Cover: Could Beijing Risk a Diversionary War Against Taiwan?

Could Beijing Risk a Diversionary War Against Taiwan?

Published in: Lawfare Blog website (2023)

Posted on rand.org May 5, 2023

by Timothy R. Heath

China's deteriorating strategic situation and President Xi Jinping's consolidation of power appears to raise the possibility that a desperate leadership might risk aggression against Taiwan. But Xi's ascent to supreme power masks a far more significant development — the weakening of the Chinese state. Beijing's military options against Taiwan are constrained by the consequences of declining state capacity and legitimacy. Incapable of reversing the situation, Beijing will face growing incentives to favor more limited courses of action when contemplating military options against Taiwan. More research is urgently needed to better understand how weakening state capacity might affect considerations of the use of force among rival great powers.

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