AMAC Exclusive – By Ben Solis
Recent technological breakthroughs from the Chinese military, aggressive posturing from Russia in the Indo-Pacific region, and a fresh round of missile tests from North Korea have top American military brass and other world leaders concerned. But amid these alarming developments, Biden and his national security team have failed to invest in the technology and strategies to counter the threat.
At a House Armed Services Committee hearing late last month, Admiral John Aquilino, Commander of the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, briefed members that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) had ordered the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) to prepare to go to war with the United States and its allies in the Pacific by 2027. “This decade presents a period of increased risk,” the admiral warned, emphasizing that deterrence required immediate and sustained investment in both military assets and resilient supply chains that do not rely on China.
Admiral Aquilino also revealed, “In 2022 alone, the PLA added to its operational inventory 17 major warships.” That list includes four guided missile cruisers, three destroyers, five frigates, two attack submarines, and a large amphibious assault ship.
Last year, China also launched at least 160 satellites, tested a hypersonic glide vehicle for attacks from space, and built hundreds of nuclear missile silos.
China’s navy projects to have 440 battle-ready ships by 2030, Admiral Aquilino continued, dramatically expanding their current fleet of 350 ships. That figure would rival the American naval fleet of 485 ships – a fleet that is at any given moment dispersed around the entire globe, whereas China’s fleet is heavily concentrated in the Pacific.
These developments have also alarmed American allies in the Pacific, including Australia. Canberra recently decided to boost its military spending even further, with Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong warning of a binary competition between the U.S. and China.
“We cannot just leave it to the U.S.,” she said late last month, going on to emphasize that any conflict would be “disastrous” for every country in the region.
Wong’s remarks came following China’s impromptu military drills in the Taiwan Strait that sent Japan scrambling jets in response to the PLA’s invasion of Japanese airspace.
Japanese leaders have also voiced concerns about increased cooperation between the Chinese and Russian militaries, including joint drills that encroached on Japanese territory. On the final day of one recent drill, Tokyo said that a Russian intelligence-gathering aircraft flew over the Sea of Japan before turning to the coast of the Oki Islands.
On Eastern Orthodox Christian Easter Sunday, Vladimir Putin and Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoygu also hosted China’s Minister of National Defense Li Shangfu in Moscow, where the two reaffirmed their commitment to working together in the Pacific.
Two days before the Kremlin meeting, North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un ordered the launch of a new intercontinental ballistic missile, the Hwasong-18, which was unveiled during a military parade in February. The test prompted the Japanese government to urge northern island residents to take shelter, indicating the military could not determine the exact flight path.
But no country is at greater risk than Taiwan, which is now subject to almost constant violations of its airspace by the PLA. Dr. Ma Chen-Kun, Director of the Graduate Institute of China Military Affairs, recently noted that last year the People’s Liberation Army set the “new normal” by almost daily crossings of the median line of the Taiwan Strait by Chinese military aircraft and warships. He said such drills might not disrupt shipping traffic in the Taiwan Strait, pacifying potential negative comments from the Western allies, but they can one day be used unexpectedly to launch an actual attack.
A potential Chinese occupation of Taiwan would have disastrous consequences for the rest of the region as well as the U.S. Retired Japanese Lt-Gen. Kunio Orita recently warned that Chinese army deployment in Taiwan would turn Tokyo into Beijing’s vassal after China takes control of sea lanes that Japan utilizes to export 90 percent of its energy exports and 60 percent of its food exports.
But while American allies clearly recognize the magnitude of the threat, the White House National Defense Strategy, published last October, shows that President Biden does not. While purporting to take a hardline stance toward China and Russia, Biden unexpectedly canceled the Trump-led SLCM-N missile program, which military experts have said is a vital tool for countering China’s hypersonic missile technology. Biden offered no alternative to the weapon, which would have been deployed on stealthy nuclear submarines in the seas around China.
Biden has also repeatedly attempted to lower the ratio of procurement-to-R&D funding for the military, meaning that less resources will be allocated toward developing new weapons to keep pace with China and Russia – the exact opposite strategy as that which leaders like Admiral Aquilino advise.
Biden’s military budgets have also evinced an obsession with “woke” policies like creating “diversity” offices throughout the military bureaucracy, fighting “climate change,” and setting arbitrary “equity” standards for every branch. With such a glaring lack of focus on the military’s core mission of defending the homeland, it hardly comes as any surprise that U.S. adversaries feel emboldened.
Despite spending record sums on the military, Biden’s policies have led to a more dangerous world where the power and influence of the United States seems to be slipping more and more every day. If he does not reverse course soon, the consequences could be catastrophic.
Ben Solis is the pen name of an international affairs journalist, historian, and researcher.