[linkpost] Is China Planning to Attack Taiwan? A Careful Consideration of Available Evidence Says No.

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By Timothy R. Heath, senior international and defense researcher for the RAND Corporation, published in War on the Rocks, Dec. 14, 2022.

″...[I]n the past year, three pieces of evidence have, for many, dramatically elevated the likelihood of war. The first consists of intelligence reports regarding the preparation of Chinese military options for Taiwan by 2027. The second consists of statements by senior officials that stress the imperative of unification. The third consists of growing Chinese military advantage over U.S. forces near Taiwan.

Although the collective evidence appears persuasive, a closer examination shows that their significance has been seriously overstated. Moreover, there is a conspicuous lack of evidence that the government has decided to pursue a military solution to the island. China might someday choose to attack the island, but the most compelling evidence of that possibility would consist of indications that the government had prioritized Taiwan unification above other policy goals. The United States should continue to maintain its deterrence posture but refrain from overstating the threat and thereby misjudge the cross-strait situation.”