How to avoid a great power war over small stakes

FILE PHOTO - A group of disputed islands, Uotsuri island (top), Minamikojima (bottom) and Kitakojima, known as Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China is seen in the East China Sea, in this photo taken by Kyodo September 2012.  Mandatory credit. REUTERS/Kyodo/File Photo    ATTENTION EDITORS - FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. IT IS DISTRIBUTED, EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS. MANDATORY CREDIT. JAPAN OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN JAPAN         - S1AETIVBNCAA

Both China and Japan claim a small archipelago of uninhabited islands in the East China Sea known in Japan as the Senkaku Islands, and in China as Diaoyu Islands. They are covered by the U.S.-Japan security treaty. What would be the U.S. response if China landed military forces on them? Similarly, what would happen if “little green men” from Russia occupied a Russian-speaking village in Estonia, a NATO member country? In his new book, “The Senkaku Paradox: Risking Great Power War Over Small Stakes,” Brookings Senior Fellow Michael O’Hanlon explores these and similar scenarios in which a local crisis could erupt into a major war between the United States and China or Russia. In this episode, Brookings Fellow Tarun Chhabra talks with O’Hanlon about his book and his argument for a better range of options to deal with these risks.

Also on the program, Martha Ross, a fellow in the Metropolitan Policy Program, shares her recent research on unemployed youth. While the current national unemployment rate is below four percent, joblessness among American workers aged 18 to 24 in mid to large cities is much higher at about 17 percent.

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