Top US general warns of looming war with China
Published on: Sunday, January 29, 2023
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Top US general warns of looming war with China
Minihan (inset) said Taiwan elections next year would offer Xi an excuse for military aggression, while the US would be distracted by its own contest for the White House.
WASHINGTON: A four-star US Air Force general has warned of a conflict with China as early as 2025 — most likely over Taiwan—and urged his commanders to push their units to achieve maximum operational battle readiness this year.

In an internal memorandum that first emerged on social media on Friday, and was later confirmed as genuine by the Pentagon, the head of the Air Mobility Command, General Mike Minihan, said the main goal should be to deter “and, if required, defeat” China.

“I hope I am wrong. My gut tells me we will fight in 2025,” Minihan said.

Laying out his reasoning, Minihan said Taiwan’s presidential elections next year would offer Chinese President Xi Jinping an excuse for military aggression, while the United States would be distracted by its own contest for the White House.

“Xi’s team, reason, and opportunity are all aligned for 2025,” he added.

The memorandum also calls on all Mobile Command personnel to go to the firing range, “fire a clip” into a target and “aim for the head.”

A Pentagon spokesperson responded to an AFP email query about the memo saying, “Yes, it’s factual that he sent that out.”

Senior US officials have said in recent months that China appears to be speeding up its timeframe to seize control of Taiwan, a self-governing democracy claimed by Beijing. China staged major military exercises in August last year, seen as a trial run for an invasion after a defiant visit of solidarity to Taipei by then House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who at the time was second in line to the White House.

The United States switched recognition from Taipei to Beijing in 1979 but sells weapons to Taiwan for its self-defence.

A growing number of US lawmakers have called for ramping up assistance, including sending direct military aid to Taiwan, saying that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine underscores the need for early preparation. 

Drawing up his vision of what war may look like in the coming years, he envisioned a grim conflict that would be just as a dramatic shift from “sailing to steam ships”.

He said that artificial intelligence (AI) being used in war is the “most profound change ever in human history”.

“You’ll be fighting with robotic tanks and ships and airplanes,” the general predicted in his speech.

“We’ve witnessed a revolution in lethality and precision munitions.

“What was once the exclusive province of the United States military is now available to most nation states with the money will to acquire them.”

He warned: “Whatever overmatch we the United States enjoyed militarily for the last 70 years is closing quickly.

“And the United States will be, in fact, we already are challenged in every domain of warfare in space and cyber, maritime air and, of course, land.”

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has seen the shadow of Cold War-esque tensions fall over Europe and beyond, with fears Vladimir Putin’s invasion could spark World War 3.

And tensions have ratcheted up to terrifying levels as Russia has issued barbed nuclear threats to the West.

It has contributed to nations such as Sweden and Finland now seeking to join NATO for the first time as they fear Putin’s increasingly erratic and paranoid actions.

And meanwhile, the other challenge comes from China - who continues to surge and square up to the West over issues like the South China Sea.

Beijing has been one of the world’s fastest growing powers and has one of the world’s largest militaries.

Communist leader Xi Jinping’s nation is currently predicted to overtake the US economy by 2030.

And China shares a chillingly close alliance with Putin’s belligerent Russia.

US-born financier and political activist Bill Browder warned the West is only waking up to the fact Putin is a “monster” 22 years too late.

“This war doesn’t end,” he said. “The war didn’t start on February 24, it started back in 2014 when Putin seized the Ukrainian territory of Crimea.” 

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