The Alternative to Peace: War Scenarios

  • Andrew Nien-Dzu Yang
Part of the St Antony’s Series book series


All wars begin with operational plans. Behind all operational plans are war objectives. Normally, the simpler the war objective, the greater the likelihood of success. Over Taiwan the PRC has quite complex tasks surrounding a single war objective. This is due partly to the complexity of the mission and partly to the high degree of internal and external uncertainty the PLA is facing. Clausewitz teaches that the best war plans are the ones with the simplest goals. In situations where there are complex goals, the best plans are those which can identify a single centre of gravity, where success can be leveraged to achieve more complex war objectives without the diffusion of forces and effort. The more war objectives you have, the more difficult they are to achieve and the more likely they are to be contradictory and self-defeating. Therefore, the main goal is always to reduce the number of war objectives to only the essential. Once this is achieved, a single enabling point — a centre of gravity — must be identified. Once secured it will yield other benefits.


Cruise Missile Legislative Yuan Political Settlement Naval Blockade Taiwan Independence 
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  1. 4.
    See Andrew N.D. Yang, ‘Taiwan’s Defence Capabilities’ in Greg Austin (ed.), Missile Diplomacy and Taiwan’s Future: Innovations in Politics and Military Power (Canberra: Strategic and Defence Studies Centre, Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies, Australian National University, 1997, 151–2.Google Scholar
  2. 12.
    Mei Ling, ‘PLA’s amphibious landing capability development’, in Studies on Chinese Communism, vol. 35. no. 4, 15 Apr. 2001, 55–64.Google Scholar

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© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 2004

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  • Andrew Nien-Dzu Yang

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