Where is the US-China rivalry in the Indo-Pacific heading? - ABDULLAH MURADOĞLU

Where is the US-China rivalry in the Indo-Pacific heading?

The Biden administration has set its sights and focused its military strategy on the Indo-Pacific region. This move is rooted in the view that China is the most serious competitor to the United States both militarily and economically. 

The recent outbreak of the Taiwan crisis has triggered discussions that the rivalry between these two global powers could lead to a military conflict. 

Biden has stated that the United States is ready to honor its commitment to protect Taiwan if China should attack the tiny island. 

In a responding statement, Beijing said that the U.S. must act in accordance with the "One China" principle, while warning not to give Taiwan any false hope.

For Beijing, Taiwan is a red line that must not be crossed when it comes to its ties with Washington. The possibility of conflict erupting between the two superpowers in the Indo-Pacific hinges on whether this line will be crossed by the Biden administration. 

When it comes to global defense spending, the U.S. ranks first, while China trails it in second place. U.S. hawks argue that China is hiding the real figures about its defense spending. This claim has always been used as a pretext to bloat the U.S. defense budget.

The competition between superpowers is also one for control over the most cutting-edge technology. A smear campaign was launched in the U.S. against China that claims Beijing has outstripped Washington in fields such as artificial intelligence, quantum computing, biotechnology, semiconductors and autonomous systems. 

According to U.S. hawks, China's success in these spheres is aimed at dethroning the United States from its dominant position on the global power stage.

Let us recall that the Pentagon Cyber Security Chief Nicolas Chaillan had resigned from his post last September. Chaillan argued in a statement to the Financial Times that his failure in technological breakthroughs had put the U.S. in danger. 

Arguing that China is getting ready to dominate the future of the world by controlling everything from the media to geopolitics, Chaillan said,  “We have no fighting chance against China in 15 to 20 years. Right now, it's already a done deal; it is already over in my opinion.”

According to another report by the Financial Times, China had tested a nuclear-capable hypersonic missile. 

According to Beijing, which denied the FT report, the test was about experimenting with technology designed to reduce the cost of using spacecraft. 

Following this test, conservative think-tank The Heritage Foundation, a pioneering group among Republicans, unveiled a comprehensive report evaluating U.S. military power. 

In the preface, it is emphasized that those who call for the reduction of defense expenditures in the U.S. are dead wrong. Accordingly, Washington’s biggest enemies are making great leaps to surpass the U.S.’s military capabilities. The report also goes on to state that America's greatest foes are both China and Russia.

As a matter of fact, the report states that China is the “most comprehensive threat” to the U.S., while Russia is a primary threat to “American interests” in Europe. 

The report also notes that the U.S. Marine Corps has only gained in strength since last year, while the Navy, Air Force and Space Force are “weak in the face of military threats.”

The report stresses that the U.S.’s nuclear capabilities are advanced, but warns that this dominance will wane if Washington does not quickly modernize. 

The overall weakness of Washington’s key military allies is also a complicating factor for the United States, according to the report.

The over 600-page report concluded that the U.S. military is "probably capable" of dealing with one major regional conflict, but clearly inadequately equipped to deal with two "almost simultaneous" clashes.

Michael Orlando, deputy director of the U.S. National Counterintelligence and Security Center, said at a briefing on Thursday that the U.S. cannot afford to lose ground against China on key topics such as artificial intelligence, quantum computing, biotechnology and semiconductors. 

Edward You, the national counterintelligence officer for emerging and disruptive technologies, drew attention to China's investments in pharmaceuticals and biotechnologies in the U.S. and Europe. He warned that China's advances in data gathering and technology would make Washington completely dependent on Beijing when it comes to healthcare.

In a nutshell, technology is a big part of the geo-economic war between the two superpowers. This recent superpower competition, meanwhile, seems to have only fueled the raging arms race between Beijing and Washington.


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