This weekly recap focuses on the benefits of increasing and maintaining diversity in the armed forces, the challenges of telemedicine abortion, whether Indo-Pacific countries are backing China or Taiwan, and more.
Almost the entire Indo-Pacific region backs China over Taiwan. But U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi's August trip to Taiwan made it clear that key U.S. allies strongly support Taiwan's cause, particularly in the face of a potential war over the island. This suggests that Beijing's assertive behavior is steadily alienating nations that otherwise may have minded their own business.
While well-intentioned, another U.S.-PRC hotline would give false hope that the two countries would resolve disputes more rapidly during a crisis. The United States is better off changing its expectations, understanding how the PRC views crisis communications, and shifting the focus to the internal, inter-agency process by which U.S. policymakers would coordinate in a crisis with Beijing.
Beijing has had only limited success in spreading its influence in the Pacific, with the notable exceptions of the Solomon Islands and Kiribati. To be sure, other victories should be expected to follow. The overall picture, however, is far more challenging for China.
The first comprehensive assessment of Chinese military aid shows that China's $560 million total during 2013–2018 pales in comparison to the U.S. total of over $35 billion in the same period. This should offer advantages in the intensifying U.S.-China strategic competition.