Russian military failures in Ukraine are a warning sign for China, says Senator Reed

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Sen. Jack Reed, DR.I., chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, walks on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, March 16, 2022. (Alex Brandon/AP)

WASHINGTON — Russia’s stalled invasion of Ukraine is causing China to rethink the prowess of its own military and how an attempt to conquer Taiwan would play out, Sen. Jack Reed, DR.I.

The chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee said he believed China was gathering data on the real-time example of a major conventional power taking on lesser power and reassessing whether its military could successfully retake the island she claims as her own.

“I think Chinese leaders suspect that their military hasn’t been involved in a major conflict” since the late 1970s and early 1980s when China invaded North Vietnam, Reed said during the interview. a round table with journalists. “It hasn’t been tested and they might have doubts about the strength of their forces.”

Russia eclipses Ukraine in troops and military equipment, but Russian forces’ struggle to capture key Ukrainian cities in a war now entering its fifth week has likely given Beijing pause, Reed said.

“There were 120,000 Russian troops along the border with tanks, missile systems, sophisticated aviation and I was scratching my head, you know, because the Ukrainian forces weren’t as well equipped,” he said. he declared. “We are not only looking at the Russians, China as well and they are starting to ask questions.”

The United States had assumed that Russia would launch an “overwhelming” attack on Ukraine and make a very quick run on its capital, Kyiv, in part because of Russia’s successful annexation of Crimea in 2014, a said Reed. But the conditions that facilitated this swift operation – a small area, existing Russian naval bases on the peninsula and a Russian-friendly population – do not exist now.

“You look towards [Crimea] and you think wow, that’s a very well formed [military]”, Red said. “Now you look at a general and conventional assault on a significant level and you see fractures in the Russian forces.

Russian troops have been bogged down by logistical problems, connectivity issues between forces, intelligence lapses and top-down leadership that prevents small units from fighting without instructions from headquarters, he said.

The United States is helping Ukraine exploit those weaknesses with large shipments of military aid, and the same assistance could be expected in the event of a Chinese incursion into Taiwan, Reed said. China takes note of the crucial importance of this assistance, which now amounts to 2 billion dollars, for the Ukrainian resistance, he said.

Reed reiterated the White House’s position that US forces would not get involved in Ukraine, but he said the United States should reassess whether Russia is using nuclear weapons or launching a cyber attack on the United States that cause significant losses. Any use of a chemical, biological or nuclear weapon that affects a neighboring NATO country could trigger a direct military conflict between the alliance and Russia, he said.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Tuesday that Russia would only launch nuclear weapons if it faced an “existential threat”.

China’s well-documented ambitions to join the United States and Russia as a strategic nuclear power are rapidly changing the national security landscape and will place the United States in uncharted territory, Reed said. The Pentagon reported last year that Beijing could have up to 700 deliverable nuclear warheads by 2027 and likely intends to have at least 1,000 nuclear warheads by 2030.

“It’s an extraordinarily historic moment,” Reed said. “We will have for the first time in the history of the world a trilateral nuclear competition. We have to start thinking about what is the strategy and how are we going to do this?”


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