By Tom Squitieri
WASHINGTON — If China blockades or seizes Taiwan the commandant of the Marine Corps said a resulting conflict most likely would not be limited to the region around the island.
“We should expect (the response) would go into all domains,” Gen. David Berger said during a conversation with The Brookings Institution called “The Marine Corps and the Future of Warfare.” He said the old — more limited —ways of response are “not applicable” with today’s warfare realities since there is “capability in other domains that were not there.”
However, Berger made clear that “I am not there with those who believe that war with China is a foregone conclusion” — even though it is evident what China’s goals are.
“I believe they are on a march to accomplish their end, their objectives…and they are pretty clear about what those objectives are,” he said. “Look at a map from 10 years ago and a map today to see what they are trying to do.
“They are not an easy culture for us to see,” Berger said. “You have to really discipline your mind to understand where they are.”
He said China often acts akin to a martial arts scenario. “If you lean back, they lead forward – they just move forward a little at a time,” he said.
Regarding the Marines’ future, Berger said, “You need something there very quickly (and the). Marine Corps is uniquely suited to be forward..it does not need a big foot on shore.”
Berger said he is frustrated that “we are not recognizing the character of war is changing.” He said the U.S. is no longer in front and on top in all areas all the time, as in the past, and may have to accept “in what areas are we comfortable in being behind” adversaries.
“If you are comfortable with the rate of change now, you are moving too slow,” he said.