(Pompeo said that)..."the U.S. will organize the free world, while alienating and undermining the free world; he extols democracy, while aiding and abetting its destruction at home; and he praises the Chinese people, while generalizing about the ill intent of Chinese students who want to come to America.
Pompeo is also ultra-loyal to a president who cares not one whit for democracy, dissidents, freedom, or transparency overseas. Trump’s long track record on this is well documented, and it has defined his personal approach to China."
As we discussed here a while back, I'm all in favor of treating the PRC with cautious skepticism. But the problem here is that, having made it clear that if you're a Trumpkin, you're "America First" all the way, this administration has little diplomatic throw-weight to actually mobilize any sort of large-scale pushback against Chinese geopolitical ambitions. And then there's the whole "you are, too!" problem:
"The Chinese Communist Party wants a tributary international system where smaller countries are deferential to larger powers, instead of a rules-based international order where small countries enjoy equal rights. The CCP also sees no place for universal rights or global liberal norms, and wants to ignore the principles of open markets to pursue a predatory mercantilist economic policy.
So does Trump."
All this will undoubtedly rachet up tensions in the East Asian littoral. What that means in practice? I'm not sure; right now the U.S. is too busy being devoured by the Plague to make anything as distant as the South China Sea fairly low on the priority list...
Meanwhile, half a world away the same U.S. administration has directed the USDOD to move about 12,000 military bodies out of the Federal Republic of Germany.
This does not, in case you're keeping score, count as a "Donald the Dove" peace proposal. These people aren't going to become VISTA volunteers. Many are going to other parts of Europe, including Poland(?), Belgium, and Italy. But some of this may tie into the aggressive rhetoric against the PRC:
“Several thousand troops currently assigned to Germany may be reassigned to other countries in Europe,” Trump’s national security adviser, Robert O’Brien, said in an op-ed published Tuesday in The Wall Street Journal. “Thousands may expect to redeploy to the Indo-Pacific, where the U.S. maintains a military presence in Guam, Hawaii, Alaska and Japan, as well as deployments in locations like Australia.”
It's difficult not to be cynical about seeing this as a Trumpian revenge against the German government and his bete noir, PM Merkel, for being insufficiently fawning.