I don't any of this as an issue for the US for all our faults we tend to keep MAD as a viable defense any nation or group of nations threatening us with a full scale invasion would meet our nuclear capability and end all of us. Pretty effective reason not to ever go into a total war scenario and it has worked so far.
Actually I would set aside our differences and join with China with their population and our technology we would have the greatest power bloc ever seen and be able to hold off any threat. And if we aren't knocking heads together we can focus on making sure we stay on top and keep the rest of you properly intimidated. I don't care about their human rights record that is inside their nation its no one elses business but China's and its citizens. We should focus on the areas we must both be concerned with and can agree on which are likely many if we stop making ourselves a nuisance over a few internal matters in China that are none of our business.
Unfortunately the Chinese government is against many of the freedomes we in the US take for granted and are protected by the Constitution. Freedom of speech, religion, free assembly, the right to bear arms. None of which are allowed to the Chinese citizen. Joining with them would be problematic politically, economically and culturally at best.
I'd err on the side of caution and consider Taiwan small but mighty, and quite capable of being a very sharp thorn in the side of China, should they elect to try and take it. I think that's a guerilla war even the largest standing army could do without.
Yes - Taiwan is small, mighty and, usually, pretty well protected by international alliances. I think that the Chinese will likely be pragmatic about it and decide that the disruption in business would outweigh prospective gains from trying to occupy Taiwan.
I think if they thought they could take the island, they'd do it. Whether the world wanted or not. Several nukes overhead delivering EMPs to knock out communucation, coupled with a massive invasion by ship borne troops, air strokes, a brief naval blockade, they could take the island. With massive casualties on both sides. In China's history, they have proven they are willing to take and inflict massive body counts to attain their goals, and with a few hundred million men, they have the bodies to spare.
Problem is that they can't really use it. Any large countries that have the capacity, namely Russia or India, will use WMD's or something nearly as horrific to blunt a club that big.
Russia has proven historically they'll endure tremendous hardship to kick out invaders; they'll bleed China white if it comes to it. A battle of China vs. India is going to be the mother of all attrition battles that will make the casualties from the biggest Eastern Front battles from WWII look small.
China has a much larger population than Russia. Vastly so, and they are not likely to invade Russia, but go south or west. Would they be fought? es, but remember China has WMDs of it's own. Far more than India has, and India has to keep a close watch on it's western boarder against Pakistan. Militarilly, China could take India
And moving and feeding an army of that size through the Russian hinterland is going to plain out suck. The Germans waited until late June, a smart general would launch earlier in the year but the Russians can play a delaying action and attrition game to keep you there until winter has you by the balls.
The one thing that's been pointed out in recent years is that China has a massive standing army but it's mostly a stay at home army. Had the US and China gone into the battle over Taiwan scenario, the US could still drop more troops in Taiwan from across the Pacific even while denying a Chinese beachhead.
Now, as China's GNP rises, I'm sure it's retooling toward one of the requisites of a superpower; the ability to project massive force abroad and deliver a sledgehammer blow, as the US did in Iraq. However, that sort of thing doesn't happen overnight, and even possessing that ability in no way assures a strategic superiority over its two potentially greatest rivals, once the natural resources start dwindling in Asia.
Depending who is in office and where the fight comes from. It's unlikely that the US would get involved in a mnilitary conflict. China is working hard to get the capability to neutralize the US in the Straits of Formosa. They want Taiwan back in a bad way and will try to get it as soon as they think they can take it. If that included killing off most of the population of the island, they'd do it and tell the workld to fsck itself, that it was a Chinese internal matter. A guerilla war in Taiwan is doomed to failure, since that would mean the extermination of the local population, or the forceful relocating of it.