2022: Neither country says it wants a war.
But both the United States and China make preparations for swift, decisive, and violent attacks and counterattacks in the event a miscalculation leads to conflict.
One of the most likely flashpoints is Taiwan.
After the US Congress passes its third “Support for Taiwan” Act, the island’s nationalist leadership posts several social media posts claiming that China must recognize Taiwan’s independence. #DemocraticTaiwan starts to trend on social media.
The tension grows, as all parties become increasingly wary of the other’s intentions.
At a meeting of party leadership, China’s leaders ask the People’s Liberation Army to develop plans to recover Taiwan before they lose control over the impending crisis.