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Mar 13, 2023 – Press ISW

This page collects links to products and other resources related to the Coalition Defense of Taiwan, a new collaboration between the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) and the American Enterprise Institute (AEI). Research Director Stephen Gailliot and ISW Senior Fellow Matthew McInnis join the AEI Senior Fellows Dan Blumenthal and Frederick W. Kagan leading this project.

The Coalition Defense of Taiwan project will examine alternative strategies for the United States and its allies to deter The Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) aggression and, if necessary, defeat the People’s Liberation Army (PLA). The initiative will assess Chinese campaigns against Taiwan and produce ongoing analysis over the next two years through essays, op-eds, analytical graphics, and strategic assessment reports, which will make recommendations for policymakers to address this major challenge.

The project uniquely combines ISW and AEI’s Asia expertise and the planning exercise methodology used by America’s military (known as PLANEX) to analyze problems at the strategic and operational levels. [Find information on ISW’s past planning exercises here.]

The Coalition Defense of Taiwan project leverages ISW’s proven capabilities in open-source intelligence analysis. ISW’s China Analytic Team, consisting of Nils PetersonRoy Eakin, and Virginia Wang, contribute assessments to this effort alongside AEI’s research team.

Download the one-pager.

The goal of the Coalition Defense of Taiwan is to answer three key questions:

1. How does China threaten Taiwan?

  • Our project examines China’s patterns of coercive behavior to identify thresholds for the use of force. By analyzing CCP coercive campaigns, we will expose attempts to split a US-led regional alliance.

2. How could a US-led coalition best deter, counter, or defeat China?

  • Our project will identify the CCP’s most likely courses of action. We will use probable CCP courses of action to test and recommend US-led coalition responses.

3. How can the United States form a coalition optimized for deterrence and warfighting?

  • We will evaluate the interests and capabilities of potential partners to create an effective coalition. Our reports will identify coalition courses of action that could deter the CCP and defeat PLA invasion scenarios.

China’s Three Roads to Controlling Taiwan

March 13, 2023

Dan Blumenthal and Frederick W. Kagan

Key Points:

  • China seeks to gain full control of Taiwan through three distinct but interrelated campaigns: forceful persuasion, coercion, and compellence.
  • American policy’s focus on compellence marginalizes strategies that counter China’s persuasion and coercion campaigns.
  • China is more likely to achieve its goals through persuasion and coercion or a form of compellence, such as a blockade of the island, short of an amphibious invasion.
  • The US must urgently rethink its defense of Taiwan so that it blocks all three roads to Chinese victory.

Download the full report.

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