Given the absolutely colossal cost in lives and economic damage, would you take a working vaccine now, or wait months for one that might also work?Remember that the US and Europe also have vaccines in development, which would only be a few months behind China at most.
And the US has already decided to go with herd immunity anyway,
You also need to factor in that developing the vaccine is only half the equation. Just how much longer would it take to manufacture the hundreds of millions of doses of it needed to effectively inoculate western populations without China’s manufacturing and support infrastructure networks (if it is even possible)?
And just how did you calculate such odds? Because the only way Taiwan can fend off a full force invasion from China is with massive and immediate direct foreign military involvement. Even then it’s at best a close run thing, and most likely will only serve to increase the time and cost for China to take Taiwan.So even in the scenario you posit, I don't see a Chinese move on Taiwan happening, because the odds are against a successful Taiwan invasion.
Because COVID19 is a once in multiple-generations freak event; and I am not naive enough to think of Chinese National policy as purely reactionary and so principled that China is not able to take a hard nosed approach to evaluating the impact of such events to not consider all possible opportunities it presents.So why take the risk of failure now, when Chinese military spending will be a lot higher in 10 years time.
As mentioned above, the lion share of the cost and risk of a military solution to the Taiwan issue would be from direct foreign military intervention and potentially from economic damage from sanctions and boycotts afterwards.
The PLA will be stronger in absolute and relative terms to better dissuade and even fight off foreign military involvement in the future yes, but the costs to China of fighting off the US in 10 years time is still going be to orders of magnitudes more than just fighting Taiwan tomorrow. In addition to the significantly less likelihood of direct US military involvement in a Taiwan takeover under the scenario described, there will almost certainly be far less economic fallout as neither the US or EU could afford to impose economic sanctions on China if they are relying on the good graces of Beijing to supply them with COVID19 vaccines.
There are always at least two sides to each calculation when it comes to game theory - your own strengths and motivations, and your opponents. The best outcome you can reach is usually achieved when making your move when the relative difference between the two sides is most in your favour, so you cannot simply only look at how your own power and motivational curves develops, but also need to be mindful of how your opponent’s change as well.
Going by current trends, it seems likely American hostility towards China will be far more entrenched and deep rooted at all levels of government and society in 10 years’ time give the great power competition at play and how China is increasingly catching up and exceeding America. As such, even though both the absolute power of the PLA will be much stronger, and the relative power different between the PLA and the US military will be much smaller in 10 years time, the likelihood that America will commit to direct military action may actually also be higher given that will probably be their last and only chance to decisively change the course China is on to comprehensively overtake America.
Far more concerning for China is that as things stand, China is the reactionary side. America and trigger war any time it wants by merely giving Taiwan a secret node that it would support its declaring of independence. That means China needs to be constantly ready to fight for Taiwan and not have any moments of weakness.
Imagine what could have happened had China not been as effect at dealing with COVID19 as it was. If China was hobbled by COVID19 and it was America that managed to decisively contain the outbreak, there would be a huge likelihood that America would choose and capitalise on that sudden shift in power by pushing Taiwan to formal independence.
Can you guarantee that it will always been success and smooth sailing for China for the next 10, 20 or 30 years until China is so far ahead of America that even during a moment of national weakness and calamity that China would still be able to fight off the fully might of the US military who can pick and choose when to fight to best suit their timetable?
As decided by who? If given the choice of some personal economic hardship and Taiwan, I doubt many ordinary people in China will choose money.Yes, the youth in Taiwan will continue to drift away from China, but I think this should be manageable.
And at the end of the day, the legitimacy of the Chinese government still depends on delivering economic progress for the 40% of people who are still struggling.
This focus on economic delivery is just more western prejudices and wishful thinking being projected on China.
The obsession on money is a western semi-racist charcuterie of Chinese much like the same anti-Semitic stereotyping against Jews.
The focus on economic performance is just western wishful thinking that the year China has a bad economy is the year the people will all rise up and do a colour revolution for them.