Why a US-China War is Now Closer Than Ever Before

China and the US are closer than ever to a hot war. Tensions over Taiwan, China’s leak of COVID, and ongoing trade tensions are big reasons. Another reason is purely practical: diplomatic links between our two nations and the ability to stay in touch to avoid a military confrontation are at an all-time low.

Top American officials are warning of weak links in the China-US defense communication system; they’re also warning about the possibility for a clash to happen before it can be talked through between our militaries.

Broken Communication

Moscow and Washington famously had a special telephone line to avoid nuclear war. This is perhaps part of why the Cold War didn’t turn hot. However, now we are in uncharted territory. In the past, attempts to talk to China during times of crisis were very important.

One example is in 1989 after China murdered its own people in Tiananmen Square. POTUS at the time was George HW Bush. He tried to get through to China’s president, but couldn’t do so, leading to a huge ratcheting of tensions.

In 2001, a crash between a Chinese and US plane was also extremely hard to resolve because America’s ambassador to China couldn’t connect through to the country’s leadership.

China basically froze out the US; they closed down communication channels in order to crank up the tension and try to maximize geopolitical leverage out of the situation.

Bilateral Comms at an All-Time Low

As tensions surge in the South China Sea and China becomes more and more belligerent, the chance of conflict is just getting worse. Experts are very worried about how fast escalation would happen because of the lack of open channels between our political executives and militaries.

This isn’t about getting along with China or being friends with them; it’s just about practical defusing of disastrous situations. China is our enemy, there’s no doubt about that. However, that doesn’t mean we should want a large-scale destructive war with them by any means.

Blinken Warns of ‘Frictions’ Getting Worse

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has been clear that “frictions” with China are on the rise. Mainly, that is currently because of China’s aggressive actions in the South China Sea.

VP Kamala Harris has also talked about this; Harris said China is threatening the region, and China’s defense department says the US is the world’s main “disruptor” of peace in the area.

If communications channels aren’t improved, we face quite a scary possibility. World War One started partly because once armies and supply lines were mobilized, it was impossible to call them all back in time.

Our broken lines of communication with China could be the reason that we find ourselves in a full-scale war within the next decade.