The Department of Defense briefed the Senate on how the United States stacks up against China. The senators were told how the U.S. and China compare on surveillance capabilities, research and development, advanced weapons systems and anything else that may allow either side to gain the upper hand in a conflict.
When the senators came out, Republicans and Democrats said they found areas where the U.S. is prepared to confront and deter China, and areas where the military needs to better prepare.
Here’s what senators from both sides of the aisle had to say as they left the briefing.
Multiple senators said if China tried to take Taiwan by force, the country and Communist Party would pay an extraordinary price.
“What I want China to know is that the American capability to do damage to your, to China, economy and military, you don’t want to go down that road. We have the ability to bring any adversary to their knees. They also have the ability to hurt us. How rational do you want to be?” Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said.
Straight Arrow News asked Sen. Graham if the U.S. is strong enough to stop China from invading Taiwan.
“I think we have every capability in our arsenal to deter China from invading Taiwan, if we’re willing to use it,” Graham said.
When asked by Straight Arrow News if the U.S. military can deter China militarily, Sen. Mark Kelly, D-Ariz., said we already are.
“No country, including China should underestimate the capability and the professionalism of the United States military. At the same time, you know, their defense production in some areas, you know, we’re concerned about that,” Kelly said.
Sen. Rubio said he thinks China is more powerful now than the Soviet Union was during the height of the Cold War. He believes there will be an inflection point between China and Taiwan before the end of the decade.
“But I will say that they clearly intend to pull it, Taiwan, into Beijing’s sphere of control. I think they would prefer to do it by Taiwan surrendering and basically accepting it. But I think it’s such a critical part of Xi’s personal legacy and how he views himself as a historic leader, that I can envision him leaving power, not having done something about Taiwan,” Rubio said.
Sen. Blumenthal echoed that sentiment, and said the American people need to be better informed on the intelligence so they can understand the level of investment needed in national defense.
“The world is a more dangerous place today than ever before, in my personal view, not just based on this briefing. But the Chinese have become more vigorous and real threat than ever before in our history,” Blumenthal said.
China was described by multiple lawmakers as a near peer adversary. Senators said the United States needs to invest in all sectors, including military, technology and commerce. That will take a long-term, committed effort.