How to Beat China Without a War

Building partner capacity in Africa through security assistance (SA) and cooperation (SC) activities provides the capability to maneuver in that space.

Can the U.S. Department of Defense do two things at once: Operate in the gray zone of small wars and excel in great power competition?  The rise of China has some analysts worried that the U.S.  “is focused on the wrong countries and being used to build the wrong capabilities.”  Small wars are out, big wars are in, and are increasingly used for justifying increased budgets for expensive ships and aircraft.  The general idea is that competition with China and Russia – great power competition (GPC) – is the priority and all instruments of national power must be bent to that end, at the expense of all other needs.  At best, this view is myopic; at worst, it is a false narrative.  The U.S. can succeed in the gray zone in which would outflank China and Russia in the next (perhaps the last) strategic zone:  Africa.

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