While President Joe Biden’s new woke Pentagon pursues maternity flight suits, the man he’s nominated to lead the U.S. Navy’s Indo-Pacific Command warned that China’s desire to annex Taiwan is “their number one priority.”
Adm. John Aquilino, currently head of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, said that a potential invasion by China was a “critical concern” during his Tuesday confirmation hearing, according to the Daily Caller.
Aquilino’s comments came during an exchange with GOP Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton, who asked about China’s designs on the island nation.
“Why would Beijing so desire to have Taiwan annexed to the mainland, and how would it complicate your military planning if Beijing did invade and annex Taiwan?” Cotton asked.
“As you know, they view it as their number one priority,” Aquilino said. “The rejuvenation of the Chinese Communist Party is at stake, very critical, as they look at the problem.”
The admiral added that “from a military standpoint, the strategic location of where it is, as it applies to the potential impact of two-thirds of the world’s trade” was part of China’s designs on the island.
Later, Cotton asked Aquilino about the remarks of Adm. Philip Davidson, current head of the Indo-Pacific Command, when Davidson testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee earlier this month.
“Taiwan is clearly one of their ambitions. … And I think the threat is manifest during this decade, in fact, in the next six years,” Davidson told the committee, according to NBC News.
It was all part of China’s plan to assume leadership from the United States in the global order by 2050, Davidson said.
“I worry that they’re accelerating their ambitions to supplant the United States and our leadership role in the rules-based international order,” he said.
“They’ve long said that they want to do that by 2050. I’m worried about them moving that target closer.”
While Aquilino didn’t necessarily endorse those numbers — an invasion of Taiwan could happen anywhere “from today to 2045,” he said — the problem could be much direr, in his view.
“My opinion is this problem is much closer to us than most think and we have to take this on,” he said.
Cotton closed his questioning by noting that Russia invaded Crimea just days after the Winter Olympics ended in 2014 — either a signal that bad actors could invade at any moment or a reminder that the 2022 Winter Olympics are being held in Beijing.
This wasn’t the only time Aquilino addressed Taiwan during the hearing.
“Aquilino later called for a nearly $5 billion fund known as the Pacific Deterrence Initiative (PDI) to be instituted ‘in the near term and with urgency,'” the Daily Caller reported.
“The U.S. Indo-Pacific Command submitted a budget for PDI to Congress in early March that included $27 billion in proposed spending through 2027. The initiative aims to bolster U.S. military capabilities in the Pacific with the ultimate aim of deterring Chinese aggression, particularly an invasion of Taiwan.”
According to The Guardian, Aquilino said the money was needed “in the near term and with urgency.”
“The Chinese Communist Party has generated some capabilities in the region that are designed to keep us out,” Aquilino said. “The most dangerous concern is that of a military force against Taiwan.”
This is all important enough in isolation, but consider Biden’s Pentagon so far.
Yes, perhaps its arrant wokeness is just a phase, a way of making clear what the culture will be during the Biden administration.
A focus on maternity flight suits it is. A “fixation on race and gender in high-profile appointments,” as Victor Davis Hanson noted. Changing how a gender-neutral fitness test was scored because too many women were failing. Once the messaging is out there, however, it’ll get down to the serious business of doing what the Pentagon does and planning to fight China.
However, there are two things to note about the first few weeks of the Biden Pentagon.
The first is that when a pundit attacked Pentagon members on this wokeness initiative as it relates to China — Tucker Carlson, to be exact — the U.S. military conducted a full frontal public relations assault on him. This was a private citizen expressing his opinion and you had Pentagon spokesman John Kirby ranting at a media briefing about Carlson, the Pentagon putting out a news release about how Kirby had “smite[d]” Carlson and even a senior uniformed officer ranting about Carlson on Twitter. These are their priorities, apparently.
Second, a few days before those in the Pentagon were busy chewing out a private citizen for thinking they’d gone too woke, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman responded obliquely to Davidson’s remark that an invasion of Taiwan might happen within six years.
“China’s position on the Taiwan question is consistent and clear. There is but one China in the world, and Taiwan is an inalienable part of China’s territory,” Zhao Lijian said, according to NBC. Remember, China doesn’t view Taiwan as an independent nation.
For years, the so-called “One China” policy was nothing but bluster; if Beijing tried to invade Taiwan, the adverse consequences were simply too great to imagine. Under Xi Jinping’s assertive rule, that’s not the case anymore.
Our top military brass know it, as evinced by the testimony of Aquilino and Davidson. And what’s Biden doing about it, as China tests his administration? Worrying about Tucker Carlson. Some priorities those are.
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