So I am in the Taipei Times today, responding to several pieces on semiconductors and Taiwan. Some people out there seem to be thinking semiconductor strengths make Taiwan strong, but I just can’t see that in history.
Some stuff I wanted to comment on:
The policy of attacking Russia was pursued despite warnings from military staff studies and high-ranking officers that Germany could not win a war against Russia (eventually planners began shading their conclusions to please Hitler) and even if it did, the short-term gains would not justify the costs of war, while Germany lacked the requisite capital and machinery to develop Russian agricultural lands.
I really wanted to elaborate on the bolded comment there, that planners started altering their presentations to please Hitler. This is a common problem with in regimes with savage, arbitrary dictators — like China. When Xi decides on war, planners will be pressured to come up with predictions that confirm the wisdom of GROFAZ. Hesitant general staff will be silenced, and obvious problems like China’s anti-submarine warfare capabilities will be glossed over. As I noted at the bottom, the warmongers will say that material problems will be answered by the moral and racial superiority of the Cause and its people.
I have just finished Fritz’s Ostkrieg which has an extensive review of German planning against the impossibility of a Nazi victory over Russia. In fact, Fritz argues, Stalin was caught so flat-footed because the Russians knew that Germany could not defeat Russia — “Let them come,” he said dismissively. Each side vastly underestimated the other
One thing that has always struck me about dictators is that because insubordination is so common — since they are not masters of everything and they lack legitimacy — dictators are inevitably drawn to micromanagement (which also suits their meglomania). Recall Hitler obsessively over the movement of even the smallest units, or Tojo sending down memoranda about the placement of individual anti-aircraft guns in Tokyo. I doubt that Xi will be any different from them once the war gets rolling. Of course, commanders won’t want to tell him bad news, either.