America Cannot Take On China And Russia Simultaneously (2023)

In a previousarticle, “Russia and China are Already Winning the Nuclear Arms Race,” I discussed the dangers to U.S. national security from the breathtaking advances by China and Russia in expanding the size of their nuclear arsenals to a level far in excess of the size of the current U.S. nuclear arsenal. The more that Russia’s and China’s superiority over the United States in terms of nuclear and other unconventional weapons such as super-Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) and cyberweapons, as well as in terms of overall nuclear war survivability, continues to increase, the greater their temptation will be to engage in increasingly brazen international aggression abroad. We have already seen examples of this happening with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2014, China’s occupation of disputed islands in the South China Sea over the last several years, and what appears to be an increasingly imminent Chinese invasion of Taiwan.

In March-April 2021, Russia reportedly massed 100,000-150,000 troops along Ukraine’s northern and eastern borders poised for a possible invasion. In response, the United States raised its alert status to Defense Condition (DEFCON) Three for the first time since September 11, 2001. Moreover,U.S. European Command raised its watch levelto “potential imminent crisis” in fear that a Russian invasion of Ukraine might be followed by a Russian attempt to overrun frontline NATO states including the former Soviet republics of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. It was this crisis that caused President Joe Biden to propose the June 2021 Geneva summit with Russian president Vladimir Putin to reduce tensions and improve U.S.-Russian relations, which were then at their worst since the end of the Cold War. More disturbingly, Russia’s achievement of nuclear supremacy over the United States could potentially enable it to coerce or blackmail U.S. leaders to do its bidding and unilaterally disarm or, far worse, launch a catastrophic attack on the U.S. homeland with a comparatively low risk of effective U.S. military retaliation. Such an attack would essentially have the effect of erasing the United States from the geopolitical map much as the Allies did to Germany at the end of World War II.

The commander of U.S. Strategic Command, Admiral Charles Richard,testified to Congressin April 2021 that the United States might well face a two-front or even a three-front war if Russia were to invade Ukraine and/or other Eastern Europe nations, China were to attack Taiwan, and North Korea were to attack South Korea simultaneously and in coordination. Adm. Richard testified that the United States currently has no contingency plans for how to confront two allied nuclear superpowers in a future war. Thus, the ability of the United States and its allies to survive, let alone win, a war fought with such powerful, unconventional weapons against our enemies remains very much in doubt.

In a recent article in theNational Interest, former Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs A. Wess Mitchellexpandedupon this increasing danger warning that:

The greatest risk facing the twenty-first-century United States, short of an outright nuclear attack, is a two-front war involving its strongest military rivals, China and Russia. Such a conflict would entail a scale of national effort and risk unseen in generations, effectively pitting America against the resources of nearly half of the Eurasian landmass. It would stretch and likely exceed the current capabilities of the U.S. military, requiring great sacrifices of the American people with far-reaching consequences for U.S. influence, alliances, and prosperity. Should it escalate into a nuclear confrontation, it could possibly even imperil the country’s very existence.Given these high stakes, avoiding a two-front war with China and Russia must rank among the foremost objectives of contemporary U.S. grand strategy[emphasis added]. Yet the United States has been slow to comprehend this danger, let alone the implications it holds for U.S. policy…A debate has erupted among defense intellectuals about how to handle a second-front contingency…There has been much less discussion of how, if at all, U.S. diplomacy should evolve to avert two-front war. In the current budgetary environment, though, the most likely outcome could well be the worst of all worlds—namely, that America will continue to try to overawe all threats…while reducing real defense spending. Such an approach keeps U.S. power thinly spread…This creates an ideal setting for an increasingly aligned Russia and China to conduct repeated stress tests of U.S. resolve in their respective neighborhoods and, when conditions are ripe, make synchronous grabs for, say, Taiwan and a Baltic state.

U.S. concerns about the risks of fighting a coming war with Russia and China are well-grounded, given it is unprepared to fight even a purely conventional war with them. In 2019, former U.S. deputy secretary of defense Robert Work, and David Ochmanek, one of the Defense Department’s key defense planners, offered a public summary of the results from a series of classified recent war games. Ochmanek summarized the results of the wargames by stating: “When we fight Russia and China, ‘blue’ [the United States] gets its [butt] handed to it.” AsThe New York Timessummarized, “In 18 of the last 18 Pentagon war games involving China in the Taiwan Strait,the U.S. lost.” While many U.S. leaders have been keen to defend every nation threatened by Russian and Chinese aggression—including those thousands of miles away on their borders, such as Taiwan and Ukraine, where our enemies enjoy overwhelming theater military superiority—they need to adopt a more realistic assessment of the chances of the United States prevailing in such a conflict. In an article forWar on the Rocks,Edward Geist, a policy researcher at the RAND Corporation, notes that in November 2018, the National Defense Strategy Commission found that “If the United States had to fight Russia in a Baltic contingency or China in a war over Taiwan … Americans could face a decisive military defeat … Put bluntly, the U.S. military could lose the next state-versus-state war it fights.” He surmises that:

These findings suggest that, in a pitched battle with a near-peer adversary such as China, American forces may be defeated even if its commanders don’t make any mistakes…If defeat is to be prevented, U.S. strategy and planning may need to think about all the different forms defeat might take so as to be ready for alternative kinds of conflicts and concepts of operations … In the present, when near-peer adversaries are increasingly capable of defeating U.S. conventional forces on a theater level, U.S. decision-makers can no longer afford to pretend that defeat is not a real possibility.And, so long as policymakers do not take losing seriously, they are unlikely to take the difficult steps needed to prevent such a defeat[emphasis added] … Unfortunately, U.S. strategy has not planned seriously for protracted near-peer conflict since the early Cold War… It is much more unpleasant to envision losing than winning — but this does nothing to change the fact that defeat is an increasingly plausible possibility in a war with Russia or China…An essential first step could be to start taking the prospect of protracted near-peer conflict seriously. Whether or not U.S. policymakers want such a conflict, one may be imposed upon them — and at present, America is woefully underprepared for it.

While U.S. policymakers are right to focus in recent years on the threat of great power wars with Russia and China, it is imperative that U.S. leaders recognize the increasing prospects of defeat in such conflicts so that they can better determine whether fighting losing wars against America’s nuclear superpower enemies and risking the lives of tens of millions of Americans and our nation’s very existence best serves U.S. national security interests. Furthermore, U.S. policymakers made a strategic mistake in expanding NATO into eastern Europe in the late 1990s and subsequently into the former Soviet republic of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania as the United States and its allies do not have sufficient military capability to defend its Eastern European members against potential Russian aggression. Last month, Stephen Philip Kramer,a Global Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars,expounded uponNATO’s inability to credibly defend its frontline NATO members from Russian aggression.

Putin has allied Russia to China, defying the basic rules of geopolitics. But Russia and Putin—including his supporters—cannot be ignored; Russia remains a threat because of its vast … nuclear arsenal and its newly acquired skills at projecting its limited power in clever and unpredictable ways. It is also important to recognize that if Putin’s regime feels seriously threatened, that there are few limits to what it might do to retain power… Almost every assessment of NATO’s ability to deploy and defend against a major Russian incursion into the Baltics comes to the stark conclusion that our current capabilities are not adequate; the alliance would be presented with a fait accompli before it could emplace traditional defensive forces to meet the obligations of Article V of the NATO charter…It is easy to answer the question of whether Europe can defend itself against a determined Russian invasion of the Baltics or other NATO allies in eastern Europe—the answer is no. As noted above, geography and the current correlation of military power favor a successful attack. The cost of mounting a counterattack to reclaim and secure the territory would be tremendous for all concerned—and catastrophic for the nations and people in the areas where kinetic warfare would actually occur. Beyond that, the destruction of infrastructure and other enabling capabilities—obvious targets in such a war—would have massive impacts on both sides. This is all without including the possibility of nuclear escalation. Even the limited use of tactical nuclear weapons would have devastating consequences.


Can US fight Russia and China at the same time? ›

Fighting a war with Russia and China simultaneously would be very difficult, he added. A high state of readiness and modernization will deter aggression, and the fiscal year 2024 budget request of $842 billion will ensure that the joint force remains the most lethal and capable military in the world, he said.

Is China an ally of the US or Russia? ›

Although they have no formal alliance, the two countries do have an informal agreement to coordinate diplomatic and economic moves, and build up an alliance against the United States.

Is Russia and China allies with each other? ›

China and Russia are each other's biggest neighbor and comprehensive strategic partner of coordination. We are both major countries in the world and permanent members of the UN Security Council. Both countries uphold an independent foreign policy and see our relationship as a high priority in our diplomacy.

Does China support Russia? ›

China has become an increasingly important trading partner for Russia as it seeks to soften the impact of economic sanctions imposed by some countries in response to its invasion.

Have the US and China ever been allies? ›

1942: United States and China Formed Wartime Alliance.

Have the US and Russia ever directly fought? ›

More on World War I

Washington and Moscow have been hot-war allies and Cold War adversaries. The only time U.S. and Russian troops battled each other came a century ago, with the heaviest fighting in the Archangel campaign that so aggrieved Pvt. Henkelman.

Who is more powerful Russia or USA? ›

In short, Russia is ranked 2nd out of 140 in military strength while the US is ranked 1st. As per the army population, Russia has 142,320,790 soldiers while The US has 334,998,398 soldiers. The available manpower is 69,737,187 with Russia and 147,399,295 with the United States.

Who is allies with China? ›

China entered into diplomatic relations with Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines, Bangladesh and Maldives in Southeast Asia and South Asia, seven countries including Iran, Turkey and Kuwait in West Asia and the Middle East and five countries in South Pacific such as Fiji and Papua New Guinea.

What is the relationship between us and Russia today? ›

Russia and the United States maintain one of the most important, critical and strategic foreign relations in the world. Both nations have shared interests in nuclear safety and security, nonproliferation, counterterrorism, and space exploration. Embassy of Russia, Washington, D.C.

Are China and Russia close friends? ›

Though not a formal alliance, China and Russia have forged a friendship with “no limits”, according to the leaders of both countries. Russia and China have built stronger ties in recent decades, supporting each other on various global issues as they seek to counter US influence.

Who are allies of the United States? ›

United States Allies and NATO
  • United States of America — 1949 (founded)
  • Belgium — 1949.
  • Canada — 1949.
  • Denmark — 1949.
  • France — 1949.
  • Iceland — 1949.
  • Italy — 1949.
  • Luxembourg — 1949.

Are Russia and Japan allies? ›

The alliance with Britain prompted Japan to enter World War I on the British (and thus Russian) side. Since Japan and Russia had become allies by convenience, Japan sold back to Russia a number of former Russian ships, which Japan had captured during the Russo-Japanese War.

Are China and Ukraine allies? ›

As part of the Soviet Union, Ukraine recognized the People's Republic of China in October 1949. After Ukraine gained independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, the two countries built formal diplomatic relations in 1992, and declared a strategic partnership in 2011.

Did China vote to condemn Russia? ›

China has mostly abstained from UN resolutions condemning Russia's invasion instead of following Russia and its supporters – North Korea, Syria and Belarus – with a “no” vote.

Is Israel and China allies? ›

China is one of Israel's closest economic allies in East Asia where both countries have placed considerable importance on maintaining a strategic and supportive economic relationship.

What happens if China and U.S. go to war? ›

A war would halt this trade (as well as American and allied shipments to China). U.S. supplies of many products could soon run low, paralyzing a vast range of businesses. It could take months to restore trade, and emergency rationing of some items would be needed.

What if the U.S. stopped buying from China? ›

It is unlikely that China's economy will collapse if U.S. stops buying Chinese goods. Trade is an important part of any economy, and a very important part of China's economy. According to the World Bank, exports account for 20% of China's gross domestic product.

What is the conflict between China and America? ›

An economic conflict between China and the United States has been ongoing since January 2018, when U.S. President Donald Trump began setting tariffs and other trade barriers on China with the goal of forcing it to make changes to what the U.S. says are longstanding unfair trade practices and intellectual property theft ...

When did Russia and US become enemies? ›

The 2 sides were enemies long before they were allies in WWII. Relations had been bad since 1917 as Russia had become communist and the West had interfered to try and stop it. Russia had also not been allowed to join the League of Nations in the 1920s and things had got worse in the 1930s.

Has the US military ever surrendered? ›

U.S. Army National Guard and Filipino soldiers shown at the outset of the Bataan Death March. Allied forces were forced to surrender to the Japanese on April 9, 1942, the largest surrender in U.S. history.

Has the US ever attacked Russia? ›

The United States actually did invade and occupy Russia during the end of World War I. An understanding of America's invasion and occupation of the Soviet Union in 1918-1919 is important for two reasons.

Who is stronger China or USA? ›

Although China lags behind the United States regarding operational skills and military hardware, it has also improved relative capabilities in many areas. China has the second largest air force in the world after the United States, which has the most significant air force strength.

Who is more powerful NATO or USA? ›

NATO, which was formed in 1949, is the most powerful military alliance in the world.

Which country has the best weapon technology? ›

The most cutting-edge military technology in the world is found in the United States of America (U.S.A.). France, China, Russia, and the United Kingdom are the other nations in the world with the most advanced military technology.

Which country is the best friend of China? ›

Pakistan and China have long praised the close ties the two countries have with each other.

Who does China have conflict with? ›

China and Japan have a territorial dispute over a group of uninhabited islands known as the Senkaku Islands in Japan, the Diaoyu Islands in the People's Republic of China (PRC), and Tiaoyutai Islands in the Republic of China (ROC or Taiwan).

Which countries do not recognize China? ›

The states that recognise the ROC (12 UN members and the Holy See as of 26 March 2023) regard it as the sole legitimate government of China and therefore do not recognise the PRC. Bhutan is the only UN member state that has never explicitly recognised either the PRC or the ROC.

Who is the US not allies with? ›

The United States has formal diplomatic relations with most nations. This includes all United Nations members and observer states other than Bhutan, Iran, North Korea and Syria, and the UN observer State of Palestine, the last of which the U.S. does not recognize.

Is Ukraine an ally of the US? ›

Ukraine and the United States belong to a number of the same international organizations, including the United Nations, Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council, Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, International Monetary Fund, World Bank, and World Trade Organization.

Are China and Japan allies? ›

Bilateral Relations:

There are various concerns between Japan and China, as they are neighboring countries. At the same time, the relationship with China is one of Japan's most important bilateral relationships, and the two countries have close economic relations, as well as people-to-people and cultural exchanges.

Is China and India allies? ›

Between 2008 and 2021, China has been India's largest trading partner, and the two countries have also extended their strategic and military relations. However, conflict of interest leads to hostility. India has a large trade deficit that is favoured towards China.

What alliance is Russia in? ›

The Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) is an intergovernmental military alliance in Eurasia consisting of six post-Soviet states: Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, and Tajikistan.

Who is the USA's greatest ally? ›

Nearest. If Britain is America's closest ally, Canada is America's nearest. Sharing a peaceful, open border stretching 5,525 miles (including the Canada-Alaska border), the United States and Canada are deeply integrated on matters ranging from trade and culture, to defense and intelligence.

Which country has most allies? ›

United States. The United States of America is a North American nation that is the world's most dominant economic and military power. Likewise, its cultural imprint spans the world, led in large part by its popular culture expressed in music, movies and television.

Who are 3 of US allies? ›

In World War II, the three great Allied powers—Great Britain, the United States, and the Soviet Union—formed a Grand Alliance that was the key to victory.

Who is Japan not allies with? ›

Japan maintains diplomatic relations with every United Nations member state except for North Korea, in addition to UN observer states Holy See, as well as Kosovo, Cook Islands and Niue.

Which country is best friend of Japan? ›

The United States is an invaluable and irreplaceable partner to Japan and, indeed, our closest ally.

Does Japan have nuclear weapons? ›

While there are currently no known plans in Japan to produce nuclear weapons, it has been argued Japan has the technology, raw materials, and the capital to produce nuclear weapons within one year if necessary, and many analysts consider it a de facto nuclear state for this reason.

What is the role of China? ›

China has contributed enormously to world peace and stability through its own economic development. It is estimated that China has consistently served as one of the main drivers of the global economy in the past 30 years, becoming the largest contributor to global growth since the international financial crisis.

Is China trying to act as a mediator in Russia's war with Ukraine? ›

BEIJING (AP) — Chinese leader Xi Jinping said Wednesday that Beijing will send an envoy to Ukraine to discuss a possible “political settlement” to Russia's war with the country.

Did China agree that Russia is the aggressor? ›

China has decided to abandon the practice of "abstention" during the UN vote on documents related to Russia's invasion of Ukraine. The Chinese delegation voted in favor of the General Assembly resolution, which calls Russia an "aggressor," according to data published by the Icelandic mission to the UN.

Is Israel more powerful than China? ›

Israel was tenth in the ranking for countries that have the “Strongest International Alliances,” as viewed by global survey respondents. Israel's highest ranking was for its military, which was placed fourth, behind Russia, the US, and China.

Who is Israel's main ally? ›

Israel's close friendship with the United States has been a linchpin of its foreign policy since the establishment of the state. Until the Iranian Revolution and the fall of the Pahlavi dynasty in 1979, Israel and Iran maintained close ties.

Who is Israel's main allies? ›

Indeed, America has always remained Israel's longest and most loyal ally. And it is the shared desire to promote, protect and preserve democracy around the world which has created the strong and lasting bond between our two countries.

What countries is the US at war with right now? ›

Who is America at war with right now?
CountryDates of Conflict
Afghanistan2001 – present
Iraq2003 – 2011, 2014 – present
Syria2014 – present
Somalia2001 – present
1 more row
Mar 9, 2023

Does America's military spend more than China and Russia combined? ›

Top countries in military spending, 2022
U.S.$877b $877b $877b
China$292b $292b $292b
Russia$86b $86b $86b
India$81b $81b $81b
Saudi Arabia$75b $75b $75b
6 more rows
Apr 24, 2023

How many wars are going on right now in 2023? ›

Seven Global Conflicts to Watch in 2023.

Who are US allies? ›

The United States has bilateral relations with many countries in the Indo-Pacific. The U.S. also has treaty allies – Japan, South Korea, the Philippines, Australia and Thailand. The U.S. works with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations – which includes 10 nations.

Who is at war right now 2023? ›

Countries such as Afghanistan, Central African Republic, Ethiopia, Libya, Mali, Somalia, South Sudan, and Syria are all currently experiencing civil wars, resulting in significant casualties and displacement. Drug wars are another form of conflict that can result in significant violence and unrest.

How many wars is the US in right now? ›

This is a list of wars and rebellions involving the United States of America. Currently, there are 105 wars on this list, 4 of which are ongoing.

When would the US join the war? ›

September 1939 was the beginning of a war between only three major European powers (Britain, France and Germany). They were followed in June 1940 by Italy, in June 1941 by Russia, and in December 1941 by Japan and the USA – though the conflict as a whole had actually began in July 1937 with war between China and Japan.

Does China have better military technology than us? ›

Although China lags behind the United States regarding operational skills and military hardware, it has also improved relative capabilities in many areas. China has the second largest air force in the world after the United States, which has the most significant air force strength.

Which one has the most powerful military between America and Russia? ›

In short, Russia is ranked 2nd out of 140 in military strength while the US is ranked 1st. As per the army population, Russia has 142,320,790 soldiers while The US has 334,998,398 soldiers.

Does China outspend US military? ›

$18 billion

It could be argued that China actually outspends the U.S. on its military when personnel costs and purchasing power are taken into account. In fact, Army Chief of Staff Mark Milley made that argument in front of a Senate Defense Appropriations Subcommittee in May 2018.

What can we do to avoid wars? ›

Here are some of the replacements for the whole concept of war.
  • De-escalate the concept of enemy. ...
  • Treat the other side with respect. ...
  • Recognize that there is the perception of injustice on both sides. ...
  • Be prepared to forgive and ask for forgiveness. ...
  • Refrain from belligerence.

What will wars be like in the future? ›

The future of warfare is likely to focus less on firepower and more on the power of information and the way it connects a military's forces through the concepts of command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (C4ISR).

How long do world wars last? ›

The First World War (WWI) was fought from 1914 to 1918 and the Second World War (or WWII) was fought from 1939 to 1945. They were the largest military conflicts in human history. Both wars involved military alliances between different groups of countries.

What is America's closest ally? ›

Nearest. If Britain is America's closest ally, Canada is America's nearest. Sharing a peaceful, open border stretching 5,525 miles (including the Canada-Alaska border), the United States and Canada are deeply integrated on matters ranging from trade and culture, to defense and intelligence.

Who is not an ally of the US? ›

The United States has formal diplomatic relations with most nations. This includes all United Nations members and observer states other than Bhutan, Iran, North Korea and Syria, and the UN observer State of Palestine, the last of which the U.S. does not recognize.


Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Geoffrey Lueilwitz

Last Updated: 28/11/2023

Views: 6222

Rating: 5 / 5 (80 voted)

Reviews: 87% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Geoffrey Lueilwitz

Birthday: 1997-03-23

Address: 74183 Thomas Course, Port Micheal, OK 55446-1529

Phone: +13408645881558

Job: Global Representative

Hobby: Sailing, Vehicle restoration, Rowing, Ghost hunting, Scrapbooking, Rugby, Board sports

Introduction: My name is Geoffrey Lueilwitz, I am a zealous, encouraging, sparkling, enchanting, graceful, faithful, nice person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.