The American Enterprise Institute has released a new article warning against the Biden administration’s preparations for an armed conflict. The article argues that war with Beijing will be more costly than official officials think.
Senior fellows Hal Brands (of this think tank) and Michael Beckley, (of the think-tank’s publication, “Defending Taiwan”) suggest that Washington might be preparing for the wrong kind of war. They offer some suggestions for how to prepare.
Many defense planners and the Pentagon seem to be focused only on winning a short-term conflict in Taiwan Strait. This would prevent a Chinese invasion.
They claim that both sides would prefer a small, but spectacular war in the western Pacific. But that’s not what they will get.
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They claim that a war between China, the U.S. and Taiwan would be “likely to last, and not short”, regionalized, rather than localized, far easier to start than end, and much more easily initiated than finished. ”
Both sides have much at stake and the potential to sustain their losses.
They state that Beijing will not give up if the United States defeats a Chinese attack against Taiwan. They say that Chinese President Xi Jinping explicitly stated that the Taiwan issue must be resolved during the current generation and that “reunification” is essential for the great revitalizion China’s nation. Beckley and Brands warned that Xi could lose power and even his lives if he admits defeat.
The American side points out the implications for the balance power and domestic outrage over a “Pearl Harbor-style attack by the U.S.A. to start the war” as reasons they will continue fighting.
Brands and Beckley foresaw a long-term war. They offered four options for Washington’s preparation. ”
They suggested that the U.S. should “own the escalation ladder”, and be ready to blockade China’s blocksades in order to stop them “threatening to transform an extended war into an economic catastrophe for China.” ”
They stated that the U.S. must define victory realistically. Given that both sides possess nuclear weapons, they predict that “anegotiated compromise” will be the result.
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What would it end?
Brands and Beckley state that “the simplest solution would to stop attacking Taiwan and make a promise to Taiwan that it would not declare independence and America would not support it.” This suggests that the U.S. could offer to withdraw its troops from Taiwan.
The United States could have saved an energetic, strategically placed democracy. Both parties could save face and move on.