As China’s military modernization progresses, the U.S. ability to confidently accomplish these missions is eroding. In the near term, China is deploying capabilities that threaten U.S.land and sea power projection platforms—air bases and aircraft carriers—as well as Taiwan’s own defenses. Absent an unlikely reversal in the ongoing rebalancing of military power in the area, and even recognizing the very considerable difficulties in mounting an amphibious assault against determined local resistance, a direct defense of Taiwan has already become a challenge and is likely to become increasingly difficult in coming years.
随 着中国军力的增长，美国有信心地完成这些使命的能力在受损。近期内，中国在部署美军干预的跳板，包括空军基地和航母，以及台湾本身的防御。由于本地区力量 平衡（向中国）的偏移不大可能逆转，即使考虑到对坚固设防海岛的两栖攻击的巨大困难，（美军参加）直接防御台湾已经是一个挑战（这是“困难”的外交辞 令），而且会越来越困难。
Growth in China’s military capabilities, particularly its naval, air, and missile power projection forces, will steadily increase the costs of dealing with a contingency of this kind.Absent a general U.S. withdrawal from the Western Pacific or a dramatic reduction in Japan’s own self-defense capabilities, however, direct defense of Japan should remain a credible—if increasingly challenging—strategy for the next twenty to thirty years.
Generally speaking, direct defense by U.S. forces as an operational option is feasible at present, though confidence in this varies from the South China Sea (high) to North Korea (medium) to Taiwan (medium-low).
Barring unforeseen technological developments that assure survivability for U.S. forces and C4ISR, it will not be possible or affordable for the United States to buck these trends. As the defense of Taiwan is already becoming problematic for U.S. forces (e.g., carriers and nearby air bases), so will U.S. operational options in the event of a confrontation with China over North Korea’s collapse and a crisis in Southeast Asia.
除 开出现现在还未知但可确保美军生存和C4ISR的技术的情况，改变这些势头（指美国优势消退，中国更富有进攻性，亚太国家屈从于中国等）要么是不可能的， 要么是美国所不能负担的。就像美国出兵保卫台湾对参战美军（航母、附近的空军基地）已经成问题一样，美国在北朝鲜崩盘和南海危机中的战术选择也越来越成问 题。
With the passage of time and improvement of Chinese capabilities, the United States will find itself forced to shift from deterrence by denial, based on direct defense of its interests and allies in the Western Pacific, to deterrence by punishment, based on the threat of escalation, using longer-range weapons and more survivable platforms.
deterrance by denial意为直接保卫，不让对方得逞，以此作为威慑的基础；deterrance by punishment意为用大规模报复尤其是（核）升级作为威慑的基础。文中谈到对中国已经不再可能形成单方面的“惩罚”，只有互相毁灭式的威慑。
美国的最好武器是MAED，mutually assured economic destruction，但是：
The economic consequences of a Sino-American conflict could be historically unparalleled, even if both sides avoid economic warfare. This is a powerful mutual deterrent, one marginally in the U.S. favor at present. Strengthening the U.S. economy is the best way of ensuring that the balance of interdependence and of the associated deterrence does not shift dangerously against the United States over the next several decades.
While the risk of conflict with China cannot be ignored, neither should it be exaggerated. Any number of other conflicts are more likely, some in places we cannot even vaguely foresee at present, just as no one foresaw our engagement in the Balkans in 1989, our invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq on September 10, 2001, or our current commitment in Libya as recently as six months ago.