BookPDF Available

A Question of Time: Enhancing Taiwan’s Conventional Deterrence Posture



The future of Taiwan, a flourishing liberal democracy and vibrant economy, is anything but secure. China, regarding it as a renegade province, has not renounced the use of military force to resolve the standoff. Taiwan must deter China’s aggression, taking steps to convince Chinese leaders that the costs of waging war on Taiwan will outweigh any possible benefits. In a new monograph, “A Question of Time: Enhancing Taiwan’s Conventional Deterrence Posture,” a team of researchers at George Mason University and the University of Waterloo examine a holistic strategy that Taiwan can use to enhance its conventional deterrence posture. Their conclusions are simple but radical: Taiwan must intensely prepare an asymmetric deterrence and challenge orthodoxies in its strategic thinking.
A preview of the PDF is not available
... Second, China has engaged in a major military modernization effort that has enhanced its own capabilities vis-à-vis its neighbours. The country most at risk is Taiwan since China harbors revisionist aims against it (Hunzeker and Lanoszka 2018). If China were to attack Taiwan, an economically successful liberal democracy, then the consequences would be dire not only for the island country's citizens but also for the regional military balance and the liberal international order. ...
The liberal international order (LIO) is now in a complex crisis. Its legitimacy and sustainability are put to the test with the growth of deglobalization forces, the rise of emerging powers dissatisfied with the LIO designed by the US, and climate change and the global pandemic. The crisis of the LIO is particularly salient in the Indo-Pacific, the epicenter of the US-China strategic competition, and secondary states in this region are increasingly concerned about its geopolitical consequences. However, I argue that secondary states often treated as the pawns of great powers can turn this circumstance to their advantage by adopting various strategies that maximize their leverage. We should take seriously the possibility that secondary states, by which I denote all states that are weaker or smaller than the hegemonic state and the rising power, can shape the contours of the US-China strategic competition and the newly emerging international order in the Indo-Pacific region. Preoccupied with great power politics, the existing literature on order transition has neglected the fact that secondary states can develop and exercise their own agency. Moreover, it remains vague what agency means in IR and how secondary states enact it. Against this backdrop, I propose an analytical framework that unpacks various types of agency along three dimensions—the motivation of agency, the type of mobilized resources, and the availability of partners. It will help us explain how weaker and smaller states participate and make their voice in reshaping international order in the Indo-Pacific.
Full-text available
This report examines the state of deterrence in the European and Asian theaters, with a focus on NATO Europe and East Asia. The report takes that focus to distinguish the deterrence of specific threats against specific states from more generally dissuading rivals from any action that is deemed unwelcome. Otherwise, deterrence risks becoming all things to different people. The report looks for the principal challenges that could lead to a breakdown of formal or informal extended deterrence arrangements between the United States (US) and small and middle powers in both regions, and it identifies ways to bolster deterrence in Europe and Asia. By breaking down the deterrence problems in both the European and the Asian theater according to the 5Cs of clarity, capabilities, criticality, commitment, and cohesion, this report disentangles the challenges and point to possible solutions.
Full-text available
Russia's use of force against Ukraine since early 2014 has prompted some observers to remark that it is engaging in 'hybrid warfare'. This form of military statecraft has made other former Soviet republics, such as the Baltic countries, fear that Russia would use subversion rather than pursue a conventional military engagement against them. Despite this concern about Russian hybrid war, existing descriptions of this form of war suffer from conceptual weaknesses. In this article hybrid warfare is conceived as a strategy that marries conventional deterrence and insurgency tactics. That is, the belligerent uses insurgent tactics against its target while using its conventional military power to deter a strong military response. The article then outlines why some former Soviet republics are susceptible to Russian hybrid warfare, allowing it to postulate inductively the conditions under which hybrid warfare might be used in general. The analysis yields two policy implications. First, military solutions are not wholly appropriate against hybrid warfare since it exploits latent ethnic grievances and weak civil societies. Second, only under narrow circumstances would belligerents resort to hybrid warfare. Belligerents need to be revisionist and militarily stronger than their targets, but they also need to have ethnic or linguistic ties with the target society to leverage in waging hybrid warfare.
Full-text available
Can social resilience be trained? We report results of a double-dissociative randomized controlled study in which 48 Army platoons were randomly assigned to social resilience training (intervention condition) or cultural awareness training (active control group). The same surveys were administered to all platoons at baseline and after the completion of training to determine the short-term training effects, generalization effects beyond training, and possible adverse effects. Multilevel modeling analyses indicated that social resilience, compared with cultural awareness, training produced small but significant improvements in social cognition (e.g., increased empathy, perspective taking, & military hardiness) and decreased loneliness, but no evidence was found for social resilience training to generalize beyond these training foci nor to have adverse effects. Moreover, as predicted, cultural awareness, compared with social resilience, training produced increases in knowledge about and decreases in prejudice toward Afghans. Additional research is warranted to determine the long-term durability, safety, and generalizability of social resilience training. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2015 APA, all rights reserved).
If facing down a hostile actor in the “gray zone” is hard for a single actor, such as the United States, it is doubly hard for an alliance composed of actors with disparate capabilities, interests, and political fortitude. This article investigates how China has prosecuted gray-zone strategy in the South China Sea. We discern patterns in Chinese policy and strategy with the aim of helping U.S. led alliances face down aggression in maritime Asia.
Employing national identity theories and survey data in Taiwan, this article explains national identity shift in Taiwan. Descriptively we find that most Taiwanese people reject being called ‘Chinese’ (zhongguoren) when asked about their national identity. However, they do not deny their ethnic and cultural Chinese identity. What they object to is being called Chinese nationals, especially this China which is internationally recognized as the People’s Republic of China. In other words, most Taiwanese people do not identify themselves with the mainland Chinese state even though they still associate themselves with the Chinese nation. It is also noted that there is no consensus with regard to national identity in Taiwan, since close to one third of the population still do not object to be called zhongguoren. The author’s analytical findings further confirm that external sovereignty-related factors are related to the Taiwanese national identity shift. Specifically, a changed state boundary, separation desire from mainland China, and recognition of Taiwan as a sovereign state, not the distinctive cultural reconstruction inside Taiwan, contribute to the national identity shift in Taiwan.
Barry R. Posen is Professor of Political Science at MIT and a member of its Defense and Arms Control Studies Program. The author would like to thank Omer Bartov, Liah Greenfeld, Jack Snyder, and Stephen Van Evera for comments on earlier drafts. The Committee on International Conflict and Cooperation of the National Research Council arranged for several helpful reviews. The Levitan Prize and the Carnegie Corporation of New York provided financial support. 1. For an example of such views, see Michael Howard, War in European History (New York: Oxford University Press, 1976), pp. 109-115; Carlton J.H. Hayes, Nationalism: A Religion (New York: Macmillan: 1960), pp. 120-124. 2. This definition is consistent with that offered by Ernst Haas, "What is nationalism and why should we study it?," International Organization, Vol. 40, No. 3 (Summer 1986), p. 709. It also draws on Karl W. Deutsch, Nationalism and Social Communication: An Inquiry into the Foundations of Nationality, 2nd ed. (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1966), chap. 4, "Peoples, Nations, and Communication," pp. 86-105. I have also borrowed from Ernest Gellner, who posits that a shared "high" or literary culture is the fundamental element of nationalism. Because he views culture as the glue that holds industrial capitalism together, he sees the spread of capitalism as the main cause of modern nationalism. Below I develop a different argument. Gellner, Nations and Nationalism (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1983); for a useful summary, see pp. 139-143; and for elaboration, pp. 35-38. 3. The standard work is Kenneth Waltz, Theory of International Politics (Reading, Mass.: Addison-Wesley, 1979); see esp. pp. 123-128. "Contending states imitate the military innovations contrived by the country of greatest capability and ingenuity," p. 127. This is also the theme of Charles Tilly, ed., Formation of National States in Western Europe (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1975). The essays in Tilly's collection stress competition and imitation in the development of the whole administrative apparatus of states, including their military; they address the development of nations less directly. See also Stanislav Andreski, Military Organization and Society (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1971), pp. 68-71. 4. William H. McNeill, The Pursuit of Power (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1982), pp. 123-124, views the Thirty Years War as the event marking the institutionalization of a "professional" officer corps in the sense of a Europe-wide, self-conscious group of technical experts in the "management" of violence, dedicated to the improvement of their craft. After the Thirty Years War, the institution of the standing army spread throughout Europe, providing regular employment for these professionals. As noted elsewhere in this article, the notion that one plied one's trade for a single state throughout one's career had not yet caught on. 5. Louis XIV put the largest ancien regime army into the field; at 450,000 it represented a feat unequalled by his royal successors. Russell F. Weigley, The Age of Battles (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1991), p. 260. By late 1793, the revolutionary government had 700,000 soldiers. Jean-Paul Bertaud, The Army of the French Revolution, trans. R.R. Palmer (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1988), p. 243. Under Napoleon strength fluctuated, but between 1800 and 1812, 1.3 million conscripts were reportedly absorbed. McNeill, The Pursuit of Power, p. 200. 6. The germ of this argument is found in Carl Von Clausewitz, On War, ed. and trans. Michael Howard and Peter Paret (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1976, 1984), pp. 591-593. Of France he notes, "in 1793 a force appeared that beggared all imagination. Suddenly war again became the business of the people . . . all of whom considered themselves to be citizens. . . . The full weight of the nation was thrown into the balance." Of the consequences, he wrote, "Since Bonaparte, then, war, first among the French and subsequently among their enemies, again became the concern of the people as a whole. . . . There seemed no end to the resources mobilized; all limits disappeared in the vigor and enthusiasm shown by governments and their subjects." 7. Most historians date the problem to the appearance of muzzle-loading percussion-fired rifles in the mid-1800s, but I find...
Russian Hybrid Warfare
  • Lanoszka
Lanoszka, "Russian Hybrid Warfare, " 189-190.
231 Interview with senior Straits Exchange Foundation official
  • Lin
Lin, "Taiwanese Willing to Fight China. " 231 Interview with senior Straits Exchange Foundation official, Taipei, Taiwan, January 19, 2018; and Interview with Dr. Ming Chu-cheng, Dr. Tang Hsin-wei, and Dr. Liao Hsiao-chuan, Taipei, Taiwan, January 19, 2018.
  • Richard C Bush
Richard C. Bush, "The 2016 Election and Prospects for Taiwan's Democracy, " Orbis, Vol. 60, No. 4 (2016): 481.
Beijing wants Taiwanese to identify as Chinese
  • Alastair Iain Johnston
  • George Yin
Alastair Iain Johnston and George Yin, "Beijing wants Taiwanese to identify as Chinese. But how do Taiwanese really feel?" Washington Post (Monkey Cage), June 4, 2018, retrieved from wp/2018/06/04/beijing-wants-taiwanese-to-identify-as-chinese-but-how-do-taiwanese-really-feel/.