The nine authors of “China’s Military & the U.S.-Japan Alliance in 2030,” released Thursday, stress that a full-blown shooting war is not in the cards. “The threat is not a war with China,” the report states. Rather, Washington and its close ally Tokyo could find themselves losing influence and disputed island territory to an increasingly unconstrained Beijing that finds it can “win without fighting” owing to a combination of its own military rise and its rivals’ relative declines.
But Chinese “victory” in this projected 2030 conflict is not preordained. It’s also feasible the U.S. and Japan could “win” as their own armies and economies rally against a China dragged down by shrinking exports and demographic stagnation.