While undoubtedly the PRC is capable of launching a nuclear strike, I seriously doubt that it will employ such a tactic. For one, the in toto destruction of Taiwan is not only harmful to the PRC’s economy, it may also impute to the leadership of the PRC the crime of genocide, especially given that Taiwan has stopped short of declaring independence. (Let’s be honest, the question between the Taiwan Strait ain’t all the different from the damnable question in the Balkans back in the late 90s).
So far as conventional invasion is concerned, I do not share Grasshopper’s pessimism. It is true that the PLA maybe able to launch a lightning strike against Taiwan. But Taiwan’s air/ missile defense system is presently sufficient to ward off attacks that may render the island’s defense system in a paralyzed state.
A few years back, some defense experts surmised that the PRC maybe able to starve Taiwan into submission via extensive naval blockade. But recent studies cast serious doubts upon such theory. The Naval Service to the PLA does not enjoy naval superiority over Taiwan’s defense force. In addition, virtually all submarines the PRC need to rely on in order to form an effective blockade were relics of WWII. These Soviet-made, diesel-powered subs can hardly escape D&D from the quasi-Aegis defense system employed by the Taiwanese arm forces.
Finally, I like to point out that Grasshopper made a rather interesting observation about the Taiwanese soliders. There’s no gainsaying that what Grasshopper said contains a ring of truth. But i would be rather cautious about such a sweeping generalization. After all, the same thing can be said about, say, American G.I.s in Okinawa :?