How the US military is preparing for a war with China
Juicy targets include artificial islands in the South China Sea
by James Stavridis
Admiral James Stavridis was 16th Supreme Allied Commander of NATO and 12th Dean of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He spent the bulk of his operational career in the Pacific, and is author of "2034: A Novel of the Next World War."
The Atlantic Council's publication of The Longer Telegram, which lays out a sweeping blueprint for a U.S. strategy to face China, provides significant clues about a new lay-down of American forces around east Asia.
Whether the new Biden administration fully embraces the paper's aggressive stance remains to be seen, but elements are under serious consideration. Certainly, the new team at the National Security Council, led by highly respected Asia hand Kurt Campbell and a deep bench of Asia experts, will be looking at a wide variety of options for the military component of a new overall strategic posture.
One of the key elements in the military component is a series of "red lines" to which the U.S. would respond militarily.
These include "any nuclear, chemical, or biological weapons action by China against the U.S. or its allies or by North Korea; any Chinese military attack against Taiwan or its offshore islands, including an economic blockade or major cyberattack against Taiwanese public infrastructure and institutions; any Chinese attack against Japanese forces in their defense of Japanese sovereignty over the Senkaku Islands, which China claims as the Diaoyu, and their surrounding exclusive economic zone in the East China Sea; any major Chinese hostile action in the South China Sea to further reclaim and militarize islands, to deploy force against other claimant states, or to prevent full freedom of navigation operations by the U.S. and allied maritime forces; and any Chinese attack against the sovereign territory or military assets of U.S. treaty allies."