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In the event of a Sino-U.S. war, intense conventional counterforce attacks could inflict heavy losses and costs on both sides, so leaders need options to contain and terminate fighting. As it takes steps to reduce the likelihood of war with China, the United States must prepare for one by reducing force vulnerabilities, increasing counter–anti-access and area-denial capabilities, and using economic and international effects to its advantage.

Thinking Through the Unthinkable

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Empire of War (Empire of War, #1) by Victor Methos full download exe or rar online without authorization for free. DOWNLOAD PDF - 3.3MB. Manipulation of “free will” and “the spirit” The concepts of “free will” and “the spirit” diverge from the more traditional.

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与中国开战: 不可思议之议 (内容摘要)

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الحرب ضد الصين: التفكّر فيما لا يَتقبله العَقل

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Premeditated war between the United States and China is very unlikely, but the danger that a mishandled crisis could trigger hostilities cannot be ignored. Thus, while neither state wants war, both states' militaries have plans to fight one. As Chinese anti-access and area-denial (A2AD) capabilities improve, the United States can no longer be so certain that war would follow its plan and lead to decisive victory. This analysis illuminates various paths a war with China could take and their possible consequences.

Technological advances in the ability to target opposing forces are creating conditions of conventional counterforce, whereby each side has the means to strike and degrade the other's forces and, therefore, an incentive to do so promptly, if not first. This implies fierce early exchanges, with steep military losses on both sides, until one gains control. At present, Chinese losses would greatly exceed U.S. losses, and the gap would only grow as fighting persisted. But, by 2025, that gap could be much smaller. Even then, however, China could not be confident of gaining military advantage, which suggests the possibility of a prolonged and destructive, yet inconclusive, war. In that event, nonmilitary factors — economic costs, internal political effects, and international reactions — could become more important.

Political leaders on both sides could limit the severity of war by ordering their respective militaries to refrain from swift and massive conventional counterforce attacks. The resulting restricted, sporadic fighting could substantially reduce military losses and economic harm. This possibility underscores the importance of firm civilian control over wartime decisionmaking and of communication between capitals. At the same time, the United States can prepare for a long and severe war by reducing its vulnerability to Chinese A2AD forces and developing plans to ensure that economic and international consequences would work to its advantage.

Key Findings

Unless Both U.S. and Chinese Political Leaders Decline to Carry Out Counterforce Strategies, the Ability of Either State to Control the Ensuing Conflict Would Be Greatly Impaired

  • Both sides would suffer large military losses in a severe conflict. In 2015, U.S. losses could be a relatively small fraction of forces committed, but still significant; Chinese losses could be much heavier than U.S. losses and a substantial fraction of forces committed.
  • This gap in losses will shrink as Chinese A2AD improves. By 2025, U.S. losses could range from significant to heavy; Chinese losses, while still very heavy, could be somewhat less than in 2015, owing to increased degradation of U.S. strike capabilities.
  • China's A2AD will make it increasingly difficult for the United States to gain military-operational dominance and victory, even in a long war.

Conflict Could Be Decided by Domestic Political, International, and Economic Factors, All of Which Would Favor the United States in a Long, Severe War

  • Although a war would harm both economies, damage to China's would be far worse.
  • Because much of the Western Pacific would become a war zone, China's trade with the region and the rest of the world would decline substantially.
  • China's loss of seaborne energy supplies would be especially damaging.
  • A long conflict could expose China to internal political divisions.
  • Japan's increased military activity in the region could have a considerable influence on military operations.


  • U.S. and Chinese political leaders alike should have military options other than immediate strikes to destroy opposing forces.
  • U.S. leaders should have the means to confer with Chinese leaders and contain a conflict before it gets out of hand.
  • The United States should guard against automaticity in implementing immediate attacks on Chinese A2AD and have plans and means to prevent hostilities from becoming severe. Establishing 'fail safe' arrangements will guarantee definitive, informed political approval for military operations.
  • The United States should reduce the effect of Chinese A2AD by investing in more-survivable force platforms (e.g., submarines) and in counter-A2AD (e.g., theater missiles).
  • The United States should conduct contingency planning with key allies, especially Japan.
  • The United States should ensure that the Chinese are specifically aware of the potential for catastrophic results even if a war is not lost militarily.
  • The United States should improve its ability to sustain intense military operations.
  • U.S. leaders should develop options to deny China access to war-critical commodities and technologies in the event of war.
  • The United States should undertake measures to mitigate the interruption of critical products from China.
  • Additionally, the U.S. Army should invest in land-based A2AD capabilities, encourage and enable East Asian partners to mount strong defense, improve interoperability with partners (especially Japan), and contribute to the expansion and deepening of Sino-U.S. military-to-military understanding and cooperation to reduce dangers of misperception and miscalculation.

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    Q&A: An Unthinkable War Between the U.S. and China

Table of Contents

  • Chapter One


  • Chapter Two

    Analytic Framework

  • Chapter Three

    Weighing the Costs: Military, Economic, Political, and International

  • Chapter Four

    Findings, Recommendations, and Concluding Observations

  • Appendix A

    Military Losses

  • Appendix B

    Economic Effects in the Severe Case, 2015

This research was sponsored by the Office of the Undersecretary of the Army and conducted by the Strategy, Doctrine, and Resources Program within the RAND Arroyo Center.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation Research report series. RAND reports present research findings and objective analysis that address the challenges facing the public and private sectors. All RAND reports undergo rigorous peer review to ensure high standards for research quality and objectivity.

Permission is given to duplicate this electronic document for personal use only, as long as it is unaltered and complete. Copies may not be duplicated for commercial purposes. Unauthorized posting of RAND PDFs to a non-RAND Web site is prohibited. RAND PDFs are protected under copyright law. For information on reprint and linking permissions, please visit the RAND Permissions page.

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.

Document Details

  • Copyright: RAND Corporation
  • Availability: Available
  • PrintFormat: Paperback
  • Paperback Pages: 116
  • List Price: $20.00
  • Paperback Price: $16.00
  • Paperback ISBN/EAN: 9780833091550
  • DOI:https://doi.org/10.7249/RR1140
  • Document Number: RR-1140-A
  • Year: 2016
  • Series:Research Reports


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Gompert, David C., Astrid Stuth Cevallos, and Cristina L. Garafola, War with China: Thinking Through the Unthinkable. Santa Monica, CA: RAND Corporation, 2016. https://www.rand.org/pubs/research_reports/RR1140.html. Also available in print form.
Gompert, David C., Astrid Stuth Cevallos, and Cristina L. Garafola, War with China: Thinking Through the Unthinkable, Santa Monica, Calif.: RAND Corporation, RR-1140-A, 2016. As of July 31, 2021: https://www.rand.org/pubs/research_reports/RR1140.html

Wednesday, June 2, 2021


Brian Mann / NPR

After more than a year of high stakes negotiations with billions of dollars on the line, a bankruptcy plan for Purdue Pharma, the maker of Oxycontin, cleared a major hurdle late Wednesday.

Federal Judge Robert Drain in White Plains, N.Y., moved the controversial deal forward despite objections from dozens of state attorneys general, setting the stage for a final vote by the company's creditors expected this summer.

The drug maker filed for Chapter 11 protection in 2019 facing an avalanche of lawsuits tied to its aggressive opioid sales practices.

Public health experts and many government officials say the introduction of Oxycontin fueled the nation's deadly opioid epidemic.

This development brings members of the Sackler family, some of whom own Purdue Pharma and served on the company's board of directors, a step closer to winning immunity from future opioid lawsuits.

According to legal documents filed as part of the case, that immunity would extend to dozens of family members, more than 160 financial trusts, and at least 170 companies, consultants and other entities associated with the Sacklers.

'The Sacklers are paying $4.275 billion and they very much plan and expect to be done with this chapter,' said Marshall Huebner, an attorney representing Purdue Pharma, during a hearing last week.

One of the firms that would secure protection from future opioid lawsuits under the deal is Luther Strange & Associates, founded by former U.S. Sen. Luther Strange (R-Alabama) who helped Purdue Pharma pitch the bankruptcy plan to Republican state attorneys general.

While Purdue Pharma has twice pleaded guilty to federal crimes relating to its opioid marketing schemes, no member of the Sackler family has faced criminal charges.

Appearing before a congressional panel last December, members of the Sackler family said they had done nothing wrong. 'The family and the board acted legally and ethically,' testified David Sackler, who served on Purdue Pharma's board for six years.

In addition to contributing money from their personal fortunes, the Sacklers have agreed to give up control of Purdue Pharma. They will, however, retain ownership of other companies, admit no wrongdoing and will remain one of the wealthiest families in America.

Two dozen states still oppose the bankruptcy deal that's been negotiated largely behind closed doors. They argue it would improperly strip them of authority to sue members of the family for alleged wrongdoing.

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'I don't believe ... at this point the plan is confirmable,' said Andrew Troop, an attorney representing a coalition of 'non-consenting' states, during a hearing last week.

But Judge Drain said this stage of the bankruptcy process wasn't focused on final approval of the plan.

Instead, the court evaluated whether Purdue Pharma and the Sacklers had provided enough information and transparency to allow creditors to make an informed decision on the deal's financial merits.

Despite a significant veil of secrecy surrounding the proceedings — which included an expansive investigation of the Sacklers that will likely never be made public — Drain signaled the so-called 'disclosure statement' was adequate.

'I found the disclosure statement to contain adequate information,' he said Wednesday.

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Attorneys representing Purdue Pharma and other parties in the bankruptcy process said negotiations continue.

'We are mediating as we speak with the non-consenting states,' Huebner said on Wednesday. 'We continue to be open and listen as hard as we can to all other remaining objectors between now and confirmation.'

A vote and final approval expected by August

In the coming weeks, more than 600,000 individuals, companies and governments with claims against Purdue Pharma will vote on the package, described by attorneys involved in the process as one of the most complicated and controversial bankruptcies ever.

A final confirmation hearing is scheduled for Aug. 9. Judge Drain has indicated he believes this plan offers the best chance at financial relief for those harmed by Purdue Pharma's Oxycontin business.

Supporters of the bankruptcy deal say the alternative would be a chaotic scrum of risky and expensive litigation. 'Billions would be spent on legal fees,' Huebner said last week. 'It would be years until claimants might get a recovery.'

The reorganization plan also includes a detailed formula that would be used to distribute hundreds of millions of dollars each year in aid to communities and individuals harmed by opioids.

A growing number of government officials have signaled they expect to vote in favor of the deal.

But critics, including more than 20 mostly Democratic state attorneys general, say the Sacklers are improperly piggybacking on their company's bankruptcy without actually filing for bankruptcy themselves.

'The bankruptcy system should not be allowed to shield non-bankrupt billionaires,' said Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey in an interview with NPR last month.

Some legal scholars have also questioned whether bankruptcy court is the proper venue for a case that involves a addiction crisis that has killed hundreds of thousands of Americans.

'[T]he most socially important chapter 11 case in history will be determined through a process that does not comport with basic notions of due process,' wrote Adam Levitin, who teaches law at Georgetown University, in an article published last month in the Texas Law Review.

In a legal brief filed with the bankruptcy court on Tuesday, Jonathan Lipson, a legal scholar at Temple University who also represents a client with a claim against Purdue Pharma, noted this case is complicated by allegations of criminal conduct leveled against the Sacklers by the Justice Department last October.

'These cases have been overshadowed by a single, critical question: who is responsible for [Purdue Pharma's] confessed crimes and the harm they caused?' Lipson wrote in his motion.

Lipson requested an independent examiner be appointed to review whether the Chapter 11 process has been handled appropriately.

Again, the Sacklers have denied any wrongdoing, have never been charged with crimes. As part of their settlement with the DOJ, members of the Sackler family paid $225 million while denying the allegations.

Sackler family pushes back against 'false allegations'

During last week's hearing an attorney representing the Raymond Sackler branch of the family said they have created a website designed to offer a rebuttal to critics of the Sacklers.

'Raymond Sackler family members have consistently expressed their regret that OxyContin, which continues to help patients suffering from chronic pain, unexpectedly became part of the opioid crisis,' the family said in a statement.

In civil lawsuits already filed against the Sacklers, government officials allege some family members had direct knowledge of the highly addictive nature of Oxycontin but continued to push Purdue Pharma's sales team to maximize profits.

The DOJ settlement with the Sacklers also included the allegation some family members engaged in 'fraudulent' transfers of wealth and approved a marketing plan that focused on pushing Oxycontin sales to 'extreme, high-volume prescribers.'

According to the Justice Department statement, that program led 'health care providers to prescribe opioids for uses that were unsafe, ineffective, and medically unnecessary, and that often led to abuse and diversion.'

The Sacklers maintain they did nothing wrong and acted ethically. If this bankruptcy plan is approved and upheld on appeal, it's unlikely the allegations will ever be tested in court.

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More than 400 civil cases already filed against members of the Sackler family for alleged wrongdoing would be halted.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.


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