In a world haunted by the specter of nuclear war, needlessly aggressive competition among nations could lead to an apocalyptic catastrophe. Yet, from Jan. 1 to Aug. 30, 2022, there were 92 “close encounters'' between the military forces of the United States and China, both heavily armed nuclear powers. What is driving this conflict and how can we de-escalate it?

Taiwan is of paramount importance. The U.S. government’s “one China” policy is based on the idea that there is only one China, and its Shanghai Comuniqué of 1972 formalized its acknowledgement of People’s Republic of China leadership. Subsequent statements solidified the U.S. commitment to respecting China’s “territorial integrity.”

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