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US four-star general's war speculation sparks criticism

Xinhua | Updated: 2023-02-07 15:36
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WASHINGTON - Recent comments by a four-star general of the US Air Force that the United States and China will fight a war in 2025 over Taiwan have been criticized as groundless speculation.

Mike Minihan, commander of the Air Mobility Command (AMC), said in a memo sent to his subordinates that his "guts" told him that the United States and China "will fight in 2025," basing on self-claimed scenarios.

Minihan's comments triggered criticism from both military experts and public commentators in the United States.

Responding to the comments by Minihan, who leads the Air Force's responsibility for transporting soldiers and weapons onto battlefields and refueling US military aircraft mid-air, the US Defense Department said in a statement that the general's assertions "are not representative of the department's view on China."

"There's no reason for the bilateral relationship -- the most consequential bilateral relationship in the world -- to sort of erupt into some kind of conflict," said John Kirby, the National Security Council's coordinator for strategic communication, when asked to comment on the matter.

Even the direct recipients of Minihan's memo found it astonishingly ridiculous. US military news portal quoted pilots and officers within the AMC as saying that predictions and corresponding directions contained in the memo are unrealistic and "inappropriate."

"Some of my airmen are going to get scared when they read this memo," one of the officers said.

Anti-war activist and podcast host Jimmy Dore said in an appearance on Fox News that the United States' enemy is not China, but rather "the military industrial complex fleecing this country to the tunes of hundreds of billions and trillions of dollars."

Dore said what's actually running the United States is a "war machine" that "can not be stopped," leaving the American people who cheer for war with no idea whatsoever about their country's foreign policy.

"What is worse, they have no idea that they don't have any idea what is happening with the foreign policy."

"Americans have no idea how corrupt our government is. They think our government is just regular corrupt ... that's not (the case) -- the whole thing is corrupt," Dore said.

Having plunged the Middle East into constant war over the past 20 years, the United States, Dore said, is "doing a proxy war in Ukraine" that both itself and its allies admitted has been provoked by the West.

"Now we're trying to sabre-rattle this with China, and (those in the industrial-military complex) are 'predicting a war,'" Dore said. "Again, China won't invade us. China is not our enemy."

"I remain skeptical," said George Friedman, founder and chairman of Geopolitical Futures. "The Pentagon has distanced itself from the general's remarks," he said.

Minihan was also criticized by Jude Blanchette, the Freeman Chair in China Studies at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington think tank.

The general's prediction -- together with similar speculations by other high-ranking US military officials indicating "various years" in which a US-China war would break out -- "comes across as undermining the credibility of our statements and our assessments on precisely the relationship where your words matter," Blanchette said.

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