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Shallow waters, limited access, a sophisticated army: why the invasion of Taiwan would be more complicated than the invasion of Ukraine – an analysis

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growing tension Taiwan It can be compared, in appropriate proportions, to the conflict in which it erupted Ukraine? not exactly: file physical geographyThe rearmament policies The level of anticipation of aggression distinguishes the two stories quite clearly. Meanwhile, Taiwan, which was known by its Spanish name FormosaIt’s an island: one and a half times the size of an island Sardinia (36,000 km²) hosts a large population of northern Italy (23 million). And it is important to say that its average height is 1150 meters above sea level. Basically, there is Just two flat areas: the largest on the west side, opposite People’s republic of China (People’s Republic of China), from the capital Taipei almost as far south as the island, with a length of about 450 km with an average depth of less than 30, and the other in the northeast side, where the surface is comparable to the province Genoawithin Hisien (county, county) of YilanIt overlooks the sea for a distance of 30 km.

So obviously the former Spanish Formosa is real natural fortress. It is even more so because the depth of the marine waters on the whole western side fluctuates between 50 and 100 metres, with an average of 70. Water is scarce, the duck doesn’t float, or better yet: The sea is too shallow for Chinese submarines It can never be used with a file Maximum landing on the beach. However, these shallow waters provide ideal conditions for Taiwanese to lay thousands of them defensive mines: Certainly, the operation cannot be carried out in peacetime, in order not to harm trade, but in the event of a threat, it is easy to implement it in a country that was at the beginning of 2022, even before the war in Ukraine, Increase its military budget An additional $8.6 billion. To understand each other, in Italy, there are those who rub their eyes on the German announcement of a one-time two billion euro investment in arms.

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We also add that Taipei has not only relied on the advantages offered by physical geography, but has also built Fortifications on the coastsespecially in the southwest, the development of Naval and Air Bases Along with almost all commercial ports and sensitive airports, in case the People’s Republic of China tries to invade. Sure, Ukraine is about seventeen times larger in comparison, but it is the heart of the European steppe, that is, a low and flat area. In addition, it has nearly 2,000 km of land borders with Russia And another 1000 with Belarusalmost all of them are in plain or low hilly areas, without natural defenses reaching valleys and rivers already in Ukrainian territory to stress some defenses.

We add that Taiwan also has Hundreds of planesAnd the Anti-aircraft and anti-ship systems From the latest generation, including celebrities Harpoon missilesknown in black sea, which can be used both from the ship and from coastal batteries, the range of which allows to cover the entire area of ​​the strait. As if that weren’t enough, a well-known military expert and anti-terrorist expert recently pointed out Renato Scarvi“in Formosa They’ve been preparing for 70 years to the possibility of a Chinese landing.” In addition, “Taiwan would have gained the ability to strike mainland China with missiles with a range of more than 1,500 km, and would equip itself with them.” long range missiles Which, in the event of a conflict, would have the ability to hit targets in the heart of Chinese territory.” We are far from the tragic situation of the Ukrainian armed forces in 2014, the time of the first Russian aggression on Crimea and all Donbass, but also of Kyiv’s naive insistence to deny the threat of invasion – and the need to prepare for such a possibility – until February 23. For Taipei, the doubt is not whether and where, but only when.

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In such a scenario, the Cold War never ended, Washington And the Beijing The same logic goes back and forth: is it better for the People’s Republic of China to act now, given that Taiwan has not yet been sufficiently strengthened and the Americans have not yet fully turned towards the Asia-Pacific region? Should the Americans secure the former Formosa, while building a new and anti-Chinese democratic security order, given that the People’s Republic of China has not yet built an air and sea power capable, not so much to repel the United States and its allies, but at least be sure to crush Taiwan itself? Move Nancy Pelosi, a long-standing policy and always opposed – on the left – to the Chinese Communists, and emphasized, as evidenced by the images of the exercises, that the United States – taken alone or with its alliance regimes – is an opponent of the PRC of another class. As mentioned Stephen Goldstein, a Harvard scientist, “When the Chinese get angry with the United States over Taiwan, they punish Taiwan.” And then, the Americans talk about defending democracy with Taiwan, and prepare to justify, in front of Congress In the midterm campaign, the need to Invest in security in Taipei More and more than in Kyiv.

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