Can the United States (and its allies) face a Sino-Russian coalition?

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In its annual Index of US Military Power, the Heritage Foundation paints a disturbing portraitof the readiness and defense potential of American forces. Thus, if the US Army has resolutely turned towards a controlled and coherent modernization program, and has undertaken profound changes in terms of training and operational preparation, earning it a “Strong” classification by the report, the The US Navy, the US Air Force and the US Marines Corps are all classified as weak, sanctioning the very poorly controlled weapons programs and the lack of coherence in the operational preparation of the forces.

In fact, the report notes that today, the United States and its European and Asian allies would have great difficulty maintaining the advantage against a Sino-Russian coalition acting in concert.

And the situation is not about to be reversed. Indeed, the rise of Chinese military forces is such that by 2030, it is likely that all American expeditionary forces would be necessary to oppose Chinese power. This would obviously leave Europe without US protection, and therefore very vulnerable to Russian military power, also growing rapidly. 

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Conversely, if the situation were to deteriorate in Europe, the necessary American support would be such that the Pacific zone would be very exposed to Chinese action.

Since the arrival of General Mattis at the Secretary of the Armed Forces, numerous changes have been undertaken to correct the main weaknesses of the US forces, particularly concerning the state of preparation and availability of the forces. But it will take several years, more likely a full decade, for the U.S. military to return to a level of power comparable to that of the 90s. 

In fact, between 2020 and 2030, the power gap will remain very favorable for potential adversaries of the United States and its allies, and the temptation will be significant to use this balance of power unprecedented in modern history to redistribute the cards of global geopolitics.

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However, of all the potential theaters of the United States, the most vulnerable today remains, without a doubt, Europe. European armies remain largely constrained by budgetary and ideological considerations at the end of the Cold War, and are struggling to return to the reality of their vulnerability. For example, Russia will have nearly 2025 modern combat tanks in 5000, whereas Europe will not field 1000. In addition, the technological advantage of European equipment has largely depreciated in the face of modernization. Russian systems, and NATO air forces, carrying ¾ of the alliance's firepower, will be very exposed to the new S-400/500, Buk M2, SHONA and Pantsir anti-aircraft defense systems .

However, the modernization programs for European equipment, essential to preserve the balance of power sufficient to prohibit any unfortunate initiative, are for the most part only planned to enter service beyond 2030, or even 2040 for the Franco-German FCAS. , and no initiative aimed at digitally strengthening the current forces is currently planned, unlike what is happening in Japan, Australia or South Korea.

Thus, Europe has become the soft underbelly of the US system, and we therefore understand the pressure put by the American authorities on European leaders to fill the gap. However, we can wonder about the reasons which lead the second largest economic power in the world to put itself in such a vulnerable situation, and to bet its future on American protection without having the foresight to anticipate the Sino- Russian. 

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