Ukraine was a ‘wake-up call’ for threats from China, elsewhere


Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.)

Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.)

House Armed Services Committee Chairman Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.) said Europe’s unpreparedness for Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine should serve as a “wake up call” to future attacks in other parts of the world.

“So much work has been done in Europe to create a peaceful continent that what Putin did was unimaginable because most of us had never lived to experience such a thing and, yes, European leadership was blind to that aspect of the threat,” Smith said while appearing on The Hill’s Future of Defense Summit, which was sponsored by Raytheon Missiles & Defense.

Smith said Europe’s unpreparedness should set an example for increased deterrence in Asia, specifically in the case of China and Taiwan, as well as the rest of the world to prevent future “violent takeovers.”

“I think that’s really what it tells us. By the fact that the Europeans flat couldn’t believe this,” Smith said.

“I think it’s a wakeup call for a lot of people,” he added.

Building allies in other parts of the world can help to create deterrence, Smith said.

“What does deterrence look like now? We were very worried about provoking Russia early on. Well clearly provocation wasn’t the issue if they didn’t feel deterred if they were willing to invade. So how do we build alliances?” he said.

When asked by The Hill’s editor-at-large Steve Clemons how to create a deterrence so the world don’t end up “with Ukraine in Asia,” Smith said deterrence must be used to create a “high cost.”

“If Putin had known for sure that he was in for the fight that he is now facing, it might likely have changed his calculation,” Smith said.

Smith said while the U.S. should deter China, it must work with them to prevent larger global issues such as arms control and global warming.

“While we’re trying to build partnerships and be able to deter China, we also need to find places to say ‘hey there is a possible future where we work together in a peaceful more prosperous world,’ and we need to look for those diplomatic opportunities as well,” Smith said.


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