Taiwan Must Follow 'Scorched-Earth Strategy' Of Destroying TSMC Semiconductor Factories To Deter Forcible Chinese Invasion: US Military Scholars

by Swarajya Staff - Jan 5, 2022 09:41 AM +05:30 IST
Taiwan Must Follow 'Scorched-Earth Strategy' Of Destroying TSMC Semiconductor Factories To Deter Forcible Chinese Invasion: US Military Scholars
TSMC
Snapshot
  • In order to render itself unattractive for a forcible Chinese invasion, Taiwan must consider following a a targeted scorched-earth strategy of destroying facilities belonging to the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC), the most important chipmaker in the world, two US academics have advocated.

    The authors also argued that Taiwan’s threat would become even more potent than if Taipei puts out a well-publicised plan to target the China ’s chip-fabrication lines using cruise and ballistic missiles, including the Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation facility (SMIC) in Shanghai.

In order to render itself unattractive for a forcible Chinese invasion, Taiwan must consider following a a targeted scorched-earth strategy of destroying facilities belonging to the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC), the most important chipmaker in the world, two US academics have advocated.

In a paper titled 'Broken Nest: Deterring China from Invading Taiwan' published in the U.S. Army War College Quarterly “Parameters.”, the authors, Jared M. McKinney and Peter Harris, propose a "tailored deterrence package" that they say goes beyond either fighting over Taiwan or abandoning it in event of Chinese invasion.

While Jared McKinney serves as the chair of the Department of Strategy and Security Studies at the eSchool of Graduate Professional Military Education, Air University, Peter Harris is an associate professor of political science at Colorado State University.

The authors are of the view that traditional deterrence strategies -such as forward-deploying American warships in Taiwan's vicinity -is unlikely to serve as deterrent for Beijing.

Pointing to the dismal progress in China's effort for a “Made in China” chip industry (only 6 percent of semiconductors used in China were produced domestically in 2020). the authors argued that in the event of TSMC going offline, companies around the globe, including Chinese high-tech ones, will find it to difficult to continue operations.

"This development would mean China’s high-tech industries would be immobilized at precisely the same time the nation was embroiled in a massive war effort. Even when the formal war ended, the economic costs would persist for years. " they argue in the paper.

The authors pointed out that it would leave Samsung, based in U.S. ally South Korea, as the only alternative for cutting-edge designs.

This problem would be a dangerous cocktail from the perspective of the Chinese Communist Party, the legitimacy of which is predicated on promises of domestic tranquility, national resilience, and sustained economic growth.

Jared M. McKinney and Peter Harris however acknowledged the main problem would be making the threat seem credible to China

"They must absolutely believe Taiwan’s semiconductor industry would be destroyed in the event of an invasion. If China suspects Taipei would not follow through on such a threat, then deterrence will fail. " the authors state in the paper

Calling for designing an automatic mechanism that will be triggered if China does decided to forcibly occupy the island, the authors urged the Taiwanese leadership to make it clear that they will not allow a strategic semiconductor industry to fall into the hands of an adversary.

The United States and its allies must announce plans to give refuge to highly skilled Taiwanese working in semiconductor sector, creating contingency plans with Taipei for the rapid evacuation and processing of the human capital that operates the physical semiconductor foundries, the authors say.

The authors also suggested that Taipei should put out a well-publicised plan to target the China ’s chip-fabrication lines using cruise and ballistic missiles, including the Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation facility (SMIC) in Shanghai.

"A preplanned sanctions campaign against any chip exports to China, led by the United States but supported by South Korea and other allies, would enhance this approach." the authors write

The paper also calls for sustained efforts to convince Beijing of the "considerable advantages" to maintaining the status quo on the question of Taiwan.

"Washington must restate in unambiguous terms the status of Taiwan is undetermined, that the United States has no plans to support independent statehood for Taiwan, and it will not seek to shift the status quo using gray-zone tactics that violate the spirit of Sino-American rapprochement," the authors write.

Get Swarajya in your inbox everyday. Subscribe here.

An Appeal...

Dear Reader,

As you are no doubt aware, Swarajya is a media product that is directly dependent on support from its readers in the form of subscriptions. We do not have the muscle and backing of a large media conglomerate nor are we playing for the large advertisement sweep-stake.

Our business model is you and your subscription. And in challenging times like these, we need your support now more than ever.

We deliver over 10 - 15 high quality articles with expert insights and views. From 7AM in the morning to 10PM late night we operate to ensure you, the reader, get to see what is just right.

Becoming a Patron or a subscriber for as little as Rs 1200/year is the best way you can support our efforts.

Become A Patron
Become A Subscriber
Comments ↓
Get Swarajya in your inbox everyday. Subscribe here.
Advertisement

Latest Articles

    Artboard 4Created with Sketch.