Fravel: The Myth of Chinese Diversionary War | 2023 | News

The Myth of Chinese Diversionary War
M. Taylor Fravel | Foreign Affairs
Chinese soldiers guarding the Great Hall of the People in Beijing

Chinese leaders have rarely, if ever, started a conflict purely as a diversion, even during moments of domestic crisis. That is, in part, because the Chinese state has more control over public opinion and society, including protests, than do other governments. When the Chinese economy falters, the danger is not diversionary war. It is that China’s leaders will feel weak and become more sensitive to external challenges, potentially lashing out to show strength and deter other countries from taking advantage of their insecurity.

--SSP Director M. Taylor Fravel in Foreign Affairs