2 June 2020

The Pillage of India

by William Dalrymple

In the eighteenth century a career with the East India Company was a throw of the dice for unattached young British men. Arriving in India wan and scurvy after a year at sea, many quickly succumbed to disease, madness, or one of the innumerable little wars that the company fought in order to embed itself on the subcontinent. The salary was hardly an incentive. In the 1720s junior clerks, or “writers,” received just £5 per year, not enough to live on in Bengal or Madras and a pittance when set against the handsome 8 percent annual dividend the company’s shareholders awarded themselves back in London. Such drawbacks tended to put off all but those whom circumstances had already disfavored: second sons, members of the down-at-heel Anglo-Irish gentry, dispossessed Scottish landowners who had backed the losing side in a rebellion against the crown.

Being on the company payroll was rather a means to an end; moonlighting was where the money lay in one of the richest places on earth. In 1700 India is estimated to have accounted for 27 percent of the world economy and a quarter of the global textile trade. A considerable number of company employees who survived the shock of arrival went on to make fortunes from off-books trading in textiles, saltpeter, indigo, opium, salt, tobacco, betel, rice, and sugar; sidelines also included selling Mughal-issued tax exemptions and lending money to distressed Indian grandees.

A border clash between the world’s biggest nations. What could go wrong?

China’s ongoing border clash with India may seem remote, but it has global impact. Reports say thousands of troops moved into the disputed area 14,000 feet up in the Himalayas after skirmishes broke out on May 5 near Pangong Lake in Ladakh and then on May 9 in North Sikkim, leaving more than 100 soldiers injured.

As Covid-19 Disrupts Global Supply Chains, Will Companies Turn to India?

Vijay Govindarajan and Gunjan Bagla

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America’s relationship with the two most populous countries in the world, China and India, is undergoing a stark, rapid and perhaps permanent transformation. In April, a Pew Center survey found that two-thirds of Americans say they have an “unfavorable” view of China; according to Pew it was “the most negative rating for the country since the Center began asking the question in 2005.” But if China is falling in attractiveness, what is filling its place?

The answer, it seems, is India, where on the same day the Pew survey was released, Facebook, Inc. announced that it invested $5.7 billion into India’s largest telecom company, Reliance Jio, instantly valuing Jio to being among the top five companies in India, were it an independent entity.

Is the Chinese JH-7 an Answer to the Pakistan Air Force’s Deep Strike Needs?

By Ammad Mailk

Amidst sustained tensions between the two nuclear armed South Asian neighbors, the Indian Air Force is scheduled to receive the first batch of four state-of-the-art Rafale fighter jets by the end of July 2020. The 7.87 billion euro Rafale deal between France and New Delhi for a total order of 36 jets was finally inked in September 2016, after much controversy and delay. According to the delivery schedule, the Indian Air Force shall receive all jets by May 2022. Armed with Meteor missiles and a highly sophisticated electronic warfare suite, New Delhi’s Rafale acquisition threatens to tilt the balance of power in South Asia in the IAF’s favor.

The Pakistan Air Force (PAF) has been following the Indian Air Force’s modernization program with keen interest, but budget constraints mean that Islamabad’s chances of acquiring a fighter jet of similar capability are slim. Instead, Pakistan seems to be focusing on the latest variant of its indigenous JF-17 Thunder multi-role fighter.

A prototype of the new JF-17 Block 3 fighter first flew in December 2019 and the jet has since undergone a further period of testing. By inducting an AESA radar-capable Block 3 variant in numbers by 2025, the PAF is confident that it can deny the larger Indian Air Force victory in a future conflict. Numerous reports have also hinted that the Block 3 would be armed with the much vaunted Chinese PL-15 missiles, which out-range everything in the IAF’s inventory, barring the Meteors.

Lessons from China: This is how COVID-19 could affect globalization

Coronavirus has disrupted global value chains that connect producers across multiple countries.

Comparative figures between the first two months of 2019 and the first two months of 2020 reveal a collapse in Chinese trade with the EU and US.

Researchers have studied data from China to see which imports and exports have been the most affected.

The COVID-19 pandemic is now expected to trigger the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression. Many argue it could unravel globalisation altogether.

Globalisation relies on complex links – global value chains (GVCs) – that connect producers across multiple countries. These producers often use highly specialised intermediate goods, or “inputs”, produced by only one distant, overseas supplier. COVID-19 has severely disrupted these links.

Although the global economy was fragile at the start of 2020, many hoped for increased international trade following the US-China Phase One trade deal. COVID-19 has scuppered those hopes, bringing the world’s factories to a standstill and severely disrupting global supply chains.

How Germany contained the coronavirus

Jens Spahn
Source Link

Germany's Federal Minister of Health looks at the country's approach to the coronavirus pandemic.

From its healthcare system to technology, there are 3 keys reasons for its relatively successful management so far.

Other countries could also learn from its commitment to building public trust.

Compared to many other countries, Germany has managed the COVID-19 crisis well, owing to its properly funded health system, technological edge, and decisive leadership. But beyond any unique feature of the German system is something that all countries can replicate: a strong commitment to building public trust.

Germany is often referred to as a positive example of how to manage the COVID-19 pandemic. We were successful in preventing the overburdening of our health system. The curve of infections is clearly flattening. And the proportion of severe cases and fatalities is lower in Germany than in many other countries. But this makes us humble, rather than overconfident.

Coronavirus: Here’s how germs are spread and where you’re most likely to catch them

Erin S. Bromage
Source Link

It seems many people are breathing some relief, and I’m not sure why. An epidemic curve has a relatively predictable upslope and once the peak is reached, the back slope can also be predicted. We have robust data from the outbreaks in China and Italy, that shows the backside of the mortality curve declines slowly, with deaths persisting for months. Assuming we have just crested in deaths at 70k, it is possible that we lose another 70,000 people over the next 6 weeks as we come off that peak. That's what's going to happen with a lockdown.

As states reopen, and we give the virus more fuel, all bets are off. I understand the reasons for reopening the economy, but I've said before, if you don't solve the biology, the economy won't recover.

There are very few states that have demonstrated a sustained decline in numbers of new infections. Indeed, as of May 3rd the majority are still increasing and reopening. As a simple example of the USA trend, when you take out the data from New York and just look at the rest of the USA, daily case numbers are increasing. Bottom line: the only reason the total USA new case numbers look flat right now is because the New York City epidemic was so large and now it is being contained.

Rising Tensions in the South China Sea

Oriana Skylar Mastro is an assistant professor of security studies at Georgetown University and a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. In August 2020, she will become a Center fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies at Stanford University.

Tensions between the United States and China have been rising in the South China Sea over the past two months as both countries increase their military operations in the contested waters. These tensions have been further exacerbated by recriminations over the ongoing trade war and the spread of the novel coronavirus. In a recent report, “Military Confrontation in the South China Sea,” I argue that these dynamics point to a worrying trend: the risk of a military clash in the South China Sea involving the United States and China could rise significantly in the next eighteen months.

The two countries have serious conflicting interests that could spark crisis and conflict. Beijing considers the majority of the South China Sea to be an inalienable part of its territory and exercising full sovereignty over this area is a core component of President Xi Jinping’s “China Dream.” For its part, the United States needs these waterways to stay free and open if it is to deter Chinese aggression, live up to its alliance commitments, and prevent Beijing from displacing the United States in the Indo-Pacific.

Preventive Action Update

Last chance for US to counter China’s rise

by Grant Newsham

When you’ve got a house full of sick people you don’t usually go out looking for a fight. But Chinese leader Xi Jinping isn’t most people. Like a high stakes gambler he has rolled the dice – while the Covid-19 epidemic rages – to see what the People’s Republic of China (PRC) can win on the defense front.

PRC muscle flexing during Covid-19 is impressive: China continues sinking Vietnamese fishing vessels. A People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy ship locked its fire control radar onto a Philippine Navy ship. And there are exercises to intimidate and develop specific skills needed to invade Taiwan.

Recently Chinese Premier Li Keqiang left out the usual word “peaceful” when speaking about China’s goal of “reunification” with Taiwan.

Farther afield, a PRC flotilla of maritime militia, Coast Guard and PLA Navy harassed a Malaysian survey ship down at the far southern end of the South China Sea. Chinese fishing vessels also elbowed in on Indonesian fishing grounds near the Natuna islands.

At the same time, PRC-Japan relations are supposedly on an upswing. Yet, Chinese naval incursions in Japanese administered areas of the East China Sea are at record levels. Chinese Coast Guard ships recently chased a Japanese fishing vessel near the Senkaku islands in Japanese waters.

Communist China’s imperialist dreams of dividing the world

by Clifford D. May
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A century ago, Vladimir Lenin wrote a book titled “Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism.” I doubt it occurred to him that imperialism might one day become the highest stage of communism. Yet that day is here.

The end of the Cold War was widely interpreted as communism’s downfall. But while the Soviet Union collapsed, communism survived, most consequentially in China.

Analysts on both the left and right didn’t get that. After all, China’s rulers were allowing private ownership of some means of production, and some Chinese citizens, not all of them government officials or even members of the Communist Party, were getting rich. Isn’t that capitalism?

Not exactly. There’s no heresy in socialist regimes refraining from nationalizing businesses so long as those businesses take orders from the party and state. One famous example: Lenin’s 1921 New Economic Policy.

Most China-watchers also believed that the more prosperous the peoples of China became, the more they would want freedoms and representative government. Surely, the authorities would acquiesce.

Sci-Fi Eye: Natural selection on the unmanned battlefield

Forget the “Terminator scenario”. The future of AI based warfare could be far weirder than that writes Gareth L Powell

Two articles in last month’s issue caught my eye. The first was about the Royal Navy’s decision to test extra-large autonomous submarines with a view to incorporating them in its fleet, and the second concerned the MOD’s acquisition of five unmanned ground vehicles for battlefield resupply missions (Qinetiq’s Titan UGV is pictured below).

Now, as I’m a science fiction author, you might be expecting me to leap straight to the conclusion that these automated vehicles will somehow rise up against us and destroy the world in a Terminator-style apocalypse. And while that may be a fun scenario for a Hollywood blockbuster, frankly any species dumb enough to place its entire offensive capability in the charge of a single artificial intelligence deserves everything it gets.

No, in this month’s column, I want to look at some of the stranger implications of this technology.

To start with, let me state the obvious: war produces casualties, and if we’re deploying autonomous vehicles into active theatres, they are going to get damaged. It’s easy to imagine automated ambulances ferrying human casualties away from the front line, but what about unmanned tow trucks and drones equipped to repair autonomous vehicles? Machines repairing other machines without human intervention.

A digital iron curtain is descending as China and America tussle over Huawei

Simon Duke
Donald Trump and Xi Jinping have a lot more in common than either would care to admit. Both leaders have blundered through the Covid-19 pandemic — their response has been to deny, cover up and deflect blame, rather than stand to account for any of the 350,000 people who have lost their lives from the disease so far.

As Kevin Rudd, Australia’s former prime minster, wrote recently in the magazine Foreign Affairs: “The uncomfortable truth is that China and the United States are both likely to emerge from this crisis significantly diminished.” The Trump administration had created an “indelible impression . . . of a country incapable of handling its own crises, let alone anyone else’s”, he added.

The growing enmity between the two

Dr. Anthony Fauci on How America Can Avoid a Second Wave of the Coronavirus


As the U.S. continues to battle the novel coronavirus outbreak, fears over a second wave of cases have been looming over the country.

While there is no doubt that more cases will continue to emerge in the months ahead, it's not too late for America to prevent a second wave of COVID-19, according to Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and member of the White House COVID-19 task force.

Speaking to Newsweek, Fauci says: "It's in our hands. We can prevent a second wave if we respond to the inevitable infections we'll see in the fall and winter.

"There's no doubt that this virus is not going to disappear from the planet by the time we get to the fall and the winter, because there's considerable activity right now in the United States, even though some cities and states are going down [in virus cases] from looking at the charts.

Doctors Warn U.S. Is Not Prepared for Second Wave of Coronavirus

From Naive to Realist? The EU’s Struggles With China

Heather A. Conley

The European Union has struggled mightily in recent months to assert itself as a strategically autonomous and relevant actor in response to an increasingly aggressive China. In April, the EU drafted a report critical of Chinese disinformation efforts related to the spread of the novel coronavirus in Europe, but it bowed to pressure from China and removed most of the criticism leveled at Beijing that had been included in the initial draft, which leaked to the press. The subsequent public criticism led the EU’s high representative for foreign affairs, Josep Borrell, to receive a tongue-lashing at a hearing of the European Parliament’s foreign affairs committee.

The headlines from that incident had barely faded before Borrell found himself in the same embarrassing predicament again. Earlier this month, the EU’s ambassador to China and 27 other European envoys in Beijing co-authored an op-ed that appeared in Chinese state media. But the EU later admitted its ambassador had yielded to Beijing’s insistence that a line in the op-ed referring to COVID-19’s origin in China be removed. Afterward, Borrell told reporters that “something like this will not happen again, and it was not the right decision to take.” ...

America’s Geostrategic Triangle Tussle Takes Center Stage During the Coronavirus

by George Beebe

Here’s a bit of counterfactual history to ponder: How would the Cold War have played out if the United States had threatened and insulted Moscow and Beijing in equal measures, pursuing a strategy of dual confrontation that incentivized them to overcome Sino-Soviet rivalry and combine efforts against their common American foe? We can never know the answer. But contemporary Washington is providing glimpses into what might have been by pursuing just such an approach to our intensifying Cold War 2.0.

Although Washington has for years dismissed the likelihood and significance of Russian-Chinese cooperation, their relationship has improved more quickly and more deeply than most U.S. experts expected. As U.S.-Russian relations have soured, China has become Russia’s largest export market, and total trade now exceeds $100 billion annually. Military cooperation has evolved from Russian exports of second-tier weaponry in the 1990s and early 2000s into large-scale joint military exercises and sales of some of Russia’s most advanced equipment. Vladimir Putin announced last year that Russia has begun providing assistance to Chinese strategic warning systems, and the growing volume of joint publications by Russian and Chinese scientists suggests that cooperative research in areas too sensitive for publication might be growing, as well. Contrary to the American precept established by Nixon and Kissinger after the opening to China in the 1970s, Moscow and Beijing now have much better relations with each other than either has with Washington.

Flashpoints on the Periphery: Understanding China’s Neighborhood Opportunism

By Suyash Desai

Tensions in China’s periphery have increased dramatically over the past few months as Beijing stepped up the use of military and diplomatic tools within its neighborhood. The frequency of the events involving Chinese actors, especially in the second half of March, increased as normalcy started returning to the mainland after the COVID-19 pandemic’s outbreak.

This raises a few questions. First, is this evidence of China’s opportunism at a time when the United States is struggling to maintain its presence in the East and Southeast Asian regions? Second, has Beijing adopted a more aggressive approach for the post-pandemic period? Third, would the recent spike in activities impact the regional order?

Before answering these questions, it is vital to understand the chronology of the events that have led to the rise of current tensions in the PRC’s periphery. Indonesia was the first country since the outbreak of the virus to face Chinese coercion, in waters around the Natuna Islands. Dozens of Chinese fishing vessels along with coast guard escorts, in December 2019, entered waters off the Natuna Islands, which are within Jakarta’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ). These waters are also claimed by the PRC, thus leading to a month-long standoff between the two countries. Meanwhile, the Chinese armed forces were also involved in multiple military drills around Taiwan since January 2020. The People’s Liberation Army Air Force also carried out an unusual night-time sortie over the sea of southwest Taiwan on March 16, 2020. The increase of tactical military activities has been accompanied by assertive rhetoric, especially since the re-election of President Tsai Ing-wen on January 11, 2020.

China Moves to Quell Hong Kong Protests With Security Law

By Zen Soo and Ken Moritsugu

China officially ratified a plan Thursday to write a national security law for Hong Kong that exerts Beijing’s broader, new control over the semi-autonomous territory in a bid to prevent a return of the months of often-violent protests last year.

The Beijing-backed Hong Kong government sought to assure its citizens that the law would not infringe on their freedoms, while the pro-democracy opposition described the move as the end of the core values that set the former British colony apart from the rest of China.

“From now on, Hong Kong is nothing but just another mainland Chinese city,” pro-democracy lawmaker Claudia Mo said.

China’s ceremonial legislature, ending a one-week annual session curtailed because of the coronavirus, approved a decision by the ruling Communist Party to impose national security laws on Hong Kong.

Great Britain and Allies Join U.S. Furor Over Chinese Crackdown In Hong Kong

by Matthew Petti 
Source Link

Great Britain, Australia, and Canada issued a joint statement with the United States on Thursday condemning the Chinese government’s latest move to limit Hong Kong’s autonomy, as the British government offered a pathway to citizenship for some Hong Kong residents.

Hong Kong was a British colony for most of the 19th and 20th century, but Britain agreed to return it to Chinese control in 1997 as long as the city could maintain its own system of government—an agreement known as the One Country, Two Systems framework.

But the Chinese central government in Beijing is now imposing a national security law that would allow it to crack down on unrest in Hong Kong, after months of protests calling for increased autonomy and democratic reforms for the city.

“China’s decision to impose a new national security law on Hong Kong lies in direct conflict with its international obligations under the principles of the legally-binding, UN-registered Sino-British Joint Declaration,” the statement claims, referring to the treaty sealing the 1997 handover. “The proposed law would undermine the One Country, Two Systems framework. It also raises the prospect of prosecution in Hong Kong for political crimes, and undermines existing commitments to protect the rights of Hong Kong people.”

As a global economic crisis wreaks havoc on Saudi Arabia, the kingdom should reduce military spending As a global economic crisis wreaks havoc on Saudi Arabia, the kingdom should reduce military spending

Bruce Riedel

Aperfect storm of difficulties has gripped Saudi Arabia. Some, such as the pandemic and the crash in global demand for oil, are outside its control. Others, such as the war in Yemen and unrest in the royal family, are the result of the reckless policies of the Crown Prince Muhammed bin Salman (MBS). The kingdom needs to undertake significant changes in its policies, beginning with a drastic cut in military spending. The next U.S. administration should push the Saudis in the direction of downsizing an expensive military that provides very little bang for their bucks.

Like many countries, Saudi Arabia has been hit hard by the coronavirus. According to the government’s not-always-reliable figures, the country has around 70,000 cases. It has been under lockdown orders for weeks, with curfews during Ramadan and Eid. The minor pilgrimage to Mecca and Medina has been cancelled, and the annual hajj is probably going to be shut as well, in July. Mosques are closed for worship. The shutdown costs the kingdom millions in tourism revenue, especially for the Hejaz region. Meanwhile, the Saudis promise to start opening up soon, but have provided few details.

Gap Warfare: The Case for a Shift in America’s Strategic Mindset

By Emmanuel Gfoeller

Contrary to prevailing wisdom, America’s traditional methods for securing global preeminence are no longer applicable to the current dynamics of great power competition. The key to prolonging global influence in this new global dynamic is not a continuation of the traditional use of the instruments of national power, but instead an approach that requires a dramatic shift in strategic mindset. The United States, in order to maintain its status as a global hegemon, must adapt to the new rules of great power competition and change its focus from threat mitigation to targeted opportunism. In short, it must engage in Gap Warfare. Gap Warfare is the proactive exploitation of global opportunities via the coordinated application of instruments of national power to gain strategic advantage and ultimately displace or deter an opponent's influence.

America’s chief competitors, China and Russia, have been practicing this form of warfare for several years and, as a result, are gaining ground.[1] Both voraciously proactive and unapologetically predatory, they have demonstrated a pattern of preying on the gaps of vulnerable nations and providing enticing – albeit self-serving – solutions, ultimately gaining strategic advantages at the long-term expense of their new partners, as well as the United States and its allies.[2] Prime examples include the Chinese Belt & Road Initiative and Russia’s turbulent supply of oil and natural gas to Europe.

The Clumsy U.S. Indictment of Maduro Could Actually Help Venezuela’s Transition

Benjamin N. Gedan

The U.S. Justice Department’s indictment of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro in March did not go over well at Miraflores Palace, the president’s official workplace and residence in Caracas. In remarks just hours after the indictment was announced, Maduro swatted away the allegations of drug trafficking and money laundering, and assailed President Donald Trump as a “racist cowboy” and “New York mafia con artist.”

Even many of Maduro’s critics in the United States were quick to question the move. Understandably, they fear the criminal charges undermine negotiations between Maduro and his domestic opponents, including Juan Guaido, the opposition leader who is recognized as Venezuela’s legitimate interim president by the United States and dozens of other governments.

America’s Choice After the Coronavirus

by Farshad Farahat

President Donald Trump has been downplaying his administration’s shortcomings by deflecting blame onto the previous U.S. administration and onto mainland China.

As America slowly re-emerges from the coronavirus, it faces a pivotal choice. Will it take responsibility for its response to the pandemic or will it cast blame on the outside world.

As the strongest nation on earth, the United States can now either close its borders, embrace xenophobia, blame and sanction the other, or it can organize the world community with diplomacy and science to face common threats.

Today, as the pandemic spreads across the globe, President Donald Trump has been downplaying his administration’s shortcomings by deflecting blame onto the previous U.S. administration and onto mainland China.

The Chinese government failed to notify the international community of the pandemic by deliberately underreporting the risks of the virus emerging from the city of Wuhan. Even so, the Trump administration was repeatedly warned during the months of January and February of the potential threat from the virus.

The US No Longer Considers Hong Kong Autonomous. What Does That Mean?

By Shannon Tiezzi

On May 27, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo officially notified Congress that Hong Kong should no longer be considered autonomous – and thus does not warrant special treatment under U.S. law. The move threatens to overturn the many economic and legal agreements the United States has with Hong Kong separate from the central government in China.

Pompeo linked the bombshell announcement to the National People’s Congress Standing Committee (NPCSC) decision to craft its own national security legislation for Hong Kong. The NPC decision would bypass the special administrative region’s own legislative body to do so (although the decision also requires Hong Kong to pass its own legislation “as soon as possible”). The legislation would seek “to effectively prevent, stop, and punish any conduct that seriously endangers national security, such as separatism, subversion of state power, or organizing and carrying out terrorist activities, as well as activities by foreign and overseas forces that interfere in the affairs of [Hong Kong].” Another clause calls for Chinese state security organs – likely including the Ministry of State Security — to set up branches in Hong Kong. The prospect for this to overturn freedom of speech and expression in Hong Kong, as well as the rule of law, has sparked outrage and opposition in Hong Kong and abroad.

In his statement Wednesday, Pompeo slammed the move. “Beijing’s disastrous decision is only the latest in a series of actions that fundamentally undermine Hong Kong’s autonomy and freedoms,” he said. He added, “No reasonable person can assert today that Hong Kong maintains a high degree of autonomy from China, given facts on the ground.”

With new standards, the time to prepare is now

Bill Solms

Earlier this spring, the U.S. Department of Defense revealed that defense contractors should expect new Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) requirements in government requests for proposals starting in November. That marks a delay in the original timeline. Regardless, the DoD is still on track to roll out requirements this year, despite the pandemic.

While it remains unclear what the full impact of COVID-19 will be on the CMMC process, one thing is known for sure: defense contractors have no time to waste in preparing for this new, toothy certification.

Implementation challenges amid COVID

Even without the added factor of the COVID-19 pandemic, companies preparing for the CMMC could expect challenges and surprises. For example, companies that have self-certified against security standards such as NIST’s 800-171 could still easily fail an external CMMC audit, which tracks to that standard, but also heaps added requirements on applicants. These companies will need to act quickly to self-assess and take corrective actions before beginning their CMMC audit.

PRC Wages Psychological Warfare Against the U.S. Military

By Aaron Jensen
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China is taking advantage of the U.S. military's recent challenges with COVID-19 to wage a strategic psychological warfare campaign against the U.S. military to undermine its credibility in the Indo-Pacific Region and to weaken the morale of U.S. military personnel. At the same time, China is attempting to increase its grip over the region with aggressive displays towards its smaller neighbors, and frequent military exercises. These actions are part of China's larger long-term goal of achieving dominance and hegemony over the region by weakening America's military alliances and partnerships.

Following the outbreak of COVID-19 aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt, China’s state-run media published several articles that cast doubt on the warfighting capability of the U.S. military. On April 15th China’s Global Times claimed that the U.S. capability to wage war had greatly declined and that the deployment of the USS America, an amphibious assault ship, to the Western Pacific was an attempt to hide U.S. military weakness. On May 2nd, the Global Times attacked the U.S. military's image again by describing it as "battered" and claimed that the coronavirus had utterly defeated the U.S. aircraft carrier fleet. 

Chinese media attacks on the U.S. military have employed rhetoric and imagery to create the perception that China is more powerful and dominant in the region than the U.S. China often claims that the U.S. is fearful of losing its presence in the region, and paints U.S. military deployments and actions in the Pacific as acts of desperation. While China makes the dubious claim that its own military has zero cases of COVID-19, it describes the U.S. military as “fragile” and unprepared when dealing with the coronavirus. Chinese descriptions of US FONOPS (Freedom of Navigation Operations) create the image that China is in control of the situation by claiming that they have “expelled” U.S. forces from the vicinity of PLA-occupied areas in international waters.