The risk of US-China military conflict is ‘as high as 46pc’ during next decade

According to modelling from Coolabah Capital Investments, the risk of US-China military conflict is “as high as 46pc”.

More specifically: the risk of full-scale war between China and the US during the next 10 years is 12 per cent. This closely tracks the chance of major war between China and Taiwan at 11 per cent, and China and Japan at 10 per cent.

The likelihood of a more minor military conflict between China and Taiwan across this period is 75 per cent, whereas that kind of conflict between the US and China has only a 46 per cent probably.

Although Advance is normally sceptical of modelling the behaviour of humans (just as we’re sceptical of modelling the impact of humans on the climate), these figures are by no means surprising.

Just look at the way the Chinese Communist Party treated former Prime Minister Tony Abbott the other day.

After Mr Abbott raised concerns that Beijing “could lash out disastrously very soon” and argued the US and Australia could not stand idly by; an unnamed Chinese embassy spokesperson said he is “a failed and pitiful politician. His recent despicable and insane performance in Taiwan fully exposed his hideous anti-China features.”

This is only the latest instance where the CCP has lashed out.

Since the outbreak of COVID-19 early last year, the Chinese have:

  • Launched a trade war with Australia, affecting our coal, barley, wine, lobster, sugar and cotton industries in response to Scott Morrison’s call for an inquiry into the origins of COVID
  • Plan on building a military base 200 kilometres from our shores after militarising the South China Sea and claiming the surrounding gas and oil reserves
  • Lectured Australia on human rights and racism at the UN when it has millions of Uyghur Muslims in “re-education camps,” while continuing to oppress Tibetan and Falun Gong ethnic and religious minorities
  • Imprisoned young democrats in Hong Kong who were upset the CCP broke the “one country, two systems” deal, which was to remain until 2047
  • Threatened Taiwan with war; and forces companies like QANTAS to refer to the nation as a territory of the People’s Republic of China
  • Called Australia: “chewing gum stuck on the sole of China’s shoes” and labelled our Prime Minister a “yes man to one [and] liar to all”
  • Suggested the attack on 21-year-old university student Drew Pavlou at the University of Queensland was “patriotic”
  • Branded our veterans as bloodthirsty child-killers and refuse to apologise for it, while calling our military a “lapdog of the US”
  • Spied on Chinese-Australians and Chinese international students who refuse to grovel to CCP diktat
  • And called the decision not to let Huawei participate in building Australia’s 5G network a form of discrimination

As Niall Ferguson told former Deputy Prime Minister John Anderson the other day:

I don’t think China has a whole lot of diplomatic options out there. In fact, it looks increasingly isolated, and why not?

Think of it: first you start a pandemic – a kind of massive version of the Chernobyl disaster. Then you deny it was your fault, you go on Twitter and try to claim that the Americans brought the virus to Wuhan – nobody believes you.

Then you tell your diplomats it's time to do wolf warrior diplomacy; you piss everybody off, even the French. They’ve done a lot to isolate themselves, we didn’t actually have to do that much.

My sense is that this just makes it harder and harder for Xi Jinping to contemplate a really decisive strike against Taiwan, and that’s good because we want to deter him, we don’t want this war to happen. So yeah, more of the same is my advice to the Biden administration: keep working on this diplomatic theme, it’s certainly getting through to Beijing.