• William Overholt


June 2022, Opinion: "When Russia invaded Ukraine, Washington feared a simultaneous Chinese invasion of Taiwan. On sober reflection, China isn’t militarily or economically ready. Even more soberly, Xi Jinping is trying to avoid getting stampeded over Taiwan despite another faction labeling him weak. His repression at home has foreclosed non-coercive options; he has raised excessive domestic expectations, and Western gullibility has inflated the resultant rumors. This happens periodically: During the Jiang Zemin era, a columnist in Hong Kong fabricated a story that Jiang had set a deadline for recovering Taiwan and reputable Western columnists repeated it endlessly as fact.  China does want Taiwan “back,” badly, but that does not mean it wants an early bloody war that would destroy China’s economic miracle. Unlike Vladimir Putin, Chinese leaders are not isolated from multiple sources of advice — reality impinges. Unlike Putin, Chinese leaders are accountable to their Party; they can’t launch self-destructive wars and expect to keep their jobs. This doesn’t mean that China won’t eventually invade. It means that it is now following Sun Tzu’s advice to find a way to win without war. Later, when the military and economic balance has changed, the risk rises." Read Via Global Asia

HKS M-RCBG Author - William Overholt