Nuclear vs. Conventional War

"What Jeff says – there’s a lot of truth to what he says – but that doesn’t discount the fact that the Chinese Communist Party has invested in a quite large military conventional force…. I think the Chinese Navy as it is comprised today … and this new national mobilization order … all lead me to conclude they are preparing for a conventional strike to take Taiwan." - CAPT. JAMES FANELL

Capt. Fanell’s response to my comments on Bannon’s War Room is a good starting-point for discussing more significant questions of military strategy. My argument goes something like this: The CCP’s investment in a large conventional force does not, in itself, rule out the possibility of an all-arms nuclear war. In fact, China and Russia have built their forces to wage such war. Sixty years ago, Soviet military strategists under Marshal V.D. Sokolovskii devised the theory that nuclear missile weapons are the decisive weapons of the next world war. It is my position that this philosophy and its underlying science of war is operative in China and Russia today.

One might ask why today’s Russian and Chinese tank and infantry formations are not trained to the same standard as Western armies. Russian conventional airpower in Ukraine is not being used as American airpower would be used under similar circumstances. Why? The reasons for this are found in Sokolovskii. Tanks and infantry are not the most important troops in a future war, he says. “Hence missile troops receive priority…. In time they will become the basic force, capable of carrying out any operation to destroy enemy targets. To a considerable degree they will replace artillery and aviation in bombarding the front; for some purposes they will completely replace artillery and aviation.”[ii]

Sokolovskii edited a book titled Soviet Military Strategy. In that book it says, “Destruction of the enemy will be achieved primarily by nuclear weapon fire. In close combat operations, when it is impossible to use nuclear weapons, conventional weapons will be used….” [i] Here is a philosophy of war and a theoretical guidebook. Western politicians and experts have ignored this book because America’s economic system is grounded in economic optimism which cannot, in practical terms, cope with Sokolovskii’s premises.

And why wouldn’t they? According to Sokolovskii’s text, “The laws of strategy are objective and apply inexorably….”[iii] The text then refers to “strategic principles which V.I. Lenin formulated in his time.” According to Lenin, “wars are won by those nations which possess the greatest resources and whose populations are strongest and have [the] most endurance….” Nuclear weapons are, in and of themselves, a supreme test of a system’s endurance. At every “given historical moment” the nature of war changes. According to Sokolovskii’s text, “The appearance of missiles and nuclear weapons radically changed previous concepts of the nature of war. Modern missile warfare is incomparably more destructive and deadly than previous wars. The massive use of missile and nuclear weapons make it possible, within a short time, to eliminate either one country or a number of countries from the war, even those with relatively large territories, well-developed economies, and populations of the order of tens of millions.” [iv]

Before we can safely assume that Sokolovskii’s text is nonsense, the following points should be considered: (1) All of today’s senior military leaders in China and Russia studied Sokolovskii’s text in their respective military academies. This text oriented them to the idea of fighting and winning a future nuclear war. (2) Prospective Western military leaders were not oriented to fighting and winning such a war; (3) In Russia and China today the mass production of advanced types of strategic missile weapons continues while America is still relying on 1960s-vintage Minuteman III missiles. (4) The United States has therefore fallen behind – decades behind – in the deployment of missile weapons. (See comments made on this subject by Congressional military advisor, Dr. Peter Vincent Pry.) [v]

Russian and Chinese ground and naval forces still have an important role to play in a nuclear war. According to Sokolovskii’s text, “Only modern ground forces, adequate in size, armament, and organization, can execute … a number of missions. Theirs is the extremely important role of achieving the final war aims.” And what are those aims? “The missile forces provide basic firepower for the ground troops [and ships]. They will be the main means used to clear the way for tank and motorized troops to carry out broad maneuvers and rapid penetration in depth.” (p. 341)

It is in this context that we must analyze incoming reports of a Chinese mobilization for war. Let us also acknowledge the Chinese heroes who are sending us intelligence on CCP war preparations. Information about this mobilization is being disseminated by Lude Media which strongly opposes the Communist Party’s war plans. Lude media has extensive networks of freedom-loving persons in China. Chinese patriots, opposed to communism, have risked their lives to smuggle a 56-minute audio recording of a military-civil standing committee which discusses provincial war preparations in Guangdong.[vi] At present I am in contact with Dr. Li-Meng Yan who not only briefed me on the 56-minute audio recording of the Guangdong CCP Standing Committee, but has generously provided additional information about the role that Russia might play in the coming war. Dr. Li-Meng Yan has written, “The audio [of the CCP mobilization meeting] is obtained by many brave Chinese people via a special intelligence operation organized by @lude_media on 14 May, 2022 – at the cost of lives! We Chinese are fighting against CCP! Xi’s People’s War will fail!” [vii]

We must not waste the efforts of these brave people to warn us. Even now they operate under the threat of death. In recent years the Pentagon and the White House have not fully appreciated warnings from native Chinese sources. In fact, our national leaders have misunderstood the military philosophy of the Chinese and Russian generals. I am also afraid they will misunderstand what Beijing’s military-civil war mobilization signifies. Such a mobilization is not likely to signify a mere conventional invasion of Taiwan. An invasion of Taiwan, were it to occur, would only be the beginning. More probably, Taiwan would be bypassed and blockaded – forced to surrender after the destruction of the U.S. Navy.

A number of points argue against a Chinese conventional invasion of Taiwan: (1) Such an invasion is by no means certain to succeed because Taiwan is so heavily defended, with 170,000 active-duty defenders and 1.6 million reservists; (2) Even if an invasion were successful, China’s economy would be wrecked by Western sanctions; (3) A conventional attack on Taiwan would cause the United States and Japan to build more warships, missiles and nuclear weapons. This would be an unmitigated disaster for China. (4) China would end up as an isolated pariah nation.

Unless we assume the Chinese leaders are imbeciles, they will not launch an amphibious invasion of Taiwan. Strategically, there is no upside for them in such a move. Furthermore, we have already seen the failed assault on Kiev by Russian troops in Ukraine. We also know that the Chinese Army shares certain similarities with the Russian Army. Under current circumstances, an opposed amphibious invasion of Taiwan would be the largest amphibious invasion in history. Yet the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has never conducted an opposed amphibious operation of any size. A PLA invasion of Taiwan would be like the Americans invading the Japanese home islands without having learned the lessons from previous invasions in Sicily, Normandy, Saipan, etc.

The best way to defeat Taiwan is to defeat the U.S. Navy and force Taiwan to surrender by using a blockade. This method is so simple and effective, in fact, that PLA strategists would not fail to use it. Since China must defeat America itself, or suffer isolation as a pariah nation, then China must proceed to nuclear strikes on American military targets in conjunction with her Russian ally. Short of this, a war against Taiwan does not make any strategic sense.

Chinese officials are recorded saying that they are mobilizing for “the final war.” What they are preparing must live up to this characterization. It follows that they are preparing to target the United States with missiles and troops. First, they must destroy America’s land-based missile forces and bomber forces, track down American ballistic missile submarines, and withstand an American nuclear retaliation from the surviving American missiles. This is how a world war is fought in the nuclear age.

To achieve surprise, the PLA and their allies must eliminate all American early warning satellites in advance of an attack. To assist with this, they might attempt to trigger riots in the United States through their fifth columnists. Whatever domestic mayhem might serve as a screen, the procedure for defeating early warning systems is described by Dr. Peter Vincent Pry in his Volume Two on The Strategic Nuclear Balance, titled Nuclear Wars: Exchanges and Outcomes.

Unfortunately, an attack from Russia and China “out of the black” is possible at the present time – Dr. Pry has argued – because our nuclear alert level has not been raised. We have war in Eastern Europe together with a mobilization of China in the Far East. Add to this whatever happens in the Persian Gulf between Iran and Israel. “Contrary to what is widely assumed,” wrote Pry, “in response to crisis or war, the U.S. National Command Authority may not generate U.S. strategic forces, but may be reluctant to do so from fear of escalating the situation into a nuclear confrontation. Nuclear inferiority would reinforce a nation’s reluctance to generate its strategic forces, as this would increase the risk of provoking nuclear escalation and redound to the strong nation’s advantage.”[viii] And this is exactly what we see unfolding today.

China and Russia are allies. Anyone who thinks Russia will accommodate us in Eastern Europe is mistaken. Russian and Chinese nuclear and conventional forces will be coordinating their operations. Our nuclear posture today is one that invites surprise attack. One only has to look at the statements of President Biden. The sad fact is, all military pundits and most American strategists regard nuclear war as insane. No enemy would carry out nuclear attacks on the American homeland. This is wishful thinking that has no place in military analysis. Russian and Chinese authorities have never said, within their in-house military writings, that nuclear war is unwinnable or represents the end of the world.

The American people have been living in a fool’s paradise. People in China are trying to warn us. Will we listen or turn a deaf ear?


[i] V.D. Sokoloskii translated by Dinerstein, Goure and Wolfe, Soviet Military Strategy (Originally published by the Military Publishing House of the Ministry of Defense of the USSR), p. 343.

[ii] Ibid.

[iii] Ibid, p. 90.

[iv] Ibid, pp. 92-93.

[v] Dr. Peter Pry on How and Why Russia Could Win A Fast and Decisive Nuclear War Against America | Frank Speech the Home of Free Speech.

[vi] 路德社lude media (@lude_media) / Twitter

[vii] Dr. Li-Meng YAN on Twitter: “English version of PLA’s audio is The audio is obtained by many brave Chinese people via a special intelligence operation organized by @lude_media on 14 May, 2022 – at the cost of lives! We Chinese are fighting against CCP! Xi’s People’s War will fail!” / Twitter.

[viii] Peter Vincent Pry, Nuclear Wars: Exchanges and Outcomes (New York: Taylor and Francis, 1990), p. 9.