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.
It is the year 2027. China has invested heavily in its military, with rapid advancements in technology and the expansion of its naval fleet, its air force, and its arsenal of missiles. The United States has increased its own defense spending to stay ahead of its rival in the Pacific. It has also strengthened its alliance with Japan and Australia, increased the number of US military personnel in the region, and ramped up military support to regional partners.
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.