US couldn’t win war games against China

Scott Ritter is a former US Marine Corps intelligence officer.  He served in the Soviet Union as an inspector implementing the INF Treaty, in General Schwarzkopf’s staff during the Gulf War, and as a UN weapons inspector in 1991-1998.

He wrote an article in April warning against going to the brink of war with China.

The US military has deteriorated to the point that the only way it could win a simulated war game in which it was called on to defend Taiwan from a ‘Chinese invasion’ force was by inventing capabilities it does not yet possess.

In 2018 and 2019, the US Air Force conducted detailed simulated war games that had its forces square off against those of China.

On both occasions, the US was decisively defeated, the first time challenging the Chinese in the South China Sea, and the second time defending Taiwan – which China sees as an integral part of its territory – against a Chinese invasion.

In 2020, the US repeated the Taiwan scenario, and won – but only barely. The difference? In both 2018 and 2019, it played with the resources it had on hand.

Last year, it gave itself a host of new technologies and capabilities that are either not in production or aren’t even planned for development.

In short, the exercise was as far removed from reality as it could get. The fact is the US can only successfully defend Taiwan from a full-scale Chinese invasion in its dreams.

Ritter wrote that during the past 20 years, the U.S. military has sacrificed all its other capabilities to its operations in Iraq, Afghanistan and the rest of the Greater Middle East.

Today, with the political decision having been made to depart Afghanistan, and a similar decision being brooded regarding Iraq and its corollary conflict, Syria, the US military is a fundamentally broken institution.

It lost its ‘forever wars’ in the Middle East and Southwest Asia by not winning. As such, the senior leadership at the helm of the US military has been conditioned to accept defeat as de rigueur; it comes with the territory, a reality explained away by lying – either to yourself, your superiors, or both.

Too many successful careers were created on the backs of lies repackaged as truth, of defeats sold as victories, as deficits portrayed as assets.

In many ways, the recently concluded US Air Force war game is a byproduct of this psychosis – an exercise in self-delusion, in which reality is replaced by a fictional world where everything works as planned, even if it does not exist.

The US Air Force cannot wage a successful war against China today.  Nor can it do so against Russia. Its ability to sustain a successful air campaign against either Iran or North Korea is likewise questionable.

This is the kind of reality that would, in a world where facts mattered, cost a lot of senior people their jobs, in uniform and out.

I hope we have military leaders who can understand the difference between reality and a Tom Clancy novel.


America can successfully defend Taiwan against China—but only in its dreams by Scott Ritter for RT News.

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2 Responses to “US couldn’t win war games against China”

  1. Fred (Au Natural) Says:

    I don’t think it is as bad as one might think. If it were, China would simply have invaded and it would be a done deal. War games aren’t war.

    The point of deterrence is not always to defeat an enemy but rather to make war so bloody it isn’t cost-effective. The point of a war game is to learn better ways to fight, not to predict outcomes. Tweak the assumptions slightly and the outcome changes radically. How a wargame turns out often depends on the political objectives behind holding it.

    The uncertainty of all this is what keeps deterrence effective.

    Scot Ritter also wrote a book about America’s suicidal dependence on nuclear weapons. We’re not dead, so obviously it wasn’t suicidal.


    • Philip Ebersole Says:

      Fred, your comment about suicidal dependence on nuclear weapons reminds me of the old joke about the man who fell off the Empire State Building.

      As he passed each floor on the way down, he said, “So far so good. So far so good.”


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