Don’t Be Distracted by the Ukraine, the Main Event Is China

December 16, 2021 Updated: December 16, 2021

Commentary

We’re barely re-learning what’s going on in the Ukraine and Neocon megaphone Republican Senator Roger Wicker has already charged to the ramparts and declared the need for nuclear strikes on Russia regarding the Ukraine border tensions with Russia.

I’m not sure I ever have seen such a bellicose statement based on such little information and likely lame intelligence community assessments.  I would suggest Senator Wicker has made a teensy bit of an inappropriate jump to a conclusion that has immense gravity.  I think many would support the tenet or imperative that United States leaders be more restrained and reserved with comments on first use of nuclear weapons.

I’m a former career member in the uniformed military and senior civil service in the U.S. Government, with almost 40 years of service from the height of the Cold War to today’s Great Power showdown with China.  I’ve been in combat, cold war, and deterrence operations.  Some of it was with conventional units, some with special operations, and some as a senior staff officer.  I fully embrace President Donald J. Trump’s declaration of putting an end to forever wars advanced by the swamp.  At first, I didn’t understand the full gravity and meaning of the comment by DJT, but I after a while, the depth and meaning of the “Forever War” moniker sunk in.  Trump was right (again).

There are many in the beltway that root for forever wars with no purpose and no defined outcome.  And to be clear—Trump is not an isolationist.  America First is not isolationism.  It advocates deep engagements with foreign partners who must, however, share in the burden.  Senator Wicker’s comments are not America First—they are a dangerous step backward.

If Biden and the swamp were serious about Putin and China, they’d unleash the three core strengths of America to bankrupt Russia and deter China.  Using the Energy, Food, and American Dollar Instruments of American Power would quickly squelch Russian and Chinese Adventurism and allow the American military to properly posture for deterrence (and action if necessary).

A Post-Olympic Surprise by China?

China’s accelerated mimicry over the last year of the American Military Sealift Command and the National Defense Reserve Fleet were the key indicators I have been waiting for to see if China was serious about demonstrating the ability to generate and project force.  The key operative expression is the obscure term, “Joint Logistics Over the Shore (JLOTS).”

Sorry to sound like such a Joint Staff and Office of the Secretary of Defense planner wonk but demonstrating JLOTS is the red flag and alarm bell.  Where did China learn the JLOTS concept?  Did they once again break and enter Department of Defense and Intelligence Community networks?  Was this another dastardly and horrendous Office of Personnel Management Breach where Chinese National Security Agency equivalents broke into U.S. Government networks?

The answer:  No.  They simply surfed the internet, searched, found, studied, and mimicked the American naval JLOT documents.  I’ve said this before, I’ll say it again – the Chinese intelligence community reads and studies everything we put out.  So maybe we should put out documents that are meant to mislead the Chinese military planners.  Just a thought.

The last year has seen an acceleration of public Chinese JLOTS demonstrations, a sharp rise in Chinese naval warship construction, a fervor over new silo construction for nuclear missiles, and a quickening pace of large-scale challenges to Taiwan airspace by swarms of Chinese combat aircraft.  The Chinese military is feeling it’s oats and is building confidence in operational art.  China is moving far beyond a “parade” military, to a military that can generate and project force afar—a rare operational art that only America has demonstrated over and over.

The key question now is when will this Chinese operational art be translated into action, action, action as Steve Bannon likes to quip?  I think a time of immense danger is in the immediate aftermath of the withering Winter Olympics in Beijing that wrap up in late February 2022.

Totalitarians revel and relish in the propaganda opportunity of an Olympics.  It makes them feel good about themselves.  Sochi was a brilliant cover for Putin’s 2014 initial invasion of the Ukraine.  Perhaps Putin might warm up the Ukraine immediately after the Beijing Olympics to distract the world, which would be brilliant double cover for China striking to the East.  The Chinese seem to prefer probing southern Taiwan and the Taiwan-Philippine’s gap to the open Pacific.  China now is in desperate need of chips from Taiwan, so I assert China is looking far beyond Taiwan if China initiates conflict.

90 Days to ‘De-Woke’ the U.S. Military

The American military is large, well trained, well equipped, and has deep operational relationship with several key powers in Asia to include Japan (which likely explains China’s preference to stay away from the northern approach to Taiwan), Australia, India, Canada, South Korea, and European nations like the United Kingdom and France who are also projecting naval force into the zone of possible conflict.

The U.S. military is incredible, but appears to act like King Theoden from the Lord of the Rings trilogy, under the cancerous spell of Woke-ism and Critical Race Theory.  We have about 90 days—let’s hope that Grima’s spell on the U.S. military and the rest of America is broken soon.

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.

John Mills
Colonel (Ret.) John Mills is a national security professional with service in five eras: Cold War, Peace Dividend, War on Terror, World in Chaos, and now—Great Power Competition. He is the former director of cybersecurity policy, strategy, and international affairs at the Department of Defense. ColonelRETJohn on GETTR, Daily Missive on Telegram