At last weekend’s Reagan National Defense Forum, top Pentagon officials warned about the coming great power battles with Russia and China. But the U.S. approach to both countries shows that other parts of the administration view those relationships in a very different way.
Before Defense Secretary Ashton Carter’s keynote speech at the Reagan Presidential Library in California, his staff sent out the message that Carter would be making significant remarks about Russia and China, following his recent trip to Asia.
“We do not seek a cold, let alone a hot, war with Russia,” Carter said. “We do not seek to make Russia an enemy. But make no mistake; the United States will defend our interests, our allies, the principled international order, and the positive future it affords us all.”
Carter criticized Russian occupation of territory in Ukraine and Georgia, and he castigated Russia for what he called a destructive military intervention in Syria. He said that the Pentagon was doing a range of things — some public and some secret — to push back on Russian and Chinese “aggression.”