The U.S., its allies and China would suffer devastating consequences in a scenario where the U.S. helps Taiwan fend off an invading force in 2026, a prominent think tank found in one of the most extensive war games ever conducted, CNN reported Monday.
The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), a Washington-based think tank, ran two dozen iterations of the war game to find out whether a Chinese invasion in 2026 would succeed, and at what cost to those involved, CNN reported. While Beijing would likely fail in its campaign for forced reunification with Taiwan, CSIS found in a report to be released Monday, the ensuing war would lay waste to both Chinese and U.S. militaries and cause thousands of casualties.
“The United States and Japan lose dozens of ships, hundreds of aircraft, and thousands of service members. Such losses would damage the U.S. global position for many years,” the report said, according to CNN.
With 24 distinct iterations, the project aimed to provide a broader and more transparent look at what a Chinese invasion would look like, according to CNN.
“There’s no unclassified war game out there looking at the U.S.-China conflict,” Mark Cancian, one of three project leaders and a senior adviser at CSIS, told CNN. “Of the games that are unclassified, they’re usually only done once or twice.”
China claims Taiwan exists within its territorial boundaries and has pledged to “reunify” with the self-governing island by force if necessary, a move the U.S. sees as threatening a key ally as well as America’s ability to project power. Analysts and top U.S. officials have warned of imminent violence against Taiwan.
In the scenario, enemy fire would kill 3,200 troops in three weeks of combat and sink at least two of the U.S.’ 11 aircraft carriers, massive, nuclear-equipped vessels that display American power across the globe, according to CNN.
The report found China’s People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN), the largest navy on the planet which is rapidly modernizing, would lay in “shambles,” according to CNN. China would lose up to 10,000 troops and a large portion of its navy.
War gamers found that Taiwan’s military would remain intact, but war would scourge the island of basic infrastructure, unable to support normal economic activity and its army would suffer 3,500 casualties, CNN reported.
For the U.S. to thwart a Chinese invasion, the report found that Taiwan’s ground-based forces needed to be strong enough to block PLAN landings, while the U.S. required basing support in Japan and the ability to strike PLAN ships “en masse” from a distance, according to CNN. Taiwan also required a robust military, fully armed with Western weapons, before China struck, unlike in Ukraine where the West has maintained a months-long flow of weapons to Ukraine since Russia launched a large-scale invasion.
“Once the war begins, it’s impossible to get any troops or supplies onto Taiwan,” Cancian told CNN.
The Pentagon and the Chinese Embassy did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.
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