Abe’s advocacy was less successful for Tokyo developing strike capabilities...
2021-08-31 2 ENGLISH REPORTS
China appears to be building a force specifically intended to be able to eject the US military from the western Pacific by force, to stare it down in a crisis, or to encourage the United States to step away from its current commitments due to overstretch, defeatism, 62 or frustration with allies. The latter could be inflamed by a perceived lack of commitment from some allies,63 particularly given the clear scale of the threat. While the degree of any such development could vary widely, even a partial withdrawal of US power from the western Pacific would accelerate the ongoing deterioration in the regional military balance, with profound consequences on the freedom of action of regional nations like Australia.
Probably the worst-case scenario for Australia’s security would be one where something like the following sequence occurs: 1. China successfully gains control of Taiwan either through force (invasion, bombardment, or blockade) or the threat thereof — say, Taiwan negotiates terms given an ultimatum, particularly if it senses wavering US commitment. 2. After China consolidates Taiwan, piercing the First Island Chain and gaining control of ports and airfields in eastern Taiwan, Japan undergoes at least partial ‘Finlandization’ 64 and requests the departure of US forces from the country. 3. Having now been relieved of the necessity to dedicate resources to the capture of Taiwan, China is able to dedicate its attention to addressing security challenges further afield.the region.
Given the growing regional challenge from the PLA, the United States could as a result adopt an ‘offshore balancing’ strategy, essentially withdrawing its main forces to the central or eastern Pacific and again exposing regional powers to a rapidly declining military balance. This also could inspire the self-neutering of formerly powerful regional allies such as Japan and South Korea, releasing Chinese resources and attention for employment further afield.
标签： ENGLISH REPORTS