Chinese naval vessels led by the aircraft carrier Liaoning participate in a military exercise in the Western Pacific in April 2018. REUTERS
Hal Brands, Japan times/Bloomberg: U.S. plan to fight China and Russia is too good to be true
WASHINGTON – An American war against China or Russia would be truly awful. Even if the United States won — no sure thing — it could well suffer costs and casualties that would make the toll of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars seem minor by comparison. So is there a way the U.S. could stymie a Chinese attack in the Pacific, or a Russian land-grab in Eastern Europe, without having to defeat enemy forces head-on? This is the motivating question behind the idea of “horizontal escalation.”
Horizontal escalation is a strategic concept that relies on attacking an adversary’s weaknesses outside the theater where the fighting started, so as to avoid confronting its strengths within that theater. It is an alluring idea that has won support from some key national security professionals. Unfortunately, it probably won’t work.
Horizontal escalation is a response to a genuinely difficult problem: the immense challenges associated with directly defeating Chinese or Russian aggression.
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WNU Editor: This is a good review on how “horizontal escalation” will be applied by the U.S. in any war against Russia or China. In short …. horizontal escalation is a strategic concept that relies on attacking China’s or Russia’s weaknesses outside the theater where the fighting started. In the case of Russia, it will be to attack Russian forces in places like Syria while imposing an all out trade and financial embargo. In the case of a Chinese attack in the Pacific, a naval blockade and complete financial/economic sanctions. The problem with this concept is that both countries will respond, and they will do so by attacking U.S. forces outside of the theatre where the fighting started, as well as attacking U.S. allies. And when that happens, I know in the case of Russia it will only be a short period of time before strategic nuclear weapons are used, and in the case of China, I can easily foresee the use of tactical weapons being used within a week.