Pentagon’s Strategy Says China and Russia Pose Very Different Challenges
In recent years, the United States has been involved in a protracted war against an unruly China, and a more powerful but still submissive Russia. While China’s military expansionism and Russia’s military unpredictability were once thought to pose significant challenges, it turns out that those are false assumptions. This is the finding of a new Pentagon strategy report, to be released today, which takes aim at several of the most frequent talking points that have arisen about the growing threats from these two countries.
The strategy, penned by a group of military and intelligence analysts and released by the Center for a New American Security, was led by Mark Gunzinger, a senior fellow at the New America Foundation. Gunzinger, whose background includes time as a Defense Intelligence Agency analyst, is also the founder of the Intelligence Matters blog.
Many of the report’s findings are not new, and a number of them have been thoroughly discussed before. But the report’s release is part of the administration’s larger effort to counter China’s growing military clout while simultaneously reassuring the American people that they are not in a new era of imminent danger from the East Asian country.
The report, along with a recent Pentagon report on China’s military modernization, also focuses on China’s military capabilities against its neighbors while noting the limits of China’s ability to launch conventional wars. The report also does not take up the growing discussion of China’s growing military capabilities in the South China Seas and in East Asia, a conversation which was prompted by Chinese naval operations in the East China Sea, close to Vietnam.
While it’s true that the United States is increasingly concerned about the rise of China’s national security and military, the report makes clear that the United States is not fundamentally under threat from China. Indeed, it states that “the threat that China is posing does not stem from its own capacity but from its strategic objectives. A stronger China that pursues its own national interests is not an existential threat to the United States.”
As Gunzinger put in an earlier interview with the Washington Post, in the report there is “no clear-cut distinction” between the threats from Beijing and those from Russia