On July 18, Michael Allen and Connor Pfeiffer co-authored a Wall Street Journal piece making the case for the United States’ ability to simultaneously counter Russia and China. Citing the US’ strengthened defense industrial base, partly bolstered by the war in Ukraine, the pair contend that the US is equipped to both provide continued support for Ukraine, as well as deter a Chinese invasion of Taiwan. However, in order to maintain this position and “remain the arsenal of democracy”, the US must continue to invest in expanding its industrial capacity.
The twin imperatives of backing Ukraine and bolstering deterrence in Asia are achievable for now. But Ukraine urgently needs more weapons, and the US must act quickly to strengthen deterrence in Asia, even if a Chinese invasion of Taiwan might not come until 2027. A narrow trade-off argument focused on Javelins and Stingers obscures the real problem—the limitations of the US defense industrial base.