How to Win a War with China

A blockade can work, if backed by the right diplomacy under the right circumstances.

If the United States were able to assemble its minimum coalition of India, Japan and Russia—a task that would hinge on China’s aggressive behavior—then China’s rate of economic exhaustion would sharply accelerate even as the United States gained the political support it would need to continue a blockading strategy indefinitely. In this context, while the United States would not be able to use Beijing’s dependence on maritime trade to defeat China decisively in one short blow, it would still be able to help sap Chinese strength until Beijing eventually submitted.

Sean Mirski is co-editor of Crux of Asia: China, India and the Emerging Global Order. This article is based on a longer piece originally published in the Journal of Strategic Studies.

Image: U.S. Navy Flickr. 

Editor's Note: This piece first appeared on November 1, 2013 and is being recirculated due to reader interest.