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Ruo Yuan: What Is the United States Doing?

Ruo Yuan, the Executive Vice President and Secretary General of the China Strategic Culture Promotion Association, published an article on China’s state media, “Global Times (Huanqiu)” discussing the Trump administration’s strategy on China. The article was based on the “2017 U.S. Military Assessment Report” that the China Strategic Culture Promotion Association released. Below is an excerpt from the article:

Why has the United States taken the world by storm and provoked a trade war against China? It is as if the world is taking a quiz and few people understand what’s going on. Combined with Washington’s two previously published strategic papers on security, we will be able to see this more clearly.

On December 18, 2017, the Trump administration announced its first “National Security Strategy.” On January 19, 2018, U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis announced a non-confidential version of the “2018 U.S. Defense Strategy Summary.” These two strategic reports are the programmatic documents of the four years of Trump’s presidency. They show many new ideas in judgment about threats, strategic thinking, and strategic priorities. They show a clear imprint of the Trump brand. The main points are as follows:

(1) The “U.S. priority” has become a national security strategy; it marks the end of multilateralism and the rise of unilateralism.

(2) Taking China as the primary security threat marks a fundamental shift in the U.S.’s judgment about threats; it increases the possibility of Sino-US confrontation and conflict.

(3) Replacing the “contact strategy” with the “competition strategy” indicates that the U.S. foreign policy will be more confrontational.

(4) Replacing the “Asia-Pacific Rebalancing Strategy” with the “Indo-Pacific Strategy” and “South Asia-Central Asia Strategy,” indicates that the scope of China-U.S. competition will be broader. Trump expects Japan, South Korea, Australia, and other allies and partners such as India, Singapore, and Vietnam to play more and greater roles in its “Indo-Pacific strategy” and “South Asia-Central Asia strategy.” This means that the competition between China and the United States will expand from the Western Pacific to the entire Pacific, Indian Ocean, South Asia, and Central Asia. The friction and confrontation between China and the United States, China and Japan, and China and Australia may increase. China’s international security environment will be more challenging.

(5) Replacing the “automatic reduction plan” with “rebuilding military capabilities” involves increasing the defense budget and expanding the army.

(6) Replacing the “Nuclear-Free World” with “National Nuclear Forces and Nuclear Infrastructure Modernization” shows that the importance of nuclear weapons in the U.S. national security strategy is increasing.

These new ideas of Trump’s National Security Strategy are full of cold war and zero-sum competition thinking. If fully implemented, they will not only profoundly affect U.S. domestic and foreign policies, but will also affect the world’s strategic structure to a certain extent. They should garner close attention. In particular, the new U.S. national security and defense strategy named China and Russia as “revisionist countries” and long-term strategic competitors. It co-listed China, Russia, North Korea, Iran, and transnational criminal groups as threats and challenges to U.S. security interests. This may trigger a new type of cold war and deserves high vigilance. From this, we can also see a glimpse of the original intention of the United States to launch the U.S.-China trade war. This is only part of the overall U.S. strategy toward China.

Source: Huanqiu (Global Times), July 22, 2018