A new Pentagon report bluntly warns the Chinese that the consequences of attacking Taiwan would be too great to bear:

In the report, the Defense Department explicitly describes what would happen if China should attack Taiwan, the self-governing democratic island that Beijing claims as its own. It says China does not yet have “the military capability to accomplish with confidence its political objectives on the island, particularly when confronted with the prospect of U.S. intervention.”

An attack could severely damage China’s economy and lead to international sanctions, spur a Taiwan insurgency that could tie up the Chinese military for years, and possibly cause Beijing to lose its coveted hosting rights for the 2008 Olympics, the report said.

“Finally, China’s leaders recognize that a conflict over Taiwan involving the United States would give rise to a long-term hostile relationship between the two nations - a result that would not be in China’s interests,” the report said.

Michael Pillsbury, a former Pentagon official who now serves as an adviser on China issues, called the Taiwan language the “most blunt warning in any U.S. document in history to China of the really bad things that will happen if they attack Taiwan.”

I sometimes wonder if the US underestimates China’s abilities, and the new links it is forging with the pro-China side in Taiwan….it is interesting that they chose to warn Beijing that it could lose its right to host the ‘08 Olympics — as if they know China is at this very moment contemplating an attack. I’ve speculated before what a Chinese attack might look like, and also that it might be sooner than anyone thinks.

The “blunt warning” misses a key point: sanctions go both ways. While the US has been breaking its military and its treasury in its stupid and criminal failure in Iraq, China has been on the march all over the world. If the US intervenes, Chinese markets might be closed to it for years afterwards, and Chinese allies hostile to its interests. Here’s a sobering thought for the Pentagon: we are more hated than China at the moment, and given the manifest incompetence and venality of our President, this will only get worse.