The U.S. must prepare for multiple simultaneous wars with Russia and China, according to a bipartisan congressional panel.
In the report from the Congressional Commission on the Strategic Posture of the United States, the panel states that the risk of conflict between the U.S., China, and Russia is increasing.
“It is an existential challenge for which the United States is ill-prepared, unless its leaders make decisions now to adjust the U.S. strategic posture,” the report states.
The commission’s assessments were made following a year-long review of threats, along with America’s strategy and capabilities to address those threats. Weighing these factors, the bipartisan panel concluded that the U.S.-led international order and the values it upholds are at risk from China and Russia, while the “risk of military conflict with those major powers has grown and carries the potential for nuclear war.”
According to the report, the vision of a world without nuclear weapons is more improbable now than ever.
“Today the United States is on the cusp of having not one, but two nuclear peer adversaries, each with ambitions to change the international status quo, by force, if necessary: a situation which the United States did not anticipate and for which it is not prepared,” the report states. “While the risk of a major nuclear conflict remains low, the risk of military conflict with either or both Russia and China, while not inevitable, has grown, and with it the risk of nuclear use, possibly against the U.S. homeland.”
Urgent action is needed, says the report, to respond to new threats posed by Russia and China, which “seek to upend U.S. leadership and further their authoritarian agendas.”
An unnamed senior official involved with the report would not say whether the panel’s intelligence briefings showed direct cooperation between the Chinese and Russians.
“We worry … there may be ultimate coordination between them in some way, which gets us to this two-war construct,” the official told Reuters.
The congressional panel’s report was published around the same time separate reporting suggested that China was attempting to draw the U.S. into four separate wars in order to strain America’s resources and attention, diluting a U.S. military response should China decide to invade Taiwan.
Chinese and Russian officials have made investments in nuclear and non-nuclear capabilities, which gives them the ability to threaten the U.S. homeland, critical U.S. assets and America’s ability to project power. The two nations are also continuing to develop systems capable of defeating and evading not just current U.S. missile defense capabilities, but also planned future missile defense systems.
Unless this is directly addressed, the report warns, it raises the risk of nuclear deterrence failure.