The Future of America’s Wars

The Future of America’s Wars

Al-Ittihad, UAE, May 9

Two speeches given in recent weeks – one by the “founding father” of US foreign policy, Henry Kissinger, and the other by the US defense secretary, Gen. Lloyd Austin – should give us a big pause. Both remarks reveal a potential new kind of warfare that the United States might be heading into. Speaking at the McCain Institute in Washington, D.C., Kissinger discussed a potential confrontation between the United States and China, and claimed that such a war will see the use of entirely new deadly weapons. Instead of rockets and tanks, a war between the two superpowers might take place entirely within cyberspace, leading to casualties without a single bullet fired by either side. Kissinger didn’t leave much room for imagination: Just imagine a cyberattack setting off a nuclear power plant in the United States or leading to the release of electromagnetic radiation in large population centers. The result would be a total calamity. Similarly, Austin also referenced America’s future conflicts in a statement he delivered during a visit to the Indo-Pacific Command headquarters in Hawaii. Some commentators noted that this was Austin’s first political speech, reflecting a departure from his typical nonpartisan demeanor. In his speech, Austin warned that the US must prepare for major conflict in the future, different from the way it has handled “old wars” in the past. The US secretary of defense called on his men and women to take advantage of technological advances in order to improve the integration of military operations on a global level, so that decision-makers can “get the information quickly, understand it and act faster.” The fact that his statements were made during a visit to the Indo-Pacific Command was meant to send a clear message to China, which has been busy reviving and upgrading its nuclear naval fleet. These two statements beg the question: Are the Americans oblivious to Russia and its growing cooperation with China? The answer may have been given by Gen. John Raymond, the US chief of space operations, who recently indicated that Moscow and Beijing designed a weapon capable of disabling and completely destroying US satellites in space. With the risk of conflict continuously growing both in cyberspace and outer space, one can’t help but wonder whether the next big war will even require traditional arms that have been used in terrestrial warfare throughout history. – Amil Amin (translated by Asaf Zilberfarb)

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