Since his last visit to The Cats Roundtable, Admiral James Stavridis has had a lot to be happy about, after his new book, 2034, A Novel of the Next World War, co-written with Elliot Ackerman has sprinted to the top of the best seller’s lists. The novel, which harnesses Stavridis’s decades of expertise, explores the very real ways the current US-China tensions could lead to war, in hopes, ultimately, to prevent one.
But this Sunday, Stavridis told The Cats Roundtable he also had a lot more to worry about in regards to the real-life US-China relations.
“I’m worried more than I was two months, John, about the possibility of China attempting to take over Taiwan by force,” Stavridis told The Cats Roundtable.
But after a series of hacks against US infrastructure, businesses, and government agencies in April, Stavridis said the heightening tensions between DC and Beijing “ought to worry us” all.
Those tensions seem in part fueled by China’s desire to test the resolve of the new administration, after Trump’s aggressive stance towards China.
“I think we’re going to take a tough approach of China in this administration, much like we did in the last one,” Stavridis said, adding Biden needed to shift focus to reflect the hard-lines Trump wasn’t afraid to draw.
The need to shift focus becomes apparent with the fact that Biden intends to funnel billions into stimulating electric vehicle manufacturing, as part of his series of tax and infrastructure plans that aim, according to Republicans, to severely punish the American energy sector in an attempt to transition it towards cleaner energy. But with China having a monopoly on the rare-earth materials needed to create the batteries for electric vehicles, the transition at the current rate would require the US to on-shore the mining of those materials, such as lithium.
“We’ve got to on-shore this, we’ve got to get control of these supply chains,” Stavridis said, warning, “if we don’t, we’re going to be in a tail chase with China.”
China’s mounting threats towards Taiwan have seemingly coincided with Russia’s amassing of troops along the Ukraine-Russia border. As former Supreme Allied Commander of NATO, Stavridis spoke almost first hand about the current threats posed by Russia.
“Our NATO allies are very concerned about the possibility of a second Russian invasion of Ukraine,” he told The Cats Roundtable. “So, we should be pretty concerned about this.”
With the possibility that Moscow and Beijing were coordinating their efforts, Stavridis emphasized the US must cultivate relationships with European and Asian allies.
“As Russia and China draw closer together and perhaps coordinate their activities—China against Taiwan, Russia against Ukraine—all the more important that we get strong alliance relationships,” Stavridis said.
Listen to the interview below