Generational Dynamics: Forecasting America's Destiny Generational
 Forecasting America's Destiny ... and the World's


Operation Summer Pulse 04

Taiwan is moving inexorably towards independence, and America is supporting it, while China is freaking out over it. Will this lead to an inevitable war over Taiwan? (6-Jul-2004)
Summary This unprecedented display of naval force by American forces near China, planned for later this month, mirrors a large display of force by China in the Strait of Taiwan. The precipitating factors include moves towards independence by Taiwan's president, and American plans to review its "One-China" policy.

China and America are both planning major military exercises near Taiwan later in July. The two major military events are:

This all comes on the heels of a report to Congress last month by the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission which stated that relations with China are unsatisfactory in many respects, and in particular the historical "One-China" policy, which states that Taiwan is part of China and will be reunited with China, is not working and should be reviewed.

The One China policy is a classic political compromise that's kept the peace between China and America over Taiwan for over 50 years. After the Chinese civil war ended in 1949, with the Nationalist faction escaping to Taiwan, it's been Chinese policy that Taiwan is still part of China, and America's policy that Taiwan will, at a suitable future time, rejoin China as a province. (See Taiwan's Wild Election Battle).

But the USSC report (see excerpts below) says that the entire One China policy is no longer working and has to be reviewed. The report notes that China has been isolating Taiwan internationally and marginalizing Taiwan economically, while appearing to abandon its commitment to a peaceful approach.

If you look carefully, you can almost feel the generational dynamics at work here. China and America are both entering generational crisis periods, with leaders who have no personal memories of the major world wars of the 1940s. As usual during crisis periods, brinkmanship is taking place, leading to increasing risk of conflict on both sides. China is acting too belligerently towards Taiwan; the Committee notices this, and concludes that the the solution is to act belligerently back.

What makes this so extraordinary to watch is that neither side has any choice. Neither China nor America want war with each other, but it's as if China, Taiwan and America are puppets being controlled by some great generational puppetmaster in the sky to move, step by step, towards war.

China and its provinces <font size=-2>(Source: The Economist)</font>
China and its provinces (Source: The Economist)

Here's why:

So the situation is extraordinary, and I can't see any way that it can end in anything but war between America and China. If anyone else can, I'd willing to be educated.


Excerpts from the USCC report to Congress:

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