Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Deterrence key to curbing China, report says

The greatest deterrent of all, the authors argue, are the historically unparalleled economic consequences that would result from a Sino-American conflict

Armed conflict between the US and China during the next 20 years is improbable, provided Washington retains the capacity to deter behavior that would lead to such a clash, a US think tank says in a new report.

In an occasional paper titled Conflict with China: Prospects, Consequences and Strategies for Deterrence prepared by RAND Corp for the US Army, the authors say China’s security interests and military capabilities for the next two decades are expected to remain focused on its immediate periphery, with conflict likeliest to occur over Taiwan, the Korean Peninsula, one or more countries in Southeast Asia or India.

“China is seeking neither territorial aggrandizement nor ideological sway over its neighbors,” the report says. “It shows no interest in matching US military expenditures, achieving a comparable global reach or assuming defense commitments beyond its immediate periphery.”

While such intentions could change, the US would probably receive considerable warning of such a shift, given the lead time needed to develop the capabilities needed for a new strategy that would seek to alter China’s current emphasis on regional contingencies.

My article, published today in the Taipei Times, continues here.

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