In the last few years there seems to be a ever perpetuating story that our next “big” war will be with China…..it all started with Obama, at least in the media and gained ground with Trump and now with the incoming president Biden…..the military has been feeding this scenario as well as the intel community…..
And now a top military commander is throwing fuel on the war fire….
America’s military priority in the coming years? China, China, and China—or so says the top US military commander. Speaking at a Wall Street Journal summit Tuesday, Army Gen. Mark Milley said China is aiming to equal America’s military might by 2035 and be ready to win a war against the US by midcentury. “They are on a path to try to do that,” Milley said. “It is certainly a significant security challenge for the United States now and in the years to come.” He added that the “great-power competition” between China and the US should not “turn into a great-power war. That would be a disaster.” Seapower Magazine quotes him as saying the Pentagon can offset Chinese power—and in theory, avoid a war—with a “consistent, predictable” budget boost of roughly 3% to 5%.
But Milley isn’t hopeful: “I don’t see that as a realistic thing in the coming year,” he said. In fact, he foresees Pentagon budget cuts, and favors modernizing forces over keeping current forces up to snuff, mostly to offset a rising China, per ABC News. He also suggested making certain international troop placements—like those in Bahrain or South Korea—rotational or “selective,” in part because such permanent bases reflect an outdated strategy: “I think that is something that needs a hard, hard look,” he said. “Much of that is a derivative of where World War II ended.” He also feared that US noncombatants, like family members, could get trapped if war breaks out between the Koreas. “I have a problem with that,” he said.
Trump’s DNI had thrown fuel on the fire awhile back…..
The nation’s top intelligence official just unloaded on China in unusual fashion. “The People’s Republic of China poses the greatest threat to America today, and the greatest threat to democracy and freedom worldwide since World War II,” writes director of national intelligence John Ratcliffe in a Wall Street Journal op-ed. Beijing’s leaders, he asserts, aim to dominate the US and the rest of the world on everything from the military to the economy to technology, and they are “preparing for an open-ended period of confrontation with the US.” China, he adds, “should be America’s primary national security focus going forward.”
- Rarity: It is “exceedingly rare for the head of the US intelligence community to make public accusations about a rival power,” writes Mike Allen at Axios. Such assessments are typically made to the president and lawmakers behind closed doors.
- Why? It’s seen as part of a push by the Trump administration to ramp up the case against China before President Trump leaves office. As Bloomberg puts it, the administration wants to “lock in its policies and posture toward China” and make it more difficult for Joe Biden to unwind them. The Hill notes that US-China relations have soured on a number of fronts, including over COVID, trade, and the South China Sea.
Biden is no different…he also wants to keep this storyline active (at least for now)……
- What Biden says: In an interview with the New York Times, Biden says he has no plans to immediately loosen tariffs put into place by Trump. First, he wants to consult with other nations. “The best China strategy, I think, is one which gets every one of our—or at least what used to be our—allies on the same page,” he says. “It’s going to be a major priority for me in the opening weeks of my presidency.”
- No leverage: Biden also told the Times that dealing with China requires leverage, and “in my view, we don’t have it yet.” He says his goal will “be to pursue trade policies that actually produce progress on China’s abusive practices—that’s stealing intellectual property, dumping products, illegal subsidies to corporations,” etc.
- Assessment: Biden’s comments suggest that he “is focused on picking his spots with Beijing, shoring up alliances and US national power first, rather than rushing to accommodate a Chinese government that seems to think the burden for detente lies entirely with Washington,” writes David Wertime at Politico. “Friends and allies concerned about a US over-correction on China must be feeling some relief.”
I wrote in the past about the possibilities of the next war…….https://lobotero.com/2020/09/22/could-the-us-lose-the-next-big-war/
The next question should be…..could the US win the next ‘big’ war without the use of nukes?
Any sensible discussion of what a hypothetical World War III might look like needs to begin with the sheer size and force of America’s military assets. For all that China and Russia are arming up on various measures, US commanders have the power to dominate escalating crises and counter opposing forces before they can be used.
Take missile warfare alone. The US Navy already has 4,000 Tomahawk cruise missiles, and the Navy and Air Force are currently taking delivery of 5,000 JASSM conventional cruise missiles with ranges from 200-600 miles. Barely visible to radar, these are designed to destroy “hardened” targets such as nuclear missile silos. Russia and China, by contrast, have nothing of equivalent quantity or quality with which to threaten the US mainland.
Will the China bashing continue with the new president?
I Read, I Write, You Know
“lego ergo scribo”