War with China?

thediplomat_2014-08-27_13-23-48-386x289WASHINGTON (Aug. 19, 2014) An armed Chinese fighter jet flies near a U.S. Navy P-8 Poseidon patrol aircraft over the South China Sea about 135 miles east of Hainan Island in international airspace.
Image Credit: U.S. Navy Press 


Just as we were posting the article on China trade, this back page piece by Andrew Browne about a new RAND Corp study caught our attention, so we posted it as an addendum. War with China? Is it possible? 

. . . as China flexes its muscles in the South China Sea and East China Sea, the risks of an inadvertent clash on the water or in the air are growing by the day.

A new RAND Corp study says that a Sino-U. S. war as a result of such a crisis “cannot be considered implausible.”

Violence could ignite quickly, the report warns. That is because each side has deployed precision-guided munitions, as well as cyber and space technologies, able to inflict devastating damage on the other’s military assets, including Chinese land-based missile batteries and American aircraft carriers. Thus they have a strong incentive to launch massive strikes first as part of a “use it or lose it” calculation.

Once out of control, fighting could be prolonged, although it is unlikely to go nuclear, according to the RAND study sponsored by the U.S. Army. Both nations possess the military, industrial and demographic resources to absorb heavy losses and slog on. As in Korea, there would likely be no clear victor.

Washington and Beijing “need to contemplate the possibility of a severe, lengthy, uncontrollable and devastating, yet indecisive, conflict,” the RAND paper asserts.

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