Relating to the letters “Taiwan Protection: A Challenging Dilemma 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 defense is an obligation which should really be explicitly identified as this sort of and that the U.S. can meet the problem.
I would merely increase that “a difficult difficulty for the U.S.” would be substantially significantly less challenging if Taiwan could reliably outnumber any invading force, by adopting the Finnish model of universal (pretty) short-company conscription for (really) intensive coaching followed by placement in a completely ready reserve, with occasional refreshers. Not like today’s forces whose big weapons and headquarters are really susceptible to missile assault, tiny models armed with gentleman-transportable missiles dispersed through the island would survive to outnumber (by considerably) the greatest complete of possible invaders. Finland with 5.5 million inhabitants can area 600,000 appropriately experienced, correctly armed defenders (full variety on the publications is 900,000). With 23.7 million inhabitants Taiwan ought to regulate two million, i.e., 2 times the dimensions of the full People’s Liberation Army ground force and 10 situations the sizing of the greatest doable invading power.
Navy assistance is really unpopular in Taiwan and it would be in Finland, too, if young Finns had been forced to waste their time on parade-ground drills to maintain a standard structure not likely to endure just one working day of missile bombardment. As it is, younger Finns glance ahead to their months of hard but extremely purposeful teaching, rightly assured of defeating poorly outnumbered invaders.
Edward N. Luttwak
Chevy Chase, Md.
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Appeared in the February 6, 2021, print version.