“Si vis pacem, para bellum” is a Latin adage that’s at least 1,500 years old, which translates to “If you want peace, prepare for war.” This truism has guided many political and military leaders for centuries and is the motto of numerous military units.
Either by design or neglect, the Biden administration has forgotten the phrase and is practicing unilateral disarmament and relying on diplomacy in the face of mounting threats.
The Top Two Threats
The Annual Threat Assessment of the U.S. Intelligence Community, dated Feb. 7, states that communist China and Russia are the top two threats to U.S. national security.
Russia, which has the world’s largest nuclear arsenal, invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24 and shows no signs of stopping short of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s stated objectives while, at the same time, threatening all who seek to reinforce the Ukrainians, including the United States.
Russian military modernization is a national priority. Putin has highlighted continuing development and modernization of “fifth-generation fighters, state-of-the-art air and coastal defense missile systems, space and counterspace capabilities, new surface vessels and submarines, advanced tanks, modernized artillery, and improved military logistics,” according to a report by the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency. Russia has also conducted a successful test launch of the new Tsirkon anti-ship hypersonic cruise missile.
Meanwhile, China’s navy has already eclipsed the U.S. Navy regarding the number of battle force ships, with no end to the construction boom in sight. It continues to develop and deploy new generations of stealth aircraft, including the J-20 stealth fighter and the H-20 stealth bomber.
China is also militarizing space, having conducted tests of a fractional orbital bombardment system (FOBS) that has deployed a hypersonic glide vehicle, which could be used to deliver nuclear weapons. It has begun deploying the Type 094 strategic ballistic missile submarine and is building more than 100 intercontinental ballistic missile silos in Inner Mongolia.
Russia and China are also evolving an alliance, as was publicly declared on Feb. 4.
Space Is the Final Frontier
According to the Defense Intelligence Agency, “China and Russia value superiority in space and as a result, they’ll seek ways to strengthen their space and counterspace programs and determine better ways to integrate them within their respective militaries.”
Chinese and Russian threats to U.S. military and commercial space capabilities include ground-based anti-satellite (ASAT) weapons, space-based intelligence-surveillance-reconnaissance systems, and deep space hiding places that could be used to stage nuclear and conventional weapons.
China’s evolving space capabilities are summarized in the U.S. Intelligence Community threat assessment: “Beijing is working to match or exceed U.S. capabilities in space to gain the military, economic, and prestige benefits that [accrue] from space leadership.”
China has counterspace weapons capabilities that can target U.S. and allied satellites, as well as new destructive and nondestructive ground- and space-based ASAT weapons.
Russia also continues the development of new space capabilities.
Russia “is developing, testing, and fielding an array of nondestructive and destructive counterspace weapons—including jamming and cyberspace capabilities, directed energy weapons, on-orbit capabilities, and ground-based ASAT capabilities—to target U.S. and allied satellites,” according to the U.S. Intelligence Community assessment.
The US Response
The Biden administration’s response to the continuing development and modernization of Chinese and Russian military and space capabilities has been shocking.
While China and Russia have both tested and deployed ASAT weapons systems, the administration has just announced a “self-imposed ASAT test moratorium,” according to ABC News.
The stated goal is to encourage the Russians and Chinese to agree to a joint ASAT test ban, with the United States “leading by example.”
This amounts to unilateral disarmament. Besides the academics, career diplomats, “woke” generals and admirals, and lifetime politicians in the Biden administration, who thinks this contra-realpolitik strategy has any chance of working? This is nothing but virtue-signaling for a U.S. domestic audience.
This is only the latest sign of the Biden administration’s weakness in national security affairs. An equally shocking unilateral disarmament action involved the termination of a Trump-era sea-launched cruise missile nuclear (SLCM-N) program. Former President Donald Trump initiated the SLCM-N program to fulfill a tactical nuclear capability gap.
Late last month, President Joe Biden canceled the program “to reduce the role of nuclear weapons in our defense strategy,” according to Breaking Defense.
There’s nothing like taking an arrow out of the quiver to embolden one’s adversaries!
But that’s not all.
As reported by The Washington Times’ Bill Gertz on April 4, the Biden administration is eliminating the “only remaining nuclear gravity bomb”—the megaton-level B83 delivered by B2 Spirit strategic stealth bombers—from the U.S. inventory.
Gertz pointed out the concerns of clear-minded strategists: “The decision to cancel the weapon carries what defense officials say is the increasing challenge for U.S. planners to deter nuclear adversaries like China, North Korea and Russia.”
The Biden administration’s disarmament actions extend to conventional force structure as well. Bloomberg News recently reported that the U.S. Army is considering cutting its strength to “under 1 million soldiers for the first time in 20 years.”
A Wall Street Journal editorial on March 30 condemned the damage wrought on the U.S. Navy by Biden’s Fiscal Year 2023 Department of Defense budget request: With the Biden budget request, “the 298-ship U.S. Navy would buy only nine ships next year while retiring 24. The fleet would shrink to 280 ships in 2027, [which is well below] the fleet of 500 [required] to defeat China in a future conflict.”
Lastly, under that budget request, the U.S. Air Force would retire much of its aging airborne warning and control fleet (AWACS) before replacement aircraft can be developed and fielded.
The capabilities of potential U.S. adversaries are increasing, especially those of communist China and Russia. The Biden administration’s response has been the equivalent of unilateral disarmament and virtue-signaling to a domestic political audience. A short course in Latin is needed: “Si vis pacem, para bellum.”
Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.