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The US-China rivalry and the ‘security dilemma’

The US-China rivalry and the 'security dilemma'

Ukraine may be dominating the headlines of the day, but Taiwan is arguably a more important global flashpoint given its central role in the competition between the US and China.

In his most recent article, John Mearsheimer refutes the US’s “engagement” policy toward China, claiming that China is determined to dismantle the US-made order in East Asia. In response, US policymakers have issued military deterrence plans. This is evident in the recent establishment of a military pact between the US, UK and Australia known as AUKUS.

These heightened tensions between the US and China come as no surprise. However, if the US goal is to protect national security and maintain peace in East Asia, then such military alliance and capability building in East Asia is in fact a irrational. A reinforced US military presence would likely lead to an arms race with China. Not only would it be expensive for the US, but it would also risk a deadly escalation. Such an arms race can – and should – be avoided.