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US may lose simultaneous war with Russia and China: RAND

US military aircraft drop live ordnance during a flight demonstration involving aircraft carrier USS Nimitz in the Pacific Ocean, December 1, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

The United States will likely lose a simultaneous military confrontation with Russia and China, according to the US think tank RAND Corporation, which warns about the US military’s insufficient training and readiness.

In its latest report, titled "US Military Capabilities and Forces for a Dangerous World,” the California-based think tank warned that the American military was standing little chance to win a possible concurrent conflict with Russia and China.

The RAND Corporation sees the potential weakness in the Pentagon’s controversial focus on the Two Regional Wars doctrine, which implies the US capability to wage two minor wars simultaneously.

Thanks to their major technology advancements over the past years, Russia and China have now reached a level that they can top the US in certain areas of military prowess, the 190-page document’s authors said, warning that limited budget and a lack of enough forces to support the “ambitious” US military plan were hindering American forces.

"Put more starkly, assessments in this report will show that US forces could, under plausible assumptions, lose the next war they are called upon to fight, despite the United States outspending China military forces by a ratio of 2.7:1 and Russia by 6:1," the document continued. "The nation needs to do better than this."

Despite spending billions on sending troops and equipment to Russia’s borders in the Baltic region, the NATO military alliance could not withstand a “determined, short-warning Russian attack” either.

"In short, we concluded that, as currently postured, NATO cannot defend the Baltic states against a determined, short-warning Russian attack," the document said.

Confronting China over Taiwan

The China war scenarios laid out in the report focused specifically on a conflict over Taiwan and a possible attempt by Beijing to retake the breakaway island republic.

China has taken issue with US President Donald Trump’s undermining of the One China policy of recognizing Chinese sovereignty over Taiwan.

The rift grew deeper recently, after the US Congress approved legislation allowing US and Taiwanese naval ships and military officials to visit each other’s territories.

Minister Li kexin, a senior diplomat in China’s US embassy, said in response that, “The day that a US Navy vessel arrives in Kaohsiung, is the day that our People’s Liberation Army unites Taiwan with military force.”

Washington also refuses to recognize China’s sovereignty over the South China Sea, often sending warships near Chinese islands to protect what it calls “freedom of navigation” in the disputed waters.

RAND warned that the US would have a tough time defending Taiwan, because China has studied previous US military campaigns and developed effective strategies of its own.

Such analyses have prompted the Trump administration to increase the US military budget to more than $600 billion a year, a record high.

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