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A Strategic Nightmare Sneaks Into Washington’s Political Agenda

Above photo: Liu Rui/GT.

A simultaneous war with China and Russia is a strategic nightmare that sober American strategists such as Henry Kissinger have been warning the US to avoid at all costs, and it is also a topic that some US media outlets have become more and more fond of talking about in recent years. At least from the publicly available information, Washington has never previously addressed it as a formal political agenda, supposedly aware of its seriousness and the terrible risks it carries. But the publication of a report by a congressionally appointed bipartisan panel titled America’s Strategic Posture crossed this “red line” on October 12.

The central point of the 145-page report is that the US must expand its military power, particularly its “nuclear weapons modernization program,” in order to prepare for possible simultaneous wars with China and Russia. Notably, the report diverges completely from the current US national security strategy of winning one conflict while deterring another, and from the Biden administration’s current nuclear policy. It is not a fantasy among the American public, but a serious strategic assessment and recommendation in the service of policymaking.

The 12-member panel that wrote the report was hand-picked by the US Congress from major think tanks and retired defense, security officials and former lawmakers. This report makes us feel that a “strategic nightmare” is sneaking into the US political agenda, but has not drawn due concern and vigilance in Washington, and to a large extent, the American elite group represented by the panel is actively working to make this nightmare come true.

A look at the specific recommendations of this report will send shivers down the spine of those who retain any basic rationality. The report recommends that the US deploy more warheads, and produce more bombers, cruise missiles, ballistic missile submarines, non-strategic nuclear weapons and so on. It also calls on the US to deploy warheads on land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) and to consider adding road-mobile ICBMs to its arsenal, establishing a third shipyard that can build nuclear-powered ships, etc.

What depths of insanity is the US sinking to? The US’ military spending accounts for nearly 40 percent of the world’s total defense expenditures, and it has been growing dramatically for several years, with military spending in 2023 reaching $813.3 billion, more than the GDP of most countries, but even that is not enough for these politicians. Such a report full of geopolitical fanaticism and war imagery, whether or not it actually ends up as a “guide” for Washington’s decision-making, is dangerous and needs to be resisted and opposed by all peace-loving countries.

According to some American media, the report ignores the consequences of a nuclear arms race. In fact, the report doesn’t seem to consider this at all and doesn’t suggest any measures other than nuclear expansion to address this issue. In other words, it is a reckless approach. Both China and Russia are nuclear powers, and everyone knows that provoking a confrontation between nuclear powers is a crazy idea. Even promoting a nuclear arms race under the banner of “deterrence” is a disastrous step backward in history. Washington’s political elites, who lived through the Cold War, cannot be unaware of this. However, the fact that such an absurd and off-key report is being presented in all seriousness by the US Congress is both surreal and unsurprising. It is in line with the distorted political atmosphere in Washington today.

The motives behind this exaggeration of threats and creating a warlike atmosphere are highly suspicious. The recent outbreak of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict caused a sharp increase in US defense industry stocks, while American defense industry companies have also been the biggest beneficiaries of the long-standing Russia-Ukraine conflict. The military-industrial complex, like a geopolitical monstrosity, parasitically clings to American society, manipulating its every move, pushing Washington step by step to introduce and even prepare for ideas that were once considered “impossible.” The prosperity of the American military-industrial complex is built upon blood and corpses, and carries a primal guilt. Serving the interests of the American military-industrial complex is unethical.

The reality is that such rhetoric is becoming increasingly politically acceptable in today’s Washington. The idea of “preparing for possible simultaneous wars with Russia and China,” once a fringe fantasy, has gradually made its way into Washington’s agenda, which is deeply unsettling. If Washington were to adopt even a small portion of the recommendations in this report, the harm and threats it could pose to world peace would be immeasurable and would ultimately backfire on the US itself. There is an old Chinese saying: “Those who play with fire will perish by it.” This is something that is worth Washington’s careful consideration.

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