Thursday, January 5, 2017

Analysis of US-China Conflict

FLG has been thinking about how Trump will handle the rise of China and found this analysis of the potential conflict scenarios, although it's not Trump specific:
any discussion of war between the U.S. and China overestimates either the Chinese capability or the American capability. The Chinese would not be able to take Taiwan. There are too many failure points. The U.S. could blockade China if it was prepared to accept losses. The U.S. is risk averse, and minimizing threats would mean a far larger war than merely a naval picket line.

Each action by either side faces a counter that opens the door not only to failure but also to losing forces neither side can afford to lose. The only practical way to force a change in the balance of power in the region is a shift in alliances by one of the countries, and the Philippines is the one to watch.


A more specific line of thought that is particularly relevant to Trump is this:
the U.S. is highly unpredictable in how it responds to challenges. The Chinese saw this unpredictability in Korea, Vietnam, Kosovo, Operation Desert Storm, Iraq and so on. At times, the U.S. does not respond. Other times it over-reacts, from the Chinese point of view. 

The author is talking about strategic unpredictability going back decades, but this is only exacerbated by a Trump presidency. 

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