The road to Taipei City
China will surely be reunified, and all Chinese on both sides of the Taiwan Strait should be bound by a common sense of purpose and share in the glory of the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation. — Xi Jinping (December 31, 2023)
Every since Triple C left Kyiv last week to Europe during the biggest air attack of The Great War, I have been thinking about Taiwan and Ukraine, two electoral democracies threatened by authoritarian regimes. They have roughly the same-sized resident population — 25 million — and large diasporas.
No one, except maybe me, knows what strategic relations are like between Taipei City and Kyiv. But that might change in 2024.
On the Ukraine jacket, we have spent all our money, bombs are falling and Z is making selfies.
It's more important than ever that we face up to what one of my old philosophy professors called limit concepts, which have been around for centuries. In 2023, we have pushed ourselves to the limit of what we’re comfortable thinking about, including realistic concerns for survival.
As MIG-31s take off from Russian air bases and kamikaze drones approach the capital, let’s pause to brainstorm about the possible boundaries of contingency next year.
Although Team USA can afford to help more, Congress is refusing to authorize the what might be required to keep us alive. House Speaker Mike is sympathetic, but he is busy subtweeting Elon. Uncle Joe has expressed outrage on vacation from St. Croix in the Virgin Islands, while European leaders now say a military confrontation with Russia looks increasingly likely — maybe two, five or seven years away.
In 2024, a good first step might be to form a national unification government to help Z and his six trusted lieutenants to solve problems, many of their own making, e.g. forced conscription. These hotshots are visibly at wits end coping with thinning AFU ranks and widespread ptsd. They have been unable to legalize psilocybin and marijuana.
A future organized withdrawal of military units to new fortified positions in western regions of the country on the borders with Poland, Romania, Slovakia and military bases in Germany might become necessary, at least temporarily, as interruptions in materiel support and ammunition become increasingly prolonged and pronounced. These temporarily relocated units could emerge as the vanguard of a new Europe-based military force if the roll-back from Russia-occupied areas picks up speed.
Unsuccessful tactical self-deception is often followed by strategic victory. Soldiers in the armies of Europe are under-equipped, out of shape with little or no combat experience. The militaries of France, Hungary and Germany will need to be retrained and vetted before put on active duty anywhere. The same goes for the armies of North Macedonia and Poland. All foreign legionnaires must close down their social media accounts and pledge to obey Ukraine’s chain of command.
Future external support-related misadventure can by offset by a dozen or so allied pan-European military formations garrisoned in partner states, with the approval of home country governments. Team USA can enforce consent and provide moral support.
Reservists South America can be called up and trained in best practices learned during the Russia-Ukraine war: they must be able to fight with little ammunition, using cloaking devices, to evade kamikaze drones, negotiate minefields and seek shelter in sewer pipes. Preliminary screening should be started as soon as possible under a 21st-century version training and doctrine command center, one preferably based at a resurrected Teufelsberg in Berlin.