At the most recent meeting of the Aspen Strategy Group — which includes current and former senators, former senior officials, retired military, leading academics and analysts — a number of the participants expressed considerable doubt about whether the United States could defend Taiwan in the event of a Chinese attack, or even whether it would attempt to do so. Behind the concerns voiced at Aspen, Colo., was the shadow of a potentially brutal Chinese paramilitary operation to crush the dissenters in Hong Kong. The fear was that once Beijing’s “one country, two systems” policy toward Hong Kong was terminated, Taiwan would be next.
Moreover, they argued, there is no way Washington could send two carriers into the Taiwan Strait, as it did during the 1996 crisis, causing Beijing to back down from its threat to subjugate the island.
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