As if any more evidence were needed of the danger of defense cutbacks, Aviation Week has this sobering article reporting on a RAND simulation involving the possibility of conflict between the U.S. and China over Taiwan. Its finding:
Wargaming, including an extensive simulation by Rand, has shown that the U.S. would generate a 6-1 kill ratio over Chinese aircraft, but the Americans would lose. Even if every U.S. missile destroyed an opponent, there would still be enough surviving attackers to shred U.S. tankers, command and control and intelligence-gathering aircraft, says Andrew Davies, program director for operations and capabilities, Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) in an interview with Aviation Week.
And the the balance of forces will only continue to get worse as China builds up and we cut back. The article quotes Adm. Robert Willard, chief of U.S. Pacific Command, saying: “I would say that the military balance is undoubtedly shifting as China’s military expands faster than other regional nations.”
This is a worrisome development, to put it mildly — not because China will launch a war tomorrow but because the risk of conflict goes up when China has less respect for our deterrent capacity. And with the Obama administration and many lawmakers pushing for even steeper defense cuts than those already announced, China’s estimation of our deterrent capacity can only go down.