About bloody time the U.S woke up.
I have advocated that the U.S. should send a Carrier Task Force on a courtesy visit to Taipei, making sure it passed through the longest stretch of the Taiwan Straits on the way. I am tempted to also suggest that the carrier have a sign draped along its side, facing the Chinese Mainland that says, “JUST TRY IT”, but that might be over-doing it a bit.
An article in The Economist this week, and the speech by the U.S. Secretary of State in his first meeting with his Chinese counterpart, also this week, might indicate that the new Biden Administration is giving my advocacy some credence.
The U.S. Secretary of State threw down the gauntlet to the Chinese this week by saying, very calmly, that Hong Kong, Taiwan and China’s internal human rights atrocities were on the table for discussion. The Chinese reaction was predictable bluster and outrage, but the message was sent. The U.S. is back, and Chinese continuing expansionist strategies, and actions, will have consequences. The fact that the current U.S. administration is re-engaging with its allies also sends an important message to the Chinese Government.
Both China and Russia have enjoyed almost free rein for the past four years. They have been able to manipulate Trump’s incompetence, greed, ego and inexperience to a level they could only have dreamed of under previous U.S. administrations. Admittedly, the Obama administration did very little to counter China and Russia’s aggressive tactics, but Trump took it to a whole new level.
The Biden Administration seems to be following a different path.
The matter-of-fact, but confrontational, speech from the Secretary of State is being backed up by U.S. Military planning in Asia.
A 2018 commission report warned that, in a war with China, “Americans could face a decisive military defeat”. In 2020, the head of the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command said China would achieve “Overmatch” within five years. Clearly, something had to be done. As I said at the beginning, “about bloody time”.
The Pentagon has now asked Congress for $22.7 billion to upgrade military assets in the region. The funding would go to expand the U.S. presence, and to re-distribute U.S. assets, in response to China’s missile capabilities. In addition, the Pentagon has requested $2.6 billion for training and equipment that will target U.S. friends in the region. Building an alliance against Chinese aggression, just like building a European alliance against Russia’s aggression, will send a clear and effective message to the megalo-maniacal regimes in Beijing and Moscow.
Even though Trump’s destruction of “trust in America” will take many years to overcome, even amongst U.S. allies, Biden’s first steps would indicate that process has begun.
About bloody time!