Fourth Crisis: The Battle for Taiwan

FOURTH CRISIS

THE BATTLE FOR TAIWAN

 

By Peter von Bleichert

 

Copyright 2012-2015.
Peter von Bleichert

 

Registered: Library
of Congress; and, Writers Guild of America

 

Proofread by Joseph
P. Bogo

 

All characters
appearing in this work are fictitious.
 
Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

 

No part of this
publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means,
electronic or mechanical, including: photocopy, recording, or any information
and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright
holder/publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical
articles/reviews.

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CHARACTERS

PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC
OF CHINA (CHINA):

Ambassador Fan Wei

Captain Kun Guan

Senior Lieutenant
Peng Jingwei

General Zhen Zhu

…and, Vice
President Ai Bao Li; President Xu Wai Li; General Piao Bai; & Chief
Executive Yao Ou Pei.

 

REPUBLIC OF CHINA
(TAIWAN):

Major Han Ken

Senior Master
Sergeant Li Rong Kai

Major General Tek
Foo Chek

…and, President
Bing Rong.

 

UNITED STATES OF
AMERICA:

Captain Anthony Ferlatto

Richard Ling

Lieutenant Cynthia
Pelletier

Secretary of State
Georgiana Pierce

Captain Shane
Whidby

Commander Max
Wolff

Jade Zhang

…and, Vice
President Elias Campos; Special Agent Hunter Jackson; Rear Admiral Norman
Kaylo; President William Keeley; Secretary of Defense Shawn Tillison; &
National Security Advisor Nathaniel Westermark, Ph.D.

NOTES
 

Taiwan sits 75 miles due east of mainland China’s Fujian
Province.
 
The island is 245 miles long
from north to south and 89 miles wide.
 
The East China Sea is north of it, the Philippine Sea east, south is the
Luzon Strait, and the South China Sea is located to the southwest.
 
Taiwan is mountainous with a chain of jagged
peaks running vertically down its middle that slope away to coastal
plains.
 
The island spans the Tropic of
Cancer and has both tropical and subtropical vegetation.

In 1979, the American Congress ratified the Taiwan Relations
Act.
 
The Act stipulated that the United
States of America “...will consider any effort to determine the future of Taiwan
by other than peaceful means a threat to the peace and security of the Western
Pacific area, and of grave concern to the United States.”
 
The Act was later supplemented with
recognition by the United States of a One China policy.
 
This policy recognized a single China, of
which Taiwan was a part, though it did not express the form of government that
should control One China.

In 2005, the Politburo of the Communist Party of China
announced the Anti-Secession Law.
 
This
Law authorized the use of force against Taiwan in the event of a declaration of
independence or a threat to regional security.

BRIEFING
 

By the end of the Second World War, the Chinese Civil War had
stalemated with the Communists on the mainland and the Nationalists on the
island of Taiwan.
 
Since this time, there
have been three crises that have threatened total war between the People’s
Republic of China (China) and the Republic of China (Taiwan):

The First Crisis began when Taiwanese preparations to invade
the mainland were discovered.
 
The
Chinese pre-empted the attack by assaulting and seizing several of Taiwan’s
small island territories.
 
With war
raging on the Korean Peninsula, and convinced Communism must be contained,
President Truman sent the US Navy into the Taiwan Strait, effectively
separating the combatants and ending the crisis.

A continuation of the First Crisis, the Second Crisis opened
with Chinese shelling of Taiwanese territory.
 
Taiwan returned fire.
 
The
bombardment claimed thousands of lives on both sides as the two air forces met over
the Taiwan Strait.
 
One hundred Chinese
MiG 15s faced off against 32 Taiwanese F-86 Sabers in aerial combat.
 
There was no clear winner and the Second Crisis
subsided.

The Third Crisis began when the president of Taiwan accepted
an invitation to deliver a graduation speech at his alma mater, Cornell
University.
 
The United States granted
him a visa.
 
Massive Chinese airborne and
amphibious military exercises commenced, and ballistic missiles began to splash-in
and near Taiwan’s ports.
 
As a show of
American determination to defend Taiwan, President Clinton sent the USS
Nimitz
carrier battle group into the
Taiwan Strait.
 
This temporarily cooled things
off.
 
Then, in the run-up to Taiwan’s
presidential election and as a warning to voters not to put the
pro-independence party in power, hundreds of Chinese missiles were fired and
impacted within Taiwanese waters.
 
Despite these attempts at intimidation, the Taiwanese people called China’s
bluff.
 
With more American firepower
arriving on scene, the Third Crisis ended, and a long and uneasy peace began.

At the beginning of the 21
st
Century, China had
become Earth’s most populous nation.
 
It
also became the planet’s second largest economic and military power.

 
 

The near future…

 
1:
MACHINATIONS
 


All warfare is based
on deception.
 
Hence, when able to
attack, we must seem unable; When using our forces, we must seem inactive; When
we are near, we must make the enemy believe we are far away; When far away, we
must make him believe we are near
.”—Sun Tzu

 

C
ranes and
smokestacks pierced the blanket of noxious gases hanging over Beijing.
 
The unnatural stew tinted the low-hanging
full moon a rusty orange.
 
Beyond the
Forbidden City’s Meridian Gate lay the vast flatness of Tiananmen Square.
 
Only the Monument to the People’s Heroes and
the Mausoleum of Mao Zedong interrupted a historical meeting place, the great
plaza.
 
Flanked by the massive Qianmen
and Tiananmen gates, the west side of the square was hemmed-in by the Great
Hall of the People, and, on its east side, the National Museum of China.
 
The vibrant, modern Chinese capital that
surrounded the old city center throbbed with midsummer activity.

Bicycles and cars sped in all directions.
 
An elderly, yellow-shirted vendor hawked barbecued
scorpions outside a high-fashion boutique.
 
A rickshaw runner yelled at a passing luxury sedan.
 
Beneath the neon glow of video screens and
billboards, a sleek, modern tram glided along its street track.
 
It passed the Ministry of National Defense’s
compound where the ‘August 1
st
’ building stood.
 
Named for the founding of the People’s
Liberation Army, it loomed over the neighborhood.

Wearing a peaked, stylized roof adorned with antennae and
satellite dishes, the building constituted a modern-day fortress.
 
From its summit hung the red and gold flag of
the People’s Republic, and, in a basement bunker far from the reach of foreign
spies and twitchy locals, Party officials attended a late-night meeting.

The bunker’s reinforced concrete and exposed steel columns
and girders were made more welcoming by elegant antique Gansu carpets,
cloisonné vases, and intricately carved mahogany-paneled screens.
 
A large golden Seal of the People’s Republic
of China hung on the bunker’s long wall, opposite a painting of Mao Zedong, the
Chairman surrounded by happy workers.
 
Marble busts of Lenin and Marx stared at the aged men seated around a
large oval table.
 
Most wore uniforms of
the Chinese armed forces, and a few more were dressed in suits.
 
Most of those gathered were spotted and
bloated from excess, mere reflections of their former glorious selves.
 
A tiny woman entered the chamber and fanned
her hand at the thick-hanging tobacco smoke, moving it from her disapproving, crinkled
face.
 
She coughed and drew a colorful
tapestry draped across the wall.
 
Behind
it were exposed two large video screens.
 
The screens flickered on.
 
Maps of
the Pacific Ocean and the Taiwan Strait Theater exploded into view.

“The Military Commission of the Politburo Standing Committee
of the Communist Party of China is hereby called to order,” intoned Xu Wai Li,
president of the republic and chairman of the gathered military
commission.
 
President Xu reiterated the
purpose of the late night meeting: How to react to the announcement that the
United States would furnish the renegade Chinese province of Taiwan with
advanced weapons.
 
People’s Liberation
Army General Zhen Zhu sat among the members of the commission.

A squat square of a man, General Zhen had a grey crew cut
and one blinded eye, the consequence of a parasite during his youth.
 
A golden aiguillette, collar insignias,
star-covered epaulets, and a chest full of medals and ribbons adorned his
olive-drab uniform.
 
Perched forward, a peaked
cap shaded Zhen’s dark brown gaze.
 
Its
black visor, outlined in yellow braid, served as a billboard for the red star
insignia of the People’s Liberation Army.

General Zhen contemplatively ran his finger over scar
tissue.
 
During the chaos of the ‘June 4
th
Incident’—the name chosen by the Party for the massacre of citizens at
Tiananmen Square—a chunk of glass had been embedded in his cheek.
 
A medic’s sloppy stitching left him with the
Frankenstein-like blemish, though Zhen wore the mutilation with honor.
 
Having personally shot nine of the
pro-democracy demonstrators that summer night, his only regret was he had carried
a pistol instead of a machinegun.
 
Besides this Tiananmen blemish, combat in Vietnam, at the Indian border,
and Tibet all had exacted their toll upon his aging body, leaving the old
warrior with a shambling gait and sleepless, aching nights.

General Zhen sighed with impatience as he surveyed the men
of the supreme martial committee.
 
Most
of them were half-drunk from dinner, and the rest, on the verge of sleep.
 
All waited for People’s Liberation Army Air
Force General Piao Bai to finish his droning statement.

“In conclusion,” General Piao half-mumbled, “I would advise
against the army’s plan to invade Taiwan, continuing instead on a path of
rapprochement, softly integrating Taiwan into our economy with agreements; essentially
a de facto non-violent unification.”
 
One
man yawned.
 
“As for the Americans,” Piao
continued, we all know they will defend the island, so why fight those we can
instead starve?
 
Our 20-year plan to
dismantle the economy of the United States and pilfer its technological jewels
is on track.
 
Soon, the Americans will no
longer be able to afford aircraft carriers.
 
Yes,” he exclaimed, nodding with self-agreement, “We must ignore this
latest transfer of weaponry by the Americans and stay the course.”
 
General Piao smiled to the president—his old schoolmate—and
the rest of the committee attendees.
 
Feeling his position unassailable, he creaked back down into his seat.

The president took back the floor.
 
He reminded the committee that they had all
read the air force’s proposal, and trusted all were in agreement: the plan would
be adopted, energies focused on pressing issues at the Indian frontier, and
with the restive Muslim population in the northwestern province of
Xinjiang.
 
General Zhen cleared his
throat for attention and raised his hand.
 
The interruption, a veiled challenge to paramount authority, and,
therefore, the president’s nod of approval met wholly unenthusiastic acceptance.

“Thank you President Xu.
 
With all due respect to the chairman and this body, General Piao is
wrong
.”
 
Zhen stood, buttressing himself on the table
with straightened arms.
 
“Perhaps my
distinguished colleague in the air force would be more comfortable wearing the
uniform of the girl scouts?” Zhen taunted Piao.
 
Piao’s blotches turned several different shades, and he looked to the
president for intervention.
 
None came,
and Zhen proceeded.
 
“Taiwan…” the
poisonous contempt he held for the island came through clearly, “is no longer
about an unfinished civil war, or the disrespectful meddling of a foreign
superpower.
 
Taiwan is about the ascendance
of China to a place of glory befitting her new global power.
 
My comrades…” the general paused, scanning
the membership.
 
“Let me take Taiwan and
deliver China to this rightful place of glory.”
 
Zhen raised a fist and began to pace behind the now wide-awake men.
 
“We are blocked from the Pacific by the first
island chain, of which Taiwan is the keystone,” the general tantalized.
 
“Once the island is back in the fold, I will
use its air and sea bases to drive the Americans all the way back to Hawaii.
 
After that, gentlemen,” he smiled wolfishly,
“it will be
our
bombers and warships
conducting exercises off San Diego and King’s Bay,
our
aircraft carriers that steam on the horizon.”

“Insanity,” an admiral of the People’s Liberation Army Navy
scoffed, Zhen’s rant.
 
“You presume much
general.”
 
The admiral looked around for
eye contact and support.
 
However, most
of the commission stayed neutral by looking to Mao’s portrait.
 
The admiral hung in the wind.
 
General Zhen continued:

“Must the commission be reminded of the massive firepower at
our disposal?
 
Of the new weapons deployed
along the coast?
 
While some…” Zhen looked
indicated the direction of the fuming General Piao, “cling to faint-hearted policies;
it is we who possess the advantage and the initiative.
 
Gentlemen, it is time.
 
If I may?” Zhen asked, though he was already
in motion, reaching an arm under the table.
 
President Xu extended an arm in invitation.
 
Zhen produced a small remote control from a
drawer.
 
He strode to the map, and, like a
scornful professor, waved his arms.
 
Computer-generated
icons populated the screen: little red airplanes, infantrymen, parachutes,
rockets, ships, and tanks.

“In Fujian...” Zhen said as he pointed to the Chinese
province adjacent to the sweet potato-shaped Taiwanese island, “I have under my
personal command over 1,500 East Wind ballistic missiles, and over 400 highly-accurate
East Sea and Long Sword cruise missiles.”
 
He paused to allow his declaration to sink in.
 
Then, with the push of a button, the computer
simulated a massive single coordinated missile launch against the island; a ‘wargasm,’
as it were.
 
“Then,” Zhen continued, “I command
an entire airborne corps, four amphibious divisions, and countless armored,
infantry, and mechanized divisions ready to be air- and sea-lifted across
this…miserable little Strait.”
 
Zhen
sneered, and his tobacco-stained teeth glistened.
 
“Our enemies cannot match our cyber-warfare
capabilities, and the limitations of the Taiwanese armed forces are well known
to this body.”
 
The general activated a
laser pointer on the remote control.
 
With
the red dot it projected, he circled the measly number of blue icons that represented
Taiwan’s defenses.
 
“Taiwan can at most
field a few trifling divisions, and their air force and navy cannot endure our
overwhelming onslaught.
 
My staff has
programmed several attack simulations into the new ‘Blue Lantern’
supercomputer, with each employing a multi-phase attack.
 
First, our surface-to-surface missiles will
rain down upon Taiwan’s military and air defense bases and critical
infrastructure. Then, our long-range surface-to-air missiles will blast
scrambling Taiwanese aircraft as they take to the air. Next, our air force will
fly in, cudgeling any surviving enemy aircraft and ground targets; and, the final
blow will be delivered by our amphibious and airborne forces as they land at
Taiwan’s air and seaports, fanning out across the island.
 
Blue Lantern has predicted that, against all
possible defenses, we will have total victory in six days.”
 
On the wall display, computer-generated
arrows swept east from the Chinese coast, and turned the simulated island of
Taiwan blood red.

“That is enough,” People’s Liberation Army Air Force General
Piao shouted, standing again, his legs cracking and popping as he rose.
 
Finally, on his feet, he growled, “We all
know where this will lead: nuclear war with the Americans.”

“And risk our atomic reprisal?
 
Never,” General Zhen roared at his
counterpart.
 
“The United States is bankrupt,
distracted, and divided.
 
The Americans
have no stomach for a nuclear exchange.
 
They would not risk Los Angeles for Taipei.
 
Your conclusions are flawed and clearly
exhibit diffidence.
 
Perhaps retirement
would better suit you general?” Zhen stabbed.

“How dare you?” General Piao rumbled, shaking with
anger.
 
“You ask us to risk everything;
all our hard-won progress, just to satiate your craving for battle and conquest.”

“Gentlemen,” President Xu interjected, with the lilt of a
man entertained.
 
“I suggest we proceed
with General Piao’s plan.
 
We will
boycott the American companies that provided the weaponry, but otherwise, do
nothing.
 
Time is on our side.
 
We will use it.
 
This is my executive recommendation.
 
Is there any more discussion?”
 
The president looked right at Zhen, and his glare
willed the general to sit again.
 
With
that, a vote was called.

Zhen dissented in disgust.
 
He scanned the old men.
 
He despised
their obediently raised hands and pudgy faces that looked to the president like
submissive pets awaiting their master’s praise.
 
In that moment, deep beneath the ‘August 1
st’
building,
General Zhen decided China could no longer wait for those lapdogs to become men.

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