China's relationship with the US is taking a hit thanks to a fantasy war cooked up by the Pentagon. "Futurist" Andrew Marshall, 91, has spent 20 years carefully plotting a war—dubbed the "Air-Sea Battle"—against an imagined aggressive China using stealth US bombers and submarines, followed by a massive air and naval assault, reports the Washington Post. It's irking the Chinese, and even several military leaders inside the Pentagon who see the plan as far too elaborate and expensive, sources tell the Post. The Air Force and Navy have come up with a shopping list of more than 200 initiatives representatives say are necessary if Marshall's plan could ever become reality.
Marshall has spent the last 40 years running the Pentagon’s Office of Net Assessment, scanning the world for potential threats to the US and concocting potential (and classified) responses. “The old joke about the office is that it should be called the Office of Threat Inflation,” said Barry Posen, director of MIT's Security Studies Program. “They go well beyond exploring the worst cases—they convince others to act as if the worst cases are inevitable.” Marshall has said it's up to the Pentagon in terms of what to do, but has also admitted in an interview: "We tend to look at not very happy futures." (Read more China stories.)