In 1941, the US military largely ignored the threat Japan posed, but the United States has wisely not turned a blind eye toward China in recent years, said veteran defense reporter and Pacific security expert Richard Halloran. The United States has repeatedly articulated two messages to the Chinese leadership, noted Halloran at AFA’s Global Warfare Symposium last week in Los Angeles. First, it has attempted to reassure China that “we are not trying to contain you,” explained Halloran. Second, it has also made clear that it has strong economic and military ties to the Western Pacific and is not going to back down or go away, he said. Despite this, Chinese ignorance of the United States is “monumental,” stated Halloran. One favorite trope in China is that the United States is in decline, he noted. To counter this, the United States needs to be even more blunt with China, and consider additional military actions along the lines of when the Bush Administration famously sailed the Kitty Hawk carrier battle group down the center of the Taiwan Strait in December 2007, he said. This is the type of message China understands, Halloran told the symposium audience Nov. 17.
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.