In January, four-star Air Force General, Mike Minihan, sent a memo to the officers he commands predicting that the U.S. and China would be at war within two years. Minihan said, “I hope I am wrong [but] my gut tells me we will fight in 2025.”
If either President Joe Biden or former President Donald Trump is re-elected in 2024, then Minihan’s prognosticating gut may prove right. But if Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. is the victor, then he will have been wrong.
Kennedy is intent on avoiding a war with China that would be suicidal for the U.S. and China. In July, Kennedy tweeted: “the indications are that the Chinese leadership does not want a military confrontation with us, and we shouldn’t want that either.” A few weeks earlier, the Boston Herald quoted Kennedy criticizing U.S. provocations directed against China and saying that he thought the U.S. putting military bases in the South China Sea was a mistake.
These statements represent a refreshing divergence from the saber-rattling rhetoric coming from the Biden White House and Republican Party leadership that alarms even seasoned Air Force Generals.
Kennedy is absolutely correct to emphasize that China does not want a military confrontation, as Chinese Premier Xi Jinping has publicly advocated for a “win-win” cooperative strategy, in which the U.S. and China work together and collectively try to advance their national interests.
On September 17, the Chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff acknowledged that the Chinese spy balloon hysteria earlier in the year, which contributed greatly to the deterioration of U.S.-China relations, was entirely baseless. Many other accusations directed against China appear to be either false or inflated for political reasons, including the claim, according to The Grayzone, that China has committed genocide against the Uyghur.
The U.S. allegation of Chinese aggression centers on China’s attempt to control the Senkaku, Spratley, and Paracels Islands in the South China Sea. Their claims to these islands, however, are disputed, with the Senkakus having been taken from China by Japan in the 1894-1895 Sino-Japanese War.
The Biden administration has antagonized China by sending Navy warships into the South China Sea and flying spy planes over the Taiwan Strait, over which China has jurisdiction under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.
CIA DirectorWilliam F. Burns, the first career diplomat to head the agency, and recently named to Biden’s cabinet, has carried out an expansive covert influence operation focusing on China, according to the New York Times. Two years ago, Burns created the China Mission Center and has since hired more China experts, increased spending on China-related intelligence gathering and counter espionage efforts that include flying spy planes off China’s coast.
The Biden administration has further signaled a possible break with the traditional “One China Policy” that recognizes Taiwan as part of China, by ratcheting up arms sales and covertly supporting separatist movements within Taiwan, according to Global Times.