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Transition ScenariosChina and the United States in the Twenty-First Century$
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David P. Rapkin and William R. Thompson

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780226040332

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226040509.001.0001

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Weak Conflict Constraints and Strong Conflict Inducements: The “Transition War” Scenario

Weak Conflict Constraints and Strong Conflict Inducements: The “Transition War” Scenario

(p.170) Chapter Eight Weak Conflict Constraints and Strong Conflict Inducements: The “Transition War” Scenario
Transition Scenarios

David P. Rapkin

William R. Thompson

University of Chicago Press

How might a transition war come about? The scenario in this chapter assumes continued U.S. relative decline, but no clear successor emerges because new technological innovation is dispersed. Climate deterioration makes resource scarcity more acute and conflict over resources increases. Conflict between China and, first, India and then Japan initiates escalation toward war. The likelihood of U.S. intervention is initially hazy but becomes increasingly likely. The question is whether U.S. intervention can prevent Japanese defeat after India’s fighting capability is degraded seriously. The scenario does not resolve who wins the war. That is not its purpose. How it might start provides the primary focus.

Keywords:   transition war, relative decline, technological innovation, climate deterioration, resource scarcity

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