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Center for Security Policy Exclusive Analysis

Asia expert, Center for Security Policy Senior Fellow and retired U.S. Marine Colonel Grant Newsham has written a vital analysis of a seldom-examined perspective on the geostrategic situation in East Asia: if China is successful in conquering Taiwan, what would the consequences be for the region and the wider world?

In his study, entitled The Fall of Taiwan: Asia Goes Red – or at Least “Pinkens,” he first examines a variety of possible methods China may use to “take” Taiwan, ranging from demoralization from afar to a full-scale amphibious military assault. He then outlines reasons why and methods by which the U.S. might defend the island.

Crucially, Newsham highlights the centrality of the “First Island Chain.” Taiwan is the geographical lynchpin of the chain and is central to China’s strategy to break the ability of the U.S. and regional powers to successfully curb their expansion. For example, “Taiwan is a splendid location for interdicting sea lanes through the South China Sea—through which much of Japan’s trade flows, including vital energy imports. And South Korea would be even more isolated.”

Newsham also explores the moral and ideological fallout that would follow a potential Chinese conquest of Taiwan, including a country-by-country rating from Blue (resilient) to Red (under Chinese domination) regarding their future in such an “Asia Turning Red” scenario. For example, he identifies Japan as possibly the most resilient having been scared into action from watching Taiwan fall. He also expresses hope that the so-called “Quad” comprising the U.S., Japan, India and Australia might take more serious measures and a more active role in this scenario.

This unique rating system provides a practical reference point for policymakers, both as a way to sharpen the mind while the U.S. still has a chance to influence events, and a road map for picking up the pieces after the potential tragedy of a fallen Taiwan.

Read the full paper below.

View a webinar on the strategic situation of Taiwan featuring Grant Newsham and Stephen Bryen here.


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