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Biden Sets Up Anti-China Task Force at Pentagon

Feb. 11 , 2021 (EIRNS)—At the Pentagon yesterday afternoon, President Joe Biden delivered a speech which was mostly a paean to unity and diversity, but the geopolitical focus, to the extent that there was one, was on China. “Today, I was briefed on a new DOD-wide China task force that Secretary Austin is standing up to look at our strategy and operational concepts, technology, and force posture, and so much more,” he said.

“The task force will work quickly, drawing on civilian and military experts across the Department, to provide, within the next few months, recommendations to Senator [Secretary] Austin on key priorities and decision points so that we can chart a strong path forward on China-related matters. It will require a whole-of-government effort, bipartisan cooperation in Congress, and strong alliances and partnerships.”

Biden vowed, “That’s how we’ll meet the China challenge and ensure the American people win the competition of the future.”

A Pentagon news release reports that the task force will be led by Ely Ratner, identified as a special assistant to Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin but with a long history as a China hand from the Center for a New American Security and the Council on Foreign Relations. EIR reported in July 2017 on an article that Ratner had placed for the July/August 2017 Foreign Affairs entitled “Course Correction—How To Stop China’s Maritime Advance,” in which he proclaimed that China is “poised to seize control” of the South China Sea, which “would deal a devastating blow to the United States’ influence in the region, tilting the balance of power across Asia in China’s favor. Time is running out to stop China’s advance.” He argued that America must “abandon its neutrality” on issues of sovereignty and “help countries in the region defend their claims. Washington should make clear that it can live with an uneasy stalemate in Asia—but not with Chinese hegemony.”

“China is seeking to overturn the current rules-based structure, which has benefitted all nations in the Indo-Pacific region,” the Pentagon release claims in language somewhat milder but reflecting the same underlying assumptions. “The United States and its allies seek to continue the free and open environment in the region. China is using all elements of national power to bend the nations to its will.” It further reports that DOD officials called the task force a “sprint effort” that will examine high-priority topics including strategy, operational concepts, technology and force structure, force posture and force management, and intelligence. The task force will also examine U.S. alliances and partnerships and their affect on Sino-American relations and DOD relations with China.

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