The DEFCON Warning System™

Ongoing GeoIntel and Analysis in the theater of nuclear war.  DEFCON Level assessment issued for public notification.  Established 1984.

The Case for Urgency With China

Policymakers often assume the United States can deter China from invading Taiwan or win if deterrence fails. But that is no longer a safe assumption. Indeed, it is very possible that the United States will be unable to deter China for the remainder of this decade. Worse still, there is a real chance the People’s Liberation Army will be able to defeat U.S. forces in a fight over Taiwan. 

We are in this situation because Washington has consistently failed to prioritize investing in our ability to deter China. But now we have no other choice: If we wish to avoid war with China, or prevail if it comes, then we must urgently focus on strengthening deterrence in the Indo-Pacific by surging investments in the region, even if it means doing less elsewhere. This may not be the choice Washington wants to make, but we have spent decades deferring these investments—and now the bill is due. 

The Trump and Biden administrations rightly identified China as the greatest threat to American interests. The Chinese Communist Party seeks hegemony in the Indo-Pacific. If it succeeds, it will have control over the world’s largest market zone, with dire implications for Americans’ security, freedom, and prosperity. To deny Beijing’s ambitions, however, we must be able to prevent it from using military force to dominate its neighbors. Most urgently, this requires strengthening deterrence against a Chinese invasion of Taiwan, which the Department of Defense (DoD) has designated as its “pacing scenario.” 

It is no secret that America’s ability to deter China has eroded, but the severity of that erosion is not widely understood. Fortunately, this is starting to change. In 2019, the United States Studies Centre reported, “America’s military primacy in the Indo-Pacific is over and its capacity to maintain a favourable balance of power is increasingly uncertain.” Last year, The Heritage Foundation’s Index of U.S. Military Strength concluded, “[T]he U.S. military is at growing risk of not being able to meet the demands of defending America’s vital national interests.” The RAND Corporation found similarly this year: “[I]t has become increasingly clear that the U.S. defense strategy and posture have become insolvent.”

Read more at National Interest

Ongoing Geointel and Analysis in the theater of nuclear war.

© 2024 The DEFCON Warning System. Established 1984.

The DEFCON Warning System is a private intelligence organization which has monitored and assessed nuclear threats by national entities since 1984. It is not affiliated with any government agency and does not represent the alert status of any military branch. The public should make their own evaluations and not rely on the DEFCON Warning System for any strategic planning. At all times, citizens are urged to learn what steps to take in the event of a nuclear attack.