US-China rivalry and the ‘security dilemma’

Ukraine might be dominating the headlines of the day, but Taiwan is arguably a more significant global flashpoint given its central role in US-China competition. 

In his most recent article, John Mearsheimer rebuts the “engagement” policy of the US toward China, and claims that China is bent on dismantling the US-conceived order within East Asia. In response, US policymakers have enacted plans of military deterrence. This is evident in the recent creation of a military pact among the US, the UK and Australia, known as AUKUS.

These increased tensions between the US and China come as no surprise. However, if the goal of the US is to protect national security and preserve the peace in East Asia, such a buildup of military alliances and capabilities within East Asia is, in fact, irrational. A bolstered American military presence would likely lead to an arms race with China. It would not only be costly for the US, but risk deadly escalation as well. Such an arms race can – and should – be avoided.

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