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November 7, 2022 Special Dispatch No. 10303

Fudan University Professor Zhang Jiadong On United States’ 2022 National Defense Strategy: U.S. Is Trying To Impose Its China Strategy On The World, Aims To Prevent China From Achieving Superiority In Key Fields

November 7, 2022
China | Special Dispatch No. 10303

On November 1, 2022, the China Military outlet, which is backed by the Chinese People's Liberation Army, published an article titled "U.S.' New National Defense Strategy Report Sends Multiple Messages", written by Zhang Jiadong, a professor at Fudan University's Center for American Studies.

The article is about the United States' 2022 National Defense Strategy, which was published on October 27, 2022, along with the 2022 Nuclear Posture Review and the 2022 Missile Defense Review.

The article says that the Strategies show that the United States views China as its "arch strategic rival" and is trying to "impose" its China policy on the rest of the world. It says that the United States' intentions to invest $130 billion in military technology such as hypersonic weapons, AI, and directed-energy weapons is proof of this. It also mentions America's efforts to "secure an absolute monopoly in the low-orbit satellite belt" in preparation for a possible "arms race in outer space".

In addition, it says that the U.S. is adopting the concept of "integrated deterrence", which involves the combined use of nuclear deterrence, military forces, economic pressure, diplomatic pressure, and allies. It also says that the U.S. does not expect a large-scale war in the short term, which may indicate that basic strategic mutual trust between China and the United States "hasn't completely vanished", but that the U.S. aims to stop China from obtaining superiority in all key fields.

The article was originally written in Chinese and was translated to English by the outlet. Below is the text of article:[1]

U.S. Is Trying To Impose Its China Strategy On The World

The U.S. Department of Defense released a new, unclassified version of National Defense Strategy on October 27. When the last such strategy report was released in 2018, the U.S. military was fighting the Afghan war, planning to turn from anti-terror efforts and combating extremists to the new direction of competition among traditional major countries. Now the 2022 strategy report is announcing the basic completion of that veering.

The 2022 NDS is focused on how to cope with China. Continuing the previous president Donald Trump's strategic attention to China, the new report views it as America's arch strategic rival and "our most consequential strategic competitor for the coming decades". The U.S. is trying to impose its own China strategy upon the international community. Beijing "is the only competitor out there with both the intent to reshape the international order and increasingly the power to do so," said U.S. Defense Secretary Austin.

The NDS makes it clear that the U.S. military will develop eyeing the characteristics and direction of China's military strengths. The DoD will spend an unprecedented U.S.$130 billion in 2023 on developing high-tech military equipment including hypersonic weapons, cyber devices, AI and direction energy weapons. It will also change the tactics, adjust the scientific research portfolio, and lure the participation of more private businesses and non-government technical personnel. The trend of space militarization is further highlighted in the report with a rising possibility of an arms race in outer space. The NDS claims that China and Russia are quickly developing hypersonic missile technologies, which give them greater abilities to hit down satellites or change their orbits. Therefore, the report, assuming a space war and aiming to ensure the reliability of American satellites when under attack, suggests the U.S. establish a low-orbit satellite belt to be able to better reconnoiter and detect hypersonic missiles. As a matter of fact, the U.S. has already secured an absolute monopoly in the low-orbit satellite belt because of the existence of Starlink, which has played a major role in the Russia-Ukraine conflict. If more countries join the U.S. in this direction, the sky will become more crowded and dangerous.

U.S. Is Adopting "Integrated Deterrence" Policies

The changes in this new report are worth equal attention.

First, Russia is placed one notch down in America's national defense strategy. Washington has constantly re-positioned Russia since Trump's term. On the one hand, it elevated Moscow to the first tier of strategic importance; on the other hand, it put it after China. When Biden came into office, Washington downgraded Russia's strategic level to be on a par with countries like Iran. The latest NDS report calls Russia's special military operations against Ukraine an acute threat, but as Austin said, Russia, in the long term, won't pose any systemic threat to the U.S., which seems to indicate that America no longer views Russia as a strategic rival.

Second, the U.S. has put forth the new concept of "integrated deterrence" as a way of giving more importance and urgency to nuclear deterrence. The new NDS states that "Russia's invasion of Ukraine underscores that nuclear dangers persist, and could grow, in an increasingly competitive and volatile geopolitical landscape". It also confirms that the U.S. will take decisive retaliatory measures against nuclear attacks to deter and stop potential nuclear conflicts. Through the new "integrated deterrence" concept, the superpower is trying to deter potential strategic rivals by forming and utilizing an extensive, comprehensive combination of military forces and economic and diplomatic pressure, as well as a strong network of allies, with nuclear deterrence remaining the cornerstone.

China-U.S. Mutual Trust Hasn't Completely Vanished, But America Aims To Prevent China From Achieving Superiority In Key Fields

To sum up, the new NDS shows that the U.S. military doesn't expect a large-scale war in the short term. Washington thinks the threat from Russia is acute but not substantial, whereas the challenge from China is substantial but not acute. Its China strategy remains one that doesn't avoid competition or confrontation but would make every effort to avoid a direct military conflict – that strategic bottom line persists in the China-U.S. relations, implying that basic strategic mutual trust between the two countries hasn't completely vanished.

Yet Washington also clarifies its goal with China – to stop China from obtaining superiority in any key area by all means, first and foremost the capability of high-tech innovation and of securing key industry chains.

 

[1] Eng.chinamil.com.cn/view/2022-11/01/content_10196081.htm, November 1, 2022.

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