Former national security adviser backs overall’s warning on doubtless wrestle with China


All right the Pentagon is distancing itself right now from a memo by a U.S Air Force general which warns about potential war with China within the next two years in fact it predicts as much according to a statement from the Pentagon press secretary the focus of the U.S quote remains on working alongside allies and partners to.

Preserve a peaceful free and open indo-pacific let's now bring in uh General H.R McMaster to give us his analysis on what's Happening Here he's a CBS News foreign policy and National Security contributor and the author of Battlegrounds the fight to defend the Free World he's also served as former president Trump's National Security.

Adviser H.R McMaster welcome back to CBS News great to have you here um what do you make of the prediction and the pentagon's response this war with China within the next two years well good morning everyone good morning Emory great to be with you hey this is exactly what general minnehan should be doing this he's the head of air Mobility.

Command and it's his job to be ready to fight tomorrow right he doesn't go to pick whether we go to war or not but he has to tell his command to get ready what he said is hey I've got a gut feeling that we're at a period of increasing danger and I think he's right about that you know he's talked about the Taiwanese election in 2024 if if the.

Chinese Communist party doesn't see the outcome they want in Taiwan then I think the chances go up if China continues to encounter the internal difficulties they've had uh economically financially the real estate sector does that make an attack on Taiwan more likely I think maybe it maybe it does in terms of she's desire to maybe Stoke nationalism and.

Get people's minds off of the internal problems but most importantly Errol I say hey shisha pinga said he's going to do it you know and many of his speeches he seems to be preparing the Chinese people for war and of course it's our military's job to be ready and you know I think there's a tendency in the Pentagon these days and in Washington to.

Think that we can have this Nifty form of deterrence well you know what hard power matters I mean we learned that in Russia right we threatened all the sanctions we had this you know big diplomatic campaign going to prevent the war in Ukraine and it didn't work so our defense department has to be ready they have to make their their ability to.

Fight and win the top priority because that's what gets you deterrence is convincing the people's Liberation Army in this case that they can't accomplish their objectives on Taiwan through the use of force so then what could a war with China look like well Henry you know we've already seen.

You know sort of below the threshold of what might elicit a military response aggression by China so they're trying everything they're trying economic Coors and try to build economic and Financial dependencies in Taiwan a sustained campaign of information Warfare against uh against Taiwan and you've seen the threats of of direct military action.

With with uh multiple overflights and and violations of of Taiwanese Waters and then and then of course remember after speaker Pelosi's visit really kind of that soft blockade they almost put in place uh with those massive military exercises so I think what you could see in a scenario that would could lead to conflict are more of those escalating.

Measures to coerce Taiwan you know after maybe the 2024 uh election and then of course China's become much more aggressive other places too I mean we have to remember they're trying to affect the largest land grabs so to speak in history in the South China Sea to try to to own the ocean or a portion of the ocean through which one third of.

The world's surface trade flows they've been bludgeoning Indian soldiers to death on the Himalayan Frontier they've been threatening South Korea and Japan as well so I think General minahan was right and I wish more people in the Pentagon would make hey be ready to fight and win the number one priority we hear a lot about other priorities uh but.

Hey I think we have to remember what the military is for yeah the South China Sea dispute itself has always been a potential Flashpoint full conflict and not to mention um the allegations of how the Chinese are treating millions of uygha people I mean when you talk about just human rights so you know pick your your issue.

But but China does own a massive slice of U.S debt I mean the two nations are financially intertwined what would be the motivation I mean I guess that's the difficulty of diplomacy it only goes so far you want to avoid war but doesn't that complicate any potential conflict between the two Nations which could effectively take each other down.

You know for Xi Jinping I don't think it does Daryl I think I mean of course it doesn't make sense from our perspective right we look at it and we think okay how could this be in XI Japan's interest to have to have a war right I mean he's economically depended on us he's trying to meet these really high growth targets and he's not making those growth targets.

But if you look at the series of decisions he's made how about like how about the zero covet policy that was a foot shot how about cracking down on his Tech sector and the negative uh economic implications that that has had so I think that hey the time has come to recognize this is a party driven by ideology and driven by emotion.

Especially the fear of losing the party's exclusive grip on Power and associated with that is this aspiration this drive to restore China to uh to Greatness this is the division for National Rejuvenation and of course Taiwan fits squarely into that into that drive and that's why it's such a dangerous flash point I think hey from.

General minahan's memo as well it was really clear that he understands that deterrence is a simple equation right it's it's capability times will the enemy's assessment of your capability times your will and he mentioned not only the Taiwanese election in 24 you know but the U.S election and the degree to which you know polarization United.

States a perception of democracies being weak might play into Putin's calculus but you know I'll tell you Earl everything I think she should be would be wrong to do that I mean I you know our democracies we look kind of messy you know we are we are ugly those authoritarian regimes look strong from the outside but you know they're.

Actually quite brittle and our democracies are much more resilient than certainly these authoritarian regimes give us credit for it was teaching thing is obviously playing a long game means one an unprecedented third term that's right I mean I'm not going to predict but I I don't know the third will be the last for him.

Um it certainly looks like he's setting himself up to be there for a long time but you know you know General Taiwan is an island you know we've provided tremend amount of military aid to Ukraine since the War Began you can't do that in Taiwan you can't provide Military Support afterwards after there's a blockade you won't be able to.

Get it in are we in any position at this point to participate in any sort of military action if Taiwan becomes a Flashpoint yes we are Emory we have a whole range of capabilities so typically you'll hear people really pay a lot of attention as they should to what's called Chinese anti-access area denial capabilities.

This is tiered and layered air defense it's their long-range missile systems it's their drone capabilities but we have a range of capabilities ourselves the problem is China has a positional Advantage China is challenging us at the far reaches of of American power and and this is why it's so important like a command like General minahan the general.

Who warned about this air Mobility command to be to be ready to project power there but I'll tell you it's you know taking over Taiwan if that's what China wants to do that wouldn't be easy I mean the island is the size of Maryland you know it's about 150 miles they have to cross really tough to sustain and offensive uh with an.

Amphibious operation like that the seas are stormy they're about two or three you know really good Landing areas on the west coast of Taiwan so you know I hope that people's Liberation Army doesn't underestimate it well you know I I maybe they are like Russia underestimated the difficulty of trying to subsume all of Ukraine with their.

Brutal Invasion on February 24th of last year General H.R McMaster it's always great talking to you thank you sir and Marie I've got one last thing uh um not an egos fan but there you go of course one more reason to like you thank you General thank you Rachel

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