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The Strategy for a Pacific War, Say Colby, Parpart and Goldman

June 1, 2021 (EIRNS)—Elbridge Colby, the primary author of the January 2018 National Defense Strategy at the Defense Department (the core document which defined Russia and China as strategic competitors to be contained economically and militarily), participated in a “discussion” today with Uwe Parpart, now the editor-in-chief at the Asia Times. Not surprisingly the discussion was moderated by Parpart’s cohort David Goldman. Demonstrating “how far they fall” since their days working with Lyndon LaRouche, Parpart and Goldman lapped up the praise from Colby for their work and for Asia Times as a platform for what they would discuss: “What Might Start a Pacific War, and Who Would Win It.” Their conclusion: China might start such a war over Taiwan, by “miscalculating” that the U.S. would not come to Taiwan’s defense, and that the war could go nuclear as a result. All three repeatedly protested that such a war was not their intention, nor in U.S. interests, but that since it could happen, the U.S. must be prepared to fight and win. Colby added that we must be certain to have the capacity to win with conventional forces, or it may become nuclear.

Colby, who was Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Strategy and Force Deployment under Secretary of Defense James Mattis, warned that China is not threatening only Taiwan, but is also projecting power globally. China has “blown through their former self-restraints: bases abroad, willing to use force as in the Philippines—it is not ideology, it’s power.” He went on that China’s rise is “like the gravitational pull of Jupiter, like when Germany arose, causing a huge disruption.” He said that the agreement to a “One China” policy “did not recognize Beijing’s power over Taiwan. This administration—[Antony] Blinken and [Kurt] Campbell—has clearly signaled that they would not sit by if China invades Taiwan.”

Goldman took a question from EIR’s Mike Billington (although he did not name him), asking why the U.S. should not join with China in the BRI to build the world. (Goldman left out the second part of the question, in which Billington contrasted the BRI to the Malthusian Green New Deal.) Both Colby and Parpart answered in classic British imperial terms. Colby, referring to two competing governments coming together, insisted:

““That’s against human nature. G2 never works. The impulse is simply too great for each country to gain an advantage over the other. [So much for the Peace of Westphalia—ed.] The basic reason is that China wants to have a large area where it is hegemonic, sets the economic rules, has suzerainty, as they used to say.... This is not in our interest, nor that of Japan, India, Korea, nor Europe for that matter.”

Parpart was more absurd:

“There is a massive cultural difference between the U.S. and China. There was this German guy, Leibniz, who thought that the Chinese way of writing was wonderful, could be universal. But I’m certain that if he went to live there he would not have wanted to stay.” He concluded: “An egregious miscalculation—not an ‘accident’—could lead to a military confrontation. But our two aspirations can be pursued without a war. That’s the best we can hope for.”

Colby has a name for the “Quad” and other allies that he expects will work with the Anglo-Americans against China: the “anti-hegemonic coalition.” He denounced Japan for spending only 1% of their GDP on the military. “Japan is critical if the coalition of forces will succeed against China. Japan clearly sees China as a threat. Spending only 1% on defense is irrational. They should at least double that.” On the Philippines, he said that we are “frustrated that we can not reestablish our posture there under the current government. China sees an opening there.” He said China’s policy toward Southeast Asia is to “Keep in line, or pay the consequences”—yet another case of ascribing one’s own policy to another.

Colby, quoting from Biden’s Independence Day speech that “Democracy itself is under threat,” demurred, saying: “My view is that we all love republicanism, but the balance of power is more important.”

The China-Russia relationship is an “anomaly,” Colby mused, due to the power of China compared to Russia. After all, he said, Putin wanted to be “European,” like Peter the Great. “Germany and others know that they must not push Russia away so hard that they would have no choice but to link up with China.” He added casually: “Russia would not take sides in a U.S.-China war.”

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