If there was any doubt that President Trump wants to go toe-to-toe with China, it’s gone now. Patrick Shanahan, the acting Defense Secretary, told civilian leaders of the military to keep China in their crosshairs in 2019. Shanahan made those comments during a meeting with military branch secretaries. Shanahan replaces Jim Mattis. Mattis resigned from Trump’s cabinet when Trump said he wants U.S. troops out of Syria without giving him a heads up first.
According to a U.S. official who attended the meeting, Shanahan advocated a tougher Pentagon stand toward China. China is a strategic competitor, but China products are also an important ingredient in U.S. economic growth. China wants to be the largest and most productive economy in the world by 2025, and President Xi plans to make that happen in spite of Trump’s trade war.
China and Russia are threats to the United States, according to Patrick Shanahan and President Trump. They believe China wants to rule the world in communistic fashion. But the Chinese aren’t afraid of Trump or Shanahan. The Chinese aren’t afraid to buy American-made products from countries that produce similar products. They demonstrated that fact by moving all their soybean contracts to Brazil after Trump put a 25 percent tariff on soybeans.
China continues to show their military muscles in the South China Sea. And China is also giving Taiwan ultimatums. For years, the Chinese government tried to get Taiwan to come back and be part of the Chinese Republic. But Taiwan is an American ally. Taiwan gets its military might from the United States, and that infuriates Chinese officials. The Taiwanese like to do business with the Chinese, but they don’t want to answer to Beijing.
During his recent cabinet meeting, Trump told that captive audience he was general material. He said even though his father allegedly got him out of the Vietnam draft by giving two New York doctors perks in one of his apartment buildings. A daughter of one of the doctors said her dad, and her uncle, who had connections with the draft board at the time, wrote notes to the board that claimed Trump had bone spurs. The bone spurs didn’t stop Trump from participating in sports, but the alleged bone spurs did keep him out of the draft.
Trump’s wants to cut China down to size. He wants to poke the Chinese bear. He wants to see how far he can go before China strikes back. The Chinese may worry about Trump. But they don’t jump when he says jump, according to several Chinese news reports.