Notwithstanding all of the aforementioned factors, it should be assumed that China will revert to the use of maximum force and the complete subjugation of Taiwan—beyond the war of rivalry that is already taking place—should its resistance to the unification process be seen as taking ‘too long.’ Conclusively and from an historical perspective, there is no evidence-base within this thesis that a nation-state which has undergone an industrial revolution, has a (relatively) harmonious domestic populace, has sought peace in the pursuit of their irredentist policies. All have expanded beyond their borders and used violence when and where necessary. China is currently displaying normative behaviours and strategies from those that have gone before and moreover, Taiwan needs to accept the historical reality of hostile actions being part of irredentist policies with the intention of follow up kinetic action being a common occurrence. The evidence on which this is historically premised and with the absolute power in the first instance being followed by the subjugated in the second (and in no particular order) is inherent in the following examples of conquest through violence,
- Japan – China, Korea and Southeast Asia;
- Spain – South Americas;
- Portugal – West Africa and Timor-Leste;
- England – Africa, Afghanistan, Australia, China, Ireland and India;
- France – Indochina and Oceania;
- Germany – Western Europe, Russia and the Mediterranean region;
- US – Philippines, Central Americas, Diego Garcia, Hawaii, Indochina, Japan;
- Netherlands – Indonesia; and
- USSR – East Berlin, Hungary and Yugoslavia.
The qualified danger and from a war-making perspective it should be noted and comprehensively understood by the Taiwanese government that throughout the build-up and eventual use of deliberate violent actions China will consider its engagement against Taiwan to comprise a regional mid-intensity conflict, although it will have a ‘total war attitude’ to the outcome. This attitude and military stance will be due to the aforementioned commitments to a total war and are present in the evidence and reality that as the war ‘drags on’ the stakes for the CCP will become higher. This perspective should be emphatically understood. For Taiwan, a war of this type will comprise a slog-of-attrition in a fortress environment. The destruction that will be wrought will be dependent upon whether China upgrades or retards its steel-to-target consistencies and over time whether there is dedicated and persistent politico or military interventions of others and moreover, the level of destruction will also remain dependent upon the politico-parameters—to what extent they will get involved and the subsequent ceasefire demands—of others. In simpler terms, as the kinetic actions of the war continue any diminishing of ferocity will have to involve other actors or institutional representatives. This may include but not be limited to the presence of a navy (or navies) under ASEAN, EU, NATO, or UN guidance—there will be some US presence although the evidence that has been presented suggests that it will not be a major actor as increasing isolationism will become a mainstay of US foreign policy.
Whilst the engagement of other actors will temper China’s ambition to take Taiwan they will not deter China and only be instrumental in moderating the ferocity of the war. China will ‘stay the course.’ Although the presence of another capable force or forces will cause friction with China, as it will observe the presence of other actors as tantamount to deterring its inherent Treaty rights and responsibilities, it will however, only be through such a prism that a ‘shooting war’ will be moderated. The problem for Taiwan will be that upon an act of war taking place there will not be immediate intervention on the part of other actors. It is a germane yet necessary point to make that in a globalised world, nation-states must take all other relevant actors and their concomitant power-stakes into account, and in a much more substantive way as the competitive environment is much more robust and potentially conflictual than when a single hegemon ruled.
To be certain, Taiwan will not be able to sustain the high-functioning and robust country that it is in 2018, under the constraints of a blockade; or when faced with the reality and actuality of intermittent high-intensity raids—Japan during WWII is testament to this practice and its dire outcomes, as is the Palestinian territories under Israeli dominance in the post-WWII era, and in more contemporary times Syria in its war against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria exogenous militia. Whilst the intensity and magnitude of any kinetic action may ebb and flow depending on politico-negotiations and military ramifications, the persistence and necessity to take Taiwan by China will remain omnipresent, and will not diminish over time. Should the situation drag out until the end of the third decade of the twenty-first century the CCP will, without doubt, exercise a tactical invasion by the PLA; as at this point in time the politico-irenic solutions will have been removed; Taiwan will have the majority of its infrastructure disabled; and the ROC military will be exhausted. Albeit this scenario is unlikely to eventuate as there would be pressures from within ASEAN, EU, the NATO and the UNSC which would instigate a renewed negotiations the part of the CCP. There would if the notion of an invasion were to become truly manifest, be a last-resort compulsion to bring the kinetic phase of a Taiwan-China war to an end. The possibility of an invasion would become dominant in the UNGA as the escalation of a broader regional conflict would have become a near-happening reality.
Notwithstanding the above-mentioned, and due to the structure of Taiwanese society there would also have been political ramifications in its domestic environment. An end to the war would be sought from within. The end to a war would have evolved and as the society is highly-educated and cosmopolitan, and as this status is a comprehensive inculcation, an end to the war would have become paramount as it took its collective toll on Taiwanese society. Ultimately it is a germane yet necessary point to make that due to the political structural functionalism of Taiwan—that of being a liberal-democracy—it is dependent upon each voting individual and the collectives therein. The normative assembly of voters’ would, as time went on, either expand upon or diminish its independence-orientation and as the war continued the dedication to independence would be at the behest of the voting public. Notwithstanding, this factor small groups are generated in societies that go to war—as per the Russian example—and Taiwan would be no different, although such an occurrence would be magnified in their liberal-democracy. In simpler terms, there would be societal disruption as those that did not want the war would form protest movements which would have to be contended with by the government. Nevertheless, China is unwavering in its determination to unify its territories and this should be thoroughly understood by Taiwan. To wit, the notion that for the CCP the bringing of Taiwan into the fold of rejuvenating the Middle Kingdom to its former grand status is the ultimate aim and moreover, it is the generational and doctrinal veracity that drives the motivation. To be sure, this thesis is premised on the ‘nascent phase’ of pax-Sino and within the normative structures of ‘rising’ which have been alluded to, the premise of China as a nation-state continually partaking in the process will remain a continuum. In simpler term, China will persist with unification to whatever point that mainstay requires, up to, and including the destruction of Taiwan.
Therefore, China will continue its ascendancy as those before it have done and whilst there may be degrees of plateauing in the process, they will eventually be usurped by further growth. This is the very ‘nature’ of ascendancy and the underpinning of ‘pax.’ Thus, whether it be a series of skirmishes, a conflict, a limited war or a total war in China’s pursuant retrocession of Taiwan, and although problems will be posed for China in the process of launching and sustaining a war, China will remain from the outset determined the process will take place as a pivotal point in its movement toward pax-Sino. If it takes a war for China to retake Taiwan, the Taiwanese people should be under no illusion that war will become a reality through the prism of the ‘pause an effect’ programme and strategy that has been alluded to in the thesis. The war, this thesis argues and the ‘pause’ phases will be launched in 2031 as all of the aforementioned necessary categories will be in place, and should Taiwan show no sign of engaging in a unification-driven dialogue, a kinetic ‘shooting war’ exchange will commence at the latest chronological point of 2035. This will be due to the approaching of another election phase in Taiwan; of 2049 being chronologically closer; and of the window of opportunity offered having stalled or been ignored.
There have been many nuanced applications reviewed and examined in this thesis and whilst the numerous cogent arguments have been analysed, the fact remains in the inexact science of preponderance-forecasting in contemporary times—the twentieth century and beyond—there is approximately 25 years before a nation-state extends beyond its ‘nascent phase’ of preponderance. The end result is the placement of irredentism comes to the fore; and the nation-state acts upon its historic antecedents and thus, exercises its claims with more vigorous politico-platforms which are inevitably linked to suasion-through-force. As stipulated, by 2031 China will have been in its ‘nascent phase’ for approximately 35 years and will be about to enter a greater sphere-of-influence and extend its preponderance tendencies from that of incremental to exponential. Taiwan should not be distracted by any pretence that it will not be at the forefront of China’s politico-aggrandisement; and military forthrightness. Due to these two factors, the government of Taiwan should, by 2031, adjust its policies accordingly and align its parameters to advantageous negotiations, or prepare for a long-term war-of-attrition, and a blockade that is accompanied by a punishment phase strategy of operations. The prescribed action of the window of opportunity will be delivered on or about 2031, and whilst there is a chance that it will be elevated into a series of kinetic actions immediately, or after only a chronologically short phase, it remains the contention of this thesis that it is unlikely as China will want the ‘window’ to produce favourable results toward peaceful reunification. This stipulated, between 2031 and 2035, China’s attitude to unification will become progressively more sclerotic. Should there be no progress toward unification having been made, the ‘pause’ factor in the ascribed ‘pause and effect’ analogy will be discarded, and according to the evidence-base presented a kinetic exchange cum shooting war will take place at the latest date of 2035.
Previous instalment … China and its approach to war
 The countries mentioned are by no means a comprehensive list of the aggressor and the subdued and are only used in order to highlight the point of expansionism and of directly linking the concept to the reality of violent actions extramural to the dominant entity (cum monarchy, dictator or nation-state). A more extensive extrapolation could include the micro-states of Italy, the Crusades, Roman Empire and numerous other republics, institutions and feudal estates. It should be understood that the industrial revolution referred to is driven by inventiveness and science and technology, particularly those of war-making—the manufacture and distribution of weapons and the support infrastructure. Other factors that may be included in the peripheral though necessary part of advancement should be the allegiance components of organised militias and other loyal forces.
 What is meant by this statement for instance is, Vietnam, Malaysia and Japan and Russia, (to mention only four) have to take into account the strategic positions of each other as part of the A-P region in a more nuanced way, whereas in the 1990s – (early) twenty-first century, a US-focus would have been paramount as it was the hegemon.
 Nation-states reverting to war in order to apply their irredentist policies through war can be loosely traced to approximately 25 – 30 years after an industrial revolution. Japan after winning the Japan-Russo War would invade Manchuria approximately 30 years later, the US after the winning of the Korean War would venture in earnest into Vietnam 20 – through 25 years later, France after being decimated in WWI would venture into Indochina 30 years later. There are many more examples that can be attributed and measured in this way. This thesis merely recognises a loose pattern and the evidence has been used to supplement the argument, and acknowledges only that whilst a pattern does exist much more erudite analysis is needed.
Strobe Driver completed his PhD in war studies in 2011 and since then has written extensively on war, terrorism, Asia-Pacific security, the ‘rise of China,’ and issues within Australian domestic politics. Strobe is a recipient of Taiwan Fellowship 2018, MOFA, Taiwan, ROC, and is an adjunct researcher at Federation University.
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