China has warned the United States that “those who play with fire will perish by it” in response to a recent U.S. report evaluating the possibility of simultaneous conflicts against Moscow and Beijing.
The United States is unprepared to confront the expanding nuclear threat posed by Russia and China, according to the Congressional Commission on the Strategic Posture of the United States released on Thursday.
“It is an existential challenge for which the United States is ill-prepared, unless its leaders make decisions now,” according to the 145-page report. After a year of investigation on the topic, the bipartisan group of six Democrats and six Republicans who authored the report produced the document.
Russia and China’s behavior is characterized as “militarily troubling and increasingly aggressive” in the report, which has increased the “risk of conflict between two nuclear peers.” The report predicts that China will reach nuclear parity with the United States by the middle of the 2030s.
Examining a potential worst-case scenario, the report examines the possibility of a coalition between Russia and China against the United States. According to the specialists, American leaders should alter the nation’s strategic posture and accelerate its military modernization.
However, discussions of a potential conflict with the United States appear to have sparked wrath and resentment in Beijing. This was made plain in a recent article published in the official publication of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), the Global Times.
In response to the report, the newspaper states: “The idea of ‘preparing for possible simultaneous wars with Russia and China,’ once a fringe fantasy, has gradually made its way into Washington’s agenda, which is deeply unsettling.”
The article further states: “If Washington were to adopt even a small portion of the recommendations in this report, the harm and threats it could pose to world peace would be immeasurable and would ultimately backfire on the U.S. itself.”
The author then issues a warning: “There is an ancient Chinese proverb that states, ‘Those who play with fire will perish by it.’” This is something that Washington should carefully contemplate.”
The article criticized the bipartisan report as irresponsible for “promoting a nuclear arms race under the banner of ‘deterrence’,” characterizing this as “a disastrous step backwards in history.”
The article added that the American report exaggerated China’s threat and that its motivations for creating a warlike atmosphere were highly suspect.
However, America’s nuclear weapons arsenal has stagnated while its competitors are adding to their stockpiles.
A Heritage Foundation report in 2022 provides context for America’s nuclear stockpile since the advent of the Atomic Age.
In a Prague speech in 2009, former President Barack Obama championed the vision of a world without nuclear weapons.
“As the only nuclear power to have used a nuclear weapon, the United States has a moral responsibility to act… So today, I state clearly and with conviction America’s commitment to seek the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons. I’m not naive. This goal will not be reached quickly—perhaps not in my lifetime. It will take patience and persistence. But now, we, too, must ignore the voices who tell us that the world cannot change. We have to insist, ‘Yes, we can…’”
The world, however, has rejected this vision through its actions. If America seeks to keep the peace, that requires preparing for the unimaginable.