As President Biden fills out his national security team, deterring Chinese adventurism, particularly towards Taiwan, will be necessary to keep the peace. Last October, NPEC conducted a series of wargames that had Beijing stopping all cargo ships bound for Taiwan and demanding that they pay a duty to Mainland China.
Attached is a final report on these games, which engaged 20 Hill, Pentagon, State, and Intelligence Community staff. Although the United States and its Pacific allies did all they could to avoid military conflict in the games, a shooting war ensued. Fortunately, the U.S. and its allies were able to produce a stalemate without going nuclear.
There were two important take-aways. The first is that the United States needs to work more vigorously with its Indo-Pacific allies to deter Beijing from using military force to intimidate Taiwan and China’s other neighbors. The report lists several ways to do this.
Second, the U.S. needs to revitalize its efforts to dissuade Japan and South Korea from acquiring nuclear weapons. This needs to begin now, before any regional crisis, such as an invasion of Taiwan, might prompt Japan or South Korea to get their own nuclear weapons. Any such U.S.-led nonproliferation effort must also address China’s nuclear materials and weapons build-up.