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Why is Russia's invasion of Ukraine a catastrophe for China?

China appears to be one of Russia's few remaining friends, but the assault on Ukraine has strained relations between the two countries. How is China dealing with the fallout from the failed invasion? To discover more, read this revelatory narrative! ☠☠🤬🤬

By Infographics ShowPublished 3 months ago 16 min read
Worst Case ☠☠🤬🤬

China appears to be one of Russia's few remaining friends, but the assault on Ukraine has strained relations between the two countries. How is China dealing with the fallout from the failed invasion? To discover more, read this revelatory narrative! ☠☠🤬🤬

The invasion of Ukraine by Russia has taught us many valuable lessons. Unfortunately, China's plans for the future may have been seriously hampered by all of these lessons. That much is clear: China wants Taiwan. They keep saying that the island is a province of the People's Republic of China rather than a sovereign state. Taiwan, the United States, and a large portion of the rest of the world reject China's assertions. In order to make sure that Xi Jinping didn't have the same goals as Vladimir Putin when he invaded Ukraine, the West, and the United States in particular, kept a close eye on China. It is extremely unlikely that Xi Jinping would do something as foolish as declare war on Taiwan at this point in the war, which has been going on for a year. Only one brutal authoritarian leader is currently foolish enough to invade a neighbor, and things aren't going well for him.

China has nevertheless been closely monitoring the developments in Ukraine and elsewhere. And the Chinese leadership observes how any potential plans to annex Taiwan are gradually fading away with each passing day. Then let's get started. Let's look at each lesson learned from the conflict to date and how they all portend bad news for China to understand why Putin's invasion has turned out to be disastrous for its future plans. Grey zone operations refer to the strategy China is presently employing against Taiwan. Grey zone operations, at their most basic, are non-military conflicts and confrontations between two nations, typically one that is more powerful. The key is that none of the tactics cause military engagements or directly result in war; rather, they are used to weaken a nation's resolve and obstruct its ability to expand and forge allies.

Since many years ago, China has been employing this tactic in the Taiwan Strait. Its name refers to the liminal space between peaceful coexistence and a full-scale invasion. In addition to its gray zone operations, China also employs a strategy against Taiwan known as salami-slicing in addition to its grey zone operations. This occurs when a country takes numerous minor steps in order to eventually produce a much larger result. Here, it's important to remember that the nation's goals must be broken down into smaller steps because they are either too difficult or illegal to accomplish all at once. As an illustration, China gradually increased the number of times it entered Taiwan's Air Defense Identification Zone until it became the norm. Then, with aircraft and naval vessels, they started crossing the Taiwan Strait's median line.

Additionally, they have been gradually placing military forces on small islands in the South China Sea, even building artificial islands. In order to stifle international diplomatic relations as well, China continuously cautions Western leaders against developing close ties with Taiwan or traveling to the island. Of course, China has exerted pressure on Taiwan's politics and economy by using its financial clout and regional influence. It could be argued that China was acting overly aggressively or getting ready to annex Taiwan if all of these events occurred at once. The cumulative effect of these gray zone strategies, however, might eventually pave the way for China to formally annex the island nation to its territory. This allows the world to forget about these actions over time.

The crazy thing is that this is all eerily reminiscent of what Russia did just prior to invading Ukraine. Vladimir Putin employed a variety of gray zone strategies during his initial invasion of Ukraine in 2014 and again just before the larger invasion in February 2022. Putin asserted he had no idea who the Wagner Group was when Russia sent in the "little green men" in 2014. It was later revealed that they were a group of mercenaries. This gray zone strategy of plausible deniability was used, despite the fact that it borders on a warlike confrontation. However, the use of gray zone tactics, Russian posturing, and the West's desire to prevent a further escalation of the Russo-Ukrainian War allowed Russia to annex Crimea. It's crucial to remember that despite Russia's use of "grey zone" operations, war eventually broke out, which China has undoubtedly taken note of.

However, before this occurred, the West reacted coolly to Russia's aggressive gray zone operations. This is precisely how China anticipates that its gray zone tactics in the Taiwan Strait will be met. The United States or anyone else is very unlikely to send military assistance because they do not want to be perceived as the aggressors. They can harass and weaken Taiwan continuously. Economic, political, and diplomatic pressures are to be expected; China has dealt with these pressures for years and doesn't appear concerned. However, the year 2023 has arrived, and here we are. China can only shake its head at the utter failure of its ally's invasion as Russia fights a brutal war in Ukraine. China kept a close eye on NATO's response as Russia transitioned from gray zone strategies to an invasion in 2022.

They could gain knowledge of what to do and what not to do if they ever decided to invade Taiwan in this manner. If China had any immediate plans to invade the island nation, we do not know about them and likely will never find out. But even if they did, Putin's futile war is probably serving as a disincentive for China to adopt a more aggressive stance in place of its current gray zone strategy. Let's examine the reactions of the world and the lessons that were drawn from Russia's invasion of its neighbor. The Chinese leadership has learned a lot from Putin's invasion. Unfortunately for them, the way the world responded to Russia's invasion was probably not what they had hoped for. China's first lesson was that size isn't always important.

In terms of sheer numbers, China's navy is the biggest in the world. However, as China and the rest of the world have discovered from the conflict in Ukraine, having a large army and equipment does not guarantee victory. When China considers its battle plans to invade Taiwan, one thing is glaringly obvious: If they want to occupy the island violently, they will need to launch some sort of amphibious assault on it. Due to the proximity of the two nations and the lack of natural defenses in Ukraine, rolling tanks and infantry into Ukraine was relatively simple for Russia. The Strait of Taiwan is a major logistical challenge for China. It is generally acknowledged that an amphibious assault is much more challenging than one that is land-based.

China's forces need to cross about 100 miles of water to get to Taiwan. Taiwan can launch aircraft, missiles, and bombs up to 100 miles away in order to completely destroy large numbers of Chinese soldiers and vessels. To completely destroy the invasion force, Taiwan would launch anti-ship missiles and artillery shells. China probably pauses when it recalls how Ukraine was able to fend off a sizable land-based invasion. Additionally, in the early stages of the conflict, Russia lost the Moskva, the flagship of the Black Sea Fleet, to what many believe to have been an anti-ship missile fired by Ukraine. Therefore, it is obvious that the incoming invasion fleet from China would be seriously endangered by these projectiles. Taiwan is an island, and its primary defenses are intended to destroy naval vessels, so they probably have a sizable arsenal of anti-ship missiles at their disposal.

China has therefore learned from Russia's failure that, despite having more people, it might not be able to invade and occupy Taiwan. It would have been one thing if Russian invasion forces had been so powerful that Ukrainian resistance had crumbled. But that is not what actually occurred, which is bad news for a Chinese invasion if they believed the people of Taiwan would simply give up because China has a much larger military. Lesson 2: Training is everything, as Russian soldiers demonstrated to China. The fact that Ukrainian troops are far better trained than their Russian counterparts must be taken into consideration by China when examining why Russian troops are performing so poorly in Ukraine. This, along with improved command tactics and communication, has allowed Ukraine's significantly smaller force to completely devastate Russian forces.

China and the rest of the world discover that many Ukrainian soldiers were trained through the State Partnership Program of the US National Guard. The U.S. military has been used to train the Ukrainian armed forces since 1993. Ukrainian soldiers can make quick decisions on the battlefield thanks to the S model, which issues mission-type orders. To improve the abilities and strategic thinking of Ukrainian military personnel, U.S. National Guard instructors use realistic combat drills. Due to this, the Ukrainian military has been far more successful than the Russian one in the war. The bad news for China is that Taiwan joined this same program in 2022, which means that as time passes, their military is receiving the best training available, making an invasion of the island much more challenging in the future.

Lesson 3: China has discovered that just because countries are far apart, that doesn't mean they will avoid a conflict. China is without a doubt the most powerful country in East Asia. They actually exert far more influence in Eastern Europe than Russia could ever hope to. However, China is aware from the conflict in Ukraine that Western countries located half a world away will still support a nation they view as important. Despite Ukraine's exclusion from the alliance, NATO members continue to provide billions of dollars in aid and military supplies. As an example, the United States, which is on the other side of the Atlantic, has sent more military assistance to Ukraine than any other nation. For China, this means that even though the U.S. will almost certainly send military and humanitarian aid if it invades, the Pacific Ocean separates it from Taiwan.

However, given that President Joe Biden emphatically stated that the United States would fight alongside Taiwan in a conflict, it is likely that the country will take additional action. China's hopes for a conflicted U.S. were dashed when they saw the United States provide more aid to Ukraine than any other nation. More of a pipe dream than a likely scenario, S. fighting Taiwan. There is little doubt that the United States would provide Taiwan with the same kind of assistance if it were willing to send Ukraine billions of dollars, cutting-edge weapons, and modern tanks to help them defeat Putin. The President has made it clear that the U.S. will intervene in a China-Taiwan conflict. S. would play a far more involved role.

Lesson 4: When a nation like Russia or China threatens to invade, NATO has learned which strategies work and which ones fail. China waited to see how the West would react as Russia started to gather troops and send its military toward the Ukrainian border. Like the West, China probably anticipated what would happen next. The United States issued a warning that Russia's military drills were merely a pretext for an invasion, and Poland had been yelling at the rest of Europe for years to get ready for an impending war. But what most intrigued China was how the West responded in the days leading up to the war. The West threatened to impose economic sanctions as Russia sent more and more troops to the border.

China was probably relieved by the response for their own upcoming endeavors and took note of this. The idea behind Russia's and perhaps China's initial strategies was to invade, win the conflict quickly, and then use the vast resources and labor force of the invaded country to boost their own economies. Yes, the sanctions would hurt initially, but once the war was over and Russia had gained control of Ukraine, a reduction in the sanctions could be negotiated, and Russia's economy would eventually benefit from the country's territorial expansion. A similar result in Taiwan would be desired by China. The initial invasion would undoubtedly have some consequences, but after quickly capturing Taiwan, they would be able to negotiate the removal of the sanctions. However, in Putin's war, this was not the case.

One year later, the war is still raging, with Russia on the losing side, despite Russian forces' failure to capture Kyiv. For two reasons, this is extremely bad news for China. The first is that they weren't able to see the outcome of the scenario they had hoped for, so they weren't sure how long the economic sanctions would last if they won a war with Taiwan. The second was that since the threat of sanctions failed to deter the invasion and the sanctions themselves failed to produce the economic unrest that the West had hoped for, it was possible that in any future conflict, the West's response to an invasion might be very different. Without a doubt, the economic sanctions imposed on Russia are slowly but surely crippling its economy and will have very negative, long-lasting effects on the country.

However, they did not work as quickly as the West anticipated. Now, it's thought that NATO is adopting a new strategy. They are moving toward deterrence through denial rather than deterring a foreign aggressor through sanctions. As opposed to choosing the second option, China would have much preferred to bear the sanctions. Now that a ruthless dictator is in charge, NATO has realized that the threat of sanctions is insufficient to deter a strong country from invading its neighbor. To act as an additional deterrent against invasion, their new strategy appears to involve sending troops to a region before things get out of hand. Take Taiwan as an example. The US and its allies may have just threatened economic sanctions in the past if intelligence indicates that China is assembling an invasion force.

Due to Russia's invasion of Ukraine despite the West's threat, the new strategy might involve sending NATO forces on a training mission or assembling a joint task force made up of Taiwanese and American personnel. If US troops were caught in the crossfire, the West might assert that China had attacked them, opening the door for NATO to intervene in the conflict on Taiwan's behalf. Since China doesn't want to engage in a losing war with the West, this strategy may serve as a stronger deterrent than simply threatening sanctions. Entire NATO battalions are currently being deployed to the Russian border in Europe as part of the deterrence by denial strategy. Putin is compelled to reconsider trying to extend Russia's borders further west as a result of this troop buildup. The same would hold true if the West increased the size of its military forces surrounding Taiwan.

China will need to consider its invasion very carefully if there are troops from any NATO nation stationed on the island or close by. Forcing the rest of the alliance into the conflict would be far too simple if NATO forces were to get caught in the crossfire. Since Taiwan is not a member of NATO, the effectiveness of this strategy is somewhat murky, but given Russia's actions, it is unlikely that the West would merely threaten economic sanctions against China to deter them from occupying the island. China must now accept the fact that the West is willing to go much further than it did with Ukraine to halt an invasion. Lesson 5 Sanctions take time to take effect, but they do, and China is well aware of this. Economic sanctions were implemented after Russia invaded Ukraine.

Russian assets worth about 350 billion dollars were immediately frozen by the G7. Even Putin was taken aback by this, as he had doubts that the West would be so willing to escalate the situation so quickly. Economic sanctions will still be used as a sanction if China decides to invade Taiwan in the future, even if they fail to act as a deterrent. This much is now clear. The sanctions will result in unrest in the future, as Russia is currently discovering and China is closely monitoring. Many of the components and materials needed by Russia to keep restocking its military are no longer available. They are rapidly depleting their cash reserves, and the longer the war lasts, the worse it is for their economy. Results from the sanctions didn't appear for nearly a year, but they have now.

As Russia cries out for assistance, China is aware firsthand of the debilitating effects of sanctions. If the Russian economy completely collapses, Chinese leadership might question whether invading Taiwan will be worth the financial costs to their nation. China is a major contributor to the global economy, but it still depends on resources and goods from other countries, including the West. In addition, one of the key components of the Chinese economy is its capacity to produce goods for other nations and market them abroad. America and the European Union are two of China's two biggest markets. The Chinese economy could implode much more quickly than Russia's if sanctions were imposed and purchases of Chinese goods were suspended due to an invasion of Taiwan. China is aware that sanctions would result in a sharp decline in foreign investment, a reduction in the availability of essential technologies, and a decline in exports because it is keeping an eye on what is happening to the Russian economy.

China might be able to weather the storm if the sanctions were only temporary. The West, however, appears to be prepared to maintain harsh sanctions, even at great economic cost to their own countries, according to every indication coming out of Russia. China has only learned one more disastrous lesson from Putin's war in the Ukraine. Lesson 6 NATO now closely monitors authoritarian regimes, especially those in China, as a result of the invasion of Ukraine and the ensuing conflict. Before the invasion, it was unclear just how far Putin would go. He displayed a lot of threatening behavior, but the Russian dictator was used to it. It became obvious that Putin would go all the way in the weeks before the invasion.

For many world leaders, this came as a surprise at first. NATO, however, is likely to stop treating authoritarian threats so lightly now that they have learned from their mistakes. An unfavorable situation has been created for China as a result of this. As a result of Vladimir Putin going too far, the gray zone strategies it has been using for years may now be taken more seriously by the West. China might have been able to continue using its gray zone operations to weasel its way into having more sway over Taiwan if Putin had never invaded Ukraine. The West will now be closely observing their every move, which is the exact opposite of what China wants if it intends to eventually seize Taiwan.

The invasion of Ukraine served as a wake-up call for the US and the rest of NATO. Since the fall of the Soviet Union, NATO has enjoyed the luxury of being powerful enough that no one could seriously threaten their interests. However, a portion of the reason Russia was able to gather troops and invade Ukraine was due to this erroneous sense of security. Too long has passed since the United States has been unclear about how much it will sacrifice to defend a given country.

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The Infographics Show is a team of brilliant and talented writers whose sole purpose is to make writing fun and entertaining for people of all ages with eye-catching images, which are mind blowing and fun. Enjoy.

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