- United States they are not ready to face an era of military confrontation between great powers. This was stated in an editorial by the "Wall Street Journal" newspaper, citing the opinions and analyzes of defense officials and armed forces officials. According to the newspaper, the reorientation of the US military complex towards confrontation with adversaries of almost similar technological level such as China and Russia, which began in 2018, has not yet filled serious deficits in terms of industrial and operational capabilities.
Despite an annual defense budget in excess of $800 billion, the transition from the "war on terrorism" to the confrontation of powers has been affected by political divisions over the immediacy of the Chinese threat, investment in overly expensive and sophisticated weapons programs which have not yielded the hoped-for strategic advantages, and of the energies and resources absorbed by the Middle East and even more by the conflict in Ukraine. A significant part of the problems discounted by the United States is of industrial origin: the process of radical consolidation of the US defense industry into a few conglomerates with high political and economic influence has deprived the Pentagon of options and production capacity. US shipyards, for example, are struggling to produce the submarines needed to face China's increasingly vast and modern navy, and Washington has accumulated a worrying technological lag behind China and Russia in terms of hypersonic weapons.
In this regard, the "Wall Street Journal" mentions the war simulation of a Chinese invasion of Taiwan carried out last August by the think tank Center for Strategic and International Studies: in the simulation, the United States depleted their stocks of anti-ship missiles in just one week. The United States is also weakened by growing ideological, cultural and political divisions in US society, which are reflected in a slump in recruitment into the military. Plans to increase military garrisons in the Indo-Pacific are still afoot, and the structure of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) still reflects two decades of counter-terrorism and paramilitary operations. The US military successes in the Middle East and Afghanistan - adds the newspaper - have materialized in part thanks to "air superiority, a worse equipped enemy and the ability to control the initiation and conditions of engagements". However, a military confrontation with China would be "very different": the US would have to fight with its Asian bases and ports under attack, and bolster its forces along long and vulnerable logistical lines. Expanding the scenario to the entire global arena, “if a (US) conflict with China gave Russia the confidence to take further action in Eastern Europe, the US and its allies would find themselves fighting a war on two fronts”, and potentially also in the Arctic, where the US "lags behind Russia in terms of icebreakers and ports".
China, on the other hand, faces the United States on the strength of "decades of growing military budgets that have increased the lethality of its air forces, missiles and submarines, and (...) have created a more modern force". Beijing has also accelerated efforts to acquire systems for destroying enemy satellites, and Xi Jinping has set 2027 as the deadline by which the country must be able to invade Taiwan, in a crucial region for world maritime trade. As for the sophisticated weapons programs undertaken by the Pentagon, of which the "Wall Street Journal" provides an overview not without elements of success - such as the new B-21 Raider strategic bomber - the fear is that their contribution may come too late, since most will not be ready for operational use before the next decade. A Pentagon spokesman, Chris Meagher, said US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin is aware of these unprecedented challenges, and is directly overseeing the implementation of the new US strategy to counter China.