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tv   Elbridge Colby The Strategy of Denial  CSPAN  November 26, 2021 8:55am-9:48am EST

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river. critics argue her suicide by drowning in 1941 is a reason to move the memorial to another site. according to npd book scan, print book sales were up close to 12% for the week ending november 13. adult nonfiction sales had another strong week and are up almost 7% for the year. booktv will continue to bring you new programs and publishing news and you can also watch all of our past programs anytime at booktv.org. >> it afternoon everyone thank you for joining us today. i would like to look to me to our event, the best defense strategy for america, elbridge colby on the strategy of denial. for what purpose should the trend be prepared to fight and how should u.s.ce forces be reay to fight such wars? these fundamental question should be formed the senator bennet u.s. defense policy but are often skipped over in favor of questions like how many f-35s should we buy or how
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many ships should be have in the navy? yet until we had to the more fundamental questions, answers to the specific questions will be elusive. the biden administration is presumably hard at work writing the nationald security strategy and the next national defense strategy. done correctly, these strategies would help focus the u.s. security apparatus on the most pressing threats facing the nation. the defense strategy in particular was specifically inform efforts to shape, equip, train and posture the united states military. the 2018 national defense strategy was important as it signaled a sharp turn from the war on terror, terrorism come to great power competition. although it came out three years ago but three years ago use military is still making that transition. while there's no shortage of voices and opinions about what should be included in america's next national event strategy,
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the no voice is probably no more consideration than elbridge colby, , the cofounder of a font initiative, the longtime think tank scholar, a former deputy assistant secretary of defense, and most significantly for the purposes of today's discussion served as the pentagon lead official for the development of the 2018 national defense strategy. use the author of a a new book released this tuesday titled "the strategy of denial: american defense in an age of great power conflict." here's the book right here. we will be place information on how you canon get your copy of this book and a special publishers discount in the chat feature of this webinar. so we will start out with me asking bridge a few questions and then we will turn to you, the audience, for your questions and is way for you to enter those questions on the webinar featured at the chat box. just go there comes a major question and we'll take it here and we will be delighted to put those questions to bridge.
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so, bridge, thanks for joining us today. >> thank you. thanks, tom. it's aur real pleasure and an honor to be able to talk to you. >> so this book could not have been easy to write. it is based on a ton of research. there's hundreds upon hundreds of footnotes to it. interesting to me you use what you call an c introduction i deductive approach. you did not jump right to the conclusion and say here's what bridge thanks. you madee the case, explored all the options and change your conclusion. what was your motivation in writing the book? who was your audience for it? >> the motivation was basically the sort of mismatch i think you put your finger on earlier in your remarks, between the legacy strategy we havehe been pursuing which is been heavily forwarded in multiple theaters, very high political aspiration and the reality of the geopolitical power ballads and, in fact, the military balance especially with this great power rivals you
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mentioned especially china above all. as i try to lay out in the preface we're in a serious mismatch. we have begun this transmission -- transition but in this time of transition i think strategy is really critical because a strategy is especially important when you can't sort i of like smother problems with resources and i think that's where we were in the last 30 30 years big e could knew everything we could nation built in afghanistan and iraq but most serious problems we might worryy about we can tae care of with our overabundance of power and resources. there are more threats and problems in the world than there are resources went to deal with them. so i think for me and this was really driven home to me in the pentagon. you had a distinguished military career and one of your many assignments i believe was as ahead of the army's strategy and resources division. the old phrase is that strategy wears a dollar sign. it's easy to come up with pamphlets that express a lot of
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aspirations but what strategy really is is connecting dollars and cents and efforts and puts intakes with a coherent framework. that's what i wanted to lay outr here and i think so the audience is the defense establishment computer for military officers as well as civilians and people think about that stuff but also the broader public. really important to me that and not to meha but i think it's really important that our military strategy or defense strategy has to be explicable and reasonable for the american people because a great power rivals where potential of thinking fighting back to go to a nuclear war or even if it doesn't go nuclear it could be exceptionally costly. .. or not but it's too a very wide audience in that respect, people who are interested in these issues and almost all americans should be interested in these issues. >> i love the way you with all the various options and narrowed it down to get to your conclusion. a lot of these books people will just give you their conclusions
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upfront >> so i love that part of it. so i'm going to jump to a part where i have some disagreements with you, and run right into a conflict and in your book, you say that in order to focus its scarce resources the united states should not size, shape or posture its military to deal simultaneously with any other scenario alongside a war with china over taiwan and that raises two questions for me. one, you know, all federal resources, especially we speak about the heritage foundation, are constrained so there's not a limitless supply of money, but in the past, the u.s. has spent 6% of gdp on defense and now 3.4%. the decision to spend more or less is ultimately a political one. do we have to assume we're always going to have scarce resources that we can only choose one scenario? >> this is a great point.
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i think the spirit i wrote the book and the spirit you've taken it and i hope others, i try to layout a framework and i call it simplifying logic, i don't claim to be the expert on actual decisions coming out of that, and such issues whether taiwan is worth defending, people could have different views i think we should. and based on the factor of the framework, you could come reasonably to make arguments in different direction as bob warwick puts it different strategies because you're dealing with uncertainty and risk. so in the book, what i said, the argument is, look, there are three primary functions in light of the fact that our capability that could resist could not deal with the prep and those are deny regional
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homogeny to sustain a nuclear deterrent, that includes russia and china and the core mission, there might be two or three things there. those are the basics. my view is if the american people think we should spend more on defense as you layout, then the next helping european nato defend against russia. first, i think the threat to russia to europe is less than china to asia. russia will not be able to take on europe, it might break apart nato, but not the same league as china taking over the position in asia. moreover, the europeans are more than capable of mounding a
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defense, more or less with american assistance and they outweigh russia in late tent power and they should and i hope we push them on that front. and finally i think we need to moderate our amount of defense spending. the paradox of military spending, you want to keep it low so american private citizen should decide where to put their money. if you spend too much on defense, it can have a negative impact on the economy. if you spend too much little, if we spent more in dea employed forces in world war ii it would have cost lost in the long run, go en-- again that's the debate and given the level of resources talked about being al evaluated and the biden administration effectively called for a cut in the budget. and we can't get caught up in
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other areas at the same time. >> there's a common defense strategy i don't know how to describe it, a shortcut, hey, we intend to do less in this particular region, and we are going to count on our allies to do more. so it would not surprise me to hear that type of thinking in the yur europe area, most of the european nations in nato are not spending 2% of gdp on defense despite what would be historic prodding during the trump administration, every tool in the toolbox, public humiliation, you name it, was attempted. and you read about the germans and they can't agree to even arm their drones. you know, that's just too politically difficult for them right now. is it feasible context to think
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that europe can do more? >> yes, firstoff, let's narrow the problem, many are reaching more and the front line state are spelling well over 2%. scandanavian countries not in nato are spending more. the brits despite the pandemic are spending more and the french among others. the heart of this problem is germany, which is frankly delinquent on its responsibilities which is not only damaging, but i think morally wrong and i've said this to them directly. that's one point and that's progress with nato. secondly, ultimately, if this continues from the germans this mr. become a game of chicken, if we are faced with the choices the american people, the decision are we going to prejudice from serving our
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primary interest to keep china from dominating the market area because the europeans are delinquent about defense spending. if they're going to force that choice upon us, we have to focus on asia first. if we think about world war ii, a european strategy, we made a decision for our enlightened interest and so forth and the europeans will bear the costs and risks, that's too bad, but they will ultimately be the ones to do that. this is why i think it's critical that we not overreassure our allies. look, i think we can be constructive and polite, but also firm and tough and that's a difficult balance, i should say thank you who do the burden sharing, and one of the great things to do going forward. but if we overreassure our allies and tell them every commitment is sacred. we're not doing themselves or ourselves a service. we need to be candid. japan, for instance, has almost
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been a sacred item of the japanese political system that they wouldn't spend more than 1% on defense. now in the race to succeed, the prime minister suga, they're talking about even doubling it. we can make progress, the question is can we make progress quickly enough. >> so i'm going to dive into the core issues in the book. in the book you advise that the u.s. should focus on china's best military strategy versus maybe the most destructive or most likely, a lot of writings in this town that your people say china doesn't want war, china will never go to war, they want to achieve more kinetics and that the u.s. should focus on gray zone warfare. that's a cottage industry in this town. you don't agree with that in this book. why should the u.s. focus on
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china's best military strategy. >> i would say fundamentally to put the case positively, the reason is because the best military strategy is the one that's the most gainful for them. the most destructive, they could launch a nuclear attack, but that would be insane, we would do the same to them and that wouldn't make sense. we have it get to the right level where we deter them, but similarly the likelihood thing, there's almost an arrogance in that a hubris because it presumes that the chinese presume they could never beat us. if they could, why wouldn't they threaten one and resolve. people who say the chinas wouldn't start a war or risk a major war, and reminds me of people who said before 2008 there could never be another depression. that's the thinking along the lines that makes it more likely because that will lead us to be unprepared for a high end
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military conflict and the critical point here, a high end military conflict is direct application of military forces, it sounds old-fashioned, but no better way to coerce somebody than to hold a gun to their head. all this have gray zone stuff by definition is not that dangerous. take taiwan, they don't want to be part of the prc, run by xi jinping and red guard descendents, metaphorically. and china is not going to be able to calm them into giving up. if china is serious about it, which i think they are, they will think about military force. >> and that's china's best military strategy. >> best overall strategy if it wants to be dominant in asia, basically picking off parts of this coalition that's going to try to balance not only on the
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u.s., but japan, india, south korea, australia, taiwan. china is going to pick off the weaker and more vulnerable parts of the coalition so the rest of the coalition gets the idea the rest of the coalition is a hollow shell and it will collapse and china will be dominant. the truth in what you were saying earlier, alluding to, china doesn't want to start a huge war ala world war ii, unification germany, took prussia, and to denmark and that's what china's best strategy would be. if you're thinking how do we take the coalition is a fait accompli. they don't want to huge war.
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they want a set on the ground and the partners and allies decide they'll live with it, a version of what the russians did in crimea, it's a good strategy and it's possible that we and others might decide to live with it. >> there's more than just facebook posts. >> right. >> if your book you talk a lot about allies and i like that discussion, it was a lot more granular than we normally get. normally the argument for allies, someone pulls out a winston churchill quote, what he said about allies, but anyway many people say the more allies you have, the better, end of discussion. you, however, advise a more nuanced approached in the western pacific, how some alliances could carry along with them entanglements, potentials costs and could you give us more on your thinking how you're thinking about alliances especially in that neck of the woods? >> sure, i look at alliances
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the way i look at everything in this perspective. you and i, we-- i look at my job working for the american people, i don't collect a federal paycheck, but this should make sense, the strategy should make sense to the american people in an enlightened way that could be positive with others and basically in their interest and that's why there's a tendency in the beltway like they're marriages or religious pacts and to me they're business, more like a long-term business partnership. they should make sense for both sides. sometimes it may need to be equitable and sometimes not. but people hand wave how our allies have been so great. our allies have gotten a great deal for a long time. and we went along because we had other things we were interested in. it's not going to work anymore. the only way to address china if we all lean in the way we're
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best suited for doing. the issue of allies is critical in the pacific in particular the paradox we need a coalition to stand up to china, but if we bring in too many countries, we're entangled. i had family involved in vietnam and it was a tragedy for us. at the end of the day it was not worse the cost. with all due respect for those who served there, maybe if we had that drawn that a different way. vietnam hovers over my thinking in this, we need to be tough and assertive and a moral commitment to the america's interests, because after vietnam we almost pulled out europe entirely and the whole thing could have fallen apart.
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an and what i say the defense perimeter, the states that we're really committed to, basically trace along the first island chain with all due respect to distinguished-- with our general officer, i think our strong suit is aerospace, maritime warfare and that's our wheelhouse. and if, you know, countries like japan, taiwan, philippines, australia, maybe in the future, the indonesias of the world where china has to use maritime forces and air force toss get there and project and sustain military power, the japanese have quite a good navy and air force as well. so that's sort of how i think. that's going to be dependent. that's going to be dependent how much other countries are willing to do. if japan's not willing to step up we may need more to carry us along. we may have to work with vietnam. what happens if china threatens vietnam. so the idea then to put a fine-- kind of put a finer point on
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it, if we can develop a military strategy that can allow us to defend those countries forward we won't have to do crazier things later that are going to be more costly. >> excellent. one of the central themes in your book and you talk about it to the point you must have gotten writing about it, the anti-homogenic coalition. can you talk about the dynamics and how you manage such a coalition? >> yeah, it's basically the idea that china is too strong for us to balance alone or anybody individually in asia. china is about half the total power if you use metrics like economic size and that kind of thing. so standing alone, let's say that japan stands up to china, china would beat them around. and we're too far in our ability to project power so we need countries to work together. the question, what does that
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look like? i don't have a fixed view what's that going to look like. i don't think that we need an asian nato, it may involve too much commitment. this is something loosely that i'm talking about. so a country like india, our relationship right now is probably pretty good. that we're able to do more and more and more, but actually india pulls a lot of its own weight. it's know the interested in being a tributary of the united states. my view, we should outsource south asia to the indians and then we'll have to have more relationships and alliances. i think of alliances formal commitment as sort of the steel in the spine of the coalition. that's like japan, effectively taiwan, australia, if the chinese get out they'll push through the maritime approaches and if we can told them there, speaking of churchill one of my favorite quotes i think world
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war ii-- world war i or just before if we win everything in the primary theater, we can hold everything after. if we can hold china to the first island chain, we can deal with south africa, south america, asian, we will be in an advantageous position, if we lose in the first island chain we will be weaker and imperilled everywhere else. >> i'll remind the audience to submit questions and we'll get to those in a moment. and i'll plug the book again. "strategy of denial", how to get your copy is on the webinar on a tab. and coalition of china, how would they think about taking that open like a can opener? >> i think like short circuiting. the focus in sequential strategy, you don't want to catalyze the whole coalition to
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fight you the mistake that the japanese and germans made in world war ii to get everyone to fight them. and you want short ones and if china goes after, say, taiwan and then after the philippines, people are going to get the message so i think that credibility is an important in a particular way. to deal with the ramifications of the catastrophically handled withdrawal from afghanistan. and they can tell the different between afghanistan and taiwan. if you're in japan taiwan is its neighbor. i think it's within eyesight. i think you can see from taiwan and vice versa, this is a much different thing. if the americans say we can't do well enough to help taiwan because the chinese are too strong. how does that apply to japan? and that's what china wants is
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to kind of, instead of fighting everybody, take down a few of these days and then the message goes around and sometime it's going to be under a microscope and the americans are going to let it go. and that's the possibility. and there was a cutting remark about the thais, you know, fairly or not, he said they bend before the wind blows, but it's an expression to pretty much every country. they'll see where the wind is going, if they think they will be left out to dry they'll cut a deal. >> so as the united states puts its strategies together to deter that kind of attack, deterrents of which i'm not a scholar divide itself too into two thoughts, deterrents by punishment than had an adversary can withstand and turn to denial, denying the
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objectives as the enemy and your book, especially with its title, the strategy of denial seems to come down fairly strongly in favor of a strategy of denial. can you talk about that? >> denial is better if you can get away with it or you can make it work because denial basically takes the weapon out of your other side's hands or essentially negates the power and you may have a bow and arrow, but i've got to perfect shield and you're never going to get through and you're never going to think it's worth doing. these aren't mutually exclusive because in the books i have the punishment in the highest, but denial is particularly important when you don't have advantage in resolve. the problem is we're fighting 10,000 miles over there, but taiwan, china thinks is part of its country. south korea is 100 miles from the chinese coast. philippines 100 miles from
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taiwan, vietnam is a neighbor, et cetera. in a vacuum the chinese are probably go to care more than we are. something i talk about, that's actually, we can actually manipulate that and we should, so that we do end up caring more, but the word manipulate is not right. we should plan in a way that makes it more our favor. but the-- given how far we're talking about and most americans never been to taiwan and probably don't know anyone why taiwan. a strategy of denial is better because it asks less in terms of suffering and our sacrifices, hopefully because denial is taking that sword out of the other guy's hands. the punishment strategies, usually they don't work as well because people will often resist giving up something they care about even under pressure, but also because, if you inflict punishment on something, it's one thing if the other guy doesn't have to inflict punishment back to you. china does in a big way, they can turn off sanctions and tik
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tok and conventional strikes on them and nuclear strikes on the homeland and in fact, as we've learned from admiral richard and generals, they're being accelerating from what we can tell. if we start punishing them. what are they going to do? punish us back. how does that end? i think likely not in our favor. we use denial to block the invasion, china's best is to invade taiwan and rinse and repeat with the philippines until the coalition falls apart. and we deny the fait accompli. and then china has a decision, well, i'll give up, live to fight another day, lick my wounds, what have you or try to escalate this. they've lost in the immediate battle and they could do that, blow up some tankers in the middle east, but that's probably not going to matter for us so much, and we might
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stop them or launch nuclear strikes in america, but then we're really going to be angry and put it back on them. in that contest, they'll bear what i call the burden of escalation. they'll seem like the aggressor and fdr talked about the might of right, or the flashing sword of anger-- or vengeance, i should say. that's not going to end well for them. emphasizing denial is the right strategy and right for the american people and for what fundamentally our interests are important, but they're not existential, truly, until we have to rely on existential risks without having to think about how to get there. >> we're going to the audience questions next. i want to hit you with one more, your thoughts on a binding strategy within the
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could he legs. >> one of the more novel aspects in the book, the binding strategy, what do we do if we can't make a focus, the denial here is sink the chinese fleet. shoot down the air armada and kill or capture the forces that land on taiwan before they can see, and do it limited so that china is bearing the burden of he is ka-- escalation and that's why i'm focused on the high standard. what we can't do that and our allies are not stepping up, taiwan and japanese would be because the chinese are too strong. what happens is they're much stronger, and we have to wage a war in taiwan or the philippines or may have to recapture them ala world war ii
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and the pacific, which would be the worst outcome. the big question, are we going to have the willpower to do that? it's important, but not essential. in that sense what i was alluding to earlier, we have to figure out a way where our resolve will be catalyzed where we'll see it as worth our effort and risk to do it and also our allies and others will see that. and so, basically what we should be doing, we should-- our strategy should deliberately be postured in a way. our forces and operations should be postured in a way that if china wants to apply the best military strategy using the fait accompli. they will actually have to basically tick off everybody else and make us all angrier so we would be willing to do the things. the concrete example in december 1941, december 6th, 1941 i don't know the polling
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data, but the vast majority of americans were completely uninterested in engaging in war with japan, not only not interested in war with japan, and especially weren't like what happened. two months later off pearl harbor, singapore and others, they were with the righteous mite, we were angry and engaged and we want to put the chinese in a position in order to slice, spreading out with more with partners and positive more with the japanese and other things our posture is less of a glass jar, they have to hit us harder. if the chinese see that, see that even though they just want to slice against taiwan, then they will be deterred. and i think that, you know, as obviously the junior officer, but in a later part of the cold
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war, i think this is what it was about. and hopefully we can do better than this, later in the cold war we thought we would lose a conventional war in europe, given the size of the soviet block forces, but i think our force was strong and resilient and capable and credible enough that if the soviets had invaded they knew they were going to start a war and we were all going to be willing to do the distance and they would ultimately go to the nuclear level and in the end that's enough. >> which remind me of the nato battalion strike groups we have in the baltics, and there's a contribution there. >> the problem i have with those they're kind of a trip wire. in a sense the russians could probably just ignore them. i think it's got fob--
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to be enough these are forces that have to fight through and deep strike and blow up a lot of things, and then it's more like, they can't just ignore them like a symbol, because the problem with the trip wire, it presumes the thing which is an issue, which is resolved and we need to activate our resolve. and the other example, historically, is lincoln. i think that army did actually suggest that they withdraw the troops from fort sumpter, but i think that lincoln adroitly understood or intelligently understand and opening, and 75,000 volunteers for the federal army. >> and we're going to the questions. and we'll ask what we've got. >> thanks, tom, and the only thing going to war with allies is going to war without. we've had literally come in,
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and i'll group some things. i'd like to call out names, but i can't do that. but on taiwan, what are the odds of china actually doing this and what time frame. that was one of the first questions, a numbers thing. and rolling into taiwan, another one says, the question it seems to be a near holy obsession or a religious thing on the part of beijing it take taiwan so with that kind of commitment, keep in mind time frames and those things, and can the west outlast that. another question said isn't china just bluffing? for colleagues in taiwan they talk to and the taiwanees, is this a bunch of bluster. grouping that together. is it a bluff, can we outlast that? >> i can put them together. the chinese want to uniform with taiwan and they're better
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to do so forcefully, whether they do so is the cost and risk of doing so. the benefit, but what is the cost and risk. they knew they didn't have a hope of getting past the 7th fleet so he never tried and avoided an issue after the 1950's and the same thing with jinping, and certainly the catalyst is the same. the calculus is critical and that's what we need to effect. the problem is the chinese have been laser focused for 25 years and they've got a lot to put on it. and what i like to say is, china is a long-term problem in the with an i that heart disease is a long-term problem, if you don't take care of it in the near-term, you won't get to the long-term. >> and the issue is that their military modernization program is coming into the force like already and right now in this decade. in the meantime we've been slow to move. i mean, tom mentioned in the
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2018 national defense strategy and the third offset, the precursor that started focus on built on that, it's going, frankly, too slowly for my taste-- not for my taste, for this situation. and i think the fy22 budget request, seems too long-term focused. the long-term is a problem, but so is the short-term. and this combination of factors makes it think that the chinese leadership may do something before 2027 which is admiral davidson, the former of endo pay com may have said and sometime in the 2020's they would say we're looking good. you know, who knows what the future holds economically for china and the americans are finally getting their acts together, but the forces aren't getting ready until 2030 or after and ditto for japan. if you look at why the german
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went to war in 2019 and there was a window for the long-term, and it says you're going to fail because the good thing going, a, it's an island and people don't want to live under the chinese and bayingsically they have to get 100 miles off water tough to sustain operations. the germans couldn't get across 26 miles i think is the english channel. the second, if the chinese fail after they've tried to invade, that's catastrophic. they may string up the ccp lirn on one hand, but the region is going to say these guys are dangerous because they're willing to use force, but they're resistible and that's kind of worst outcome for a country like china if people think you're bad and dangerous, but safely resistant so that means their probability levels
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probably got to be pretty high so we should-- we shouldn't take solace from that, but we can do this, i think. >> we've got a lot coming in here, i tried to group together four and hopefully grouping makes sense. one in the south china sea, wasn't it the case that china had a fait accompli during the obama administration with building that and almost related to this is international arbitrations and disputes, the philippines won a case against china about intrusions and china didn't care, they went off and did whatever they want today do anyway which would kind of imply they can do these objectives in the gray zone business without going on military. related to that then is are you focusing too narrowly on china in this military approach and if it's not a power projection thing like we've done in the
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past then there are implications for the u.s. military. so are we going to shift from active duty, large standing to more of a guard reserve sort of thing, right? so is it really about war? are you too focused military speaking on china? aren't there implications to that and then linked to it is robert gates seems to have said we've never gotten our forecasting or our predictions right ever. so are we going down is what the questioners are looking at. going down a path where making too many promises and you might have consequences? >> there's a lot there. let me try to go in reverse order. all due respect to secretary gates, i happened fob in fellowship named after him by admirers, forecasts are dependent like the markets. we were right for the soviets were a threat, we prepared for
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it and never came to be. we weren't wrong in our forecast, we were accurate-- accuracy is not the right term. there was a potential future that did not come to pass and you'll never be able to tell, but i don't think we were preparing in the cold war, the soviets spent a lot of money on the military. likewise, am i over em fiezing the military over the gray zone? >> the chinese took these disputed features and things that come above the water and put huge dredgers in there and created new islands. it's almost like, they didn't seize anybody's territory, i mean, in the kind of intuitive sense. they didn't take something where it's a populated area as part of an established country. they're operating on almost beyond the edge of what essentially what is a country. and it's difficult to project power for a country like the philippines into the waters of the south china sea.
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so the gray zone can matter in these marginal or ungolf earned states. they're not going to gray zone their way into seizing the island of luzan or exceeding their wealth. the reason that i focus so much on the military, it's not that i think that the military is-- or sort of war and peace are the most valuable part of human affairs, to the contrary, as what we want here is a decent peace, but if you don't get -- it's a little like the police. if you have a neighborhood that doesn't have law and order and it has crime, forget about commercial development. forget about schools, forget about-- if people leave the neighborhood because they're not going to want to be there. first you take care of the police and once you get to that position, it's kind of on autopilot. if you lived in new york in the late 1990's, you're thinking
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about crime, under giuliani and bloomberg, crime was down. if you don't get the military right china will have incentive it's because paradoxically the gray zone doesn't work and economic sanctions don't work. look at the australians, they're blasting them with economic sanctions and they're saying, stuff it, good day, and kudos to our mates downunder. it increases the allure of the military instrument for china. and so that's why we've got to get-- it gets back to that. if we get it so the chinese don't see an advantage in using military force like the soviets never did in europe then we can shift the competition. one thing i worry about with this administration they have a tendency to say or imply that this is going to be a political, economic,
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technological competition with china. well the gateway to do that is making sure that the military is there. we're going to have a sprint to get into the marathon. the last point on the structure. i try to make this about my ignorance of this, concentrating on the framework level. i don't pretend to have all the answers by any stretch, but i think here overfocusing-- we're better off overfocusing because we're not actually over focusing. and then what, if venezuela gets friskkey or cuba gets frisky, then we call out the
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national guard to handle these, they're not going to develop a death ray or something. we have to make realistic investments on where it's acute. it's most acute from china and asia. >> we have time for one more, if it can't be a coalition of 10 questions. i appreciate in the book, that the we need stealthy drones flown off aircraft carriers and we need, you know, more acoustically superior summary and i love that you pulled from there and showed us the framework. >> the last grouping then, we'll do the coalition things, whether it's a binding strategy, if you're picking key allies, in the group, out of the group, and it really comes back to that, are you assuring allies or overassuring and making too many promises relate
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today that, the quad. we have the new tri-lateral agreement between the u.k., u.s. and australia with the nuclear submarine. if you could kind of go back to this approach to picking and choosing allies and if somebody's not in the clib, does that present, you know, a problem or if you're in the club, you must be really, really important and so are you overprobleming and overcommitting? and that would probably spend the rest of our time. >> no, it's a great question, it's when i really thought, it's one of the harder aspects to think about was this difference between the anti-homogenic and reckon china to standing up with them. in one way other another. and alliances where we put our
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credibility on the line, obviously, japan and south korea, and i would say taiwan is like a quasi-ally. >> and the goal is to achieving with china. are we strong enough they wanted to go to a big war, that's the ultimate criterion. because violence and war the ultimate coercion. i don't need to tell you gentleman. if you want to threaten somebody, as mou said it's comes from the barrel of a gun. they will be checked. they won't necessarily be contained or they won't do what we want they have to respect a degree of our interest. this is the statecraft where the puts and takes and the creativity and the intelligence are going to need to be going forward and i don't promise to
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have the answers of what that looks like, but i think the question about overreassuring is very on point. i think we've gotten into a mode where we overreassure our allies and we kind of talk about our allies in this romantic sense, but we need to think if they have a purpose for us, which is to deny china homogeny or one of the key reasons. it's not like falling in love, it's more like a business partnership. that's maybe sometimes i rudely say in international discussions, and people talk about shared values and look, i love our country immensely, i grew up in japan, japan has shared values 0 in some ways, and culture, and we are in this
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together whether we like it or not. we should admit ainsurance and pressure. and our allies should know if they don't step up a, we'll be angry. that's not enough. b, there's a possibility we won't be able to do it. i was encouraged by taiwan's spending more and military, and to me, it's 70-30, taiwan's fate a lot of ways is in its own hands and what they did the other day is important and they should continue in at that direction. and the other thing is, i mean, we can defend countries in different ways. i mean, you know, during the cold war, we were going to defend west germany, yeah, because we liked west germany, but also because it was the strongest economy in europe and we weren't going to let soviet
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union take it over. if west germany, they wanted a forward defense at the border, not dropping back all over the federal republic and not coincidentally they developed a robust -- the germans had 12 active decisions a country two-thirds our size. and they should do now. our relations are too good with germany because we care about europe. this is the way that it's not vacillate between overly tough and kind of personalizing things on the one hand, but then reassuring and saying that everything is going to be hun y-- hunky-dory. i think that they're applause
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for it. the french are livid. the french should have done better diplomacy, but how surprising-- obviously asia is a priority and we'll get together for a partnership if we're candid and realistic. that he is what i try to do in this book, how exactly our relationship with germany and france should evolve, i don't know. i have some thoughts, but they're fallible. >> this has been wonderful. unfortunately we're out of time and i will say that we've only scratched the surface on elbridge colby's book. please don't listen to this and say i've got it, but you have
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not. thanks to the audience, on the hill or contact us. you'll get a survey and i hope you fill this out. in the meantime, elbridge colby, thank you very much. audience members we thank you and look forward to another event. >> you're watching book tv. for a complete schedule visit book tv.org and follow along behind the scenes on social media at book tv on twitter instagram and facebook. >> and now joining us on book tv is benjamin powell the executive director of the free market absolute and a professor of economics at texas tech university and he's the author of this book, wretched refuse? the political of economy and institutions. professor powell, you open with

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