Two former military officials are sounding the alarm that the depletion of U.S. munitions as a result of Washington’s support of Ukraine could end up benefitting China. This is occurring as the communist regime is modernizing its military posing a grave threat to the United States, they say.
Air Force Col. (ret.) Rob Maness, a former bomber squadron commander who served the U.S. military for over 30 years, told The Epoch Times that China is overtaking the U.S. military while the country is unnecessarily distracted with Ukraine, “wokeism,” and more. Force structure is one of his primary concerns, considering the naval fleet of the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) is larger than that of the U.S. Navy.
He contends that national security experts in the West underestimate the impact of the size of Beijing’s navy, deflecting to the superior quality and technology of the U.S. Navy. “While that’s not necessarily untrue, numbers matter and these [experts] know that numbers matter,” he said. “They matter in ground forces, they matter in air forces, and they certainly matter in naval forces.”
In Senate testimony in April, Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro said the Chinese navy will have will increase the size of its navy by nearly 100 ships, “moving towards a fleet of 440 ships by 2030.” Previously, Del Toro also revealed that “by 2028, [the U.S.] will have approximately 291 ships or so.”
The Epoch Times also spoke to Brigadier General (ret.) Blaine “Blaino” Holt, a former Deputy U.S. Military Representative to NATO and cofounder of the nonprofit Restore Liberty. He is considerably less concerned about the size and strength of the Chinese navy. For example, he said, reports of a new Chinese aircraft carrier, or supercarrier, have created quite a stir in the media.
“But these kinds of things are built for Chinese prestige,” he said. “Yes, they’ve got a big blue-water navy with more ships than we do, but how are their ships?” he said, adding “they’re not that great.” “They don’t have the same firepower we offer [with our naval vessels].”
Maness, however, contended that size still matters given that “the entire Indo-Pacific theater is navy-centric.” If communist China’s aggression leads to war, he said naval forces will be at the center of it. If this confrontation is imminent, he said, the United States should be focused on increasing the size and capability of its navy.
Ukrainian service members fire a shell from a towed howitzer FH-70 at a front line, as Russia’s attack on Ukraine continues, in Donbas Region, Ukraine, on July 18, 2022. (Gleb Garanich/Reuters)Rising Threat, Depleting Inventory
In addition to his concern about the U.S. Navy, Maness also expressed concern about the threat of intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) and nuclear arms. “The Chinese have redoubled their efforts to increase that force capacity to come to a more of parity with the United States in these areas,” he said.
Earlier this year, a congressional notification from U.S. Strategic Command (STRATCOM), which oversees the nuclear arsenal, revealed that China has more intercontinental ballistic missile launchers than the United States. “The U.S. must put more effort into increasing our production capability on these,” Maness said.
Holt agreed, saying, “The U.S. should not be focused on the Chinese military’s size and strength. He said, “We should be looking in the mirror.” In agreement with Maness, he said, “We’re overly engaged in Ukraine, giving up equipment and munitions.”
Maness said, “I only have access to what’s publicly available, but it certainly doesn’t look like the United States is doing the things it needs to do to deter China, which on the surface appears to be a near-peer competitor.” Even so, he said, “I still think they’re a second-grade power in that part of the world, but it is quite clear their goal is to become the great power across the globe—and we’re not doing what needs to be done to deter them.”
Maness criticized the billions in aid sent by the United States to Ukraine, arguing that “Ukraine has never been a vital national interest to the United States.” According to him, “western Europe under NATO is more than capable of defending itself.”
To date, the United States has provided $46 billion in military assistance to Ukraine, including drones, tanks, missiles, and artillery, as well as training, logistics, and intelligence support.
“We keep putting our [U.S.] resources in Ukraine, not just with dollars, but also with our war reserve materials and weapons,” Maness said. “After the 20-plus year wasted effort in Afghanistan, our war reserve stocks are low, and haven’t been replenished.”
According to Holt, “Whether someone agrees with our involvement in Ukraine or not, the mathematics is the same.” Agreeing with Maness, he said, “We’re giving up our stocks and ammunition for a war in Ukraine that comes off of 20 straight years of warfare in Afghanistan.” In the meantime, he said, “China has been happy to have the opportunity to build up its conventional forces while watching us weaken ourselves.”
Peace Through Strength
Like Maness, Holt said “wokeism” has infiltrated the ranks of the military and the cultural shift is harming service members. “At a time when we should be strengthening our own military and guaranteeing victory against any of the nation’s enemies, we’re asking [service members] for their pronouns,” he said.
House Armed Services Committee members Mike Waltz (R-Fla.) and Jim Banks (R-Ind.) recently called attention to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, inquiring about forced participation in sensitivity training that included “understanding and respecting” others’ preferred pronouns.
“Patriots are being called extremists and they’re rooting them out from the military’s ranks,” he added. “Loving your country is not extremism.” Instead of a “love for country” or the values of the Constitution being taught, he said, the military is pushing divisive race theory-based equity training and policies. “It’s a dangerous game for the U.S. to do what it’s doing to itself culturally.”
Holt said, “Patriotic service needs to be something that’s honorable again. It’s in our best interest to teach our military leadership about the concept of victory, not maintaining little wars all over the world.”
It’s not too late to achieve “peace through strength” throughout the world, Maness said. Not only must wokeism be brought to an end, he said, “we need to be stronger than [our adversaries], and we need to stay stronger than [our adversaries],” he explained. “We also have to have the political will to use force when it’s necessary, and that’s not something I’d expect to see from the Biden administration.
“What we are seeing while we focus on Ukraine is Russia push more towards China,” Maness said. “Combine their nuclear forces together, and they absolutely created a very large risk for the United States, NATO, and Indo-Pacific allies.”
Holt said, “If the U.S. is going to be any kind of deterrence, we need to sober up and show some strength.” According to him, the “State Department needs to start getting interested in diplomacy again.” Those are the things that will deter China, he added.
The Pentagon did not respond to requests by The Epoch Times for comment.