China Carries a Big Stick

Speaking of Chinese Elephants: The House Armed Services Committee continued its so-called “Committee Defense Review” Tuesday with a Capitol Hill hearing on Asia. The witnesses invited by the CDR’s “Threat Panel” didn’t take long to address the elephant in the room—China. Kurt Campbell of the Center for Strategic and International Studies claimed, “China is beating us at our own game,” adding that the Asian giant has more credibility than America does, in some areas. More than ever, China—buoyed by its economic power and increasing military strength— is asserting its role as a strategic presence in Asia. Without a solid regional security agency, similar to NATO, the panel of policy experts agreed, US forces should remain in the region as a counter to Chinese power. “Rich Chinese generals are Russia’s best friends right now,” said Peter Brookes of the Heritage Foundation. Brookes added that Taiwan has not been as proactive in acquiring defense technology. Steven Cohen of the Brookings Institution, noted that there is a remote chance that the island could peaceably unify with the mainland in the years ahead. In Campbell’s view, the Taiwan situation is “the most challenging diplomatic and military situation over the next 20 years.”