Jeffrey LewisPreventive Strikes on the Three Gorges Dam

Under the misleading headline “Beijing Hits Taiwan With War of Words”, the Los Angeles Times reports that a PLA General, Lt. Gen. Liu Yuan, told a state-run newspaper that a pre-emptive strike by Taiwan on the Three Gorges Dam “will not be able to stop war. … It will have the exact opposite of the desired effect.”

The LA Times does report that “Liu was responding to a recent Pentagon report theorizing that hawks in Taipei might view deterrents – such as a possible attack on China/’s population centers or on such high-value targets as the Yangtze River/’s Three Gorges Dam – as a way to blunt Chinese military threats.”

Liu/’s comments look tremendously restrained from the LA Times reporting, particularly in light of the fact that the Pentagon report is openly speculating about an attack that Geneva defines as a war crime: “Works or installations containing dangerous forces, namely dams, dykes and nuclear electrical generating stations, shall not be made the object of attack, even where these objects are military objectives, if such attack may cause the release of dangerous forces and consequent severe losses among the civilian population.”