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China vs. Taiwan: A Return to ‘Massive Retaliation’ in the Taiwan Strait?

March 31, 2019 Topic: Security Region: Asia Tags: TaiwanChinaXi JinpingNuclearNational Security

China vs. Taiwan: A Return to ‘Massive Retaliation’ in the Taiwan Strait?

Time to prod Taipei to finally end the Chinese Civil War.

Maybe we strategists should return to the days of “Massive Retaliation” and install (once again) U.S. tactical nuclear weapons all over the “beautiful island?” That is plainly a risky and unpalatable path forward, to put it mildly. It’s almost as silly and ahistorical as the now fashionable idea that Britain and France will make a glorious return to the Pacific in order to keep the “upstart dragon” in its corner. As for the notion that America will sail to the rescue of Taiwan, this possibility becomes increasingly far-fetched and even downright farcical. A far more responsible approach for the people of Taiwan, and the rest of the world too, would be to urge Taipei to sincerely pursue a compromise with Beijing and so finally end the exasperating Chinese Civil War.

Lyle J. Goldstein is Research Professor in the China Maritime Studies Institute (CMSI) at the United States Naval War College in Newport, RI. In addition to Chinese, he also speaks Russian and he is also an affiliate of the new Russia Maritime Studies Institute (RMSI) at Naval War College. You can reach him at [email protected]. The opinions in his columns are entirely his own and do not reflect the official assessments of the U.S. Navy or any other agency of the U.S. government.

Image: Reuters