As of last week, the U.S. House’s Appropriations Committee intends to cut funding for Guam’s missile defenses, even as it approves a funding increase for the Missile Defense Agency. This demonstrates a deep degree of strategic confusion and threatens to undermine deterrence in an increasingly unstable Western Pacific. U.S. military ports, airfields, and logistics facilities are essential to America’s existence as the dominant Pacific power. Their effective defense requires a far more advanced command and control system than currently exists. It demands more—not less—funding—and U.S. policymakers should understand why.
The U.S.’ competition with China is primarily political-strategic, not an economic, diplomatic, or ideological contest. The CCP has employed every element of national power at its disposal to gain an advantage, joining major international organizations like the WHO and co-opting them to bully China’s rivals, stealing technology to increase Chinese productivity at America’s expense, using coercive economic inducements to expand its influence in Central Asia, the Near East, Africa, and Southeastern Europe, and wielding the Party-State’s media complex to propagate anti-Western ideological narratives. But each of these actions is meant to bolster Chinese military power and facilitate the CCP’s strategic objectives.