Donald Trump has shown an apparent willingness to put the brakes on US military aggression abroad, notably in the Middle East and Central Asia. Yet the announcement coincided with more military moves against Russia and China.
One thing is obvious with regards to the ongoing US government shutdown – it has not affected the daily operations of the US military at all. While some 800,000 federal employees are enjoying a long unpaid vacation, members of the Armed Forces appear to be working overtime. And how could they not with the latest seasonal outbreak of Russo and Sino Phobia?
While there has been an outpouring of publicity over Donald Trump’s shock announcement that he would be withdrawing US troops from Syria, and possibly in other hotspots around the war-weary world, the US military remains on the prowl.
At the weekend, the Pentagon deployed three B-2 Stealth bombers and 200 airmen to Hawaii with the stated purpose of demonstrating America’s ability to “project power from anywhere in the world.” The site of the US deployment was no accident. China has been on the receiving end of these cute Hallmark greetings ever since Barack Obama announced his ill-fated ‘Asia Pivot’.
This realignment of military forces was articulated by then US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in an article in Foreign Policy entitled, ‘America’s Pacific Century’, which called for “forging a broad-based military presence” in China’s zone of influence. Needless to say, that pronouncement made Beijing sit up and take notice.
Today, Beijing continues to bolster its defenses as the US makes regular forays in the hotly contested South China Sea region, where China has laid claim to the majority of inlets and islands. It has even taken the ambitious step of turning rocky outcrops into ‘permanent aircraft carriers’ complete with airstrips, missiles and radar. The militarization of these waters makes it almost inevitable that some mishap – accidental or otherwise – will eventually occur. Just this past September, for example, a Chinese destroyer traveled within 45 yards (41 meters) of a US warship in a part of the Pacific Ocean that China considers its territory.
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