In the days before the end of office, the Donald Trump administration unveiled the government’s strategy for securing permanent dominance over China.
According to the document, Washington’s main idea is to promote the rise of India as a counterweight to the PRC, as well as the militarization of Taiwan. It is noteworthy that the States acted in a similar way in the 20th century, when they began to use China to fight the USSR.
Declassified by the Trump administration, the document is titled “The United States’ Strategic Framework for the Indo-Pacific”. It was approved by the President back in February 2018. Trump’s national security adviser Robert O’Brien said the strategy was intended to demonstrate the US commitment to “keeping the Indo-Pacific region free and open for the long term”.
The document sets out the following vision of the region: India is a regional leader, North Korea no longer poses a threat, and the United States, together with its allies, confronts China.
“China seeks to dominate the field of advanced technologies, including artificial intelligence and biogenetics, and use them in the service of authoritarianism. The dominance of China in these technologies would pose serious problems for free societies”, – the strategy says.
It is argued that China “will take increasingly decisive steps to achieve unification with Taiwan”. According to the authors’ idea, Washington will also have to convince the world community of the “dishonesty” of China’s industrial policy and trade. Then, having achieved “international consensus”, the United States plans to “work closely with allies and like-minded countries to prevent China from acquiring military and strategic capabilities”.
The desired outcome for the US is to turn India into a “security partner”. It is assumed that India and the United States will cooperate “for the sake of maintaining security at sea and countering Chinese influence in South, Southeast Asia and other regions of mutual interest”.
Towards this end, Washington is committed to: “Accelerating India’s growth and ability to serve as a networked security service provider and primary defense partner; strengthen a strong strategic partnership with India backed by a strong Indian army”.
The Maldives, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka are also planned to be involved in the anti-China campaign so that they “contribute to a free and open order”.
“Develop and implement an effective defense strategy, including, but not limited to: denying China’s enduring air and naval dominance within the first chain of islands in the conflict; protection of the states of the first chain of islands, including Taiwan; dominance over all domains outside the first island chain”, – the US strategy says.
In addition, the US is planning to militarize Taiwan in order to develop an effective concept of “asymmetric defense”.
“To convince the Kim regime that the only way to its survival is to renounce nuclear weapons” – this is the task the authors of the document put before Washington.
In this regard, it is proposed to “maximize pressure on Pyongyang, using economic, diplomatic, military, law enforcement, intelligence and information tools to harm North Korea’s weapons of mass destruction programs, cut off currency flows, weaken the regime and create conditions for negotiations aimed at to reverse its nuclear and missile programs”.
Objective: To promote and strengthen the central role of Southeast Asia and ASEAN in the region’s security architecture and to encourage it to “agree on key issues”.
“Promote an integrated model of economic development in the Indo-Pacific region that provides a credible alternative to the One Belt One Road project; create a task force on how best to use public-private partnerships”, – the strategy says.
At the moment, it is unclear what were the motives behind the Trump administration, declassifying the document a week before the new president took office. However, representatives of Biden’s team have already made it clear that the new administration will continue to confront China.
Rory Medcalf, director of the Australian National University’s College of Homeland Security, said the strategy is so ambitious that “failure is almost guaranteed”.
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“The declassified concept will have enduring value as the beginning of a nationwide plan to work out strategic rivalry with China”, – the professor said in a comment for Bloomberg. – If the US is serious about this long-term competition, it will not be able to choose between tidying up the internal situation and projecting power in the Indo-Pacific. You will need to do both at the same time”.