We could hardly agree more with Prof. Daniel Lynch’s appraisal of the situation across the Taiwan Strait—let’s not mistake happy talk and economic agreements for a durable cross-strait status quo. Beijing shows no sign of relenting on its goal of imposing its rule on Taiwan, and Chinese spokesmen are admirably forthright about this.
Nonetheless, when we discuss cross-strait relations with senior US military officers, they often inform us that China evinces little desire to use the formidable military it’s constructing to achieve longstanding political aims. We fully agree with them on this point. Where we do part ways with them, though, is on the sweeping conclusions they draw from this trivial point—namely that Beijing so abhors the prospect of armed conflict that it will accept the cross-strait status quo more or less indefinitely, and presumably compromise on national unity.