tv U.S.- China Economic Security Review Commission Panel 2 CSPAN September 10, 2019 8:24am-10:01am EDT
captioning performed by vitac our allies are taking huge heat for this and if we were to suddenly say you know what, we've decided to change our position on huawei to get a good trade deal, we would obviously undercut them but we would lose that fight in governments that have a national security impulse to work with us, like britain, but enormous commercial pressure to work with huawei. so, steadiness on this one is really, really critical. >> if i can just add two points, the first on linking security economics more broadly.
i agree with dr. green's assessment of why that might not be beneficial at this stage, but i think it largely, in my view, depends on who's in the white house. my primary concern about linking economics and security is -- it's my assessment that president trump prioritizes the economic issues with china over the security issues. for example, he has never brought up the south china sea with xi jingping. the last time i can see he even tweeted about it was before he was president. and so my concerns is that linkage would be done in order to gain an upper hand on the economics but in the end he would sacrifice some of our security goals. and so for that reason i would like to keep the two issues separate. and the allies, just to had, i do agree there's been a shift in the viewpoints in a lot of capitals, but i might have a slightly different assessment about why that happened that i think it's important for u.s. strategy moving forward. it seems to me that the allies and partners were awakened by political interference, the fact
that china and chinese behavior finally reached out and touched them and their countries and what was happening in home and because of democracy economic issues. it seems that they are -- besides the freedom of navigation operations and the brits and french do, there seems to be a very low appetite for security competition with china. and so while the allies and partners i think are much more on the u.s. side about pushing back on the political and economic side, i think there's still a lot of progress that can be made in getting them on the same page with the united states about being able to -- or being willing to take a few more risks or even upsetting or provoking china to reverse some of the negative security trends that we discussed. >> i'll add a couple of points appropos of what dr. green said. it seems to me given the chinese focus on comprehensive national power, that they will look to use all the instruments of
power. unlike us on occasions they will not say economics issues is just about the bottom line and profit. they will introduce that when they think it's appropriate and they can gain advantage. and so the point about the thaad battery to south korea and all of a sudden there's economic consequences for the republic of korea, the japanese seizing the fishing boat and all of a sudden you don't have rare earth metals going to japan. we used to do that. those of us who are old enough to remember the suez in 1956, president eisenhower stopped the british and french cold basically through economic means, not military means. so again i think the chinese take a more comprehensive view then we do. the other thing i will say about peer and near-peer is just it's very circumstantial. depending upon how you look at it, we could've considered north
vietnam a peer competitor back in the '60s and '70s. again, it depends on the the contingency, the circumstance, the nature of the conflict and you can only go so far i think with those kinds of terms. >> thank you. commissioner. >> i want to thank all three for being here. i got a few questions and i'm going to throw them out here and if we don't get through them, maybe i'll get to some of them in the second round. on page five of your testimony you have this very interesting thing about the five agors going into the south pacific. the last time it happened was in 1981 for the open ocean missile shot and they concentrated on
positions, is positions and things that you would use for ballistic missile submarines. tell me what you think they were doing out there. now, for the doctor, a specific one, you've written on defense and dr. green mentioned phase one. i want to take you into phase two and three. decisions about going to war, mobilization. if you were going to recommend when to deploy or employ a marine corps base operation or an army task force or japan southwest island defense, it seems to me if you reach phase four and you're in combat, it's a little late. if you do it in phase one, they become big targets. what would you call the sweet
point? and then for dr. green, this goes back to something d dr. krepinevich raised. have we locked ourselves into an unassignable position in refuses to take positions on the disputed islands and little reefs out in the south china sea? we're pretty clear on this in cacos, but if we're going to use legal means as dr. krepinevich suggests, have we hemmed ourselves in? >> thank you for your question. are you asking about the distant ocean research fleet? >> right. >> okay, so this is obviously just speculation, but i think china's main concern when they're talking about the south
china sea, if you talk to the chinese military, they say one of the number one reasons they have to have control because they need to get out. and in order to maintain a nuclear deterrent, their submarine force needs to get out of their bastions and be able to roam a bit farther. i've talked to some people, it seems that you have to get data on the density temperature that you mentioned, but that that is also a routine process. with climate change, those statistics actually change much more frequently over time so it's no longer the case that a country can gather data and go home and conduct that kind of warfare. it's to get information to
better track u.s. submarines and being able to have more routine presence farther from their shores. and so i think those are the main -- the main issue here is a strategic deterrent. if i can add one thing on the south china sea islands, to me the main issue is not actually the sovereigntity of the islands. it's that china's interpretation of what that rod gets you is control of all of the waterways. they manipulate in a way that they misinterpret the waters. the united states needs to take a position, this should be as important if not more important than a middle east peace process. we need to get all of the countries together, and if they come to an agreement and china is the only one on the outside that disagrees with that, i
think it will be more problematic. >> following the cold war, we shifted much more from a forward based posture to an expedition nar posture. that won't work in the western pacific. in the event of a crisis, you start flowing them, it's looked at as provocative. after a war starts, given chinese capabilities, makes it harder still to reinforce, which is one of the issues with japan's rethinking of its defense posture in these possibmobile land forces, we have to move to a more forward deploy posture
and typically when i mention that, people say, that's really hard for a lot of reasons. and it's going to involve a lot of diplomacy if we get it right. and the way i talk myself off the ledge on this issue is, you look back at the last time we called out another great power as a rival, it was 1947 we called out the soviet union. and the american people weren't even thinking about europe anymore. we had no allies in europe, no alliances. we had hardly any troops in europe. and what we took a long view and we began to say this is where we need to go and we had to make adjustments over time. we understood we were in competition with another hostile power. we realized it was going to be hard and we realized it was going to be a long-term effort.
and what really strikes me, if you look at -- if you look at where we ended up, the pentagon started something called air c battle a few years ago which ended up at a dead end. if you look at where we were in europe by the end of the cold war, there was something called air land battle. and our army and air force created that and the idea was there were waves of forces coming out of the soviet union and we thought we could stop the first wave but we needed capabilities to break up the second wave and we began to feel those capabilities and the navy got involved and said we need to keep these guys north so we can reinforce and we had the navy develop something called the outer air battle. and the marine corps said we can help in norway, they understood
what was going on. we had nothing like this in the western pacific. and how do you make decisions and set priorities in your defense program when you don't have a clue where you want to go. and that was one of the critiques of secretary mattis in the national defense strategy, he said we need to figure out how we're going to do our job here. and so again without that, and i wrote an opinion in the commission because i was exercised over that issue, without that it's very hard and our allies, i've had senior japanese officers come to me, until you tell us how you're going to do this, it's very difficult for us to make decisions about what aircraft to buy, what kind of ships to buy, where we should position them. very politely, get your head in the game and i think this gets back to what dr. green said.
and then secondly, i went up to the naval war college and there's a former japanese cno up there, and i went to visit him and you go in his office and he's got a table like this and a map of the indo-pacific and white stones and blackstones and he says, let's play. part of the conversation is, what's going on in the south china sea. it's not only building runways and this and that, it's about positional advantage. it's about playing position. if you look at my concept, you've lost strategic depth. by positioning those stones in the south china sea, we've lost the strategic depth we could have in the philippines. and when i ran defense department summer study a couple
years ago looking at these sorts of issues, i was told very pointedly, come back and tell us where you would like to be, not who our allies are, tell us where you need to be in this competition in the indo-pacific. >> if i could pick up on dr. krepinevich's excellent point, another way to think about this defense in depth problem we have, my first job in the pentagon 20 years ago now came right after the taiwan crisis, you'll remember well, larry, that two groups lolly gagged through the south china sea. china's strategy for a fight now is to use that as a bastion to outflank us and threaten guam and hawaii. that's the chessboard problem we face. you raise an interesting question and dr. krepinevich
answered very ably the limitations of the forces when we're into the higher end warfare fighting. that is why you are hearing more from japan and korea about surface to surface missiles which can deter without preempting a conflict by deploying. i think this is going to be an increasing important issue for the u.s. and its allies. it's one more reason why we have to work harder at jointness with our allies. we do not want independent surface to surface missile doctrines that can pull us into a fight we don't one. we are close, we are more joint and combined with japan and australia but not enough. if you look at the defense doctrine and emerging
capabilities and concepts of, you know, go down the line, canada, korea, japan, australia, new zealand, they all want capabilities. we have alliances. part of our cost position in china is sbe gaiting them more. if everybody wants capabilities, if they're all building, you know, flat tops and building amphibs, we ought to be more joint operations with them, more training, more equipment and great power competition results in war usually because of a deterioration around the periphery. what he happens around asia is important. if we have a combined capability to deal with natural disasters, civil wars, we get there before china. we lock that in. on your question about territory, my view is that international law matters.
it is a strong card for the united states. and it would be a mistake for us to suddenly change decades and decades of state department legal counsel position and say that we've now decided that these are japanese territory, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera it would undermine the credibility of our rule of law tool in diplomacy but it would also open up pandora's box. it would be a test of america's credibility everywhere in the world. i would not impose a cost on china by recognizing or changing our position legally on the question of territoriality. but we have to think more creatively about cost imposition to include sanctions on entities involved in artificial island building and to include things like more robust exercise
schedules and so forth. but i would not use the office of legal counsel to punish china by changing our well-considered positions -- >> what would they do to enforce it? >> i'm going to have to stop this discussion and move on. it was twice as long as we should have permitted. robin? >> i'm going to follow up on the point and i want to talk about what near-peer looks like. we've had a conversation in the staff trying to come up with metrics to define near-peer and i think we tend to get bogged down in very broad categories like weapon systems. so, dr. krepinevich, i was very interested in your testimony in terms of characterizing the importance of leadership decision-making, precision
strike regimes and the capacity to exercise disruptive shifts. if you were to define what the elements of near-peer would be, how would you think about that? you mentioned contingencies and the nature of conflict, but if you were looking at some kind of matrix, were the things that you mentioned in your testimony be included? i'm interested in each of your views on the whole construct of near-peer. part of the problem in making the case to have forward basing and to be more engaged with our allies is, certainly the public is not thinking in terms of what's the threat. so i think a matrix may contribute to that discussion. >> i haven't thought much about it, but that's never stopped me before. in terms of a near-peer competitor based on my testimony, i guess i would look
at several metrics, one would be with respect to china, our ability to preserve our vital interests in the indo-pacific and various contingencies against the chinese military threat, another metric might be -- i think they certainly merit near-peer and possibly peer competitor status, is they're the only other military that i can see that can plausibly conduct an advanced precision strike operations, the combination that works that we first demonstrated in primitive form back in the first gulf war. another -- i think another metric for peer competitor is where do they stand in terms of
being able to affect disruptive shifts in the military balance. and so we have seen them, you know, invest a lot in areas like ai and hyper sonics and so on, even the 5g networks that have the potential to really -- mostly in combination to affect significant shifts in the balance. that would be another. and my own sense is that if their development of anti-axis denial capabilities creates kind of a new normal in the western pacific where our freedom of offensive maneuver is very limited, then i think one possible attractive approach for us to gain advantage will be to move the competition either into those domains that favor the
offense, which is space, cyber space and the seabed or horizontal escalation, to begin to pick off a lot of their assets beyond the western pacific. those at first blush, those are the sorts of metrics i would be looking for to see how well the chinese can compete in these areas. if they can compete on a level with us, i would say they're a peer, if not, i would say they're a near-peer or maybe not quite in the game yet. >> either of the others? >> if i can add a few points, the first is, that we're not on a level playing field. this is the issue that i have, even if they're only near-peer, we can't even get to that point. some of the examples that were given, if we have land based missiles and we can attack chinese bases that are lobbing missiles at our bases, it's much easier for china to resupply those bases because they are just moving stuff around
mainland china. we're going to have one or two vectors of approach from waterways to get supplies into our bases to reconstitute them. in a lot of these scenarios, who's going to prevail in this conflict, it's harder for the united states than it is for china. even if we do take the competition to space or to cyber, china doesn't rely on space and cyber to conduct military operations the way that we do. if they lose comes through space, they have cables on the ground. one of the issues we think about is proportional -- if we're acting in a proportional manner in terms of effects but not outcomes. what is the affect it's having on our war-fighting effort and be able to respond in a way that has the same affect on them. one of my concerns about looking
at the peer competitor status is i fear we're focusing on the world-class military language and china moving more global because resolving or dealing with the competition in the region is too hard. and so, just in my personal experience, it seems that a lot of the discussions about this, maybe in defense, it's like, we can't deal with the south china sea, so maybe if we -- but we have an advantage in the indian ocean. so we'll hold djibouti at risk. they're not going to be distracted from what they consider their core interests. the competition really does have to stay local. for me, the near-peer competitor, two more things i'll say, does deterrence hold? and maybe globally, one thing we
have to think about is whether united states is a security partner of choice. as china is building relationships with countries in africa and central asia, they're becoming a more popular security partner of choice. and the u.s. strategy has been get the most strategic countries to be on our side. as the chinese would complain, we got first dibs on allies and we got the best ones. but in this world, numbers matter. and so even if we have four or five countries who are on our side about a certain issue in the u.n., if 150 of them are on china's side, then we lose. i think we also have to think about the weakest links that china exploits and we have to build up our numbers to be the security partner of choice beyond just our immediate allies. >> thank you.
>> this has been fascinating. thanks to the three of you. dr. krepinevich, you 25 years ago when we were both young whipper snappers, you wrote an article about the revolution of military affairs that really opened my eyes. and i'm grateful for that. i do have a question for you. you have evaluate that the balance of power in china's near seas currently favors the united states, although you have great concerns in the intermediate and longer terms. i'm sort of the opposite. i kind of think that we're in trouble now, but i'm kind of encouraged about trends because a lot of this messiness that you're concerned about is what happens in our system when everybody's eyes open and they go, we got to do something now and everybody is running in to do things.
and i think we'll figure that out. andy, okay, the chinese have a tremendous advantage in logistics. we have more force in the region. they're platforms currently are better suited to the kind of conflict that would likely occur and, you're right, we're way behind in terms of operational concepts. explain why you're saying that the balance now at least favors us and it's not a rhetorical question. is it isr, you think? is it their -- they're very concerned about the operational effectiveness in joint operations of the pla. so maybe you share that. and, doctor, you suggest an idea that intrigues me a lot. let's get together with all of people in the south china sea and negotiate an outcome and leave the chinese on the outside. i think that would be a really good outcome from a lot of different perspectives, but they're not just -- beijing is
not going to sit there while we're doing that. haven't they developed enough clout with those claimants to block any kind of a consensus approach. those are my two questions. >> thank you. i may have misspoke. i meant the military balance in the indo-pacific region, not within the first island chain. but the reasons for that, i think, right now in terms of our ability to escalate vertically, horizontally, i think we have advantages there that give the chinese pause. i think in terms -- they also, i think, view themselves as being far more economically vulnerable to certain things we might do. although, i must say, i don't think that issue has been looked at carefully enough especially when you start to look at global
markets, supply chains, what happens when you start to corrupt the global financial system and so on. i think they also have pause when they look at our equipment, our people, and our experience in war fighting. it's a very impressive capability. so for those reasons, i think the balance is generally favorable, my caveat was i would like to have jim baker do some serious assessments over there with access to all of the classified information they have and some of the best thinkers that they have. and, again, i'm -- it's interesting, i think if you look at the long-term competition, i'd rather be in our position than theirs. if you look at the trends right now, we're in a much better position to fix things than they are. and i like our stuff and our assets better than theirs, but we're not doing a very good job
of exploiting our advantages. >> that, i agree. i agree totally. doctor? >> thank you for that question. my greatest frustration is it seems we want to have the exact same policies but different outcome and is i understand there's a lot of desire not to be provocative. we need to brainstorm all of these different solutions and rule out which ones might be crazy and which ones aren't. >> i'm all for being provocative. i want it to work. >> let me go through what i'm thinking about here. my premise is this, the united states maintains a military advantage has to be our national priority. it does not seem not only that the american people, but even some scholars who focus on these issues understand the threat in terms of what can the united states military no longer accomplish if we can no longer operate in the first island chain. we're blind to a lot of what
china is doing, china can cocoerce the whole region. i will note that we just sat there for the past couple of years while they did the code of conduct. but i agree, we don't want to do it through -- if we have a separate initiative and we ask, what do they need? i get certain points, vietnam will never agree to this, they will never agree to that. i think we need to do some more brainstorming and then we can say, for example, this is a separate issue, if we need access in the southeast asia, if we wanted a base in vietnam, what would we have to give to get it? we could have a disagreement about whether that's worthwhile, i think it is.
i understand he thinks it's not. but the point is, we need to start brainstorming some of these ideas and think strategically, align ourselves with the soviet union during world war ii and stop saying we want to do is same exact stuff but have completely different outcomes. >> i think we've discovered the george kennone of this discussion. >> thank you. i was sitting here agreeing with 99% of what all three of you were saying. having spent the last 25 -- actually, since 1985 thinking about many of these same issues. i have a couple of questions on -- or observations that i want you to respond to to kind of move the discussion along in a little bit different direction. first, i certainly agree with
the doctor that this remains the center of the universe between the united states and china and east asia and the first island chain. the other thing that's being lost in the discussion about all of this is the growth of chinese capabilities and more importantly i think chinese tactics. maybe it's because i'm a sailor, you read white papers and other documents and they have a severe case of anxiety is what i would call it. they're worried that we're going to go out and -- as well they should be, i should say, and start -- in case of crisis or conflict, start interdicting their sea lines.
they're building a capability to be able to do a deal with that. today, of course, if the pla navy sails out and land-based air force and missile system, they're very vulnerable. but they're thinking longer term and i just wondered if any of you have given any thought to the longer term implications, perhaps, in the framework of a world-class navy, of a expeditionary group and what that might mean for the united states and around the world. it's often -- i've heard people say it, i've said it as a matter of fact, that the possession of nuclear weapons by the united states and china is going to keep the peace between the united states and china. do you all believe that?
>> don't all jump. >> i guess i'll go first. on both of these questions, i have maybe a less popular view than the conventional wisdom. i've written about the types of things that they are trying to develop and what they would have to develop specifically in terms of isr -- a whole bunch of stuff to be able to do it. i think their ambitions are limited in this area. they still think they can rely on political and economic tools to protect their interests aboard. the situation is one they're concerned about, they don't want the united states to do it to them. if they do have that control of the first island chain, then they do have the capabilities, for example, to blockade u.s. allies and partners, such that you kind of have a mutual
vulnerability that can protect them in a conflict. in the united states cuts off their access, then japan no longer can get anything if china is controlling those waters. i think that's kind of their strategy. it is much more limited. but i will say that my personal view, is if china was more ambitious than how i think they are, that's how the united states wins this competition. we're at a disadvantage because we have interesting all over the world and china can use their defense budget for a small area that is close to home. so if this were more like the cold war in which we were both -- not the home team, i think that's how the united states persevered. i'm not as concerned about their desire to be able to push out beyond sort of the indo-pacific. i do think they want to expand more into the indian ocean. if they had the mentality that they need to be present everywhere, i think that's how we win. nuclear weapons, i don't think they play a role in terms of deciding whether or not we have
a conflict. we don't have a mutually assured destruction relationship with china. it's not the same as the cold war. it's questionable as whether or not they have a second strike. they do train to launch on attack, not on warning. i believe in their no first use policy. i have a hard time believing that the united states would use nuclear weapons first. it creates a situation that allows for much more conventional conflict. i always say this is not like the cold war, i think there's a higher likelihood of a hot war and this might be generational, but the nuclear weapons don't play a big role in the thinking. >> you'd conduct limited war in between with east asia without escalation and nuclear weapons? >> yes. >> that's what the chinese say. i don't believe it. go ahead. >> well, interesting questions. in looking at the indo-pacific,
i agree with you, the chinese have slok anxiety. interesting to me, the last time we had a war between big navies was three quarters of a century ago. you think about time frame and how things change, i try to tell myself, you can't think about things in world war ii terms. but if i were to look at things in world war ii terms, i think one of the things we see -- i'll use the phrase, the oceans are shrinking to mediterranean size. the ability to scout over great distances from the land and you see what happened to admiral cunningham trying to stop the germans at crete, they lost a
lot of personnel. if you know where you have to be and the scouting area is reduced. i think it's a really interesting question for our navy in terms of how you'd operate in this new kind of environment. i think the navy today talks about itself being a maneuver force. but i think it's not just sailing and plowing through the water, it's maneuvering fires. one of our navy's great disadvantages is it hasn't sought opportunities to increase the range of its scouting capabilities. i'll put that out there. as far as the nuke issues go, i agree with dr. mastro. i think it's possible to have this kind of a war. i think there would be enormous incentives if a war broke out not to go to armageddon. do we know what an escalation ladder looks like now?
you push some hyper sonics in there, push some cyber in there, war going into space, blockades that -- if you had a really effective blockade, how effective would you want it to be? would you want to drive the chinese leadership into escalating because they feel the heat? how do you get out of that kind of war once you get into it? and it's not going to be on the battle ship "missouri." we just keep competing and you get some islands in the caribbean and i get canada, these sorts of things. but it's not going to be -- we get to occupy china or the united states. there is -- it's like being at the gap in the 1820s when you think about the strategic issues
that have to be addressed in this relationship between us and the chinese. >> so on the question of china's maritime ambitions, a japanese historian argued that japan's biggest mistake was trying to expand on the continent as an maritime power because among other things, it caused other maritime powers to counter balance against them. and he's argued that china is making the mistake of being a continental power like germany did, trying to expand in the maritime domain which is not its advantage. and they know this. the pla had a doctrine and it was briefed, and the state counselor for foreign affairs convinced others not to implement because he was worried it would cause counter balance among the maritime powers to do
what we are now seeing. i am told by people who follow chinese politics quite closely that what happened was in order to reform the pla, the pay back was the pla could now implement and particularly the pla navy, war fighting dreams that they had to say you're going to create counter balancing that will cost us. i agree with the earlier comments. i think it is an operational challenge for us to be sure. but the net effect, geopolitically, and historian wills say it's a stupid move. a nuclear deterrence, i'm quite certain that the pla would like to fight a limited war without risk of nuclear escalation, but i'm very doubtful in their heart of hearts they believe that are can go to the commission in a crisis and promise there won't be escalation.
any scenario in the east china sea or the south china sea that could hit bases, could trigger a nuclear retaliation. i think nuclear deterrence is quite important. we don't understand escalation and the limit -- or the connection between escalation and between cyber in space and nuclear and they're not linked. an elegant strategy by china could have the affect of increasing the nuclear escalation problem. i think we do have to worry about whether or not deterrence works the way we thought it did and how we manage it. but i think it's a very, very powerful to turn on the use of force by the chinese. >> thank you. you have something, andy? >> on deterrence, i think
there's a can of worms that needs to be opened here. there's been writings over the last 30 years over prospect theory. basically people are more likely to fight -- to hold onto something they have than to acts of aggression against something they don't have. so the people who won the noble prize for this said it depends on whether you feel like you're in a domain of loss or domain of gain. flash forward to the south china sea, and this is sort of a classic case of two sides that may think they're both in a domain of loss which makes them both risk tolerant. the chinese could come to see these as the new normal, we own these islands, they're ours. whereas the united states and
other countries so no. both are operating from a domain of loss in a crisis. our side feeling -- fearing the pull back and legitize something that we don't think the chinese have a legitimate right to and the fear of pulling back on their side. so advances in the cognitive sciences in a number of areas suggest that this notion that governments and people act rationally, according to cost benefit analysis and risks and so on, don't necessarily play out. and if we see a test case for this, it could come in the south china sea. >> thank you. carolyn? >> thanks very much. thank you to our panelists. it's always interesting to listen and learn from you. i have two sort of baskets of things. one is, we've been having a discussion and most of the discussion seems to be the
bigger strategic picture and the amphib weapons systems. but brief reference was made to the concerns in beijing about the operational effectiveness of the pla and i wonder if you could talk a little bit about how to factor that in, right? are they going to be able to make the improvements? the systemic improvements that they believe need to be made? is this an issue? that's one set of issues. the other one is, on this question of economic security and national security and the balance of that, i think we have in the past really talked about economic security sort of from the u.s. domestic perspective, if you want to have a strong security you need to have a strong economy. and we have had differences here about how you link those two things together. i think how china has
demonstrated its willingness to use tools for national security purposes has shifted this. and dr. mastro, when you were talking about weaknesses, you were talking about countries that have moved into the chinese orbit. i would like to broaden that to the economic interests in a number of countries that are our allies so we've got influence operations but the business communities in these countries are enormously important. australia's continued economic growth has been because of the -- its trade with china. how do we factor those in? there's going to be public opposition to some of these positions that are being taken because there are people's monetary interests at stake. >> let me start off on the second question, if i may.
the increase of growth in the japanese, korean, australian economies is linked to china, that's clear. but i think people sometimes -- i'm not suggesting you're saying this, but sometimes in the commentary, people mistake flow and stock and mistake in trade, yes, most of our key allies trade more with china than they do with us. but first of all that is supply chains, it's not bilateral trade. international financial flows are global not regional. there are many, many other -- much, much deeper economic interests that bond these countries to the u.s. so i don't
think our alliances are as vulnerable to economic pressure as one might think and the chinese effort to cut off australian coal to punish them for huawei didn't work. the labor party aligned with the coalition on taking a firm stand with china because these are countries that are proud of their sovereignty and democracy. i spent most of august in mongolia. beijing would love for mongolia to become a belt and road member. they won't do it because they've seen what happened with sri lanka. they won't sell their democracy for money. we have a better playing field than one might think. and for us, the key is a couple things, transparency, we need to
get the story out about chinese economic coercion through all sorts of means, but in particular, just think tanks, media, congressional delegations, act and efforts to provide financing alternatives, we'll not outpace the chinese, but we're a much more attractive alternative. third, frankly, we need a trade strategy. i don't -- we can set aside whether or not it goes back to tpp. we need something to demonstrate that we're in the rule making game in asia with our ally and partners. given all those things and the attractiveness as the u.s. for foreign investment, we have a much stronger hand to play in this regard than what appears on the surface. you'll hear it from business leaders, more so in japan and china, but also in australia as
well. >> just an observation, when we were in singapore, the concern that was being expressed is that the manifestation of the chinese economic relationship with different countries, they see a trade agood goods and services and that works against us in the sense that people don't see necessarily the strength or value of the economic relationship with the u.s. doctor? >> just to add, i agree with everything dr. green just said. to start the economic interest, i think there's still part of the u.s. strategic community that thinks being a partner of choice is going to be enough. we have to be -- have to have security plus. right? we can't compete with the chinese economic machine in the region. a lot of countries won't benefit more. in addition tochu economics, wh
i think we have to have a better policy to strengthen that area, we bring these other things to the table. to the point of messaging, my biggest frustration is that china has the message, which i hear a lot from other countries, they're just like us. that's what the chinese are trying to do, create moral equivalencies. you use foreign aid for political purposes, we use economics for political purposes. you have police brutality issues, we have police brutality issues. you have fake news, we have fake news. it doesn't matter what the issue is, china tries to create a morequivalenmor moral equivalency. it's very frustrating, because my view is we're not the same. we need to do a better job of saying yes, china does economic policies, but we're not stealing your stuff through cyber means, we're not selling it. that can be very frustrating. we have to think how can we best compete? it's not infrastructure. the u.s. advantage is on infrastructure building.
so i'm not in business, but it seems when you want to compete with another company you don't decide to do what they do best and not as well. you think about what are my comparative advantages. the united states needs to do thinking on what are we good at and bring that to the region. on the operational effectiveness, i don't know. the thing that concerns me is for most focus on this issue of the military competition, the thing that lets us sleep well at night is the belief our people are better. we're trained better. we have better morale. the best part about the u.s. military is the people. and that concerns -- i believe that. in my heart of hearts i believe that which makes me think i have biases that's going to lead to underestimating china's ability to get this right. they've gotten everything else right when it comes to improvements in the military. so is it kind of my american centric view that makes me think they're thought going to get the
personnel part right. we have to plan on getting it right and trust that they're going to get it right. even though i like to believe that they won't. >> yes? >> we have a quick question -- >> doctor, i have a question for you and one question for all of them, the staff asked us to consider. you said we're fighting two different wars, can you expand on that, please? the question i have for all of you, given the modernization and the chinese military, what is their ability and willingness to use that force to take taiwan? what's your assessments? >> my point on the two different wars is just to say a lot of times when you're trying to compare militaries, we compare fighters to fighters, ship to ship. that's not how wars are threat. the threat to a fighter as an
air defense system on the ground. when we're trying to project power and our access is relients on partners and allies in the region. china, for the most part, is trying to project power, you know -- for taiwan, the distance is from here to richmond, virginia, that's easier for them to do. i like to equate it to if we're in a boxing match, the united states has completed a triathlon before we get into the ring. that's what i mean that we're fighting two different wars. what is required for china to prevail in a fliconflict is different. and our issues i think are actually many cases, especially the south china sea, more difficult. when it comes to taiwan, china does not have the ability to take taiwan by force. that's largely because they haven't finished their modernization efforts. they need to be able to conduct joint operations to have some
sort of amphibious landing for physically taking taiwan. my concern is that china thinks they'll have that capability in the next five to ten years. and so while i'm not concerned today because i think it would be risky for them to make a move in the middle of the modernization effort, what happens when they think they're done? on that of that, xi jinping has moved towards it. he's out in 2022 so no one can hold him to it. when he extended the term laments that put everything he said about taiwan in a different light. >> you think he would use force to do that, when their military is more modern than it is now? >> if they believe they have the capabilities to do it and they think that future trends are not in their favor, historically china tends to use force in order to reverse trends. if they think that things are getting worse for them over time and they need to quickly switch it so their position is better,
then they'd be willing to use force. china would prefer to coerce taiwan into an agreement. can you use force against them to compel them to some sort of an agreement, all of those stages would come before a full scale invasion. we'd have many indicators and warnings before that would happen. in the end, i think that, you know, the chinese military is cementally preparing to take taiwan by force. if the party thinks that the trends are worsening and this is the time to do it and if they don't do it now they can't accomplish it later, then we're in a risky situation. >> i have a quick answer to the taiwan question from the two of you before we go to lurch. we're already running late. >> very quickly, agree with what the doctor said. i think a lot depends on how does this war start? does it start with a pearl harbor-like event that angers, you know, the united states and a lot of countries in the region? or is it more of a slow -- is it
a despicable attack on a sunday morning or a blockade that says taiwan is ours, we'll decide what goods go into taiwan and all they have to do is agree to these six things and you start the process of absorbing taiwan into china. and, you know, again, does the war -- do we give up after a month if taiwan is taken? do we say we're going to get involved in a protracted conflict? final point is i think what the doctor said is the chinese don't want to fight. i totally agree. they want to finland-ize taiwan. the taiwanese will say it's useless to resist. >> whether or not to use force, one question the committee would have to answer, can we defeat the u.s. and break its will to go to the next stage of warfare, either escalating, reinforcing, whatever it is. the question that would be no less important, can we survive
the blowback from the international community that follows. there's a lot of lessons to be learned, but they haven't used force since they were integrated into the global economy. the u.s. economy is very brittle. if the central military commission is told no, we've divided europe and the u.s. and japan, they will not come together and punish us and isolate us. we can survive the political blowback after a decisive military blow. they're more likely to do it. if the answer is we can't say for sure because there's a chance the u.s., europe, japan will come together, boycott us, punish us, that enhances the deterrent. the excellent points made by my c co-panelists are correct. but also, the alignment we show,
the willpower, the management of our partnerships is important because it's a factor in how the central military commission would decide whether or not they can survive. not only the military conflict but the isolation they would face. we've got to get them both right. >> thank you very much, and we'll see you all again at 1:45. thank you, panelists, very much. cspan 3 is live on capitol hill on this tuesday where hud secretary disaster, steve mnuchin are set to testify. live coverage on cspan 3.