December 10, 2020

Finding Strength in Decline

The U.S. Military Needs a Plan to Compete Without the Advantages of the Past

President-elect Joe Biden will enter office at a crucial time for the U.S. military. After decades of focusing on minor powers and substate actors, the United States must prepare for a new era of great-power competition with China and, to a lesser extent, with Russia. That realization makes the new administration’s review of U.S. defense strategy the most important of its kind since the end of the Cold War.

The United States must prepare for a new era of great-power competition with China and, to a lesser extent, with Russia.

Russia is a shadow of its Cold War self, but it retains its nuclear arsenal and has developed formidable cyberwarfare capabilities. Its conventional forces remain more than a match for those of NATO’s frontline states, stretching from Estonia to Bulgaria. China poses a much greater threat as a burgeoning economic, technological, and military superpower. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) appears intent on constructing an Orwellian state even as it presents its political and economic model as superior to that of the United States. In recent years, it has flexed economic and military muscle in pursuit of its ambitions, expanding territorial claims along its land and maritime borders and seeking to establish a hegemonic position in the western Pacific.

Read the full article in Foreign Affairs.

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