Retired Army Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges, the former commander of U.S. Army Europe, said this week he thinks the United States could very well be at war with China within 15 years.
Speaking at a security forum in Warsaw, Poland, on Wednesday, Hodges also noted that because of a rising likelihood of war in the Pacific, our NATO allies will have to do more to beef up their own defenses against Russia so Washington can focus more resources in deterring China.
“I think in 15 years — it’s not inevitable, but it is a very strong likelihood — that we will be at war with China. The United States does not have the capacity to do everything it has to do in Europe and in the Pacific to deal with the Chinese threat.”
Now with the Center for European Policy Analysis, Hodges was U.S. Army commander in Europe from 2014-2017.
Analysis: As we have noted on Great Power War a number of times in the past, China is a revisionist power. That is, China will increasingly seek to challenge the West and, in particular, the U.S.-led global order, as Beijing’s wealth and power grow in the coming years.
As Defense Secretary James Mattis said earlier this year when announcing the new National Defense Strategy, both Russia and China are “revisionist power” who want to establish “a world consistent with their authoritarian models.”
That’s why the NDS calls for dramatic shifts away from fighting regional/localized insurgent/terrorist campaigns to high-intensity warfare of the kind consistent with great powers.
“China is a strategic competitor using predatory economics to intimidate its neighbors while militarizing features in the South China Sea,” Mattis wrote in the 11-page strategy document.
Obviously, he’s not the only high-ranking current or former Pentagon official who sees an increasingly aggressive China as presenting major security challenges to the U.S. in the near-term.