Updated 11:29 AM EDT, Tue, Jun 16, 2020

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First Sino-American War will Inflict Catastrophic Losses on China, says Rand Report


(Photo : US Navy) U.S. aircraft carrier group

A war between China and the United States will be a conventional war in which China will suffer very severely, whether the war takes place in the next few years or by 2025, said a new report by U.S. global policy think tank the Rand Corporation. There is no possibility of a Chinese victory in this war.

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The "First Sino-American War" will only be fought in the air, at sea and in cyberspace. Its likely battlefields will be the South China Sea, the East China Sea and the Chinese mainland.

It will be the first conflict involving the U.S. and China since the Korean War from 1950 to 1953 that ended in an Armistice.

The First Sino-American War will see U.S. aircraft and missiles strike the Chinese mainland while China will be unable to attack the continental United States because it lacks the long-range strategic weapons such as aircraft carriers and long-range supersonic bombers to do so. China can only use cyber warfare against the American homeland.

Rand predicts the war will end in a bloody stalemate that will have catastrophic consequences for the economies of both the U.S. and China -- and the world.

There is also the likelihood of a Second Sino-American War.

"Each side's increasingly far-flung disposition of forces and growing ability to track and attack opposing forces could turn much of the Western Pacific into a 'war zone,' with grave economic consequences," said the study.

"It is unlikely that nuclear weapons would be used: Even in an intensely violent conventional conflict, neither side would regard its losses as so serious, its prospects so dire, or the stakes so vital that it would run the risk of devastating nuclear retaliation by using nuclear weapons first."

Rand also assumes that "China would not attack the U.S. homeland, except via cyberspace, given its minimal capability to do so with conventional weapons. In contrast, U.S. nonnuclear attacks against military targets in China could be extensive."

Rand believes American losses in this war will be significant, but Chinese losses might well be catastrophic.

"If either U.S. or Chinese political leaders authorize their military commanders to carry out plans for sharp strikes on enemy forces, a severely violent war would erupt.

"As of 2015, U.S. losses of surface naval and air forces, including disabled aircraft carriers and regional air bases, could be significant, but Chinese losses, including to homeland-based A2AD systems, would be much greater. Within days, it would be apparent to both sides that the early gap in losses favoring the United States would widen if fighting continued."

The reports said that as of 2015, "the longer a severe war dragged on, the worse the results and prospects would be for China.

"By 2025, however, inconclusive results in early fighting could motivate both sides to fight on despite heavy losses incurred and still expected. Although prospects for U.S. military victory then would be worse than they are today, this would not necessarily imply Chinese victory."

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