tv Elbridge Colby The Strategy of Denial CSPAN July 4, 2022 7:00pm-8:01pm EDT
although i am not there, that there is an old lady in the hospital and she should be taken back to her flat, but there is nobody to take her. we are looking for volunteers with a car, who could actually come to the hospital and help her to get into the apartment. then, somebody else should take over and look after her. more people who are unable or don't want to leave -- there are many people who cannot walk or cannot make it. and these people will stay in kyiv until the better and. they should not be forgotten. >> watch the full program online anytime i book tv dot org. just search, pan america -- or ukrainian authors on the russian ukraine war. >> good afternoon everyone and thank you for joining us today. i would like to welcome you to our event, the best offense
strategy for america. for what purpose should the united states be prepared to fight and how should u.s. forces be ready to fight such wars? these fundamental questions should form the center of any u.s. defense policy. but they are often skipped over in favor of questions like how many f-35 should be by or how many ships should we have in the navy's fleet? until you answer the more fundamental questions, answer the specific questions will be elusive and of questionable value. the biden administration is presumably hard at work writing the national security strategy in the next national defense strategy. done correctly, these strategies will help focus to u.s. security apparatus on the most pressing threats in the nation. the defense strategy in particular will particularly -- the 2018 national defense
strategy was important, as it signaled a sharp turn from the global war on terrorism to great power competition. and although it came out three years ago, over three years ago, the u.s. military is still making that transition. there is no shortage of voices on opinions about what should be included in americas next national defense strategy. the no voice is probably -- he is the cofounder of the marathon and initiative. he is a long time think tank scholar, of former deputy assistant secretary of defense. and most significantly, for the purposes of today's discussion, served as the pentagon's lead official in the -- he is the author of a new book, titled the strategy of denial, america's defense in an age of great power, competition. here is the book right here, we will be placing information
about how you can get a copy of this book and a special discount in the chat speech or of this webinar. we will start with a few questions and then we will turn to you, the audience. there is a way for you to submit your question and we will be delighted to put those questions to bridge. thank you for joining us today. it's an honor to speak about this with you. >> this book could not have been easy to write, it is based on a ton of research. interesting that you use what you call a deducted approach so you, didn't jump right to the conclusion and say that this is what you think, you actually explored all the options and came to your conclusion. what was your motivation in writing the book? who is your audience for? it >> i think the motivation
was basically a sort of mismatch that you commented on earlier in your remarks, between the legacy strategy that we've been pursuing, which has been heavily forwarded in -- and the reality of the geopolitical power balance and in fact, the military balance, especially with these great power rivals that you mentioned, especially china. we are in a serious mismatch. we begin this transition. but in this period of transition, i think a strategy is really critical. because stress strategy is especially important. you can't smother problems with resources. i think that is kind of where we were in the last few years. we couldn't do everything. but most of the really serious problems we might worry about -- that is just not true. there are more threats and problems in the world and there are resources.
this was really driven home to me in the pentagon. you have a distinguished military career. and one of your many assignments was at the head of the army strategy and resources division. the old phrases that strategy where is the dollar sign. it's easy to come up with -- express a lot of aspirations, but with strategy really is is connecting dollars and cents with a coherent framework. that is what i wanted to lay out here. and i think, so the audience is the defensive -- but also the broader public. really important to me that, and not to me, but it is really important that our military and defense strategy has to be explicable and reasonable to the american people, because the rivals that we are talking about fighting, that could go to a nuclear war or -- people need to buy into it and
i was acutely conscious of trying to explain that, so i don't know if i was successful or not, but i think it speaks to a very wide audience in that respect, people who are interested in these issues and i think all americans should be interested. >> i love how in the book you went through all the various options a narrative down to a conclusion. -- i love that part of it. >> i will jump to a part where i have some disagreements with you. in your book, you say that in order to focus on scarce resources, the united states should not posture its military to deal simultaneously with any other scenario alongside a war with china. that raises two questions for me, one, all federal resources, especially we teach -- there is not a limit in the
supply of money, but in the past, the u.s. has spent 6% of their gdp on offense -- the decision to spend more or less is ultimately a political one. so, do we have to assume that we are always going to have to have scarce resources, that we can only choose one scenario? >> great point. the spirit with which i wrote the book and it seems like hopefully you have taken it and i hope others. i try to lay out a framework. i call it simplifying logic. people can see. i don't claim to be omniscient or necessarily the expert on all the actual decisions coming out. even such sensitive issues as whether taiwan is worth defending. i think people can reasonably have different views, even though i think we should. similarly -- based on the factors that i've laid out a framework, i think you could reasonably make arguments and different directions, as bob puts it,
these are differences among strategist. i think that's a good way of putting it. you're dealing with uncertainty and risk. in the book, when i said, the argument is, look, there are three primary functions that we need to focus on in light of the fact that our military capability and resources, as they exist or as we could reasonably expand them, are not sufficient threats. -- and to do, that we need to deny china the ability to -- that is the conventional forces scenario. to sustain a nuclear deterrent that can actually deter multiple adversaries -- that now includes russia, but also china. also a lower cost way to do counterterrorism. -- those are the basics. my view, is if the american people think that we should spend more, then i think the next scenario to spend on would be russia. helping european nato defend against russia. the reasons i am not persuaded
at this point is, first, i think the threat from russia to europe's much less. russia will not be able to dominate all of europe. it may be able to break apart nato, which would be a very grave disaster for us, but it would not be the same league as china taking over hegemonic condition in asia. the europeans are more than capable -- with some american assistance. they outweigh russia in gp and lighten military power. and i think they should. hopefully, we consider pushing on that front. and finally, i think we need to moderate our amount of defense. the paradox of military spending is you want to keep it low so -- private citizens should decide where to put their money. but also because if you spend too much on defense, it can have a negative impact on the economy. but on the other, hand if you spend too little, you might spend more later. --
so, again, i think that's a debate. my own view -- and certainly given the level of resources that are currently talked about being allocated, i mean, the biden administration is effectively called for a cut. we need to be laser focused on that one scenario and not get caught up just thinking about other scenarios at the same time. >> let me pull that threat just a little bit because there is a common argument that you will find in defense tragedies. it is almost. i don't know how to describe it. it is a shortcut. it's like, hey, we intend to do less in this region and we are going to count on our allies to do more. and so, it would not surprise me to hear that -- when we are finding is, most of the european nations and nato are not spending the 2% of gdp on offense, despite why it would be historic prodded and during the trump
administration. every tool in the tool box, public humiliation, you name, it was attempted. you read about the germans and they can agree to even arm their drones. that is just too politically difficult for them right now. is it feasible in that context, and you talk about latent military power, is it feasible to assume that europe can or will do more? >> i think it is. first, off that's narrow the problem. the europeans, many of them are spending more -- the polls are spreading well over 2%. a number of the scandinavian countries, including ones not in nato. sweden -- the french spent a good amount. if we narrow the problem, the biggest problem is germany, which is frankly delinquent on its responsibilities, which is not only damaging, but i think morally wrong. i've said this to them directly.
that is one point. there has been progress. the second thing is, look, ultimately, if this continues, from the germans, this will become a game of chicken, which is to say, if we are faced with the choice of the american people with the decision of are we going to prejudice or determine from our ability to serve our geopolitical interests, which is preventing china from dominating the economic area because the -- if they force the toys upon us, we have to make the rice -- right choice. in world war ii -- we will make the best decision for our interests. i think that the europeans will bear the cost and the risk. that is too bad. they will ultimately do that. this is why i think it is really critical that we not over reassure our allies. i think we can be constructive
and sort of polite, but also ferment off. that is sort of a difficult balance. how to do this well is one of the great things we need to think about mark going forward. if we over reassure our allies, tell them every commitment is sacred and will always be there, we're not doing them or ourselves any service. we need to be candid. thanks to move. japan, for instance, it's almost been a sacred item of the japanese political system that they wouldn't spend more than 1% on defense. now, in the race to succeed prime minister -- they are doubling it. we can make progress. the question is, can we make progress quickly? >> i will dive right into some of the core issues in this book. in the book, you advise that the u.s. should focus on china's best military strategy versus maybe the most destructive or maybe the most likely. there's a lot of writings in this town that we will hear people say, china doesn't want war. china will never go to war.
they prefer to achieve their means through much less kinetic -- the united states should focus its efforts on the gray zone warfare. that is a huge cottage industry in this town. you don't agree with that in this book. why should the u.s. focus on china's best military strategy and what do you think that best military strategy is for them? >> i would say, fundamentally, to put the case positively, the reason is because the best military strategy is the one who is most gainful for them. so, the most destructive military strategy is, they could launch a military attack, but that would be insane. we will do the same for them. it doesn't make sense. that's a real issue because if we spend all our money on national -- we have to get to the right level, where we deter them -- similarly, the likelihood thing. there's almost no arrogance and that, a hubris. it presumes that the chinese would never think they could be the americans. if they think they can beat us,
why would they not either precipitate a conflict or just threaten one and everybody knows how it would resolve? people would say that the chinese wouldn't start a war or wouldn't risk a major war, remind me of the people who said there could never be another depression. that is actually the very statement and the thinking along those lines that makes it more likely. because that will lead us to be unprepared. and the critical point here is not a high and military complex -- it sounds old-fashioned, but there's no better way to coerce somebody that hold a -- all this gray zone stuff, by definition, is not that dangerous. and take taiwan. the people on taiwan, they don't want to be part of the prc. they don't want to be run by -- and his security police apparatus. defendants, metaphorically -- china will not be able to come into giving up. if china is serious about, it
which i think they are, then they will be -- china's best, it's best overall >> and that's china's best military strategy? >> yes, it's best overall strategy, a wants to become dominant nation. what i call us consequential strategy, picking off parts of this coalition that it's gonna try to ballots. not only the u.s., japan, india, south korea, australia, taiwan. china's gonna pick off those, the weaker more vulnerable parts of that coalition. so, the rest of the coalition gets the idea that this coalition is just a hollow shell. and it will collapse. and china wants to dominate. china wants to be what you should said early, alluding to, china doesn't want to start a world war two -- he wants to do it bismarck did in the 19th century the unification of germany. bismarck to crush out from one state and many from euro, in the space about ten years toward denmark --
geopolitical map. and, that's what china if that strategy would be, the best military strategy in that context, how do we take down the volume of parts of the coalition. which again, they don't want to start a huge war, they want to maul, focused war where they create a new set of facts on the ground, and the rest of our partners and allies basically decide we're gonna live with that. a grander version of what the russians did in crimea. the problem is, is it's a really good strategy, it's possible that we in others might decide a little bit. >> so, there is more here than just facebook posts it sounds like. [laughs] in your book you talk a lot about allies, i really like that discussion, becomes a lot more gone you are -- normally the argument for allies as, somebody pulls out a winston churchill quote. it's very handy, i forget what he said about allies. but anyhow, many people say the
more allies you have, the better and discussion, you advise a more nuanced approach, talking about in the western pacific, how some alliances could carry along with them entanglements, potential costs, can you give us a little bit more of your sink on how you think about alliances, especially in that neck of the? >> thanks, i share your view. i look at alliances the way i look at everything, i think people like you and i, i look at my job as kind of trying to work for the american people i don't collect a federal paycheck but this should make sense the strategy here should make sense to the american people in an enlightened way, and positive with others. basically in their interests. that's why there is a tendency to talk about alliances marriage, some kind of religious-backed. to me they're more like business -- more like a long term business partnership. they should make sense for both sides. sometimes it may be to be
equitable, it should be in our interest, people talk about how our allies are so great, our allies have a great deal of many of them for a long time, we are willing to go along with that because we had other -- it's not gonna work anymore. the only way we're gonna balance china and address the other challenges across the world, is if we all lead in the way that were best suited to doing. what the issue of allies is critical in the pacific in particular, as you said, the paradox is we need an anti hegemonically she, and that strong enough to stand up to china. but if we bring into many countries, we risk getting entanglement awarded, it's not gonna go well. many people watching i had family involved in vietnam, it's a tragedy for us and at the end of the day i think it's fair to say, that it's not worth the costs. with all due respect for those that serve there. if we had been able to draw that defense permit in a different way, maybe spread that and won the cold war, so
in a sense vietnam hovers over my thinking in this book. we need to be tough, we need to be assertive, and help others protect themselves did not go too far. that's both a moral commitment to the american people, but it's strategic. because after vietnam we almost pull out of europe entirely. the whole thing could've fallen apart, it's really critical is our defense -- is the states really committed to. basically should trace along -- and with all due respect distinguish army, general officer i think are strong suit -- and that's what our wheel house, and countries like japan, taiwan, philippines, australia maybe the indonesian of the world where china needs to world maritime forces and air forces to get there and project, sustained military power,
especially when we work with them, they have quite a good navy and air force as well so that's how i. think that's gonna be dependent, that's gonna be dependent on how much other countries are willing to do. if japan's not willing to step, of we may need more others to carry as a law, we may need to work with vietnam. but then what happens of china threatens vietnam so, the idea than to put a finer point on it is. if we develop a military strategy, that can allow us to defend those country, we won't have to do crazier things later that are more costly. >> excellent, one of the central themes in your book, and you talk about it to the point where you must have gotten tired of writing, it's about the anti hegemonic low election, it suggests that it's perhaps the key to defeating the chinese -- talk about the dynamics and how we manage some anti hegemonic coalition? >> it's basically the idea that taught china's too strong for us the balance alone, are
anyone individually, it's about half the total power of -- conventional metrics like economic size that kind of thing. so, standing alone let's say japan stands up to china, china will beat them around, right? we are too far, engines are into new waiting our ability to affect power. we need powers to work. together what does that look like, i actually don't have a fixed view of what exactly it's gonna look. like to be clear, i don't necessarily need an asian nato. in fact an asian nato may be counterproductive. it may involve too much commitment. so, this is something looser than i'm talking about, this anti hegemonically. shannon a place like india, our relationship is pretty good right now, we're able to do more and more. india pulls a lot of its own way, it's not interested in being -- of the united states. great, my view is we kind of outsourced south asian indians, and empower them and that's -- they'll be other places where we're gonna have to have more former, particularly alliances.
i think of alliances like formal commitments. it's kind of the steel in the spine of that coalition, that's like japan effectively taiwan, it might be south korea, philippines that's that frontline, if the chinese are gonna get out they're gonna push out through those maritime approaches. if we can hold them there, speaking of churchill, one of my favorite quotes he said during i think world war i, he said, if we win the decisive battle in the primary theater, we can set everything else right again after. if we can hold china on the first island chain, or thereabouts, we can deal with africa, south america, south asia, we'll get around to. it will be in an advantageous position. if we lose the chain will furlough further back and be weaker, and be held anywhere -- else >> i remind our audience to submit your questions, or taking questions, we'll get to those in just a moment here. i don't plug in the book again,
strategy of a denial how to get your copy is in a hand out on the webinar tab. this anti-hegemonic coalition, how would china think about taking that apart like a can opener? >> i think of it like short-circuiting, the focused and substantial strategy, you don't want to categorize the whole coalition -- in and world war. to basically get everybody to like them. that's not what you want to do, we want to get a series of short, sharp wars that convince anyone that the coalition is full of it, and it won't work for. you in particular because if china say goes after taiwan, and then maybe goes after the philippines, people are gonna get the message and so i think credibility is important in a particular way. i think we can get, can deal with the ramifications, catastrophically handle -- we can deal thinks people can tell the difference between afghanistan and say taiwan.
if you are in japan though, taiwan's a neighbor, i think that's within eyesight, you can see -- and vice versa. , this is a much different thing and if the americans basically say well we can't do well enough to help taiwan because the chinese are just too strong. how does that apply to japan? so, that's what china wants is instead of fighting everybody it's take down a few of these guys, the message goes around and it's like look, sometimes you're gonna be put on that hot microscope, it's gonna go poorly for you, the americans and our talk about game but they're not gonna let you go. it's better to cut a deal, it's better to cut a deal with the chinese. that's a very real possibility -- a cutting remark about the ties, fairly or not but it's said that they bent it before the wind blows, -- which is we'll see where the wind its, going if they're left out to dry, they'll cut a deal.
>> so, as the united states puts the strategies together too to turn to that kind of attack, the deterrence theory of which i am not a scholar, divides itself into these two thoughts about punishment and applying more punishment than an adversary can withstand. and by turns denial, denial of an objective -- in your book, especially with its title, strategy of denial, comes down fairly strongly in favor of strategy of denial. can you talk about that? >> denials better if you can get get away with it, or make it work. because denial basically takes the weapon out of the other side's hand, or essentially negates its power, right? the deterrent effect is because well, you may have an hour about i've got a perfect shield, you'll never get through, you'll never think it's worth doing. and of course, these aren't
mutually exclusive in fact i do weep, punishment at the highest levels, but denials much better and, it's particularly important when you don't have an advantage or resolved. so, the problem that we face is that we're fighting 10,000 miles over there, but taiwan and china think its tide of its own. -- philippines 100 miles from taiwan, vietnam and the neighbor et cetera i mean in a vacuum, chinese probably gonna care more than we. our who knows that something i talk about, we can actually manipulate that and we should. so that we do end up carrying more. but the word manipulates not right, we should plan in a way that makes it more in favor. but given how far we're talking about most americans haven't been to taiwan, you don't know anybody that's been in taiwan, a strategy of denial is better because it asks less of us in terms of our sacrifices in. suffering denials about taking
this sort out of the other guys -- had and punishment strategies don't work as well, people will often resist giving up something they really care about, even under pressure but also because if you inflict punishment on somebody that's one thing if the other guy doesn't have the ability to do. china does, in a big way. sure, they can impose sanctions, turn off tiktok, they can launch conventional missiles on the homeland, and they can launch nuclear strikes on the home, and as we've learned -- there dramatically expanding. an accelerating, maybe accelerating's one way we can tell. if we start punishing them, what are they gonna do? punishes. back had is that. and i think not unlikely to be in our favor. i think the best strategies to use denials a block the invasion in the end. china's best strategies to invade taiwan, take it over, create a new reality. ransom repeat for the philippines. until the coalition falls
apart. if we can block them from seizing and holding the key territories of our allies, then china has a decision, it could say well, i'll give up to fight another day, where i can try to escalate this, they've lost in the immediate battle, they can do that and they can blow up some tankers in the middle east but that's probably not gonna matter for us that much. you might be able to stop. the models say, let's launch nuclear strikes in america, and we can impose costs back on then, but in that context they will be the ones that will prepare the burden of escalation. they're basically gonna seem like the aggressor in the a bad guy. and fdr talked about, the righteous might, or the flashing sort of anger, or vengeance i should. say so, that stuff won't end well for the buyout there. that mixture is i think, emphasizing denials the rights gradually, the right strategy for the american people and for
what's fundamentally our interest nature are really, really important, but not existential true. so, we can have a strategy that relies on existential risks without thinking about how we get there. abwe will go to audience questions next. i want to hit you with one more because i want to make sure we talk about it. and that is, your thoughts on a binding strategy. >> thank you. this is hopefully one of the more novel aspects in the book. the binding strategy is basically the idea of what do we do if we can't make focused on i'll work? the ideal here is if we could say, sink -- shoot down the air armada and kill or capture the forces or object the forces on taiwan before they can seize -- and do it in a way that is relatively eliminated. -- that is why i am so laser focused on it. would if we can do that?
-- it could also because the chinese will be too strong. that is a reality. even if we make a good effort. in that case, what happens if they are so strong that we either have to wage a much larger war in order to defend say taiwan at the philippines, or we may even have to recapture them like world war ii in the pacific, which would be the worst outcome. in that case, the big question will be, will we have the willpower to do it amounts not obvious because of what i was just saying. it nonsense, what i was alluding to earlier, we have to figure out a way where our result will be catalyzed. we will see it as our effort and risk to do it. and also that our allies and others will see that. basically what we should be doing is we should -- our strategy should deliberately be postured in a
way that if china wants to apply this best military strategy, this focused and sequential strategy, using that accompli -- and make a full grown greener -- the concrete example i use of this and december, 1941, i think the vast majority of americans were completely uninterested in war with japan. not only where they uninterested in it, but they definitely weren't interested in what ended up happening. two months later, after pearl harbor, -- the american people were angry. and engaged. we actually want to put the chinese in a position where in order to even try -- they need to start a larger war. that means spreading out, working with partners.
this is where this australia move is positive. working with a japanese -- less of a cost or are -- we will have to be had harder. i think if the chinese see that, see that even though they just want maybe two -- but they can't keep the war small, then they will be deterred -- i actually think in the later part of the cold war, i think this is what it was really about. i think well into the later part of the cold war, we still thought we would lose a conventional war and europe, given the size and sophistication of the soviet forces. but i think our force was strong and resilient and capable and credible enough that if the soviets invaded, they knew they would start a war and that we would all be willing to go the distance. and in the end, it wasn't off. i think that is what we should aspire for. >> it reminds me of nato battalion strike groups that we
had in the baltic, in poland. their size, it's almost meaningless, 1000 people apiece. every nation has a contribution there. >> it has to be more -- my problem with those is that they are a tripwire. in a sense, the russians could probably just ignore them. i think it has to be enough and resilient and capable -- these are forces they will really have to fight for. they will have to strike. they will need to blow up a lot of things. then, it is more like, they can just ignore them. the problem with a trip wire is a presumes the thing which is an issue, which is our resolve. we need to activate our resolve. the other example i like to use is lincoln. i think the army actually did suggest that they withdraw the troops from fort sumter. but lincoln, i think, understood that keeping them there --
75,000 volunteers for the federal army. >> we will go to audience questions. -- we'll ask us what we have got. >> absolutely. thank you. i actually think the quote was, the only thing worse than going to war with allies is going to war with -- we have so many come in. i will have to group some things. i will like to call out names, but i can't. on taiwan, what's are the odds of china actually doing this? what timeframe? that was one of the first questions. more of a numbers thing. rolling into the larger taiwan, another one says, it seems to be a near holy obsession or religious thing, you know, on the part of beijing to take taiwan. with that kind of commitment, keep in mind timeframes and those sorts of things, can the west outlast that business? another questioner said, isn't
china just bluffing? colleagues and they talk to in the taiwanese, all this is just a bunch of posturing. kind of grouping that to gather, likelihood, timeframe, is it a bluff, can we outlast -- >> i think i can answer them all together. i think the chinese do want to unify with taiwan and they're prepared to do so forcibly. but whether they actually do so will depend upon the risk and cost of doing so. there's a big benefit, but one of the cost and the risks? if they know they will fail -- but he knew he didn't have a hope of getting past the fleet. so, he never tried. and he avoided the issue after -- it's the calculus -- that is what we need to a fact. the problem is that the chinese have been laser focused and they have a lot of money to put on it. would i like to say is china is
a long term problem in the way that -- if you don't take care of it in the near term, you -- it's both a short-term and a long-term problem. the issue is that their military monetization program is all ready -- in the meantime, we have been slow to move. i mean, you mentioned the 2019 national defense strategy. -- it is going, frankly, to slowly for the situation. and i think the budget request is also to long term focused. the long term is a problem, but so is the short term. this combination of factors makes me think that the chinese leadership may do something before 2027, which is what the former commander said. maybe not tomorrow or next year,
but sometime in the 2020, is they will say, we are looking good. who knows what the future holds economically and so forth for china. the americans are finally getting their act together, but their forces won't be ready, really until 2030 or after. ditto for china and japan, which have lagged. if you look at why the germans went to war in 1914 and you look at why the germans went to war in 1939 in the japanese to, it was often for this kind of window of opportunity. i think this is why it's really critical that we keep focused very much on the near term as well as the long term and try to patch together a sufficient deterrent that speaks to that calculus, that's as you will fail. because the good thing that we have going is, a, it's an island. people don't want to live under the chinese. they need to get across water. tough to sustain operations. the germans couldn't get across 26 miles. i think that's the english channel. and the second is if the chinese fail, after they try to
invade, it's catastrophic. they may try to string -- the region will say, these guys are really dangerous with our ability to use force, but they are resist-able. that is kind of the worst outcome for a country like china, is if people think your bad and dangerous, but also you are safely resisted, then -- that means their probability levels probably have to be pretty high. so, we should not take solace in that, but we can do this, i think. >> we have a lot coming in here. i tried to group together for and hopefully the grouping makes sense. one, in the south china sea, wasn't it the case that china had a fait accompli -- international arbitration, disputes and whatnot, the philippines won a case against china, and yet china didn't
care. they went off and did what they wanted to do anyway, which kind of implied that they can do these things to achieve their objectives in this gray zone kind of business without really going all military. related to that is are you focusing too narrowly on china in this military approach? and if it's not a power projection, then there are implications to the u.s. military. are you going to shift from active duty, large standing, to more of a guard reserve sort of thing? is it really about war? are you too focused militarily speaking on china? and aren't there implications to that? and a link to it is, robert gates said, we have never gotten our forecasting or predictions right, ever. are we going down a pass where were making too many promises
and we might have consequences. >> there was a lot there. let me go in reverse order. with all due respect to secretary gates -- but i think he is wrong about that. we have been right in forecasts. and forecasts are dependable -- we were right about the soviets being a threat. we were wrong in our forecasts, we were accurate -- accuracy is not the right term. we were putting down insurance against a potential future, which should not come to pass. we will never be able to tell definitively. i certainly think we were not over preparing in the cold war. the soviets spent a lot of money on the military. likewise, am i overemphasizing? i think the question is, and my overemphasizing the military over the gray zone. the gray zone works very well. for instance, the chinese basically took -- and then they put huge treasures in there and create a
new islands. it's almost like -- they didn't seize anybody's territory, in a intuitive sense. they didn't take something, like a populated area, but they are really operating on a very -- almost beyond the edge of what is a country. it's difficult to project power for a country like the philippines. look, the gray zone can matter in these kind of ungoverned or marginal spaces. but the chinese will not be able to graze on their way into seizing the island of -- and coercing the philippine government into exceeding to their will. the reason that i focus so much on the military is not because i think the military are the most valuable part of human affairs. to the contrary, as i said, what we want here is a decent piece.
but it's a little bit like the police. if you have a neighborhood that doesn't have law and order and it has crime, forget about commercial development. forget about schools. people will leave the neighborhood. they won't want to be there. first you have to take care of the police. then, once you get to that position, you don't really get -- think about the police. it's on autopilot. if you lived in new york and early 1990s, you are only thinking about crime. under giuliani and bloomberg, crime was down. it wasn't a big deal. who thought about the police? similarly, if you don't get the military balance right, china will have an incentive. this is particularly because our cue -- because economic sanctions don't work. look at the australians right now. -- they are basically saying, stuff it. which is, good day and kudos to armies down under. that is good, but it is also paradoxically increasing the
allure of the military instrument. back gets back to, if we can get it to the chinese not seeing the advantage and using military force like the soviets never did and europe, then we can shift the competition. one thing i worry about with this administration is they have this tendency to say or imply that this is going to be a political, economic -- well, the gateway to that is making sure the military balance is adequate. i am not -- as my colleague puts it, we will have to have a sprint to get their. i think the last part on the future -- i tried to make a virtue of my ignorance about the specifics of river -- reserve, active guard. by concentrating in the way -- i don't pretend you have all the answers, by any stretch. but i think here, we are better
off over focusing, because we're actually not over focusing. and you can see. china is by far the most powerful country in the world. okay. if venezuela gets really frisky or cuba gets really frisky, there's not much they can do and we always have forces that we can use. active fourth or call from the gardner reserve -- they will not develop a death rate or something. we have to make realistic assessments and investments based on where the danger is most acute and it is very clearly most acute from china and asia. >> we have time for one more, but it can't be like a coalition -- >> i really appreciate in your book that the second to last chapter was not your recipe for caring china. we need stealthy drones flown out of aircraft carriers and we need more acoustically superior submarines. i love that you kind of pulled
back from that and just showed us the framework. >> the last grouping, then. what do you do with these coalition things? hegemonic or binding strategy? are you picking key allies? are you in the group or out of the group? it really comes back to, are you assuring allies or over assuring and making too many promises? and relating to that, we have the denied new trial agreement between wine -- if you can go back to this approach of picking and choosing allies, and if something is not in the club, that presents a problem. or if you're in the club, you must be really important. and so, are you over promising it over committing? that will probably be the rest of our time. >> great question. it's one of the harder aspects to think about with this differentiation between this and i hegemonically shin, which
is kind of a again a little bit shifting. i think vietnam is pretty much part of the anti hegemonically shunned, but i don't know if they agree. it's sort of like, are they behaving in a way where china effectively has to reckon them as standing up to them? and in one way or another, working with others to do so. meanwhile, there's alliances, which is like, we put our credibility on the line to defend this country. obviously, to defend south korea. but in effect, i would say taiwan is like two thirds or three quarters -- quasi-allies. i think the point is always the thing back, are we achieving the goal of balancing china. are we strong enough together, that if they did want to go for a big war, we could win together? that is the ultimate criterion because war and violence are the ultimate forms of -- i don't need to tell that to you two gentlemen. if you really want to persuade somebody, power comes from the barrel of a gun. they know if they escalate to
the max level, they will be checked. they won't necessarily be contained or they won't do what we want, but they will have to respect a decent number or degree of our interest. this will be the state craft that will be really wear the creativity and intelligence we'll need to be going forward. i don't promise to have the answers of what that looks like, but i think the question about rover reassuring is very on point. i think we have gotten to a point where we overreach our allies. we talk about our allies and sort of a romantic sense. but we really need to think about, do they have a purpose for us? to deny china hegemony over one of the key regions. that is also their interest. it's not falling in love. it's more like a business partnership. but that is a sound or basis
for an agreement. one of the things i may be rudely kind of say in these international discussions. -- i love our country monthly, but for instance, i hope in japan. japan a shared values in some ways and not in others. kind of a different political stroke -- culture. there are most important ally in the world because nobody is stronger and more acutely threatened by china. okay. that is the rationale. we know they need to spend more. we're in it together, whether we like it or not. i think that is how we should think about it and then we should mix assurance and pressure. our ally should know that if they don't step up, a, we will be angry. but that's not enough. be, there is the possibility that we just won't be able to do it. i was very encouraged by taiwan than outspent the other day they will spend a lot more. they are at real risk of being abandoned. i am defending defending taiwan. but they're a lot of people who quietly are saying it's not worth it. and it's not a dumb argument. for me it is 70 30. taiwan's fate is in his own
hands. i think what they did the other day is really important and they should continue in that direction. the other thing is, we can defend countries in different ways. during the cold war, we were going to defend -- yes, we like west germany. but also because western money was the strongest economy in europe. and our plans dependent on what the west germans did. if the west german sat around it had nothing, we were going to -- and they didn't want that. they wanted former defense of the border, using -- and, not coincidentally, they developed a very robust -- in fact, the germans had 12 active divisions and they were a -- they can do better. it's their duty to do better and they should do better and we should pressure them to do better. again, one of the things i'm disturbed about right now is that our relations are probably too good right now.
this is the kind of way, we need to not vacillate between overly tough and kind of personalizing things, on the one hand. but then reassuring and saying everything will be hunky dory. i think in a sense, the biden administration is tripped up by its own approach on this. i think the australia deal is a triumph. they deserve applause. but then the french are livid. they probably should have done better diplomacy. but also, like, how surprised are you? obviously, asia is a priority. this kind of thing will happen. it's just the beginning. we will only get all together in ways that will be suited for our different alliances and relationships if we are candid and realistic and just to close, that is what i'm trying to do with this book is provide a framework. how exactly our relationship with france and germany and vietnam to the ball, i don't know. i have some thoughts, but i don't know. i am fallible.
i have hopefully provided a framework that will allow people to have a more focus discussion. >> this has been wonderful and, unfortunately, we are out of time. i will say we have only scratched the surface of your book. so, do not listen to this podcast or youtube video and say, i have the book. because you do not. you just have the thinnest layer of it. i want to thank the audience for joining us here today. if you work on the hill or another thing thank or just have questions, please contact us using the information on the screen. you will get a survey at the end of this. i hope you find that out. meanwhile, thank you so much. this was wonderful. and audience members, thank you so much for joining us and we look forward to seeing you again at another heritage event.
here is a portion of the discussion. this term, a nation of immigrants, it's actually very recent. i was surprised, actually, to find that it dates to 1958 and it was invented by john f. kennedy when he was senator. it seemed to me that his purpose was in planning to run for president, that he had a difficult path because he was a child of emigrants, irish and catholic. and every president up until that time, his presidency, had been either anglo or scots, irish. and protestant.
so, i think what he emphasizes in the litter -- little book that he published, he emphasizes all of the great qualities about the irish in particular. and it's mainly about that. the terminology, i don't remember it. when i was in graduate school in history in the 1960s. i don't remember the term having caught on yet. i think it was with multiculturalism, more in the 1970s, 80s, and then by the 1990s, it isn't all of the textbooks in public schools. and it is simply an accepted term. so, i see it as a post world war ii cold war competition with the soviet union too create a positive image, what
people around the world we're seeing on television where black people being bloodied and beaten in the south. the desegregation movement -- this was this competition, not only in weapons and economic, but also cultural. and the soviet union was making -- we were definitely publicizing these negative qualities. i think a nation of immigrants was -- and also, immigration law that john f. kennedy did initially. he wasn't able to -- he wasn't alive when it was finally passed in 1965, but it did open up immigration for the first time two non european immigration.
and so, there was this liberal tinge. it is a new nationalism. but of course, we also have a fast developing white nationalism that opposes that and still does not want immigrants, people of color, pretty much want a white republic. it is not uncontested. >> when we go back in history and if we went back to the 1700s or so, where they're open borders at that time into the united states? >> there were no immigration laws. but there was a great deal of suspicion of some immigrants. not anglo ones or scotts or germans, but alexander hamilton
was absolutely paranoid about french immigration. that was during the french revolution. and that these revolutionaries would infiltrate the united states and create ideas. so, the sedition act during that time, which hamilton was a major author of, was a preventative. there was great suspicion of anyone who was not english speaking or german. or scandinavian, soon after. but in the very beginning, it was pretty limited.
program -- argue that corporate america is signing on to woke culture, only to increase profits. here is a portion of his argument. >> i think that 90% of what both sides could actually agree on is that people who are -- like access to a fair education, lack access to a good educational system, like access to capital -- that is actually a method for the love to embrace that i think could be more about an agenda that lift everyone out from this empowerment that everyone shares an in the same way. and i think part of the issue with the new world movement actually obfuscates the kind of solutions that could economically empower everyone, but instead obsess over race, gender, sexual or being imitation -- orientation. i think it is sloppy.
it is a lazy term. i think we ought to defy exactly what we mean for inequities that we do need to address. an equity thought address people along axes that have nothing to do with race. >> you can watch the my name is andrew, i'm the director of the international of the jefferson. it is my pleasure to introduce kevin who will be discussing his new book, the complete victory saratoga and the american revolution published by oxford university. i'm splendid, splendid addition with color, illustrations and an excellent map. ve