China's Military, Take 3

A reply to their critics, claiming that James Lilley and Carl Ford miss the forest for the trees.

Issue: Winter 1999-2000

Let us begin by thanking Ambassador James Lilley and Carl Ford for driving home an important point in their article, "China's Military: A Second Opinion" (Fall 1999): any conflict over Taiwan would be of the utmost seriousness regardless of what one thinks of the conventional military balance in the region. No one who read our article ("China's Hollow Military", Summer 1999) should be led to believe otherwise. The potential for enormous losses in Taiwan and southeastern coastal China; the lasting geopolitical harm resulting from the embitterment and ostracization of the world's most populous state after such a war; and the slight but real risk of nuclear escalation are all extremely worrisome, even if the People's Republic of China (PRC) were to prove unsuccessful in invading or blockading Taiwan.

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