On July 21, 2017, US President Donald Trump issued an Executive Order (No. 13806) on Assessing and Strengthening the Manufacturing and Defense Industrial Base and Supply Chain Resiliency of the United States ("the Assessment Report").
On October 5, 2018, a little over a year from then, the Assessment Report was submitted to President Trump by Deputy Secretary of Defense Shanahan, as a result of more than one year`s comprehensive research jointly conducted by 16 working groups with over 300 subject experts across all the pertinent federal departments and agencies.
What was the conclusion? "China represents a significant and growing risk to the supply of materials and technologies deemed strategic and critical to US national security." Setting up the straw man for private good.
The goal of the Trump Administration`s initiative to strengthen the military-industrial complex is to enhance America`s "ability to be ready for the fight tonight, and to retool for great power competition," to quote from "the Assessment Report" which was released on October 5, 2018, one day after Vice President Pence delivered his anti-China policy speech at the headquarters of the Hudson Institute in Washington DC on October 4, 2018.
The sequence of these two events does not appear to be a coincidence and seem to share internal logical connections. As early as December 18, 2017, the White House National Security Report was released. On January 19, 2018, the release of the National Defense Strategy followed suit. Both branded Russia and China as "revisionist powers," "strategic rivals," and "competitors."
Just as recently as October 4, 2018, Vice-President Pence, in his China policy speech at the Hudson Institute, branded China as the No. 1 threat to the US` security, bigger than Russia.
While China is painted as an "aggressor," "predator," and "meddler" in China`s engagement with the US and the rest of the world in Pence`s speech, the Assessment Report is both the summary of the state of the art of the American military-industrial complex and a new blueprint for augmenting the US military-industrial base in order to coerce or even defeat and conquer the American rivals or competitors.
The release of the Assessment Report shows the true color of Trump`s "America First" policy: It is military first, not economy first. It is the rich class first, not the blue-collar workers and farmers first. It is the special interest of the small gang of military-industrial elites that President Trump cares most, not the interest of the American cornfield farmers, the people of the Bible Belt, and the like who sent him to the White House.
In fact, President Trump is boosting the economic vitality of the military-industrial complex for the small gang of the rich elites at the cost of damaging and severing the necessary relationship for trade between the US and countries such as China.
Moreover, in seeking an all-out military confrontation with countries like China and Russia, the president is sending sons and daughters of the American people, mostly from the blue-collar class and farmers, in the harm`s way-the new battlefields such as the Pacific Theater.
The goal of the president`s Executive Order No. 13806, as Pence chimes in his speech at the Hudson Institute, is "We`ve been making the strongest military in the history of the world stronger still" and to defend the American interests "with renewed American strength." To put it simply, while Pence`s China policy speech is war-mongering, the Assessment Report is war-operationalizing. The two work hand in hand.
As you can see in the above, believing in the US` military strength and superiority over big powers, particularly China, and Russia, if not the superiority in other, non-military sectors and industries, the Trump administration is methodically getting prepared for a large scale military competition or even a military confrontation with China.
It is reported in the news that the Assessment Report has identified "nearly 300 risks" in areas of defense technology which the US needs to strengthen in order to compete with or confront and defeat China and Russia. However, this list is classified and has not been released to the public. The probable reason is that the Defense Department of the US does not dare to release the list. The list is in most probability bogus and fabricated.
However, this piece of probably fabricated evidence is used as the rhetorical ammunition with which the US Department of Defense justifies its budget to the American tax payers. The common knowledge is that the annual defense budget of China is only a quarter of that of the US. This year, the Trump Administration has secured an annual military budget of 716 billion US dollars, the largest in the entire history of the US.
With the private investment money being poured into the military-industrial projects, the annual total military budget of the US in 2018 could easily reach one trillion dollars. In such incompatibility, how in the world can China be a military threat to the US? However, to the Trump Administration, as long as the US needs an enemy and needs China to be its enemy, China is its enemy. It is as simple as what he did in his "Apprentice" show!
Confront the military invasion fearlessly
The Chinese people and civilization have been growing stronger and stronger in combat against external threats, coercion, invasion, and terror in one form or another for thousands of years. Led by the capable Chinese President Xi Jinping and inspired by the famous reference "fear itself" made by Franklin D. Roosevelt, the 32nd President of the United States during his inaugural address on March 4, 1933, I believe that Chinese people and Chinese leadership will neither back down nor blink their eyes in front of such military threats and invasions.
In an opinion piece that Trump`s top trade adviser, Mr. Peter Navarro wrote for the New York Times, he seems to leave an optimistic note on the actions that could be taken in response to the report: History will judge whether Donald Trump`s "Economic security is national security" joins the ranks of great presidential maxims. He is right. Time will tell if these accusations are justified and whether the Trump administration`s strategy really serves the good of the Americans and the world.
Editor`s note: Wenshan Jia is a professor at Chapman University and a research fellow at the National Academy for Development and Strategy, Renmin University of China. The article reflects the author`s opinion, and not necessarily the views of CGTN.