Tensions in the Taiwan Strait are at an all time high after visits of high-level US officials to the free and democratic country of Taiwan. The Chinese Communist party is incensed, and has responded with provocative military flights, threats, and live-fire military drills in coastal areas facing Taiwan, including the East China Sea, the Taiwan Strait, and the South China Sea.
Some military strategy experts have suggested that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) may take advantage of the US presidential election, and a power-gap during succession, to mount a military offense against Taiwan.
Seth Cropsey, a former naval officer, and now a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute wrote in The Hill, September 17: “There may never be a better moment for China to strike than the week of Nov. 3.”
Cropsey’s analysis is based on the premise that the upcoming US presidential election will result in a succession crisis based on “America’s partisan enmity.”
The idea of a succession crisis is being widely disseminated by western media agencies, and even by conservative pundits like Cropsey, who served as Deputy Undersecretary of the Navy under the Reagan and George H.W. Bush administrations.
By contrast, China’s CCP government faces no such threats. There are no fears of succession crisis in a nation that doesn’t have popular elections; and no partisan enmity in a nation where any potential partisans are locked up in re-education camps, prisons, or merely exterminated.
In the light of the above information, it comes as a small comfort to those of us who live in Taiwan to learn that 9,000 US troops will join 37,000 of their Japanese counterparts in a joint field training exercise around Kagoshima, Japan, between October 26 and November 5. Canada will also send a ship.
Operation Keen Sword is the latest in a series of joint training exercises designed to increase combat readiness and interoperability of Japanese and US forces, the US Navy said.
The exercise will simulate multiple amphibious landings on several islands.
“Approximately 9,000 U.S. service members from the U.S. Navy, Marine Corps, Army, and Air Force will conduct training with their JSDF counterparts from military installations throughout mainland Japan, Okinawa prefecture, and their surrounding territorial waters.”
“Further details of the exercise will not be released until the start of the exercise due to operational security,” the press release from U.S. Indo-Pacific Command Public Affairs said.
Japan announced that it will devote 37, 000 troops, 20 ships, and 170 aircraft to the exercise, in an announcement September 25, also revealing that the drills will are scheduled to end November 5. The US military did not mention an ending date for the exercises.
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