Cover: Wargames Can't Tell Us How to Deter a Chinese Attack on Taiwan — But Different Games Might

Wargames Can't Tell Us How to Deter a Chinese Attack on Taiwan — But Different Games Might

Published in: Lawfare Blog website (2023)

Posted on rand.org May 5, 2023

by Timothy R. Heath

Wargames that simulate combat between the United States and China near Taiwan can provide useful insight about potential military challenges. However, analysts should be wary of repurposing the same games to explore political questions such as those related to deterrence, escalation control, alliance politics, and war prevention or termination. Asymmetries in the information requirements for political versus military topics make it exceedingly difficult to design games to explore both in a rigorous manner. Paradoxically, the deliberate falsification of facts in peacetime offers the best hope of painting a more vivid and convincing portrait of a situation that would actually confront policymakers in wartime.

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