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The latest declassified report shows the U.S. strategy in Asia



The Trump administration has declassified a report that lists its Indo-Pacific strategy, including “accelerating the rise of India”, preventing China from establishing a “free sphere of influence” and maintaining the “American strategic advantage” in the region. Via Axios.

Why it matters: The strategy proposed in the 10-page report written in early 2018 has been guiding the United States to take measures against China, India, North Korea and other countries in the Indo-Pacific region for the past three years. Its release revealed the geopolitical and security challenges that the Biden administration is about to inherit.

China is the main state actor The content outlined in the document is followed by North Korea. The strategy emphasizes countering China̵

7;s influence abroad by seeking strategic fit with allies and partners, maintaining the “free economic order” in the region, and striving to make the United States and its partners “inoculate” Chinese intelligence activities.

  • The strategy also outlines a large-scale expansion of military, intelligence, and diplomatic support to India, which is a major regional counterweight to China-an approach that may attract the attention of Beijing and Islamabad.

What are they talking about: National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien wrote in a memorandum dated January 5, 2021: “Today, the declassification of the framework shows in a transparent manner that the United States has a view of the Indo-Pacific and our presence in the region. Strategic commitments of allies and partners.” with the strategic document.

break down: The Trump administration has strictly adhered to some of its established goals regarding China in the past three years, including:

  • Establish an “international consensus that China’s industrial policies and unfair trade practices are harming the global trading system”
  • Expand American counterintelligence and law enforcement efforts to combat Chinese intelligence activities in the United States, and expand intelligence sharing with allies to help them do the same.
  • Develop military and asymmetric warfare strategies to help Taiwan and China establish long-term, tense relations.
  • Strengthen the national security review of China’s investment in sensitive U.S. sectors
  • Work with allies and partners to try to “prevent China from acquiring military and strategic capabilities.”

Yes, but: Some targets face disadvantages.

  • The strategy repeatedly called on the United States to strengthen contacts with countries in the region, especially the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). In some cases, the United States actually withdrew from the region, including Trump’s withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the neglect of the ASEAN summit.
  • In the recent armed uprising in the U.S. Capitol, the goal of demonstrating the benefits of American democratic values ​​to offset the region’s interests in China has also suffered a major blow. These events prompted the resignation of Matt Pottinger, one of the main authors of the strategy, the former deputy director of the National Security Agency.

note: India is an important cornerstone of the appropriately named Indo-Pacific Strategy.

  • The document pointed out that strengthening US aid and intelligence sharing should provide assistance to India in key areas of conflict with China, including border disputes and water rights in the Himalayas. Since 1967, India and China have had the deadliest military conflict along the border in 2020.
  • But the US-India relationship is very complicated. During the Cold War, India refused to put itself in the Western camp, but chose to seek leadership in the Non-Aligned Movement. At the same time, the United States often prefers Pakistan, which is India’s historical main competitor in South Asia.

background: The Trump administration has ushered in a new official framework that treats China and India as part of the same strategic area “Indo-Pacific”, which began in the “National Security Strategy” in 2017.

  • The U.S. Pacific Command was renamed the Indo-Pacific Command in 2018, a move widely regarded as a response to the rise of China.

Between lines: Australia’s experience in China has greatly influenced the drafting of the 2018 Indo-Pacific Strategy.

  • A senior US official told me: “In many ways, they are in a leading position in understanding the operation of influence and interference with domestic systems.” “They are pioneers and we have to give Australia a lot of honor.”
  • The official specially commended the former senior Australian intelligence adviser John Garnaut (John Garnaut) and said that the academic Anne-Marie Brady (Anne-Marie Brady) from New Zealand issued a report on Reports on the operation of China’s influence have also influenced American strategy.

deeper: The State Council issued an anti-China blueprint.


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