Wars are unpredictable. But it is likely that an invasion will be staged within three years, when Xi has consolidated his grip on power.
Why does Xi want to do this? Because he wants to go down in the history of China as the man who reunited the nation.
In Chinese history, there is only one man who is equal to the Machiavellian character that lurks behind Xi’s bland exterior, the second-century general man, Tsao Tsao. Tsao Tsao is the greatest villain in Chinese history. A common saying is “Say Tsao, Tsao will appear”. To put it another way, “speak of the devil”.
Tsao Tsao’s cunning and cruelty are legendary. In the modern era, Xi wants to wear the mantle of greatness that has been laid on only two other Chinese men — Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping.
The theme of the divided nation is an ancient one in Chinese literature. The Romance of the Three Kingdoms is one of the four great novels of Chinese literature. It begins:
“The empire, long divided, must unite; long united, must divide. It was ever thus.”
Taiwan cannot defeat the PLA by itself. Its greatest chance of defeating the PLA is by asymmetrical warfare; that is, to mobilise the population, using every weapon it can. Taiwan must use a hedgehog strategy, by making itself so prickly that it will deter an invader.
The bottom line for Taiwan is that it must retain its territorial integrity and its political autonomy.
Of course, the PRC has held military exercises before and backed off. This time, though, it seems intent on punishing the people of Taiwan: surrender, or suffer the consequences.