A military crisis in the Taiwan Strait that would involve the US was ranked as a “Tier 1” contingency, the results of the Preventive Priorities Survey released by the Council on Foreign Relations think tank showed on Wednesday.
Tier 1 contingencies should be given a top priority when Washington this year makes efforts to prevent potential conflicts, the US think tank said.
The likelihood of “an escalation of coercive pressure by China toward Taiwan, including heightened military activity, precipitates a severe cross-strait crisis involving the United States and other countries in the region” was “moderate,” but it would have a “high” impact on US interests, the survey said.
The council first included the possibility of a Taiwan Strait crisis as a “Tier 2” contingency in 2019, reclassifying it as Tier 1 in 2021.
With most Tier 1 contingencies concerning potential flashpoints involving the world’s superpowers, the risk of the US becoming embroiled in a military confrontation with China or Russia, or both, has risen, the survey said.
“Although no Tier 1 contingency was judged to be very likely in 2023, it is still sobering that each was given an even chance of occurring,” the council said.
“The [US President] Joe Biden administration is faced with great power rivalries and nuclear program tensions as it attempts to navigate a dangerous geopolitical landscape. Striking a balance between advocating for US interests and avoiding a confrontation with China or Russia will be the most significant challenge of 2023,” said Paul Stares, director of the council’s Center for Preventive Action.
The center conducted the survey in November last year.
It asked foreign policy experts to evaluate 30 ongoing or potential “violent” conflicts based on their likelihood of occurring or escalating this year, as well as their possible impact on US interests, the council said.
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