Reports indicate China is making increasingly aggressive moves toward its neighbors, including an incident last month that saw Chinese military planes fly into Taiwan’s airspace.
As the moves continue to heighten tensions between the communist-run nation and the United States, a former high-ranking U.S. intelligence official is warning that America is in acute danger of falling behind China on the technological front.
Leon Panetta served as both defense secretary and CIA director under former President Barack Obama, and during an appearance at the CNBC Technology Executive Council Summit, he offered a dire analysis.
“We’re not in a good position,” Panetta said, according to CNBC. “We have to increase investments in technology in order to at least begin to move into a competitive position with China.”
America’s competitive position
The former Department of Defense (DoD) official went on to say that “China has invested a tremendous amount in AI, quantum computing, robotics, and cyber, and their intent is to try to jump ahead of the U.S. and the rest of the world with these technologies.”
Panetta stressed that America “has not kept up, and I think it is really important for our defense establishment to invest in new technologies and increase our ability to compete.”
“Frankly, the key right now for the U.S. in dealing with China is to develop deterrents, the ability to show China that we are strengthening our position with regards to the ability to respond to anything China can do,” he said.
The U.S. “has been through a period where we have not been as competitive as we should have been,” Panetta asserted. “So we’re behind the curve a little bit at this point and with tensions in Taiwan and in the South China Sea, there are growing concerns that there could be a conflict,” he claimed.
“Behind the curve”
It all comes as Chinese state-run media has begun to openly mock America’s military capabilities following President Joe Biden’s disastrous withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan.
Fox News reported that the Chinese government-owned Global Times warned Taiwan in August that the United States would abandon it in the event of a conflict just as the country had abandoned its Afghan allies.
Meanwhile, U.S. State Department officials are said to be pleading with China “to cease its military, diplomatic, and economic pressure and coercion against Taiwan.”
“The United States is very concerned by the People’s Republic of China’s provocative military activity near Taiwan, which is destabilizing, risks miscalculations, and undermines regional peace and stability,” State Department spokesperson Ned Price said, according to Fox.