By Tom O’Connor, Newsweek
As crises mount over Ukraine and Taiwan, an unprecedented bond between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping has allowed the United States’ two top rivals to force President Joe Biden into a two-front crisis that could spread his administration too thin to respond adequately to either.
And should a shooting war erupt, there’s little guarantee the U.S. would come out on top.
“I don’t think the United States is prepared to go to war in Ukraine. I don’t think the United States is prepared to go to war over Taiwan,” Lyle Goldstein, an expert on China and Russia who served for 20 years as a research professor at the Naval War College up until October and now holds the position of director of Asia engagement at the Defense Priorities think tank, told Newsweek.
“I stand by both those points,” he added. “So to do both, no, absolutely not.”
Goldstein said it’s rare to ever be completely prepared for a war but the Ukraine and Taiwan scenarios in particular “are maximally stressing as they involve high-intensity warfare in theaters that are extremely difficult against opponents that have that single measure of focus.”
“Either one of them on their own would be highly stressing and I would argue, if we were to get involved, there’s a good possibility that we might lose, certainly the initial engagements, but maybe even beyond that,” he added.
The Pentagon has so far avoided weighing in directly on its ability to take on two major theaters at once.