America is casualty shy in Chechnya? What are you smoking? There are no American troops there. Chechnya was at best an unrecognized and highly internally unstable dictatorship, located inside of Russia. An attempt to deploy any sort of international or US forces there would have brought the US to the brink of a major war. It's got nothing to do with being casualty shy, and everything with the simple fact that the US never had any intention, particular opportunity, or political justification for military involvement there.We know PLAN is unlikely to win vs USN , but do they _need_ to?
So one needs to look at China's navy not in terms of "can it beat America" but in terms of "is it good enough to do what it needs to do?"
Taiwan itself is divided about independence. How hard will they fight, especially if China is able to achieve a quick and relatively bloodless victory?
America can live without Taiwanese electronics and America loves cheap Chinese factories.
So will America pay the butchers bill if China is able to inflict some early casualties? America is fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq because of a direct terrorist threat to American security. Where this is not the case e.g. Somalia and Chechnia, America is much more casualty shy.
And will America intervene, if Taiwan decides not to resist? Who would be the "good guy" in that situation?
The PLAN may be close to being adequate. A few years perhaps?
edit - obviously this doesnt apply to a pearl harbor scenario; i am thinking china marches into taiwan, some people die, america and china fight, many chinese and some americans die; maybe taiwan gives up (it is divided), maybe america thinks "yea we can win, but we'd lose more people and we like chinese trade; taiwan will still provide us electronics but this time via china; let's forget this ever happened..."
In regards to Somalia, I dare say the US was not casualty shy, it was not willing to pay the (exorbitant) price tag to clean up a region of the world with relatively little geo-political significance.