Arthur J. Villasanta – Fourth Estate Contributor
Washington, DC, United States (4E) – The Pentagon last week issued two thinly veiled threats designed to warn China the United States will use military force against the communist state if it persists in militarizing the South China Sea and enforcing its hegemony over Asia.
The most serious warning was made by Admiral Harry Harris, former Commander, United States Indo-Pacific Command, who said the U.S. will stand-up against the threat of Chinese hegemony in Asia. Adm. Harris said the Western world is approaching an inflection point in history, when “freedom and justice hang in the balance.”
“China remains our biggest long-term challenge,” said Adm. Harris. He warned that only “focused involvement and engagement by the United States and our allies” can stop China from achieving “its dream of hegemony in Asia.” Harris will become America’s next ambassador to Australia.
His martial remarks were later reinforced by a more inflammatory statement from Lt. Gen. Kenneth McKenzie, Director of the Joint Chiefs of Staff who said the U.S. can easily destroy and overrun these widely dispersed islands.
“I would just tell you that the United States military has had a lot of experience in the Western Pacific taking down small islands,” said Gen. McKenzie. “So that’s a core competency of the U.S. military that we’ve done before; shouldn’t read anything more into that than a simple statement of historical fact.”
Gen. McKenzie also said the United States is prepared for a war against China and North Korea, saying “we are prepared for both.”
“We take both threats seriously. Certainly, China has a much larger nuclear capability and you’ve got to take that into account, China has a much larger economic engine that you have to take into account so the threats are very different,” said Gen. McKenzie.
“When you consider North Korea, the first thing you look at is their capricious and unpredictable behavior spanning back several decades.”
His comments came amid growing tension in the South China Sea, as the U.S. increases the tempo of its FONOPS in response to China’s militarization of its artificial islands.
China has built a network of artificial islands and reefs in the South China Sea to support its unlawful claim to own 90% of the South China Sea. The U.S. said these Chinese bases are being steadily militarized with missiles and electronic warfare systems and aircraft.
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