Of the two antagonists in the Falklands War, only Britain had nuclear weapons, thus limiting the possibility of nuclear escalation. And although it is true that of the more numerous East Asian contenders, only China has such weapons, the United States has formal alliance commitments to defend three of the countries in competition with China over the islands – the Philippines, Japan, and South Korea – and an informal alliance with Taiwan.
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Although any war over these islands would rank right up there with the absurd Falkland Islands war of 1982 between Britain and Argentina over remote, windswept sheep pastures near Antarctica, any conflict in East Asia always has the potential to escalate to nuclear war. And unlike the Falklands war, the United States might be right in the atomic crosshairs.
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