In @ForeignAffairs Wess Mitchell & I describe how Trump Administration has refashioned American strategy for an era of great power competition in #NSS & #NDS & Indo-Pac strategy inter alia here: foreignaffairs.com/articles/2019-… 1/
@ForeignAffairs Most accounts say US is in decline/abandoning post-WWII role. But step back from day-to-day commotion, and a different picture emerges. In truth, the United States is gearing up for a new era—one marked not by unchallenged U.S. dominance but by a rising China & revanchist RF 2/
@ForeignAffairs When future historians look back at the actions of the United States in the early twenty-first century, by far the most consequential story will be the way Washington refocused its attention on great-power competition. 3/
@ForeignAffairs Beneath today’s often ephemeral headlines, it is this shift, and the reordering of U.S. military, economic, and diplomatic behavior that it entails, that will stand out—and likely drive U.S. foreign policy under presidents from either party for a long time to come. 4/
@ForeignAffairs Dispensing w/ paradigm of unipolarity, the Trump Admin created an opening to articulate new grand strategy. In #NSS & #NDS & ancillary regional strategies, the United States made clear it saw relations w/ PRC & RF as competitive & that it would maintain edge over these rivals. 5/
@ForeignAffairs The idea behind this shift is not to be blindly confrontational but to preserve central objective of U.S. foreign policy since the end of WWII: the freedom of states, particularly U.S. allies, to chart their own courses w/out interference from a domineering regional hegemon. 6/
@ForeignAffairs The United States will realize this vision of a free and open world only if it ensures its own strength and economic vitality, maintains an edge in regional balances of power, and communicates its interests and redlines clearly. 7/
@ForeignAffairs Engaging in a war with Iran, sustaining a large military presence in Afghanistan, or intervening in Venezuela, as some in the administration want to do, is antithetical to success in a world of great-power competition. 8/
@ForeignAffairs Nor is US on course yet to compete successfully—progress thus far has been uneven and halting. But US now has a template for reorienting its foreign policy that enjoys bipartisan support and is likely to endure, at least in its fundamental tenets, in future administrations. 9/
@ForeignAffairs This is where things now stand for Washington. At home, that course correction has enjoyed far more bipartisan support than is often appreciated; the administration’s tough approach to China, in particular, has the backing of most members of Congress, D and R. 10/
@ForeignAffairs Yet this is only the beginning of what is likely to be a decades-long effort. China shows no sign of giving up its pursuit of ascendancy in Asia. Moscow looks no more likely to mend ties with the West. US must prepare for a generational effort. 11//
@ForeignAffairs To thwart China’s bid for ascendancy in Asia and beyond, the United States must maintain favorable regional balances of power with yet far more urgency. Building and sustaining the necessary coalitions in Asia and Europe should be at the heart of its strategy. 12/
@ForeignAffairs The overarching purpose of this strategy is neither to decouple the U.S. and Chinese economies entirely nor to force U.S. allies and partners to pick a side 12/
@ForeignAffairs Instead, it is to better protect intellectual property and sensitive technologies and, by extension, to reduce China’s economic leverage over the United States and other places. Canada, Japan, the Philippines, South Korea, Taiwan, states in central and southeastern Europe 14/
@ForeignAffairs Extensive integration with the Chinese economy is necessary for all states, but they must limit Beijing’s ability to turn that exposure into coercive leverage—not as a favor to Washington but for the sake of their own sovereignty. 15/
@ForeignAffairs In addition, US should try to create some distance between Beijing and Moscow...To the extent that a future interests-based détente with Russia is possible, it will be because Moscow concludes that resurrecting its Soviet-era influence by force is too costly to be worthwhile. 16/
@ForeignAffairs Even with allied help, however, the United States will not be able to achieve the kind of military dominance over China and Russia that it once had over its opponents in the unipolar era. Trying to do so would be wasteful and counterproductive. 17/
@ForeignAffairs US needs capacity to resist successful assaults on its allies & partners. It means ensuring they cannot be occupied, especially in a fait accompli, or strangled by a blockade or coercion—a strategy that might be termed “denial defense.” 18/
@ForeignAffairs Getting there means other commitments will have to be put on the back burner or even sacrificed. In a unipolar world, US might have been able to be all things in all regions, like a colossus bestriding the world, but this is wholly untenable in era of great-power competition. 19/
@ForeignAffairs Washington will have to scale back its efforts in secondary and peripheral regions. Consider the U.S. footprint in the Middle East. 20/
@ForeignAffairs The United States is entering what is likely to be a protracted struggle over who will decide how the world works in the twenty-first century. The coming era will be less forgiving of hubris and unpreparedness than were the circumstances of the recent past. 21/
@ForeignAffairs Doing so will require painful tradeoffs and sacrifices. It will mean relinquishing old dreams of unfettered military dominance and ill-suited weapons platforms and asking greater material contributions of U.S. allies. It will also mean sharpening the U.S. technological edge. 22/
@ForeignAffairs Returning to somnolent complacency of years past—when US assumed the best intentions of its rivals, maintained economic policies that undercut its national security, & masked dangerous shortcomings among its allies in the name of superficial political unity—is not an option. 23/
@ForeignAffairs Neither is withdrawing in the hopes of sitting out geopolitical competition altogether. As in the past, the United States can guarantee its own security and prosperity as a free society only if it ensures favorable balances of power where they matter most 24/
@ForeignAffairs & systematically prepares its society, economy, and allies for a protracted competition against large, capable, and determined rivals that threaten that aim. END/

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More from @ElbridgeColby

Aug 10
In this piece for @ForeignAffairs, I point to what seems to be a yawning gap between Washington's rhetoric on China and Taiwan - and the lagging reality. I examine what DC has said - much of it good - and then what the US is doing.

It doesn't add up. 1/

foreignaffairs.com/united-states/…
The Biden Administration has *said* many good things about China and Taiwan. Basically, it has said that China is the top priority for defense planning, Taiwan is the pacing scenario, and that the US pursues a strategy of denial. (I'll post key links at the end of the thread.) 2/
At the same time, intelligence leaders are signaling that the threat to Taiwan is "acute," that China is resolved to resolve the issue, and that Beijing is likely to use overwhelming force if it does act. The tune has decidedly changed since Phil Davidson's 2021 testimony. 3/
Read 44 tweets
Aug 3
I'm very sympathetic to those who don't want to fight to defend Taiwan. I'm against the forever wars and generally am skeptical about the use of our military.

But defending Taiwan makes sense *for Americans' concrete economic interests, freedoms, and sovereignty*.

Why? 👇 1/
First and foremost, China's ambitions are almost certainly not limited to Taiwan. Rather, they appear to seek first hegemony over Asia and global preeminence from there. How do we know? Well, they say it pretty openly now. Plus they're building a power projection military. 2/
If China achieves this goal, you can be *very confident* that Americans' prosperity and liberties will suffer. Why? China will have a controlling influence over more than 50% of global GDP. It will be the gatekeeper and the center of the global economy. 3/
Read 15 tweets
Jul 13
I'm more and more alarmed about a PRC invasion of Taiwan. Why? It's certainly not because I have any special insight into Xi Jinping's decisionmaking. Nor is it because I have some special insight into the Chinese military. To the contrary, others know more than I about both! 1/
Rather, it's because we're heading to a situation in which it might *be rational* for China to invade Taiwan. Like: It might make instrumental sense for them to do it. *That* really worries me. 2/
Why? Well, they're clearly not going to hoodwink the Taiwanese people into giving up through "political warfare" or what not. Taiwan can see what happened to Hong Kong. And the younger generation is more anti-mainland than the older one: Taiwan is moving away from unification. 3/
Read 12 tweets
Jul 13
"The USAF officer responsible for contracting for the service has issued a stark warning about China’s rapid gains in defense acquisition, with the result its military is now getting its hands on new equipment “five to six times” faster than the US." 1/

thedrive.com/the-war-zone/c…
"China increasingly appears to be jockeying for the lead in the development of all kinds of high-end military technologies as part of its broader drive to become a preeminent strategic power." 2/
"The Chinese are also operating far more efficiently. 'In purchasing power parity, they spend about one dollar to our 20 dollars to get the same capability. We are going to lose if we can’t figure out how to drop the cost and increase the speed in our defense supply chains.'" 3/
Read 6 tweets
Jul 13
🎯
"Yet, while Kishida is set to make big boosts to defense spending, it will take years for Japan to reach even 2%-of-GDP annual defense allotments. Significantly more than that will be necessary to deter China and provide credible support to the U.S. military in any war..." 1/
"Japan particularly needs more longer-range missiles, submarines, and a higher level of readiness on the part of its naval and air forces." 2/
"Alongside Australia, Japan recognizes that a Chinese invasion of Taiwan, which most U.S. military and intelligence officers believe is likely to occur by 2030, would dramatically undermine its own security and sovereignty. Were China to conquer Taiwan, its forces..." 3/
Read 4 tweets
Jul 11
It's a consistent position to argue for doubling defense spending. But now you should reckon with reality: that's not happening. And adapt your strategy.

"The reality is that even the $45 billion won’t change the trajectory of managed military decline."

wsj.com/articles/congr…
Personally I think we should make hard choices within the defense budget and get our allies to spend more like what we spend before we saddle the American people with double the defense spending burden. But I recognize that you can think it's better for Americans to spend 7%. 2/
But what I don't think should fly is saying that we should *act* like we're spending 7% on defense and just - year after year - blithely ignoring that we're not. The logical consequence of saying we're not spending enough is that we need to change our strategy. 3/
Read 4 tweets

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