The RAND Corporation was commissioned to publish a report titled, “War with China: Thinking Through the Unthinkable,” in which it describes its assessment of possible war between the US and China in the Pacific in both 2015 and in 2025.
The report’s introduction summarised its findings, stating:
Premeditated war between the United States and China is very unlikely, but the danger that a mishandled crisis could trigger hostilities cannot be ignored. Thus, while neither state wants war, both states’ militaries have plans to fight one. As Chinese anti-access and area-denial (A2AD) capabilities improve, the United States can no longer be so certain that war would follow its plan and lead to decisive victory. This analysis illuminates various paths a war with China could take and their possible consequences.
The report makes an attractive concession to possible Chinese politicians and business leaders (and their counterparts throughout the rest of Asia) who may read the report and be tempted to take it at face value, claiming that war with China, even today, would be costly for the US, and that the window of opportunity for a decisive victory over China will likely be closed come 2025.