The article below by IWP research professor Paul Coyer was published by Forbes.
A week ago Friday, the Pentagon released its latest annual report on the Chinese military. The report is the hardest hitting to date, detailing Beijing’s continuing massive investments across a broad range of military capabilities – all aimed at neutralizing American military advantages and raising thus the costs of potential military conflict in the Western Pacific to such an extent that Washington will, Beijing hopes, grudgingly acquiesce to China’s designs there.
A key part of China’s game plan, of course, as the Pentagon report emphasizes, is Beijing’s calculated use of coercive actions that push things to just short of the point of military conflict with the United States. China’s burgeoning military capabilities, its recent military reforms aimed at boosting service interoperability, its new regional military commands, etc., all focused on boosting China’s war fighting effectiveness, and Beijing’s obvious willingness to use its new military capabilities to reshape the Western Pacific to its liking highlight the importance of the role played by the US Navy, which remains the primary barrier to China’s ability to achieve its strategic goals in the region, in restraining China’s ambitions.