After a joint training exercise in the Sea of Japan in late July, China and Russia teamed up again off Alaska's southwestern coast earlier this month. AFN reported on the former last month, quoting a retired Marine colonel who said while the Russians and Chinese might have a "visceral dislike" for each other, "their strategic interests align [in the form of] hatred of the United States and a desire to bring down, if not destroy, the Americans."
While the latter operation elicited a response from the U.S. Navy, Brigadier General Blaine "Blaino" Holt (USAF-Ret.) says the two countries are "sending a strong message" meant for both the United States and Japan. As noted by Holt – the former deputy U.S. military representative to NATO and cofounder of the nonprofit Restore Liberty – the 11 ships didn't simply meet up near the Aleutian Island chain in Alaska; they joined up near Japan.
Holt explains the two forces initially conducted a "probing or show-of-force exercise" north of Taiwan, near Japan, then made their way to Alaska. "They've been working on interoperability; the different ways they can do business from a naval aspect," he adds.
Not only do the operations serve China and Russia militarily but also diplomatically, according to Holt. To that end, he says, "although their forces weren't present, you can include North Korea and Iran." Each of these countries are strengthening a military and diplomatic alliance.
For now, Holt suggests one of the goals behind the exercises is to send a message to America and Japan. That message? "[While] you guys always say that you're going to be operating in the vicinity of Taiwan to flex your muscles and prove that freedom of navigation exists, we're doing the same thing off the coast of Alaska – and you'll just have to put up with it because we're also going to claim freedom of navigation."
Reasons to get riled
While China and Russia work together near U.S. territory to the west, Holt warns not to lose sight of the southern border shared with Mexico.
"If 11 ships off the coast of Alaska gets your blood boiling, remember the open southern border and the unknown number of fighting-age males from China who are already coming in, potentially allied with or connected to the People's Liberation Army," he states.
In addition, he recalls the Chinese balloons flying over several states and "strategic bases" in the U.S. earlier this year. He laments having to "rely on farmers in Montana to tell us what's in the sky above" – after which "the government steps in and [national security advisor] John Kirby pats us all on the head and tells us there's no reason to be riled up."
Holt fully expects such incidents could eventually give the American people more than enough reason to get very concerned.
"While [U.S. officials] refuse to acknowledge or do anything about these problems, [the Chinese regime] continues to project strength," he tells AFN.
It is that projection of strength that has Holt's attention, because "domestically, China is failing," he shares, pointing out that just last week, because of its recent economic challenges, President Joe Biden called China a "ticking time bomb."
The "ticking time bomb" descriptor concerns Holt. "If [Beijing is] left alone, do they use a Hail Mary pass to redirect their people's attention by going after Taiwan, provoking a conflict to save their skins?" he wonders.
"[The Chinese regime has] designs not only to be a regional power, but [also] on replacing the United States as the most powerful nation on the planet," Holt warns. "If anyone thinks that China replacing the United States as a superpower is a good idea, then my advice would be to go get a pen pal in China and ask them how they feel about it."