Asia still key target for the US

Thursday, 30 May, 2019 - 18:09
On Saturday, 1st of June, the Pentagon’s Acting Secretary Patrick Shanahan will finally have a chance to practice what he’s been preaching all along, facing the “rapidly growing” China threat. Shanahan’s performance during the talks with Wèi Fènghé, Chinese Minister of Defense, will define whether or not Shanahan deserves to lead American Defense System.
 
Five months on the position, Shanahan multiply urged the US to reverse the military power from fighting extremist organizations to “great power” in competition with China and Russia: the policy he’s been holding onto since the day one. “The most pressing security problem is China's rapidly growing military”, he stated again and again. He wasn’t the first to, but the Middle East confrontation made the USA to change their priorities.
 
“The greatest way to kill the National Defense Strategy and its focus on long-term competition and preparing for the possibility of conflict with China and Russia is to start another war in the Middle East”, as said by Mira Karlin, a former Pentagon official. “Not only Pentagon is distracted from its own strategy, but that planning itself can consume resources”.
 
The most important thing we can do with the National Defense Strategy is execute it at this point,” Shanahan underlined. “We have the capacity to spin a lot of plates. There are strategic priorities and then there are operational priorities. And you have to be able to do both.”
Not only the USA have a chance to remind everyone of themselves, but also to encourage Asian countries not to see them as Iran-spent force. The message is conveyed through a week-long Asia trip that includes Indonesia, South Korea, Japan and Singapore. Here Shanahan is to attend the annual international security forum “Shangri-La Dialogue”. His speech is scheduled for the first day of the summit – Saturday, 1st of June. Key theses to be disclosed are possible alliances in the region and further investments.
 
China can change the world, - said Elbridge Colby, the leading specialist on American National Defense. – We can’t afford to lose in Asia. Asia is the crown jewel”.
 
For the first time in seven years, Wèi Fènghé, Chinese Minister of Defense, is attending the forum. Experts suppose this unexpected visit is backed due to the need to return to friendly relationship with the neighbor countries while the USA are fully engaged in handling the Middle East matter. Now, when Shanahan and the China official finally meet, the relationship between two countries might finally see some positive changes. Or it could simply be the States convincing PRC not to rush to conclusions. Shanahan underlines that the focus of the talks will be cooperation and problems on which both sides need to be “honest and transparent”. 
 
Donald Trump has not yet nominated Shanahan for the position of Chief Defense Minister, but, according to reports, is supposed to do so in the next few days. Should this happen, the Senate will cast their votes next month.