सीधे मुख्य सामग्री पर जाएं

How war in Ukraine completely altered Taiwanese government view of private war

By John P. Ruehl 

In early May 2023, a U.S. delegation consisting of 25 defense contractors arrived in Taiwan for a security summit, aimed to increase interoperability between the U.S. and Taiwanese militaries. It marks the latest step toward Taiwan’s years-long efforts to strengthen its defense capabilities and pose credible deterrence to the Chinese military.
The military relationship between Taiwan and the U.S. expanded significantly during the Trump administration. Washington approved major arms sales, increased cooperation with the Taiwanese military, and conducted more naval patrols in the Taiwan Strait to emphasize the U.S. position on Taiwan. During the Biden administration, it was revealed that dozens of U.S. military personnel were training Taiwanese forces on the island since at least 2020, numbers which have increased since.
And while conscription was previously considered an outdated military policy characteristic of the Cold War, the war in Ukraine has reversed this notion. Taiwan’s attempted transition to Western-style volunteer force in previous years now appears far less credible in being able to realistically oppose the Chinese military, and Taiwan’s government has since reverted to upholding its military reserve system.
But though Taiwan’s 1.7 million reservists appear to form a formidable challenge to China’s roughly 2 million active military personnel, Taiwan’s forces largely exist only on paper. Its military currently only has 169,000 active military members and an estimated 300,000 combat-ready reservists, according to Wang Ting-yu of Taiwan’s ruling Democratic Progressive Party.
The Taiwanese government was therefore quick to explore increasing training times for reservists after the outbreak of war in Ukraine, and in December 2022 lengthened conscription from four months to one year, bringing praise from the U.S. By boosting pay and training, the Taiwanese government hopes to bolster its forces and bring it closer to South Korea’s 18-month compulsory military service.
But China’s population of 1.4 billion dwarfs Taiwan’s mere 23 million, meaning additional Taiwanese conscription initiatives are futile if China resorts to additional conscription as well. Taiwan’s $19 billion defense budget also pales in comparison to the $230 billion spent by Beijing.
Washington’s hypothetical efforts to resupply the relatively isolated island of Taiwan during a conflict would meanwhile prove far more difficult than the ongoing Western effort to assist Ukraine. While stockpiling weapons could partially negate this issue, a prolonged conflict or blockade of Taiwan by China would steadily diminish Taiwan’s ability to continue fighting.
With the inherent disadvantages of the Taiwanese armed forces and the unwillingness of even the U.S. to officially commit to the island’s defense, Taiwan’s government has explored increasing engagement with the private sphere to ensure its security. The May 2023 U.S. contractors’ visit was just part of Taiwan’s recent efforts to increase engagement with both domestic and foreign private military firms.
Before the breakout of conflict in Ukraine in 2022, Taiwan had taken incremental steps toward greater privatization in its defense sector, such as privatizing the state aircraft manufacturer Aerospace Industrial Development Corporation in 2014.
However, the war in Ukraine completely altered the Taiwanese government’s view of private war. Russian private military and security companies (PMSCs) have been active in Ukraine since 2014, while the Russian PMSC known as Wagner has played an essential part in the war and in Russian propaganda. Various Western and Russian PMSCs are also fighting in Ukraine, while Chinese civilian drones have been used to great effect by both sides.
The Taiwanese government has since taken significant steps in engaging with Taiwan’s private sector to increase drone production. But more notable are the proposed changes to the Private Security Services Act, which regulates PMSCs operating in Taiwan, early into the war. Taipei has various types of private services to consider, such as those providing security, consulting, and training services, intelligence gathering, logistics support, and cyber and maritime security.
Enoch Wu, a politician from Taiwan’s Democratic Progressive Party and a former special operations soldier, founded the security and civilian defense organization Forward Alliance in 2020. Alongside programs to treat injuries and respond to crises, Forward Alliance’s combat training programs expanded significantly following the outbreak of war in Ukraine. The number of Taiwanese private programs run by various companies “specializing in urban warfare and firearms training” has also increased since the start of the war, according to Voice of America.
In September 2022, Taiwanese entrepreneur Robert Tsao pledged to spend $100 million training 3 million soldiers over three years in the Kuma Academy (also known as the Black Bear Academy). While his claims are ambitious, Russian billionaire Yevgeny Prigozhin’s financing of Wagner has already played an integral role in the war in Ukraine, at the same time drastically increasing his stature in Russia and notoriety abroad.
Due to its own limited industry, any Taiwanese effort to promote greater military cooperation with the private sphere would require Western assistance. The U.S. scrapped its mutual defense treaty with Taiwan in 1979 to normalize relations with China but the Taiwan Relations Act enables the U.S. to provide Taiwan with the means to defend itself, and privatization could make it easier for the West to support the Taiwanese military. Alongside weapons deals, Western PMSCs like G4S have been active in Taiwan for more than two decades and could quickly expand their operations on the island.
Greater cooperation with Western PMSCs may not be able to help Taiwan repel a Chinese assault. But they could complement Taiwanese military efforts to create a volunteer force modeled on Ukraine’s Territorial Defense Force and advocated by former Taiwanese defense chief Admiral Lee Hsi-min. The U.S. has explored developing guerilla forces in the Baltic States to harass Russian forces if they were to invade, and growing the multiple private initiatives already underway in Taiwan could form a powerful guerilla network that could remain active even if Taiwan’s military is forced to stand down.
But committing to privatization has its own consequences for Taiwan. The role of Chinese PMSCs abroad has grown significantly over the last few years, with an estimated 20 to 40 Chinese active largely to guard Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) infrastructure projects. However, China’s 7,000-plus PSMCs operating domestically “suggests ample opportunity for the future growth of internationally active” Chinese firms according to the Center for Strategic and International Studies. And, while Chinese law prohibits them from using force abroad except for defense, Beijing’s assertion that Taiwan is part of China’s territory could erode legal and political barriers to using them.
In recent years, China has also deputized maritime militias of fishing boats to swarm parts of the South China Sea and establish control over certain areas. By collaborating with Chinese PMSCs, these militias could even avoid Taiwan and surround the Kinmen, Matsu, or uninhabited Pratas islands. Although these islands are claimed by Taiwan, they are geographically closer to China. This could be justified on the grounds of economic interests or security concerns. The use of these fishing militias to harass Taiwan could make up for significant underdevelopment in Chinese PMSC capabilities and help China to avoid using its official military forces.
The scale of cooperation between the Taiwanese government and private military actors is so far limited. But Taiwan’s manpower shortages and lack of official military and diplomatic ties have made the prospect of private military assistance far more attractive. The lack of international regulations sustaining Taiwan’s recent increased engagement with the private military sphere, however, will further encourage China to respond in kind.
Ukrainian oligarchs had turned to PMSCs to protect their assets in Ukraine after 2014, while Ukraine has come to heavily lean on foreign PMSCs to supplement the war effort. Wagner and other Russian PMSCs have meanwhile grown in importance to Russian military efforts in Ukraine as well. The growing power of PMSCs in Ukraine, as well as worldwide, suggests further military privatization of the dispute over Taiwan may be inevitable.
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This article was produced by Globetrotter. John P. Ruehl is an Australian-American journalist living in Washington, D.C. He is a contributing editor to Strategic Policy and a contributor to several other foreign affairs publications. His book, Budget Superpower: How Russia Challenges the West With an Economy Smaller Than Texas’, was published in December 2022

टिप्पणियाँ

ट्रेंडिंग

नफरती बातें: मुसलमानों में असुरक्षा का भाव बढ़ रहा है, वे अपने मोहल्लों में सिमट रहे हैं

- राम पुनियानी*  भारत पर पिछले 10 सालों से हिन्दू राष्ट्रवादी भारतीय जनता पार्टी (भाजपा) राज कर रही है. भाजपा आरएसएस परिवार की सदस्य है और आरएसएस का लक्ष्य है हिन्दू राष्ट्र का निर्माण. आरएसएस से जुड़ी सैंकड़ों संस्थाएँ हैं. उसके लाखों, बल्कि शायद, करोड़ों स्वयंसेवक हैं. इसके अलावा कई हजार वरिष्ठ कार्यकर्ता हैं जिन्हें प्रचारक कहा जाता है. भाजपा के सत्ता में आने के बाद से आरएसएस दुगनी गति से हिन्दू राष्ट्र के निर्माण के अपने एजेण्डे को पूरा करने में जुट गया है. यदि भाजपा को चुनावों में लगातार सफलता हासिल हो रही है तो उसका कारण है देश में साम्प्रदायिकता और साम्प्रदायिक मुद्दों का बढ़ता बोलबाला. इनमें से कुछ हैं राम मंदिर, गौमांस और गोवध एवं लव जिहाद. 

हिंदी आलोचना जैसे पिछड़ चुके अनुशासन की जगह हिंदी वैचारिकी का विकास जरूरी

- प्रमोद रंजन*   भारतीय राजनीति में सांप्रदायिक व प्रतिक्रियावादी ताकतों को सत्ता तक पहुंचाने में हिंदी पट्टी का सबसे बड़ा योगदान है। इसका मुख्य कारण हिंदी-पट्टी में कार्यरत समाजवादी व जनपक्षधर हिरावल दस्ते का विचारहीन, अनैतिक और  प्रतिक्रियावादी होते जाना है। अगर हम उपरोक्त बातों को स्वीकार करते हैं, तो कुछ रोचक निष्कर्ष निकलते हैं। हिंदी-जनता और उसके हिरावल दस्ते को विचारहीन और प्रतिक्रियावादी बनने से रोकने की मुख्य ज़िम्मेदारी किसकी थी?

देशव्यापी ग्रामीण भारत बंध में उतरे मध्य प्रदेश के आदिवासी, किया केंद्र सरकार का विरोध

- हरसिंग जमरे, भिखला सोलंकी, रतन अलावे*  15 और 16 फरवरी को निमाड के बड़वानी, खरगोन और बुरहानपुर में जागृत आदिवासी दलित संगठन के नेतृत्व में आदिवासी महिला-पुरुषों ग्रामीण भारत बंद में रैली एवं विरोध प्रदर्शन किया । प्रधान मंत्री द्वारा 2014 में फसलों की लागत का डेढ़ गुना भाव देने का वादा किया गया था, 2016 में किसानों की आय दुगना करने का वादा किया गया था । आज, फसलों का दाम नहीं बढ़ रहा है, लेकिन खेती में खर्च बढ़ता जा रहा है! खाद, बीज और दवाइयों का दाम, तीन-चार गुना बढ़ चुका है! किसानों को लागत का डेढ़ गुना भाव देने के बजाए, खेती को कंपनियों के हवाले करने के लिए 3 काले कृषि कानून लाए गए । 3 काले कानून वापस लेते समय प्रधान मंत्री ने फिर वादा किया था कि फसलों की लागत का डेढ़ गुना भाव की कानूनी गारंटी के लिए कानून बनाएँगे, लेकिन वो भी झूठ निकला! आज जब देश के किसान दिल्ली में आपको अपना वादा याद दिलाने आए है, तब आप उनका रास्ता रोक रहें है, उनके साथ मारपीट कर उन पर आँसू गैस फेंक रहें हैं, उन पर छर्रों से फायरिंग कर रहें है! देश को खिलाने वाला किसान खुद भूखा रहे, क्या यही विकास है?

18થી નાની ઉંમરના 1,15,129 બાળકો શાળા બહાર? વાસ્તવિક આંકડો 15-20 ગણો વધું

- સુખદેવ પટેલ*  16 એપ્રિલથી સમગ્ર ગુજરાતમાં શાળા બહારના 6 થી 19 વર્ષની ઉંમરના બાળકોનો સર્વે શરૂ થયો છે.  જે 26 એપ્રિલ સુધી ચાલશે. જેની જવાબદારી સરકારી શાળાના શિક્ષકોને સોંપવામાં આવી છે. અત્યારે પ્રાથમિક શાળાઓમાં વાર્ષિક પરીક્ષાઓ ચાલી રહી છે. લોકસભાની ચૂંટણીઓના કામ પણ શિક્ષકોને ભાગે કરવાના આવશે. શિક્ષકો કેટલું કરી શક્શે? શિક્ષકો પાસેથી વ્યાજબી રીતે કેટલી અપેક્ષાઓ રાખવી જોઈએ? RTE ની જોગવાઈઓ મુજબ દરેક બાળક શિક્ષણ મેળવી શકે, તે માટે શાળા બહારના બાળકોને સર્વે કરીને શોધી કાઢવાનું ઉમદા કામ સરકાર વિચારે છે, તે આવકારદાયક છે. આવાં ઉત્તમ કામમાં જેમને સીધો લાભ થવાનો છે,  તેવાં હિતધારકોની પ્રતિનિધિ સમિતિ SMC સ્કૂલ મેનેજમેન્ટ કમિટી આ જવાબદારી સારી રીતે ઉપાડી શકે તેમ છે. શિક્ષણ વિભાગ SSA તરફથી આ કામગીરીમાં SMC ની ભાગીદારીનું આયોજન કરીને યોગ્ય માર્ગદર્શિકા તૈયાર કરવી જોઈએ.

How the slogan Jai Bhim gained momentum as movement of popularity and revolution

By Dr Kapilendra Das*  India is an incomprehensible plural country loaded with diversities of religions, castes, cultures, languages, dialects, tribes, societies, costumes, etc. The Indians have good manners/etiquette (decent social conduct, gesture, courtesy, politeness) that build healthy relationships and take them ahead to life. In many parts of India, in many situations, and on formal occasions, it is common for people of India to express and exchange respect, greetings, and salutation for which we people usually use words and phrases like- Namaskar, Namaste, Pranam, Ram Ram, Jai Ram ji, Jai Sriram, Good morning, shubha sakal, Radhe Radhe, Jai Bajarangabali, Jai Gopal, Jai Jai, Supravat, Good night, Shuvaratri, Jai Bhole, Salaam walekam, Walekam salaam, Radhaswami, Namo Buddhaya, Jai Bhim, Hello, and so on.

Laxmanpur Bathe massacre: Perfect example of proto-fascist Brahmanical social order

By Harsh Thakor  The massacre at Laxmanpur-Bathe of Jehanabad in Bihar on the night of 1 December in 1997 was a landmark event with distinguishing features .The genocide rightly shook the conscience of the nation in the 50th year of Indian independence. The scale of the carnage was unparalleled in any caste massacre. It was a perfect manifestation of how in essence the so called neo-liberal state was in essence most autocratic. 

स्वास्थ्य सेवाओं को मजबूत करने के बजाय बीमा आधारित सेवाओं को प्राथमिकता क्यों?

- राष्ट्रीय स्वास्थ्य अधिकार अभियान  वैश्विक स्तर पर “विश्व स्वास्थ्य दिवस” इस साल “हमारा स्वास्थ्य, हमारा अधिकार” की अवधारणा को केन्द्रित कर मनाया जा रहा है। इस उपलक्ष्य में राष्ट्रीय स्तर पर स्वास्थ्य अधिकार संघर्ष को मजबूत करने के लिए, संवैधानिक और नीतिगत रूप में स्वास्थ्य को मौलिक अधिकार बनाने के लिए, स्वास्थ्य के विभिन्न आयामों को लोगों के हक के लिए संगठित करने, जागरूक करने और स्वास्थ्य के मानकों पर कार्य करने हेतु तथा सरकार को जनता के प्रति जिम्मेदार बनाने हेतु जन आंदोलनों के राष्ट्रीय समन्वय ने स्वास्थ्य अधिकार अभियान के माध्यम से जनता के पक्ष को मजबूत करने के लिए राष्ट्रीय स्तर पर स्वास्थ्य अधिकार के मुद्दे पर सक्रिय रूप से कार्य करेगा।

અમદાવાદ પોલિસ કમિશનરનું જાહેરનામું: નાગરિક સ્વાતંત્ર્ય પર તરાપ મારવાની પ્રક્રિયાનો એક ભાગ

- હેમંતકુમાર શાહ  અમદાવાદના પોલિસ કમિશનરનું લોકશાહી વિરોધી વધુ એક પગલું ચૂંટણી ટાણે જોવા મળ્યું છે.   તા. ૧૬-૦૪-૨૦૨૪ના રોજ તેમણે એક જાહેરનામું બહાર પાડીને ફોજદારી કાર્યવાહી અધિનિયમ-૧૯૭૩ની કલમ-૧૪૪ આખા શહેરમાં લાગુ કરી જણાવ્યું છે કે "કોઈ પણ પ્રચારપ્રસાર રેલી દરમ્યાન કોઈ એ કાળા વાવટા ફરકાવવા નહિ કે ઉશ્કેરણીજનક બેનર કે પ્લે કાર્ડ બતાવવું નહિ અથવા કોઈ વિરોધમાં ઉશ્કેરણીજનક સૂત્રોચ્ચાર કરવો નહિ."

न नौकरियाँ, न पर्याप्त मजदूरी, न राहत: अनौपचारिक श्रमिकों के लिए मोदी की विरासत

- प्रतिनिधि द्वारा  भारत में वास्तविक मज़दूरी 2014-15 के बाद से नहीं बढ़ी है, जबकि देश की जीडीपी जरूर बेहतर हुई है। इस दौरान देश की सामाजिक सुरक्षा व्यवस्था भी थम सी गई है। देश के अनौपचारिक श्रमिकों का जीवन बेहद अनिश्चित है, खासकर झारखंड जैसे राज्यों में जहां अनौपचारिक रोजगार लाखों लोगों की आजीविका का मुख्य स्रोत है।

क्या कांग्रेस का घोषणापत्र मुस्लिम लीग की सोच को प्रतिबिंबित करता है?

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