.

China has missiles that could take out military defenses in Taiwan. Similar to what we did in middle east. They have built up their military Army, Navy, & Air Force to become strongest in that part of the world. Even now because Taiwan makes most of semiconductor
chips, shortage has US considering making at home instead of policy of shipping to cheaper labor in Asia. Cheaper labor shipped to China from US & much of other industrial nations has turned it into a superpower.

Taiwan is a prize for China, & a political thorn to the Chinese communist party. It would serve as a base giving them giving them more strategic power in that part of the world. They know this.
 
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