After the Trade War, a Real War With China? | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED


After the Trade War, a Real War With China?

Our sudden hostility to China reflects a consensus – at least within the Washington Beltway – that we need to wrestle China to the ground and pin it there. But what are the chances we can do that? What are the consequences of attempting it? Where are we now headed with China?

Realism is out of fashion in Washington even if it’s alive and well elsewhere in America. It should give us pause that our new enemy of choice is a very different, larger, and more dynamic country than any we have unbefriended before. China had a couple of bad centuries. But forty years ago, the Chinese Communist Party and government began to evolve what turned out to be a successful model of economic development that blended state capitalism with free enterprise. This unleashed the entrepreneurial talents of the Chinese people. The results have been staggering.

Taiwan illustrates the dangers of managing disputes by relying exclusively on deterrence to the exclusion of diplomacy. Deterrence can inhibit the outbreak of war, but it does nothing to resolve its underlying causes. In the case of Taiwan, the United States lacks a diplomatic strategy to encourage the parties to the dispute to address and resolve their differences. In default of a strategy, we are now doubling down on our politico-military support of Taiwan. But if Beijing loses confidence in the possibility of a peaceful reconciliation with the Taiwan authorities, it will be increasingly tempted to use force. This is precisely the trend at present. We have no plan to deal with that trend other than to prepare ourselves for combat.

A Sino-American war over Taiwan could quickly escalate to the nuclear level. China has a policy of no-first-use of nuclear weapons but it could deliver a devastating counterstrike on the US homeland if we attacked it. There is very little substantive contact between the US and Chinese militaries, and there are no mechanisms for escalation control in place. It is not clear how either side could fend off domestic pressures for escalation if we come to blows, as we may. Instead of exploring means of establishing and managing a strategic balance with China, we are withdrawing from the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty in part to enable us to deploy nuclear weapons closer to China.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

Folks, this is a very long read, but absolutely worth it, in terms of US/China/Taiwan relations, and how they might be bettered, or get completely nasty, if there is a war between the US and China over the future of Taiwan.

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