Wikistrat, which describes itself as a “crowdsourced consultancy” often carries out “death of a leader simulations” to learn about “internal power dynamics” and the “regional influence” certain leaders have. A team of experts are given a number of different scenarios for how the leader dies and are asked to discuss how each scenario would affect their country’s foreign policy towards their allies and foes. With countless rumours flying around about the state of Vladimir Putin’s health, Wikistrat decided to use the Russian leader’s hypothetical death for their latest simulation. The experts came to the conclusion that China could use Putin’s death to slip under the radar and take Taiwan, whilst the world is watching Russia.
Commenting on the findings of the simulation, Oren Kesler, CEO of Wikistrat said that the West, and in particular the US, needs to be harsher in its response to China to prevent this from happening.
He said: “For the Chinese, if Putin dies, this could be a shift not in their strategy towards Russia, but this could be a shift in cross-strait (China-Taiwan) relations.
“The US should be aware that in such case, they will need to increase their level of willingness to show strength and force.
“China might say now the West is distracted. Or this is something that we can do without a cost.
“So I would say that Western leaders’ dialogue with China should be harsher. Not nicer.”
READ MORE: Truss beefs up defence budget in show of force to Putin
Adding to this, James Shaw, a Former US Army Officer and one of the experts involved in the simulation said: “I believe that China will benefit by having Russia as the dartboard for the rest of the world to focus on while China continues pushing forward with its own efforts in its own “near abroad”, LATAM, Africa, and MENA.”
Mr Kesler added that, following the death of Putin, Chinese President Xi Jinping could come to the forefront and proclaim that he is the leader of the non-Western world.
He said that part of doing this could be increasing tensions in the South China Sea, to show his strength.
Taiwan is an island about 100 miles off the coast of China and is home to approximately 24 million people.
Taiwan’s President has accused China of using a variety of techniques of intimidation, such as drones and cognitive warfare.
Speaking to soldiers during live-fire exercises on Tuesday, Tsai Ing-wen said: “In addition to frequent intrusions by China’s aircraft and ships, China also conducted cognitive warfare, using false information to create disturbance in minds of people, as well as the use of drones.”
On Tuesday, Taiwan launched military exercises on the Hengchun peninsula in the far south of the island, simulating warfare against an invading enemy.
Lt. Col. Jing Feng-huang told reporters at the site of the drills: “We will continue to hold the attitude of being prepared for war.”
“We will not shy away from war but will not seek it out.”