War in the Pacific: ‘Danger zone. Beijing could react ‘

Noted military expert James R. Holmes says the outbreak of a conflict between the US and China is more likely than ever. Economic and demographic problems could push the Chinese to attempt operations against Taiwan and in the South China Sea. Beijing aims for a short war; the US will try to prolong it, as it did with Japan in World War II.

Date: 12/22/2020
By: Emanuele Scimia

Hong Kong (AsiaNews) – “We are in a danger zone in which Beijing may conclude it must act now or forego the opportunity forever," says James R. Holmes, C. Wylie Chair of Maritime Strategy at the US Naval War College in Newport, speaking to AsiaNews about the possibility of a military conflict between Washington and Beijing.

China and the United States – and not only – are deploying more forces, spending more on armaments and stepping up military exercises in the Indo-Pacific region. In recent days, a Chinese aircraft carrier – with its escort vessels – and a US destroyer passed through the Taiwan Strait, considered together with the South China Sea to be the most sensitive geopolitical front in the area.

A war in the Pacific between the US and China – Holmes argues – is more likely than at any time in decades, and for reasons that may at first appear contradictory. “China's policies exude both bombast and feelings of insecurity. Bombast because China now feels strong after its economic and military accomplishments of recent decades, insecurity because Beijing must realize it is turning the region against it through its bullying," he notes.

Moreover, the US academic discerns that things are not going well in China: “Certainly demographics is turning against it, and establishing an Orwellian surveillance state and crushing minority rights cannot be signs of a regime confident in its future.”

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