The highest-ranking US military officer warned against “fraying” relations with China and Russia on Wednesday, advising urgent action to improve global ties and prevent a “great power war”.
Addressing Air Force Academy graduate officers, General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the US is walking a dangerous line in maintaining an appropriate level of competition with China and Russia.
“We are now in the 76th year of great power peace following World War II. And that peace is under stress, we can see it fraying at the edge,” Milley told the graduates.
More than 100 of the Air Force graduates will be joining the youngest American military branch, Space Force, to help protect US interests in outer space, as US geopolitical relations with both China and Russia are becoming increasingly strained.
In a short statement on Tuesday, the Kremlin announced US President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin will hold a summit next month to discuss the “current status of and prospects for bilateral relations”.
The BBC reports that the first US-Russia summit of the Biden presidency will take place in Geneva, Switzerland, on June 16. That will be at the end of Biden’s already scheduled trip to the UK for the G7 summit and Brussels for a meeting of Nato leaders, giving the president plenty of time to hear from US allies before sitting down with Putin.
Meanwhile, tensions between the US and China continue to escalate as lawmakers look to implement more stipulations on Chinese investment and reduce trade amid reports of human rights violations in Xinjiang province.
Congress is also expected to pass bipartisan legislation this week that will bolster US investment in artificial intelligence and technological advances to counter China’s expanding military capabilities.
“We live in an age of technological development,” Milley told the graduates. “Artificial intelligence, robotics, human engineering, hypersonics, long-range precision fire – we can now see and strike targets at ranges that have never existed before in human history.
“The country that masters new technologies, combines them with doctrine and develops leadership to take advantage of them best will have a decisive advantage at the start of the next war.”