Analyst Twits Ex-Defense Exec For Vague Take On China Strategy
"The Strategy of Denial" by Elbridge Colby provides a roadmap for controlling and opposing China's growth in order to preserve American freedom, wealth, and security—with an emphasis on security.
Photo Insert: Elbridge Colby served as deputy assistant secretary of defense for strategy and force development from 2017 through 2018.
The thesis is based on a highly narrow image of China's objectives, which Colby fails to connect to actual Chinese policy or strategy for establishing East Asian hegemony. Although some have praised the resulting suggestions, Cornell Overfield, an associate research analyst for the US Center for Naval Analyses (CNA), wrote for Foreign Policy.
From 2017 to 2018, Colby was the deputy assistant secretary of defense for strategy and force development. He believes China might follow a "focused and sequential strategy" of threatened or executed "wars against isolated coalition members," beginning with Taiwan.
He thinks that Beijing will do it in a way that avoids a regional war but results in Chinese hegemony in Asia. Overfield emphasized that confronting China requires research, not assumptions and that Beijing cannot be stopped unless the US and its allies, especially Asian democracies, confront China's "little wars."
To avoid this, Colby believes the US must employ a "denial strategy" in order to maintain U.S. supremacy in Asia. After wading through the hundreds of pages of theoretical explication, this appears to indicate that the U.S. should focus its military force on Asia, maintain its alliance perimeter in East Asia, and ensure Taiwan's security.
Given Colby's experience and the book's generally favorable reaction, his approach would almost certainly be influential in any future Republican presidential administration.