A senior U.S. military intelligence official is concerned that some key U.S. policymakers and members of Congress are not paying enough attention to the Chinese threat.
Rear Adm. Michael Studeman, chief of intelligence for U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, made the comments Wednesday (July 7, 2021) during an online discussion hosted by the nonpartisan Intelligence and National Security Alliance.
He said, “I wonder how many people in Washington really recognize (the Chinese threat). Frankly, it’s hard to get them to focus on the fact that something could happen.”
Over the past few months, officials at U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, the Pentagon and U.S. intelligence agencies have continued to sound the alarm about the threats posed by a rising China, including China’s growing military might and what officials say are Beijing’s bold behavior and arrogant spying in cyberspace.
Stallman said part of the reason these threats are difficult to take seriously by U.S. policymakers is that many Americans see little chance of war, but countries like China see war as a natural part of their struggle. Under Xi’s leadership, he said, Beijing is poised to make every effort to surpass the United States and become a world-class power.
“Xi is a very Machiavellian man who will do whatever it takes to achieve his goals,” Stallman said. “The Chinese dream has to be achieved at all costs.”
This is not the first time Stallman has warned about the rise of China.
In March, while attending an online conference, he said the world has already had a taste of what it is like to be led by China. He predicted that Chinese military leaders will soon have the ability to send their troops anywhere they believe their interests are threatened.
Stallman was not the only one to sound the alarm about the Chinese threat.
Admiral Davidson, then commander of the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command and now retired, told Congress earlier this year that China appears to be accelerating the implementation of their ambition to replace the United States on the world stage.
Biden administration officials have insisted that they are taking the Chinese threat seriously.
Defense Secretary Austin has repeatedly called China a step-by-step challenge. Director of National Intelligence Haynes said the intelligence community sees China as an unprecedented priority.
At least one of the latest reports shows the concerns about China are well-founded.
U.S. researchers said last week that new satellite imagery shows China is rapidly adding intercontinental ballistic missile silos in Gansu province.
The report appears to be consistent with an assessment made by U.S. intelligence earlier this year that China’s nuclear forces have increased their readiness.
Commenting on the report, State Department spokesman Price said, “This is worrisome and raises questions about China’s intentions. “
He said, “The report and other new developments suggest that China’s nuclear arsenal will expand more rapidly, perhaps beyond what has been previously predicted.”
Despite such dangerous and powerful Chinese military capabilities, some U.S. military officials believe fears of imminent Chinese military action, such as a forceful violation of Taiwan, are exaggerated.
Adm. Miller, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, told Congress last month that “China is still a long way from developing the actual military power needed to take all of Taiwan by force, should it want to attack it by force. “
He said, “I don’t think they have strong intentions of committing Taiwan by force at this point, but unifying Taiwan is indeed a core Chinese interest.”
Some researchers also suggest that China is facing some major obstacles on its path to world domination.”
A recent RAND Corporation report concluded that “the more China uses its influence to impose its aims in other countries, the stronger the backlash it will encounter and the more those countries will resist its influence.”
A Pew Research Center survey last month showed that Beijing’s efforts to win popular support in developed economies are failing. Many expressed concern about the way Beijing treats individual freedoms.
“Some of their tactics are really turning people’s stomachs in some countries,” but he doubts Beijing will change its approach in Hong Kong and some other places as a result, said Stallman, chief of the intelligence branch of the Indo-Pacific Command.
Stallman said China’s repression in Hong Kong could be a lot more powerful, “and that foreshadows what it would be like for China to actually control some of these other places.”