Pentagon chief: US faces pivotal years in countering China



Pentagon chief: US faces pivotal years in countering China

By Tara CoppyesterdayADVERTISEMENT

SIMI VALLEY, Calif. (AP) — The U.S. is at a pivotal point with China and will need military strength to ensure that American values, not Beijing’s, set global norms in the 21st century, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said Saturday.

Austin’s speech at the Reagan National Defense Forum capped a week in which the Pentagon was squarely focused on China’s rise and what that might mean for America’s position in the world.

On Monday it released an annual China security report that warned Beijing would likely have 1,500 nuclear warheads by 2035, with no clarity on how China would seek to use them.

On Friday in a dramatic nighttime rollout, Austin was on hand as the public got its first glimpse of the military’s newest, highly classified nuclear stealth bomber, the B-21 Raider, which is being designed to best the quickly growing cyber, space and nuclear capabilities of Beijing.

China “is the only country with both the will and, increasingly, the power to reshape its region and the international order to suit its authoritarian preferences,” Austin said Saturday. “So let me be clear: We will not let that happen.”ADVERTISEMENT

The Pentagon is also concerned about Russia and remains committed to arming Ukraine while avoiding escalating that conflict into a U.S. war with Moscow, he said at the forum, held at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library.BUSINESSEXPLAINER: Can Ukraine pay for war without wrecking economy?Rail workers say deal won’t resolve quality-of-life concernsThousands protest in South Korea in support of truckersEXPLAINER: 5 key takeaways from the November jobs report

“We will not be dragged into Putin’s war,” Austin said.

“These next few years will set the terms of our competition with the People’s Republic of China. They will shape the future of security in Europe,” Austin said. “And they will determine whether our children and grandchildren inherit an open world of rules and rights — or whether they face emboldened autocrats who seek to dominate by force and fear.”

Still, between the two nuclear power threats, China remains the greater risk, Austin said.

To meet that rise, “we’re aligning our budget as never before to the China challenge,” Austin said. “In our imperfect world, deterrence does come through strength.”

The bomber is part of a major nuclear triad overhaul underway that the Congressional Budget Office has estimated will cost $1.2 trillion through 2046.

It includes the Raider serving as the backbone of the future air leg of the triad, but it also requires modernizing the nation’s silo-launched nuclear intercontinental ballistic missiles and its nuclear submarine fleet.ADVERTISEMENT

The Defense Department has the largest discretionary budget of all the federal agencies, and it may receive up to $847 billion in the 2023 budget if Congress passes the current funding bill before this legislative session ends.

However, defense advocates argue it is still not enough to modernize and keep up with China because much of that spending goes to military personnel. The CBO estimates that about one-quarter of the defense budget is spent on personnel costs such as salaries, health care and retirement accounts.Read More Antisemitic celebrities stoke fears of normalizing hateAt Shanghai vigil, bold shout for change preceded crackdownChina reports 2 new COVID deaths as some restrictions easedUS knocked out of World Cup, loses to the Netherlands 3-1Both sides see high stakes in gay rights Supreme Court caseNon-religious voters wield clout, tilt heavily DemocraticAt Shanghai vigil,bold shout forchange preceded crackdown FM: US, NATO directly involved in Ukraine conflictMOSCOW (AP) — Russia’s foreign minister accused the West on Thursday of becoming directly involved in the conflict in Ukraine by supplying the country with weapons and training its soldiers. Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov also said that Russian missile strikes on Ukrainian energy facilities and othe3 days agoAd ContentLuxurious 2 BHK Apartments @ ₹1.87 Cr.* Gurgaon | Gift vouchers worth 1L* on every bookingRERA approved project by Emaar India:PromotedGet QuoteHow To Earn Money After Quitting Your JobWizely:Promotedमहीने भर की ग्रोसरीज खरीदना अब है पहले से ज़्यादा किफायती।Swiggy Instamart:PromotedGet OfferOrban says Hungary will stick to veto of EU-Ukraine aid planBUDAPEST, Hungary (AP) — Hungary’s prime minister said Friday that he will continue to oppose a European Union plan to provide an 18-billion-euro ($19-billion) aid package to Ukraine in 2023, a position that promises sustained tensions as the bloc and the nationalist Hungarian government wrangle ove2 days ago



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