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Jan. 5, 2024

Deterrence Gap: Avoiding War in the Taiwan Strait

By Jared M. McKinney and Peter Harris US Army War College

Deterrence Gap: Avoiding War in the Taiwan StraitJared M. McKinney and Peter Harris | 

The likelihood China will attack Taiwan in the next decade is high and will continue to be so, unless Taipei and Washington take urgent steps to restore deterrence across the Taiwan Strait. This monograph introduces the concept of interlocking deterrents, explains why deterrents lose their potency with the passage of time, and provides concrete recommendations for how Taiwan, the United States, and other regional powers can develop multiple, interlocking deterrents that will ensure Taiwanese security in the short and longer terms. By joining deterrence theory with an empirical analysis of Taiwanese, Chinese, and US policies, the monograph provides US military and policy practitioners new insights into ways to deter the People’s Republic of China from invading Taiwan without relying exclusively on the threat of great-power war.

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Keywords: Taiwan, China, deterrence, cross-strait relations, Indo-Pacific, East Asia, US foreign policy, international security