Another day, another warning from the West about China’s upcoming invasion of Taiwan. That has been the pattern ever since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in late February. It’s really not about China learning the right or wrong lesson from Russia’s invasion, but for Western pundits making this improbable warning to learn some military basics. If you don’t like reading war books, at least watch the opening harrowing scenes of Saving Private Ryan . In general, there is a world of difference between a land invasion and one by sea. In particular, the island chains and the main island of Taiwan present formidable defences against an invasion force, as opposed to a land invasion across Ukraine borders. There is a world of difference between a land invasion and one by sea Here are some random samplings of Western paranoia. These two are recent op-eds from Bloomberg: “China May Be Learning the Wrong Lessons from Ukraine: Could Russia inspire its ally to launch an invasion of its own?” and “Putin’s Struggles in Ukraine May Embolden Xi on Taiwan”. This is a full editorial from The Economist : “How to deter China from attacking Taiwan: What Taiwan can learn from Ukraine about resisting invasion”. Top United States officials have repeatedly warned China not to support Russia to breach sanctions and not to invade Taiwan, even though Beijing is doing neither. Here’s a recent one from Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen before the House Financial Services Committee, who said all sanctions tools would be used against China if Beijing moved aggressively against Taiwan. All these specious warnings remind me of those same supercilious Western pundits who predicted Beijing would roll in the tanks in 2019 during the violent anti-government unrest in Hong Kong for Tiananmen 2.0. Of course, China has made it clear that except for an outright declaration of independence by Taiwan, all other disputes or conflicts must be resolved peacefully. This has been both a promise and a threat; I see no reason to doubt Beijing’s sincerity. It really doesn’t want to fight Taiwan, but all bets are off when it comes to independence. Vladimir Putin and his generals were lured into a false sense of security because of the ease with which their soldiers could cross into Ukraine. Chinese leaders and their generals know the cost of an invasion across the Taiwan Strait would be horrendous, even if successful. Armchair pundits pontificate on grand strategies; real soldiers fret about logistics. It’s much more difficult to move a massive army and equipment across a body of water than across land. That’s what political scientist John Mearsheimer calls “the stopping power of water”. At its narrowest point, the Taiwan Strait is 128km between the mainland and the main island of Taiwan. But landing distances will be considerably greater as much of the invasion force would not be able to embark at that narrow point. Why the US is baiting Beijing over Taiwan Again, think of Saving Private Ryan. The Taiwan Strait is four times wider than the English Channel, across which Operation Overlord on D-Day was launched. The entire world would be alerted weeks if not months ahead of time in the amassing of such a large Chinese army and equipment, especially after the experience with the Russian preparation for the war in Ukraine. There could be no element of surprise for mainland China. It has been pointed out that at least two chains of more than 100 islands and islets offer ample opportunities for Taiwan forces to lay traps before the mainland forces even reach Taiwan proper. And of course, the main island offers formidable natural and urban terrains for defence against an invader. It would be no easy matter for invading forces to capture Taichung in the centre, Kaohsiung in the south and Taipei in the north, each of which could easily turn into another Stalingrad. In fact, the three main cities would each form a hub of defence, much like Kyiv whose success in repelling Russian forces has astonished the world. But the real reason for Beijing’s reluctance to take Taiwan by force is not military, but geopolitical. While Taiwan may be the “prestige prize” for its national unification value, it is not the real prize. China’s future as a dominant regional power does not depend on the status of Taiwan, but rather dominance or at least greater control of the South China Sea. Attacking Taiwan would imperil the whole project that has been decades in the making for those waters. Short of the unconditional imperative of reversing Taiwan’s outright independence, attacking the island would not only be fratricide, but suicide.