Sunday, July 14, 2019

Horizontal Escalation...the new concept that the Pentagon believes could defeat China/Russia in the next war....

via Bloomberg
An American war against China or Russia would be truly awful. Even if the U.S. won — no sure thing — it could well suffer costs and casualties that would make the toll of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars seem minor by comparison. So is there a way the U.S. could stymie a Chinese attack in the Pacific, or a Russian land-grab in Eastern Europe, without having to defeat enemy forces head-on? This is the motivating question behind the idea of “horizontal escalation.”

Horizontal escalation is a strategic concept that relies on attacking an adversary's weaknesses outside the theater where the fighting started, so as to avoid confronting its strengths within that theater. It is an alluring idea that has won support from some key national security professionals. Unfortunately, it probably won’t work.

Horizontal escalation is a response to a genuinely difficult problem: The immense challenges associated with directly defeating Chinese or Russian aggression.

As studies by the RAND Corporation have shown, if Beijing decides to use force against Taiwan, or Russia assaults its Baltic neighbors, the U.S. would be hard-pressed to respond effectively. American forces would be defending exposed territories on the adversary’s doorstep. They would have to project decisive power over thousands of miles, into areas where China and Russia can bring to bear formidable “anti-access/area denial” capabilities (sophisticated air defenses, anti-ship missiles and others). It would be harder than anything the U.S. military has done since World War II.
Story here. 

What is horizontal escalation?  via Wikipedia.
Horizontal escalation is the process by which conflicts are heightened through geographical expansion with reasoning including diplomatic, economic, informational, and military components. This also includes international intervention as well as the geographical widening of combat operations.
I have my doubts about this concept but want to learn more.  On the surface this thing seems fraught with danger.

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