September 15, 2022

Time Is Running Out to Defend Taiwan

By Michèle Flournoy and Michael Brown

Chinese President Xi Jinping has made it abundantly clear that “reunifying” Taiwan with mainland China is a legacy issue for him, something he intends to accomplish on his watch through political and economic means or, if necessary, through military force. Right now, he is preoccupied with the COVID-19 crisis, the slowing growth of the Chinese economy, and the upcoming 20th Party Congress, where he hopes to secure a third term as chair of the Chinese Communist Party.

The U.S. military’s most promising capabilities to counter China will not be ready until the 2030s.

But once these immediate concerns are addressed, it is possible that sometime in the next five years Xi will consider taking Taiwan by force, either because nonmilitary efforts at reunification have fallen short or because he believes his chances of success will diminish if he waits and U.S. military capabilities grow.

Read the full article from Foreign Affairs.

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