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Chilling ‘Hellscape’ Warning From Top US Commander

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Chinese invasion

A senior U.S. naval commander warns of dire consequences for China in the event of a Chinese invasion of Taiwan.

Defending Taiwan

The U.S. maintains strategic ambiguity on defending Taiwan but has a strategy to deter China by highlighting the severe repercussions it could face. Admiral Samuel Paparo emphasizes the potential “utterly miserable” outcomes for China in case of an incursion.

Short war

“[China wants] to offer the world a short, sharp war so that it is a fait accompli before the world can get their act together,” Paparo said. “My job is to ensure that between now and 2027 and beyond, the U.S. military and the allies are capable of prevailing.”

Potential invasion

China considers Taiwan a rebellious region that must be reconnected with the mainland and criticizes any nations recognizing the island as independent. Chinese President Xi Jinping has instructed the country’s military to be prepared for a potential invasion of Taiwan by 2027.

Substantial counteraction

Described as “Hellscape” by Paparo, the U.S. plan to prevent a Chinese invasion involves deploying numerous unmanned surface vessels, drones, and submarines once Chinese troops begin advancing towards Taiwan. This strategic move aims to encircle the island, allowing the U.S., Taiwan, and their allies in the region to prepare for a more substantial counteraction.

Unmanned hellscape

“I want to turn the Taiwan Strait into an unmanned hellscape using a number of classified capabilities,” Paparo said. “So that I can make their lives utterly miserable for a month, which buys me the time for the rest of everything.”


Paparo said, “I can’t tell you what’s in it. But it’s real and it’s deliverable.”

Surface ships

In March, the Department of Defense revealed a commitment of over $1 billion to the Replicator initiative, aiming to construct a network of unmanned aerial drones and surface ships for defense purposes.

Drone technology

Drawing inspiration from the Russia-Ukraine conflict, Paparo informed The Washington Post that the Replicator program is influenced by Ukraine’s effective use of drone technology against Russian forces.

Regional allies

The U.S. has also invested significantly in bolstering Taiwan and the Indo-Pacific region’s defenses, including approving $8 billion in aid for regional allies in April.

The Pentagon

However, The Post reports uncertainty regarding the Pentagon’s ability to fulfill the Replicator program promptly in the event of a potential Chinese invasion. Additionally, delays in the delivery of military equipment to Taiwan have persisted.

Military capabilities

China has been intensively focused on enhancing its military capabilities, displaying increased military activities around Taiwan in recent years. Paparo informed The Washington Post that China’s annual defense budget is believed to be approximately $2.1 trillion, which is three times higher than the publicly stated figure by Beijing.

Hypersonic missile

The NDAA allocated around $840 billion for defense in fiscal year 2024. Leaked documents indicate China’s development of a hypersonic missile that may evade U.S. defenses.

Cyber attacks

China has also engaged in cyber attacks targeting vital U.S. infrastructure like water and power facilities, potentially jeopardizing systems in a Taiwan conflict.

Persuading Beijing

Paparo views China’s strategy as revanchist and doubts the effectiveness of persuading Beijing to change its approach.

Direct implications

“The region has got two choices. The first is that they can submit, and as an end result give up some of their freedoms … or they can arm to the teeth,” Paparo said. “Both cases have direct implications to the security, the freedom and the well-being of the citizens of the United States of America.”

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