Our original essay on why the invasion of Taiwan would be the flashpoint for World War III was published 17 years ago back when Vault-Co was formerly known as TEXAS ARCANE'S SURVIVAL REPORT.
I had worked out the basic mechanics of the Klausewitzian game theory in my head as early as 1995 having only lived in Australia for three years.
A key point of my premise would be that in the showdown over Taiwan which would be a reactive naval blockade of the island, the single most attractive strategic move for China would be to reduce Australia to a radioactive glassed-over parking lot. The United States would react with furious condemnation and call it the greatest crime mankind had ever witnessed but the simple truth is that they would never retaliate. In one stroke, China would destroy their ability to use Australia as a staging area and fly sorties from there in an escalation. This would change the game dynamics. The United States would consider the repercussions of a full missile strike on the Western shore and the elimination of California, Washington and San Francisco and decide the cost was too high. Ideally they would then slink off and cede Taiwan to China knowing the price was too high to pay for a small island that really belonged to them anyway as the dominant world hegemon. If they instead proceeded to a war with China, Russia would enter under their mutual defense pact and the United States would be destroyed overnight. Try running the scenarios through your head a couple hundred times, you will always see the outcomes are fairly similar with the two important forks being America using common sense or ignoring common sense.
Either way, Australia will end up as a gigantic 3000 mile wide charcoal birdbath. The Australian refusal to maintain even a token nuclear reprisal sealed their doom decades ago. As in chess, frequently your stupidity only becomes obvious many moves later when you get checkmated. Australians enjoy the relative bliss of being too far left on the Bell Curve to ever become cognizant of any of their mistakes. Sometimes you cannot help but envy them the eternal sunshine of the spotless mind.
P.S. I was thinking about how hilarious it would be with me predicting doom for the entire planet for 20 years if it just turned out to be doom for Australia. Post-Apocalyptic down here but largely unscathed everywhere else for many years under a new global empire with China. You got to admit that would be pretty classic if I was to continue Vault-Co from shortwave broadcasts describing the endless onslaught of cannibal mutants and robots and the rest of the planet was just listening in front of their PCs eating Cheezits and pretzels. "I told you all ITZ COMING! Why didn't you listen when you had the chance! Got to go! Another attack on the vault door! I will resume my updates tomorrow at noon on this frequency! You'll never take me alive, you bastards! (Sounds of gunfire, mutant death squeals)