Back 14 years ago in 2006 Australia’s top defence analysts, Air Power, set out in a long document for the Foreign Affairs Committee the emerging power of China contrasting with the looming American decline. It was a remarkable forecast.
…Air Power last week contacted major defence to strategists around the world to undertake a “risk assessment” of military conflict between China and the US. They rate conflict in the next 12 months as “likely”; over the next two years as “highly likely” and over the next three years as “almost certain”.
Last month two American aircraft carriers sailed to the South China Sea for a “freedom-of-navigation operation” while China’s military conducted exercises nearby.
China responded: “The South China Sea is fully within the grasp of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA), and any US aircraft carrier movement in the region is solely at the pleasure of the PLA, which has a wide selection of anti-aircraft carrier weapons like the DF-21D and DF-26 “aircraft carrier killer” missiles.”
And there is also Taiwan.
“Almost certain within three years” is pretty stupid. I have never heard of Air Power and I’m pretty well versed in these things. If it is at the “top” it’s also wearing camouflage.
Beijing’s Taiwan reunification deadline is 2050. Why would the CCP pile in now when it is still little more than a military pimple versus the US and its allies and it would trigger the total unwind of its fifty-year globalisation plan as the US marshaled global containment? This would destroy its economy in short order, guaranteeing imperial decline.
That is not to say that Taiwan unification won’t eventually turn into a hot war. But China has enough problems right now destroying Hong Kong democracy and fending off the COVID-19 backlash.
The only rationale I can see for doing this within three years is that Bejing has decided that the Wuhan Flu is incurable, its international reputation is irreparably ruined, so it might as well get on with a new normal of open hostilities.
Possible, yes. “Almost certain within three years”, no.