U.S. Pacific Commander Fires Geopolitical Assault at China in Senate Testimony
March 10 , 2021 (EIRNS)—Adm. Philip Davidson, the commander of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, delivered a performance with respect to China that was worthy of the geopolitical madness that Mike Pompeo displayed with increasing intensity during his last months in office. Davidson painted a picture of a growing strategic threat from China that the U.S., even with a military budget two-and-a-half times greater, was ill-prepared to face. He demanded more money—$4.7 billion for 2022—to build more missile defenses and deploy ground-based offensive missiles without which China will become “emboldened” to do something aggressive, like invade Taiwan or attack Guam. The money that Davidson is asking for would be for the Pacific Defense Initiative, for which Congress provided $2.2 billion for 2021.
“In stark contrast to our free and open vision, the Communist Party of China promotes a closed and an authoritarian system through internal oppression and external aggression,” Davidson said. “China’s pernicious approach to the region includes a whole-of-party effort to coerce, corrupt and collapse governments, businesses, organizations and the people of the Indo-Pacific,” he said.
“The military balance in the Indo-Pacific is becoming more unfavorable for the United States and our allies,” Davidson claimed. “With this imbalance, we are accumulating risk that may embolden China to unilaterally change the status quo before our forces may be able to deliver an effective response. The greatest danger the United States and our allies face in the region is the erosion of conventional deterrence vis-à-vis the People’s Republic of China.”
If this imbalance continues Chinese leaders could be “emboldened to continue to take action to supplant the established rules-based international order and values represented in our vision for a free and open Indo-Pacific,” he said.
“Our deterrence posture in the Indo-Pacific must demonstrate the capability, the capacity and the will to convince Beijing unequivocally, the costs of achieving their objectives by the use of military force are simply too high. Indeed, we must be doing everything possible to deter conflict: Our number one job is to keep the peace. But we absolutely must be prepared to fight and win should competition turn to conflict.”
Davidson called for the building of an Aegis Ashore missile defense system in Guam but claimed that improved missile defenses are not enough. He said offensive missiles with ranges greater than 310 miles (the range limit imposed by the now-defunct INF Treaty) are needed to complement existing missile defenses. “We have to demonstrate that any ambition that China might have and any threat it might put forth toward Guam would come at cost,” he said.
“Guam is a target today. It needs to be defended, and it needs to be prepared for the threats that will come in the future,” Davidson said. He added later: “China’s own Air Force has put out a propaganda video showing their H-6 bomber force attacking Andersen Air Force Base at Guam and distributed that quite publicly.”
And of course, everything the Chinese say is propaganda. “Without question, China has a vast disinformation machine,” Davidson claimed.
“They use both regular media and social media and have nearly 1 million people in their propaganda machine to undermine U.S. interests, to capture the narrative to their own benefit, and to ... corrupt the environment in a way that creates doubt amongst our allies and partners in the reliability of the United States.”
Davidson was also asked if he thought China’s military aggression is the result of paranoia on the part of Beijing’s leadership or signs of planned aggression. “I see them developing systems capabilities and posture that would indicate that they’re interested in aggression,” he said.
As for Taiwan, “Over the past year, Beijing has pursued a coordinated campaign of diplomatic, informational, economic, and—increasingly—military tools to isolate Taipei from the international community and, if necessary, compel unification with the P.R.C.,” he said.
Davidson wouldn’t say whether he thought the U.S. should end its policy of “strategic ambiguity”—neither committing to nor ruling out coming to Taiwan’s defense. “I worry that they’re accelerating their ambitions to supplant the United States and our leadership role in the rules-based international order,” he said. “They’ve said that they want to do that by 2050. I’m worried about them moving that target closer. Taiwan is clearly one of their ambitions before that. And I think the threat is manifest during this decade, in fact in the next six years.”