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Vice Chairman of U.S. Joint Chiefs Asserts ‘Our Goal Is To Never Go to War with China or Russia’

Sept. 14, 2021 (EIRNS)—In remarks yesterday at the Brookings Institution, Gen. John Hyten, Vice Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, forcefully asserted that “we never fought the Soviet Union” and “for the great powers, our goal is to never go to war with China and Russia.” Such an event would “destroy the world and the global economy. It will be bad for everyone, and we have to ensure that we do not go down that path.” Any attentive journalist would have immediately figured out the significance of General Hyten’s statements, in today’s climate of great-power geopolitical confrontation, but aside from RT, other defense-related publications studiously avoided reproducing these statements from his speech.

Hyten reported that Russia has systematically pursued modernization of its nuclear arsenal; this has been done in the context of the New START Treaty, which limits the number of deployed nuclear warheads the two nations can have to 1,500. “So, we have to decide where we want to put those—submarines, ICBMs ... that puts a limit on what we have.” But, he went on, with China, there is no limit. Air Force Magazine reported his comment that China is rebuilding “hundreds and hundreds of fixed silos” to hold ICBMs. Given China’s declaration of a “no first use” nuclear weapons policy, he said, “You have to ask yourself why are they building that enormous, enormous nuclear capability, faster than anyone else in the world?” In comparison, Hyten said, the U.S. is moving “unbelievably slow ... when you have a competitor like China—and Russia—that can move fast, you have to be able to move fast, as well.” China is “America’s pacing military threat.” But, Russia “cannot be discounted” either.

According to Breaking Defense Sept. 13, Hyten reported that just a few days after President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping on Sept. 10 held a 90-minute phone call, he pushed for there to be broader and lower-level talks between the U.S. military and the People’s Liberation Army. The bilateral phone calls between Biden and Xi are important, he said, “but I hope we can broaden that conversation all the way down to the military-to-military level as well.” He expressed concern that the U.S. and China are “not talking to each other a lot,” even though they presumably have a common goal of avoiding all-out war. Hyten reiterated the importance of having the same kind of talks with China as are now being held with Russia, not just in the nuclear realm but also in space as well. “We need to have that conversation with the Chinese, we really do. We need to be able to sit down. I need to be able to sit down—Secretary Austin, the political leadership, the State Department—and talk about these issues with China.... Because as different as we are, we do have a fundamental common goal, and that is to never go to war with each other.”

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