The director of the Defense Intelligence Agency has said that China and the United States becoming enemies is “not a foregone conclusion,” even though the two countries are currently competitors, DoD News reported Tuesday.
Lt. Gen. Robert Ashley Jr. said during a recent discussion at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C., that although China has been busy building up its military capabilities, the Asian country’s long-term goal — whether it be global hegemony or simply the protection of national interests — remains unclear.
Ashley also observed that China has been upgrading its armed forces by studying the United States since Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm in the early 1990s, and by observing U.S. military activities since the September 11 attacks.
“They've watched us over the course of the last couple of decades as they have grown capability… And in many ways, they've mirrored some of the things we've done,” the DIA chief said.
However, the general pointed out that military lethality is not just a function of size and equipment.
Emphasizing the importance of experience, Ashley noted that the Chinese have not engaged in warfare for nearly four decades.