Russia leads the list of nations that pose existential risk to U.S., marine Corps Gen Joseph Dunford said. Second on the list is China, followed by North Korea, ISIS, Iraq, Syria and Yemen.
The “Rack and Stack”
If Dunford had to “rack and stack” his priority as the next Army General pending confirmation on October 1, he would list Russia as the greatest threat to U.S.
“In Russia, we have a nuclear power,” he said during a press briefing. “We have one that not only has capability to violate sovereignty of our allies and … to do things that are inconsistent with our national interests, but they are in the process of doing so.”
“And if you look at their behavior, it’s nothing short of alarming,” he added.
Next on his list would be China. But unlike Russia that can be viewed as an enemy, China is more of a concern for security in the Pacific region.
“It doesn’t mean we view China as an enemy. But … as somebody in uniform, I get paid to look at both somebody’s intent and their capability. So when I look at Chinese capabilities relative to our interest in the Pacific, I’d have to consider China as an area of concern for security — again, as distinct from a threat,” Dunford said.
More than just ticking off a checklist
The next on his list is North Korea’s nuclear program and missile technology, followed by ISIS. He however stressed that the threats are far more complicated than ticking off a checklist.
“As I go down the list and prioritize, … I don’t view that meaning that we can attack those issues in sequence, or that a prioritization of one at the expense of the other is necessarily something that we’d have to do at this particular time,” Dunford said.
“All four of those security issues are ones that require the department to look at [them]. They all create a challenge that needs to be addressed,” he said. As for the ISIS, Dunford said the Defense Department will deny them sanctuary as it continues to train Iraqi and Syrian forces.
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