South China Sea and Taiwan among flashpoints for armed conflict in 2019, survey warns US policymakers
The South China Sea and Taiwan have made Council of Foreign Relations’ Centre for Preventative Action list of hotspots for potential armed conflict in 2019. While the issue of the South China Sea has been on the list before, it marks the first time that Taiwan has been included. North Korea and Iran remain on the list, as well as the possibility for a country to launch a “highlight disruptive” cyberattack against critical infrastructure in the U.S. that would lead to U.S. military retaliation. The report noted that the Trump administration “has yet to confront a serious international crisis in which the president has had to wrestle with the agonizing decision over whether to commit the United States to a new and potentially costly military intervention.” But, “with the world growing more disorderly in a variety of ways, it is reasonable to assume that it is only a matter of time before the Trump administration will face its first major crisis.” The survey is based on 500 foreign policy experts’ ranking of 30 ongoing or potential conflicts for their likelihood of escalation or occurrence in the following year, including their potential impact for US national and strategic interests.