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The Perils of China Threat Inflation June 3, 2006

Posted by tkcollier in Geopolitics, Politics.
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The Perils of Threat Inflation by William S. Lind
Taiwan is vastly important to China, because the great threat to China throughout its history has been internal division. If one province, Taiwan, can secure its independence, why cannot other provinces do the same? It is the spectre of internal break-up that forces China to prevent Taiwanese independence at any cost, including war with America.

But America has no corresponding interest. A war with China over Taiwan would be, for the U.S., another “war of choice,” not of strategic necessity. We are currently fighting two other “wars of choice,” and neither is going particularly well.

A strategic rivalry between the U.S. and China points to an obvious parallel, the strategic rivalry between England and Germany before World War I. That parallel should give Washington pause. If the rivalry—completely unnecessary in both cases—leads to war, as it then did, the war will have no victor. Germany and Britain destroyed each other. While Britain finally won, the British Empire died in the mud of Flanders.

A war between China and the United States could easily result in a similar fatal weakening of the U.S. (perhaps after a strategic nuclear exchange), while a defeated Chinese state may dissolve, with China becoming a vast region of stateless, Fourth Generation instability. Is Taiwan worth risking such an outcome? Was Belgian neutrality worth the Somme, Bolshevism and Hitler?

In a 21st century where the most important division will be between centers of order and centers or sources of disorder, it is vital to American interests that China remain a center of order. America needs to handle a rising China the way Britain handled a rising America, not a rising Germany.

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