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America Is Not Ready for a War With China
How to Get the Pentagon to Focus on the Real Threats
By
Michael Beckley

June 10, 2021
The USS George H.W. Bush in the Persian Gulf, September 2014
U.S. Navy
The United States has spent $19 trillion on its military since the end of the Cold War. That is $16 trillion more than China spent and nearly as much as the rest of the world combined spent during the same period. Yet many experts think that the United States is about to lose a devastating war. In March, Admiral Philip Davidson, then the commander of U.S. forces in the Indo-Pacific, warned that within the next six years, China’s military will “overmatch” that of the United States and will “forcibly change the status quo” in East Asia. Back in 2019, a former Pentagon official claimed that the U.S. military routinely “gets its ass handed to it” in war games simulating combat with China. Meanwhile, many analysts and researchers have concluded that if China chose to conquer Taiwan, the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) could cripple whatever U.S. forces tried to stand in its way.
It has become conventional wisdom that this gathering storm represents the inevitable result of Beijing’s rise and Washington’s decline. In fact, it is nothing of the sort. The United States has vast resources and a viable strategy to counter China’s military expansion.
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MICHAEL BECKLEY is Associate Professor of Political Science at Tufts University, Jeane Kirkpatrick Visiting Scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, and the author of Unrivaled: Why America Will Remain the World’s Sole Superpower.
MORE BY MICHAEL BECKLEY
More:United States China Security U.S. Foreign Policy Biden Administration
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