Taiwan Could Protect Itself More Effectively

DF-17 Dongfeng medium-selection ballistic missiles geared up with a DF-ZF hypersonic glide automobile, included in a military services parade in 2019.


Zoya Rusinova/Zuma Push

About the letters “Taiwan Defense: A Really hard Challenge for the U.S.” (Feb. 2) responding to Elbridge Colby’s “America Can Defend Taiwan” (op-ed, Jan. 27): Mr. Colby rightly argues that Taiwan’s protection is an obligation which must be explicitly acknowledged as these and that the U.S. can satisfy the challenge.

I would simply insert that “a difficult issue for the U.S.” would be substantially considerably less hard if Taiwan could reliably outnumber any invading power, by adopting the Finnish model of common (quite) brief-support conscription for (extremely) intense teaching followed by placement in a prepared reserve, with occasional refreshers. Contrary to today’s forces whose big weapons and headquarters are extremely vulnerable to missile attack, little models armed with person-portable missiles distributed throughout the island would endure to outnumber (by significantly) the most whole of likely invaders. Finland with 5.5 million inhabitants can area 600,000 correctly properly trained, adequately armed defenders (complete range on the textbooks is 900,000). With 23.7 million inhabitants Taiwan really should handle two million, i.e., two times the measurement of the full People’s Liberation Military floor pressure and 10 times the dimensions of the premier probable invading force.

Navy assistance is extremely unpopular in Taiwan and it would be in Finland, much too, if youthful Finns were compelled to waste their time on parade-floor drills to maintain a conventional framework unlikely to survive 1 working day of missile bombardment. As it is, young Finns appear forward to their months of tough but very purposeful teaching, rightly self-assured of defeating terribly outnumbered invaders.

Edward N. Luttwak

Chevy Chase, Md.

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Appeared in the February 6, 2021, print version.