Study: China could wipe out U.S. bases, assets with missile swarm in first hours of conflict

Study: China could wipe out U.S. bases, assets with missile swarm in first hours of conflict
China's Xian H-6 bomber. (Image: Wikipedia. By kevinmcgill from Den Bosch, Netherlands - Xian H-6M, CC BY-SA 2.0, Link)

[Ed. – An Australian study.  As with the prelude to World War II, the opponent’s plan to attack a limited set of far-flung, highly concentrated forward bases is easily foreseeable.  It would be a huge political break for Beijing to attack U.S. concentrations in Japan, or (increasingly) in Australia and the Philippines. Guam is the throbbingly obvious target, a U.S. territory and thus not implicating a third-party nation.  The question is really when it would become thinkable for China to attack U.S. forces in those third-party nations. What would the trail-markers be?  Attacking Pearl Harbor wasn’t thinkable — until it was.  Keeping a big Chinese move unthinkable is the minimum measure of sufficiency.]

The United States Studies Center at the University of Sydney in Australia released a report on Monday that warned America has lost its military superiority in the Indo-Pacific region and Chinese missiles could wipe out its bases with “precision strikes in the opening hours of a conflict.” …

The report warned that too many American politicians and foreign policy officials have an “outdated superpower mindset” because they believe China would never act aggressively because the long-term consequences would include a horrific world war.  …

The imbalance of forces has reached the point where the PLA could pull off a quick disarming strike followed by a clear, difficult-to-reverse victory.

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In other words, a swarm of missiles would knock out key U.S. and allied assets in the Western Pacific within a matter of hours. The PLA would quickly move to secure its objectives, establish a foothold on the territory it desires, and then turn the logic of deterrence on its head by asking if the U.S. is prepared to suffer heavy los[s]es in a protracted war to reverse those gains.

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