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Trump’s Not-So-secret Art of Containing China
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It was hardly a secret throughout the Trump administration. Now, dying embers within sight, and with minimum fanfare, comes the declassification – virtually the whole document, minus a few redactions – of the US Strategic Framework for the Indo-Pacific.

Why now, no less than 30 years before the usual, standard US declassification/public record protocols apply? Don’t expect an answer from Trump or from his National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien.

O’Brien’s premise, presenting the declassification, is that, “Beijing is increasingly pressuring Indo-Pacific nations to subordinate their freedom and sovereignty to a ‘common destiny’ envisioned by the Chinese Communist Party.”

This is nonsense in multiple levels. The best Mandarin-English translation for China’s overarching strategy is “community with a shared future for humanity” – a Confucius/Marx crossover based on trade/connectivity and sustainable development.

No nation is pressured to surrender their “freedom and sovereignty” to join the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). It’s a voluntary decision – otherwise over 130 nations would not go for it, including many in Europe. The strategy is not ideological; it’s based on trade. Moreover, China is already the top trade partner for the overwhelming majority of these nations.

Is Beijing trembling?

Since 2018 we were all familiar with the basic contours of the Trump administration’s “overarching strategic guidance” for the Indo-Pacific.

These are the Top 5 items – with no euphemistic softening:

  • to maintain that sacrosanct US “primacy”, code for uncontested military power;
  • promote the Quad (US, Japan, India, Australia);
  • fully support the (failed) Hong Kong color revolution;
  • demonize everything connected to BRI;
  • and invest in “the rise of India”.

On the military front, things get way trickier: the imperative is to prevent Beijing, by all means necessary, from “dominating the first island chain” – that is, the island ring from the Japanese archipelago to Taiwan all the way to the northern Philippines and Borneo. Moreover, “primacy” should also be maintained in the “area beyond”.

So once again this is all about naval containment.

Chinese strategists obviously studied their Mahan and Spykman thoroughly – and understood that the US Navy would ultimately play their trump card as a naval embargo.

Thus the Chinese Heartland strategy to contain the US’s Rimland strategy: pipelines from Russia and Central Asia (energy supply chain) and BRI (trade). A neat combination of “escape from Malacca” (in terms of oil and gas supplies) and overland connectivity.

A graphic example is the importance of the southern sector of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). In the long run, that offers Beijing, via Gwadar port, prime access to the Indian Ocean, bypassing Malacca. That can even be enhanced by upcoming Chinese investment in neighboring Chabahar port in Iran, in the Gulf Of Oman.

In contrast, US strategists advising the Trump administration, apart from not improving on Mahan and Spykman, completely ignored China’s economic pull all across Eurasia. They ignored the fact that scores of nations from Central to South and Southeast Asia (the ASEAN 10) would not sacrifice their trade/investment relations to the benefit of a Made in the Beltway “vision”.

The recent signing of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) deal all but buried the Indo-Pacific strategy.


As much as they are not reality-based, the core lineaments of the Indo-Pacific strategy are not bound to change much under Biden-Harris. They will be tweaked – in a “back to the future” manner. The Biden-Harris point man for China is bound to be none other than Kurt Campbell, the man who invented the “pivot to Asia” concept that was then embraced by Hilary Clinton as Secretary of State and Obama as President. Campbell now argues that emphasis on the sacrosanct “primacy” may be somewhat alleviated.

Is Beijing trembling? Hardly.

The 100th anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party falls next July 23. Exactly one day before the declassification of Indo-Pacific, President Xi Jinping outlined his – and the CCP’s – vision for no less than the next three decades, culminating in the 100th anniversary of the People’s Republic of China in 2049.

So here’s Xi Top Three – in a nutshell.

  • Keep calm and carry on, despite the ravaging effects of Covid-19, unrelenting Western – especially American – hostility, and the trials and tribulations of the crumbling US Empire.
  • Focus on domestic development, in all areas.
  • Focus on China’s priorities; then whatever happens the world outside will not be able to interfere. China’s priorities include solidifying its own “primacy” in the South China Sea while diversifying trade/development strategic options all along BRI.

It will certainly help that China’s GDP is bound to grow by almost 8% in 2021 – as estimated by IMF/World Bank. Astonishingly, if that’s the case GDP by the end of this year will reach the same level that pre-Covid Western forecasters were predicting by the end of 2019: 5% growth each year for the next two years. China may have grown roughly 2% in 2020, booming foreign trade included.

Goldman Sachs is branding the current economic environment “the Chinese phenomenon”. China remains the high-speed rail locomotive of global capitalism. It’s easy to notice which way scores of nations see the wind blowing when they compare it with what’s just been declassified.

(Republished from Asia Times by permission of author or representative)
The China/America Series
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  1. Realist says:

    The containment, destruction, or elimination of China is one of the Deep States’ strategic goals. This, along with eliminating Russia, would afford the Deep State unipolar control of the planet. Total power and control is the main goal. Trump is a facilitator for the Deep State.

    • Replies: @showmethereal
  2. @Realist

    He failed by every measure. The trade deficit increased in China’s favor during that time. The ROC in Taiwan lost diplomatic allies to the PRC. Hong Kong’s revolution was crushed without firing a bullet. Coronavirus came and ruined the US economy while China kept growing. China is still ahead in 5G (though slowed slightly)… But as a result of trying to kill Huawei it has accelerated China’s efforts to break free of US semiconductor tech. Banning Chinese companies from US markets meant that China now has the most IPO’s (majority in Hong Kong).. So he failed by every measure. Not that Obama or Bush did any better…

    • Replies: @d dan
    , @Realist
  3. d dan says:

    “So he failed by every measure. ”

    He also failed to bring manufacturing jobs back to US. Instead, the number of manufacturing jobs is lower than when he took office.

    He also failed to cut China off from the worldwide supply chain (e.g. “pay company to move out of China”). Instead, the world is getting more integrated with China that becomes the center of the supply chain.

    He also failed to isolate China diplomatically and economically. Instead, China signed up deals with RCEP and EU.

    He also failed to malign China with the “China virus”, “leaks from Wuhan Labs”, etc lies. Instead, WHO and the world today recognize and even admire China’s successfully and valiant efforts in combating the virus, and becomes the model of economic recovery.

    He also failed to slow or stop China’s progresses in science and engineering (e.g. ban Chinese students from studying certain fields, arrested plenty of people for “not reporting” collaboration with China, etc). Instead, China keep making progress in lunar exploration, quantum computing, deep sea exploration, nuclear fusion research, …

    He also failed to contain China militarily (large increase in US defense spending, sanctions of many Chinese organizations for military ties, etc). Instead, China keeps moving ahead of its blue navy buildup at a rate unseen in human history, completes its Beidou system that is far superior to GPS, …

    He also failed to ferment wars for China with its neighbors (QUAD, Indo-Pacific whatever, “sharing” of intelligence and other quasi-alliance deals with India, etc). Instead, India got 20+ people killed, Australia got a bruised eye, and Japan joined the RCEP.

    And I could go on for another hour. Trump’s China policy is an unmitigated failure.

    • Replies: @showmethereal
  4. Realist says:

    China’s internal affairs are none of the US government business. The US is on a shit slide to hell…America has more than it can handle at home.

    • Replies: @showmethereal
  5. @Realist

    True… But it’s just like Philip Giraldi’s article on here…. “In Search of Enemies”

  6. @d dan

    But what is scary is many cheered for him because he is supposedly “the first President to get tough on China”. It defies logic and good reasoning.

  7. A123 says:

    Containment is not the right word.

    Disentanglement is a much better term:

    -1- Get the CCP out of U.S. Education (e.g. Confucius Institutes)
    -2- Free the U.S. from CCP monopolies in National Strategic resources and industries (e.g. Rare Earth Elements, Steel, Pharmaceuticals)
    -3- Prevent U.S. Intellectual Property from flowing to the CCP. Both legally via Globalist MegaCorps and illegally via IP Theft.
    -4- End CCP commercial exploitation that masquerades as “Free Trade”.

    If Trump’s plan had been enacted, U.S. workers would be much better off. However, the Deep State Establishment intentionally sabotaged the effort.

    Everyone needs to understand that the CCP owns the U.S. Fake Stream Media: (1)

    The willingness of the media conglomerates to kowtow to the CCP has been abundantly demonstrated in the past decades by the Hollywood studios that these media conglomerates also own. The kowtowing of the studios comes in various forms of submission to CCP censorship and includes co-productions and partnerships with Chinese state-operated enterprises, such as that of Walt Disney Studios and Shanghai Disneyland Resort, which is majority-owned by Shanghai Shendi Group, a conglomerate of three companies owned by Shanghai’s government.

    Here is an extremely brief overview of some of the television networks owned by the media conglomerates:

    — Warner Media, which owns the Warner Bros film studios, owns CNN worldwide in addition to a host of entertainment and sports networks.
    — NBC Universal, which owns Universal Studios, owns a host of TV channels, among them NBC, CNBC, and MSNBC.
    — ViacomCBS, which owns Paramount pictures, owns the CBS TV network, including CBS News, CBS Sports, Comedy Central and MTV.
    — The Walt Disney Company, which owns Walt Disney Pictures, 20th Century Studios, Searchlight Pictures, Marvel and Lucas Film, owns the ABC news channel in addition to a host of entertainment channels.

    The DNC/CCP party has thrown U.S. Workers under the bus. And, fully climbed into bed with Globalist MegaCorporations and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. (2)

    It should come as no surprise the U.S. Chamber of Commerce (CoC) would join hands with leftist democrats & begin withholding financial support for congressional representatives who supported President Trump. You might remember in August of 2020 when the CoC admitted to supporting far-left democrats in the 2020 election cycle.

    The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the powerful pro-business [multinational] lobbying group, said Tuesday it will halt political contributions to certain lawmakers following the deadly riot at the U.S. Capitol last week.

    “There are some members that by their actions will have forfeited the support of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Period, full stop,” Neil Bradley, chief policy officer at the Chamber, said in a press conference.

    The tiny sliver of good news in all of this is that the DNC/CCP now owns the White House and Congess. They are going to be hit with 100% of the blame for the impending recession Great Depression 2.0.

    Can the GOP expel establishment RINO’s like Liz Cheney? It is still to early to tell. The GOP base voters by 75-80% want Trump style MAGA Populism. However, swamp creatures like McConnell and Romney are very hard to dislodge.

    PEACE 😇





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