China has set a goal of becoming a “fully developed nation” and “a global leader” by 2049, the centennial of its socialist revolution, but the US has accused the 1.3 billion-strong country of plotting to overturn the world order it has carefully constructed in its favor.
In a five-year investment plan submitted by the head of Indo-Pacific Command (INDOPACOM) to Congress this week, commander Adm. Philip Davidson asked for the annual budget to more than double to $4.7 billion, for a total of $27.4 billion by 2027.
The First Island Chain refers to the string of archipelagoes just off the east coast of the Asian mainland stretching from the Kamchatka Peninsula in the north through the Kuril Islands, Japan, the Ryukyu Islands, Taiwan, the Philippines, and Borneo, and represents the area in which China would attempt to deny US forces safe access in the event of a shooting war. The Second Island Chain is a smaller string of islands that includes the Marianas Islands, Guam, and parts of Indonesia.
Pacific Deterrence Initiative
The foundation of the audacious proposal is the Pacific Deterrence Initiative, a program introduced in the 2021 National Defense Authorization Act and modeled on the European Deterrence Initiative responsible for placing huge amounts of NATO weaponry on Russia’s western border.
The US has about 132,000 troops stationed across the Indo-Pacific theater, with 28,000 garrisoning South Korea and another 55,000 at several bases across Japan. Several…