Forbes: US Needs Strategy Against China

The chairman of the House Armed Services seapower and projection forces panel complained Wednesday that the Obama Administration has no visible strategy for countering China’s aggressive efforts to dominate the Asia-Pacific region. “If you ask Americans, ‘do you believe that China has a strategy,’ they will say, ‘yes,'” Rep. Randy Forbes (R-Va.) said during a forum at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, D.C., Wednesday. “The flip side, they say we don’t.” The lack of a clear strategy handicaps the US’ ability to build coalitions among the other Asian nations, which are concerned about China’s growing military strength, said Forbes. He said the friendly Asian nations question the commitment to the declared “rebalance” or “pivot” to the Asia-Pacific because of a failure to articulate what it means or to put military muscle behind it. Those potential allies also were confused when the Pentagon announced an “AirSea Battle concept” to counter China’s anti-access, area-denial strategy, but never explained what it meant, added Forbes. In response to a question, Forbes said, “We’re not trying to tame China,” calling it a “competitor,” not an adversary, “but we have to make sure we have a winning strategy?” because “any strategy in Asia-Pacific can’t be us alone. It has to be a coalition.” (See also Don’t Call it a Comeback from the July issue of Air Force Magazine.)