HOW CAN WE DETER CHINA IN THE 2020S? A CONVERSATION WITH MICHÈLE FLOURNOY - While the United States has long planned to prevent a Sino-Taiwanese war, President Xi Jinping has made abundantly clear that “reunifying” Taiwan with China is a legacy goal. As Beijing rapidly modernizes its military, China may seize a potential opportunity to invade Taiwan on a truncated timeline. The United States is developing new capabilities and approaches to deter China in the long run, but are US and allied militaries capable of defending Taipei in the near term?
To deter Chinese attack, the United States must anticipate the doctrinal shifts and capability mix required to contend on the modern battlefield—not least because President Xi is watching Russia’s war in Ukraine and is likely adapting accordingly. Ukraine’s use of asymmetric tactics, coupled with strong international assistance, demonstrates the ability of a small power to contest a superior military foe. This discussion considered the technological investments the United States must make to meet the urgency of the China challenge, delving into the novel capabilities key to any future fight and reflecting on lessons from today’s conflict.
On October 6, former Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Michèle Flournoy joined Forward Defense Deputy Director Clementine G. Starling to explore the capabilities and warfighting concepts needed to deter Chinese aggression in the 2020s and beyond.
ORIGINAL AIRDATE: 10/6/22