The Pentagon on Thursday, six months late, unveiled a twenty-page unclassified version of its National Defense Strategy document. A longer version exists; it is covered by the seal of secrecy. This document is important, since it lists the threats that Washington must face.
China in the sights
In 2018, the previous Strategy pointed to the danger posed by China. This remains the number one enemy since the pivot to Asia initiated by Democratic President Barack Obama. She “presents the most fundamental and systemic challenge” for Washington. According to the new Strategy, “The deepest and most serious danger to the national security of the United States is China’s coercive and increasingly aggressive efforts to reshape the Indo-Pacific region and the international system in accordance with its interests and its authoritarian preferences. The text alludes to the territories supported by the United States in its policy of containment of Beijing: “China’s increasingly provocative rhetoric and coercive activities against Taiwan are destabilizing, risk causing misunderstandings, and threaten peace in the Taiwan Strait.” Also you have to look “to prevent Chinese domination of key regions while protecting American territory and strengthening a stable and open international system”.
“A conflict with China is neither inevitable nor desirable”
In recent years, the United States has, in the face of this “challenge”, increased the manpower of its fleet in the Pacific, in the face of the rise in power of the Chinese navy. On Wednesday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken expressed concern that Beijing wanted “accelerate the process by which he would pursue reunification” between Taiwan and mainland China, as the 20th Congress of the Communist Party of China reaffirmed the goal of one China. Meanwhile, Washington’s main regional ally, Japan, is considering including Taiwan in its own National Defense Strategy. A development denounced Wednesday by the Chinese Ministry of National Defense. However, the American document continues to estimate that a “conflict with China is neither inevitable nor desirable”.
Russia, an “acute threat”
In the midst of the war in Ukraine, the Washington document presents Russia, which invaded its neighbor on February 24, as a “acute threat” because it questions “independence from its neighbours”. In this regard, the document welcomes the fact that “actions that intended to fracture the North Atlantic Treaty Organization failed”. However, the weakness of Moscow makes the US Ministry of Defense say that “unlike China, Russia does not pose a systemic threat to the United States in the long term.” But she is “the main rival of the United States with the most diverse and capable nuclear forces”.
North Korea boosts its nuclear capabilities
The East Asian country is continuing its work to improve “its nuclear and missile capability”. This can endanger American territory, but also the military forces deployed by Washington in Japan or South Korea. On Thursday, a Nuclear Posture document was also published and stipulates that in the event of the use of nuclear weapons by Pyongyang, it would be the “end of the Kim regime”. This Friday, the South Korean army announced that it had “detected” than Pyongyang for having fired two ballistic missiles
The nuclear option on the table
Like Russian doctrine, the American Nuclear Posture provides for the use of atomic force to “to deter any form of strategic attack”; that is, the A-bomb can be used not only to respond to a nuclear attack, but also in the event “very important attacks of a strategic nature, with the use of non-nuclear means” that would threaten the United States or its allies, a Defense Ministry official warned the press.