A high-ranking retired general has warned that the U.S. underestimates China’s growing military capabilities and fears that time is running out to prevent a Chinese push against Taiwan.
A former commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, Stanley McChrystal was removed from his post by then-President Barack Obama in 2010 after he made derogatory remarks about government officials in a Rolling Stone interview.
McChrystal last month was one of a group of experts who briefed President-elect Joe Biden on international security issues. In an interview with Axios, McChrystal said that the US needed to invest more in its armed forces to stem the rise in China’s military capability in order to keep it from taking Taiwan.
“Their ability with missiles and whatnot has changed the dynamics significantly,” McChrystal said. China has developed hypersonic missiles known as “carrier killers” which, according to Beijing, can hit surface vessels such as aircraft carriers.
“China’s military capacity has grown much faster than people appreciate,” McChrystal said, “my concern would be that we wake up one morning and China has just created a fait accompli,” adding that “they have just showered Taiwan with missiles.
China will be a key foreign policy issue in Biden’s in-tray. This week, the United States-China Economic and Security Review Commission warned Congress that China’s military is expanding its capabilities to the point where it could be capable of waging widespread foreign wars by 2035.
In its report, it stated that the Chinese CCP considered the U.S. commitment to democratic principles a “fundamental obstacle to its foreign policy ambitions.
McChrystal said it is not too late to forge stronger regional alliances in Asia to confront China, and told the outlet: “I think if the ship hasn’t sailed yet, it has certainly steamed up and thought about sailing”.
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Despite his disagreement with Biden’s Afghanistan strategy, he was a vice-president when he was vice president,
McChrystal endorsed Biden for president, he told MSNBC: “You have to believe that at the end of the day your commander-in-chief is someone you can trust. And I can trust Joe Biden.”
McChrystal also told Axios that any conflict involving North Korea would end “very bloody” and that the U.S. might have to wait and see how it handles its nuclear ambitions.
“The best thing you can do, a bit like the Cold War, is to manage this thing,” he told Axios, adding, “I think there is enough of a possibility that over time, probably in 20 years’ time, you will manage this thing a bit like the fall of the Soviet Union.
Statista’s graph below provides a comparison between the Chinese and Taiwanese armed forces in 2018.