A new Bloomberg article titled “‘Sloppy’ US Talk on China’s Threat Worries Some Skeptical Experts” discusses the dangerous cycle in which pressures in the US political establishment to continually escalate hostilities with Beijing provokes responses that are then falsely interpreted as Chinese aggression.
Bloomberg’s Iain Marlow writes:
The hawkish narrative “limits room for maneuver in a crisis,” said M. Taylor Fravel, director of the Security Studies Program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Any effort to defuse tension could be characterized as “conciliatory or not tough enough,” he said.
China has been consistent on Taiwan and there’s little public evidence to suggest it’s sped up the timeline to take Taiwan, said a former senior US official who worked on China policy but asked not to be identified.
The former official said the hawkish tone in DC has contributed to a cycle where the US makes the first move, interprets Chinese reactions as a provocation, and then escalates further.
Bloomberg quotes Bonnie Glaser, director of the Asia program at the German Marshall Fund, who says this cycle of self-reinforcing escalation could “end up provoking the war that we seek to deter.”