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Very interesting. Call me a worrywart, but I fear that the "Taiwan issue" will come to a head sometime after the 2008 Olympics. Certainly the PRC wants to get Taiwan back peacefully, but I fear they could use force if they don't get their way.

The issue, of course, is whether the US will come to Taiwan's aid. If it is perceived that either A) Taiwan provoked the crisis, or B) Was laggardly in buying weapons to defend itself, then it will be hard for a US president to risk American aircraft carriers.

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Regarding point A you made, we can always count on China to provide a reason, fictitious or otherwise, for an attack. It's up to policy makers to think about what in this case constitutes a real provocation, and what instead constitutes a flimsy pretext.

Giving an example from another part of the world: Iraq had a few legitimate grievances with Kuwait back in '91, but none of those grievances justified the conquest and outright annexation of a sovereign country.

As for point B, absolutely. And if push ever comes to shove over here, it won't just be American knee-jerk pacifists making that argument, either.

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