Joe Biden says the US is 'back and ready to lead the world'
General McChrystal served under President Barack Obama and then-Vice President Biden until 2010, where he was fired over a Rolling Stone article mocking the now-President-elect. The retired General warned China had made huge pushes towards increasing military capacity, and said the US needs to counter their efforts to prevent an attack on Taiwan. This year has seen Chinese troops carry out invasion drills in the South China Sea in preparation of an invasion of Taiwan, in addition to aerial drills above the island nation. Under outgoing President Donald Trump, Taiwan and the US have forge closer ties in an effort to stave off Chinese military efforts with multi-billion dollar arms deals and partnerships.
The former commander of US and NATO forces in Afghanistan spoke to news outlet Axios about the rising threat of Chinese attacks on Taiwan.
General McChrystal said the People’s Liberation Army’s (PLA) “military capacity has risen much faster than people appreciate”, and urged the President-Elect to not take the threat of a China war lightly.
He added: “My concern would be, we wake up one morning and China has just done a fait accompli. They have just showered Taiwan with rockets.”
The retired General cited China’s development of hypersonic missiles as a key change in their military capabilities, and said it was “high time” for a response from Washington to the threat.
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General McChrystal also questioned whether the US is prepared fight for Taiwan in a conflict with China.
He said the answer to whether the US should fight with Taiwan is for America to invest into its own forces and regional alliances, and to think like an Asian power.
But when asked in the interview whether the US had time to build alliances in the Indo-Pacific against China, he warned it may be too late to effectively deter Beijing from military aggression.
He added: “I think that, if the ship hasn’t sailed, it’s certainly got up steam and thinking about sailing.”
Midway through November, General McChrystal and other experts briefed Mr Biden on national security and foreign relations as he prepares to take office on January 20, as the Democrat debates whether to continue Trump-era policies on China.
President Trump has escalated tensions with China this year over a variety of issues including the coronavirus pandemic and Beijing’s military operations in the South China Sea.
This year alone, Mr Trump’s administration has authorised the sale of $4.981 billion worth of weapons to Taiwan, which has enraged Beijing.
China retaliated to the arms deal with sanctions on American arms manufacturers involved in the agreements, and officials have regularly accused Washington of having a “new Cold War” mentality.
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It comes as other US officials have sounded the alarm over China becoming the “greatest threat” to the US.
John Ratcliffe, US Director of National Intelligence, wrote in the Wall Street Journal: “Beijing intends to dominate the US and the rest of the planet economically, militarily and technologically.”
Following the article, Senate Select Committee on Intelligence acting Chairman Marco Rubio, Republican, and Vice Chairman Mark Warner, Democrat, echoed the fears over China’s rise to power.
In a joint statement, they said: “This is our watershed moment and we must stand our ground.
“The United States must not and cannot accept Beijing’s quest to exert dominance, while dismissing international legal norms and committing egregious human rights abuses to further their goals.”
The retired official also said in his interview that Mr Biden was warned a nuclear-armed North Korea is still the biggest threat to the US.
He suggested any war to stop North Korea from developing nuclear warheads would be “very bloody” and instead said: “The best you can do is a little bit like the Cold War, is, manage this thing.
“I think there’s enough of a possibility that over time, probably 20 years, you manage this thing a little bit like the fall of the Soviet Union.”
General McChrystal also said “there’s no negotiating them away” from developing nuclear weapons, despite Mr Trump’s efforts to form diplomatic relations with Kim Jong-un.
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