The Biden administration’s increasingly dangerous climate fixation.
According to an estimate from the U.S. Congressional Research Service, China has 384 surface ships and submarines in its fleet. That number is growing. According to the latest budget proposal from the Biden administration, the United States currently has 298 surface ships and submarines, and that number is shrinking.
With each passing year since 1990, the U.S. Navy has gotten smaller while the Chinese navy has gotten bigger. How much smaller? A lot smaller. In 1990, the U.S. Navy had 557 ships in the active fleet.
Given the growing tensions with China, given that China’s Xi Jingping was just in Russia cozying up to Russian president Vladimir Putin, given that Xi Jingping said at the conclusion of those meetings with Putin that changes are happening in the world “…that haven’t happened in 100 years,” and given that Xi’s statement is likely of a piece with China’s stated intention to replace the United States as the world’s dominant power – we’d like to think that the Secretary of the Navy’s number one concern would be the readiness and war-fighting capacity of an aging and rapidly dwindling U.S. naval fleet.
But that is not the case. Earlier this month, U.S. Navy Secretary Carlos Del Toro gave a speech at the University of the Bahamas at which he said,
As the Secretary of the Navy, I can tell you that I have made climate one of my top priorities since the first day I came into office.”
As is true in every corner of his administration, President Biden’s near pathological fixation on climate change – coupled with a concurrent fixation on gender and diversity – is distorting policy as it applies to the Navy (along with the rest of the U.S military). That distortion can be seen in the Navy’s 2024 budget request, which includes a 40 percent increase in “climate spending,” money for electric vehicles, EV charging stations and solar “microgrids” – all concurrent with a net decrease in the number of operational ships. It is further evidenced by the Navy Department’s “Climate Tabletop Exercise” last summer to “…examine the impact that climate change has on mission, readiness, and warfighting capacity.“
One can be sure that “the impact that climate change has on mission, readiness, and warfighting capacity” is of exactly zero concern to the rapidly expanding Chinese navy. Gaining dominance over the world’s oceans is the Chinese navy’s top concern.
The Chinese know their history. Anglo domination of the seas that began with Britain’s 1805 victory in the Battle of Trafalgar, domination that was peacefully passed to the United States during World War II, has undergirded the framework for a world order controlled by the West for more than two centuries.
It being China’s top concern, that history should be a top concern for the Navy. In a world that is quickly becoming more tense than the darkest days of the Cold War, a fixation on leftist ideology like climate change as it informs defense policy moves beyond simply being wasteful and annoying. Such fixation is rapidly becoming dangerous.