Assessing the challenges faced by The US’s militia as it contends with China, Russia


As the war in Ukraine continues to show the weaknesses of the Russian forces a new article is detailing the challenges faced by Americans military Michael Gordon writes in the Wall Street Journal that the U.S is not yet ready for the era of great power conflict with Russia and China and there are major obstacles in the way the Director of National.

Intelligence testified specifically about threats from China on Wednesday needless to say the People's Republic of China which is increasingly challenging the United States economically technologically politically and militarily around the world remains our unparalleled priority Michael Gordon joins me now he is the.

National Security correspondent for the Wall Street Journal he is also the author of degrade and destroy the inside story of the war against the Islamic State from Barack Obama to Donald Trump which was published last year Michael let's start it was always said that the U.S military should be prepared to fight a two-front war at any time was that.

Ever really true and how behind is the U.S military now on that obligation well uh what's happening now is that the United States military and the Pentagon is going through a historic transformation where it's shifting from the sort of Wars we've fought for the last 20 years uh primarily counter-insurgencies in the Middle East.

And potential Wars against Regional powers like Iran and North Korea to a much harder contingency which is trying to deter China half a world away and keep them from um uh threatening or potentially even invading Taiwan and this is a project that the Pentagon that's going to take a decade and longer to fully carry out it's really in its.

Sort of earliest phases and what I did for the Wall Street Journal articles I interviewed the very generals who were in charge of doing this for the Air Force and for the Army and the other services and they acknowledge it's uh sort of early days for this plan that the U.S can't do everything it wants to do now and really there's a race to.

Build up deterrent uh capability over the next five to ten years to dissuade China from taking aggressive action if it chooses to do so you mentioned the U.S war on terror so was it was it the the U.S fall behind because it was preoccupied with Afghanistan and Iraq or how much of this feeling that that they're have to catch up is about China.

Getting ahead China having a you know advanced technology and and just a better military well there are a lot of different reasons I mean one thing is that this is just an inherently difficult challenge to meet I mean taiwan's 100 miles uh from China it's thousands of miles from the United States the U.S depends on.

Vulnerable bases the nation Japan Guam and elsewhere you have to project for Force essentially into the potentially adversaries backyard so it's a hard thing to do it's completely different from let's say the war that the U.S mounted to in Iraq and Desert Storm when it had months to build up its forces and had bases that were.

Immune really from enemy attacks so that's a big factor but the other thing is um you know in past years there was debate within U.S government is China truly going to be an adversary can we work with them they're a budgetary constraints under sequestration that inhibited some of the development of.

Technology to a certain extent uh the 9 11 Wars um distracted the military from this Mission although the main U.S force pulled out of Iraq at the end of 2011. so it's a Confluence of of different factors that have all come together now remains must be said the Chinese aren't ready either I mean the CIA has said that China can't invade or at least they.

Think they can't invade uh Taiwan now they are doubts at the higher levels of their leadership and that they're striving to have the capability to do so in 2027. so what we have is a race by China to build up the capability to threaten Taiwan perhaps for political coercion and a race by the Pentagon to build up the deterrent capability to.

Persuade China not to take that course of action is is U.S supplying and support for uh the ukrainians is that affecting this at all in terms of there have been reports of stocks running low and or is that um quite a bit different than what you're talking about which is really large strategic placement for the for the.

China and Russia threat I think it's a little different because the kind of Munitions that the US is sending to Ukraine artillery shells short range um air defense anti-tank weapons that's not the sort of thing the U.S is going to use in a war with China the U.S is going to use long-range anti-ship.

Missiles um submarines Marine forces that are in place in Okinawa it's a whole different set of forces plus we have to remember that the ukrainians have been using uh the weapons they've been provided to a Russian forces so Russia has been weakened as a potential adversary at least in the Conventional Weapons sphere.

They still are a very formidable nuclear Arsenal but there is a backlog in getting weapons to Taiwan partly because of Defense industry uh bottlenecks so a lot more it's not all on the US more has to be done to build up taiwan's capabilities and get them the kind of weapons they would need to deter the Chinese in a future fight.

Michael Gordon of the Wall Street Journal thanks so much for being with us great thank you

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