Lawmakers Game Out a Chinese Attack on Taiwan

Taiwanese soldiers during a drill in September 2021. (Photo by Ceng Shou Yi/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Taiwan was under attack, and the United States was forming a response. Would America’s allies join a maximum pressure campaign—financial sanctions and other economic consequences—to punish China for the invasion? A roll of the dice provided the answer: Nope.

That fictional yet realistic scenario played out Wednesday night as members of the House select committee on competition with the Chinese Communist Party participated in a war game about a potential attack on Taiwan. The simulation highlighted ways America should better prepare for such an invasion. But the overarching takeaway for Rep. Mike Gallagher, the chairman of the committee, was the necessity to prevent China from attacking Taiwan in the first place.

“When deterrence fails, nobody wins,” Gallagher told The Dispatch Thursday. “It’s incredibly costly.”

Individual members of Congress occasionally participate in war games, but it is rare to see so many members of a committee—18 in this case—engage in this kind of exercise. In the game, China was able to get about 80,000 troops onto the island, Gallagher said. He argues the two-hour event was a useful departure from other congressional meeting styles. 

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