|Originally posted by George Smiley |
I'm not so sure...dont forget China's missiles can reach everywhere in the United States (and the US' missile defence doesn't work)
There were dozens of events during the Cold War where America and Russia (or China) could have been sucked into conflict but MAD prevailed.
Of course, the same works both ways as you point out, that China may be reluctant to enter a war that would potentially drag America in (and Japan has more chance of involving America than Taiwan does)
On the same note, would China even want to risk a war with Japan? Japan is the second richest economy in the world - it is a war economy and would be quite the match for China (bar a nuclear deterant)
The fact that Chinese missiles are capable of reaching the US is irrelevant. The US has a mutual self defense treaty with Japan:
II. Actions in Response to an Armed Attack Against Japan
1. When an armed attack against Japan is imminent;
Japan and the United States will conduct closer liaison and will take necessary measures respectively and, as deemed necessary due to changes in the situation, will make necessary preparations in order to ensure coordinated joint action, including the establishment of a coordination center between the JSDF and U.S. Forces.
The JSDF and U.S. Forces will establish in advance a common standard as regards preparations which will be respectively conducted by the two forces so that the two nations may select coordinated common readiness stages, and ensure that effective preparations for operations can be cooperatively undertaken by the JSDF and U.S. Forces respectively.
This common standard will indicate readiness stages from an increase of unit-alert posture to a maximization of combat-readiness posture concerning intelligence activities, unit readiness, movements, logistics, and other matters relating to defense preparations.
The JSDF and U.S. Forces will respectively conduct defense preparations considered necessary according to the readiness stage selected by mutual agreement between the two governments.
2. When an armed attack against Japan takes place:
(1) In principle, Japan by itself will repel limited, small-scale aggression. When it is difficult to repel aggression alone due to the scale, type and other factors of aggression, Japan will repel it with the cooperation of the United States.
(2) When the JSDF and U.S. Forces jointly conduct operations for the defense of Japan, they will strive to achieve close mutual coordination to employ the defense capacity of each force in a timely and effective manner.
(i) Concept of Operations:
The JSDF will primarily conduct defensive operations in Japanese territory and its surrounding waters and airspace. U.S. Forces will support JSDF operations. U.S. Forces will also conduct operations to supplement functional areas which exceed the capacity of the JSDF.
The JSDF and U.S. Forces will jointly conduct ground, maritime and air operations as follows:
(a) Ground Operations:
The Ground Self-Defense Force (GSDF) and U.S. Ground Forces will jointly conduct ground operations for the defense of Japan. The GSDF will conduct checking, holding and repelling operations. U.S. Ground Forces will deploy as necessary and jointly conduct operations with the GSDF, mainly those for repelling enemy forces.
(b) Maritime Operations:
The Maritime Self-Defense Force (MSDF) and U.S. Navy will jointly conduct maritime operations for the defense of surrounding waters and the protection of sea lines of communication.
The MSDF will primarily conduct operations for the protection of major ports and straits In Japan; and anti-submarine operations, operations for the protection of ships and other operations in the surrounding waters.
U.S. Naval Forces will support MSDF operations and conduct operations, including those which may involve the use of task forces providing additional mobility and strike power, with the objective of repelling enemy forces.
(c) Air Operations:
The Air Self-Defense Force (ASDF) and U.S. Air Force will Jointly conduct air operations for the defense of Japan.
The ASDF will conduct air-defense, anti-airborne and anti-amphibious invasion, close air support, air reconnaissance, airlift operations, etc.
U.S. Air Force will support ASDF operations and conduct operations, including those which may involve the use of air units providing additional strike power, with the objective of repelling enemy forces.
(d) When carrying out ground, maritime, and air operations, the JSDF and U.S. Forces will provide necessary support for each other's forces in various activities related to operations, such as intelligence, logistics, etc.
Therefore, there is no "potential" of a war with the US in the event of a Chinese attack on Japan. It is assuredly a definite as a treaty obligation.
But yea, as you say, it would be pointless for China to destabilize the region so much by attacking such a vital economic powerhouse in the region. As a matter of fact, the global economy is so interlinked, I would go so far to say that it will never be in anybody's interests to cause damage to any of the major players. European markets profit on good US economic news, US markets trade well on positive chinese economic news, and the circle goes around.