They say great minds think alike. Perhaps devious ones are like that, too. My column from last week, “The US is priming Asia-Pacific for war” , has provoked some angry responses from readers, and also ridicule. Unbeknown to me, my argument that the United States could try to trigger a war with China over Taiwan and risk a major conflagration in Asia-Pacific was actually advocated as a strategy by Elbridge Colby, who was a deputy assistant secretary of defence for strategy and force development at the US Department of Defence, during the presidency of Donald Trump. Really, you can’t make this stuff up, not me anyway. I am, as always, amused by the hostile comments. Here are just a few samples: “I find your headline misleading and as one speaker said you seem to be employed by the GT ( Global Times ).” “The US didn’t create a map and use that for its justification for imperialism. The US didn’t invest hundreds of trillions of dollars in China to go to war with China.” “Lets have a weekly ant-American (sic) opinion piece … oh it’s already the slanted view of Alex Lo … this is my last post on SCMP … removing the ap from my laptop … and I don’t even like America.” “You’ve got to turn it down a notch. Even WSJ editors are not this belligerint (sic). Yes, the West wants to contain China. No, they are not out for war.” There are many more such comments but you get the idea. However, a friendly reader alerts me to Colby’s new book, The Strategy of Denial: American Defence in an Age of Great Power Conflict . It seems Colby and I are making the same point, only that he thinks it’s a great idea while I think it’s monstrous and genocidal. I must admit I haven’t read his book; I doubt I will even bother. Instead, I am relying on an online summary by Singaporean economist Tan Kee Wee of Waveney Economics, who is also a former economist at Standard Chartered, United Overseas Bank, and the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy and the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies. I also refer to a review of Colby’s book in Foreign Affairs . Joe Biden’s comments about defending Taiwan ‘send signal to Beijing’ Here’s Tan’s summary of “the strategy of denial” with respect to China, as proposed by Colby: – A war over Taiwan is desirable, otherwise China’s rise is unstoppable. – The US has a chance of winning such a war. – China must be provoked into appearing as the aggressor. For another summary, this one is from Foreign Affairs . Colby’s proposed strategy rests on the following assumptions, it says: “[T]hat China is set on achieving regional hegemony in the short term and global predominance in the long term, that military preparations and eventual war are the best or only way for the United States to respond to China’s ambitions, that countries in the region that have made absolutely clear their determination not to choose between allegiance to China and allegiance to the United States would nonetheless be willing to join a coalition predicated on military confrontation with China, and that a major war over Taiwan would stay confined to Taiwan.” Well, in case you wonder why President Joe Biden and political leaders from both major parties in Washington are talking up mainland China’s threat to Taiwan practically every day now while there is no such military movement from the Chinese, and encouraging the island on a path to independence, that’s why. All that is done relentlessly despite the hot war going on in Ukraine; or rather, that’s the plank on which to draw a fake analogy between the Russian war and the Chinese claim on Taiwan. And for years, the “independent” and “free” mainstream US press have been drumming up the “China threat” day in and day out for the news consumption of the American public. You repeat the same thing long and frequently enough, people will think it must be true. ‘I’m concerned’: Biden’s Taiwan defence vow could cause missteps, analysts say The easiest way to do that is to fuel, rather than discourage, secessionist sentiments, including the ruling Democratic Progressive Party, so that the island will keep making needlessly provocative moves while building up its war machine by buying overpriced and ill-suited US weapons. Many military experts and even some US politicians have complained that most US weapons sold have been premised on the island’s defence against a full-frontal amphibious assault similar to D-Day at Normandy. Given that both sides know the heavy costs of such a takeover, it seems likely mainland Chinese generals will plot alternatives. The US has effectively, if not formally, abandoned the one-China policy. For Washington, this means never allowing Taiwan to be unified with the mainland. Ely Ratner, the assistant secretary of defence for Indo-Pacific security affairs, said as much at a US Senate hearing on foreign affairs in December. He said: “Taiwan is located at a critical node within the first island chain, anchoring a network of US allies and partners – stretching from the Japanese archipelago down to the Philippines and into the South China Sea – that is critical to the region’s security and critical to the defence of vital US interests in the Indo-Pacific.” While formulated or phrased differently, there is no substantial difference between Ratner and Colby; they amount to the same policy of provocation and “denial”.