27 September, 2020


Sri Lanka & Taiwan: The Two Unsinkable Aircraft Carriers Of The Sino-American Geopolitics In The Indo-Pacific Theater

By Patric Mendis

Prof. Patrick Mendis

The deadly coronavirus will present a novel strategic landscape for China and the United States to begin the world anew. During this extraordinary covid-19 crisis, President Xi Jinping and his Chinese Communist Party (CCP) have neither put aside their longstanding geopolitical ambitions nor their “core” interests abroad.[1] The crisis has revealed the underlying priorities of the CCP, and President Xi wasted no time taking advantage of the epidemic by engaging in the two island nations of Sri Lanka and Taiwan.[2]

Likewise, both islands have become increasingly more vital to American foreign policy objectives, including freedom of navigation in the Indo-Pacific region, democratic governance, and regional peace and prosperity. President Donald Trump quietly signed the new Taiwan Allies International Protection and Enhancement Initiative (TAIPEI) Act on March 26, 2020.[3] The legislation would certainly enhance mutual confidence and optimism in US-Taiwan relations; however, the Trump State Department’s ability to implement and adjust foreign assistance with other countries would require significant funding and need to compete with the CCP’s financial assistance to those countries. With Sri Lanka, the Trump administration has thus far unsuccessfully pushed for signing the Millennium Challenge Compact (MCC) of $480 million and the renewal of the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA).[4] The MCC is part of the American foreign assistance program established by the Millennium Challenge Corporation in 2004–separate from the State Department and the US Agency for International Development. SOFA, meanwhile, is a bilaterally agreed upon framework under which deployed American military personnel would operate in Sri Lanka and that details how the country’s domestic laws would apply to them. Nevertheless, the Pentagon has devised Washington’s Indo-Pacific Strategy (IPS) by combining the Indian and Pacific Oceans into a single military theater. The IPS addresses the rise of China and counters its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), while strengthening US relations with Colombo and Taipei.

Since the Trump administration designated China a “strategic competitor,” Sri Lanka and Taiwan have increasingly become plausible geopolitical flashpoints in the Pacific and Indian Oceans.[5] Given the Trump administration’s pre-coronavirus budget priorities, however, the resource allocation for IPS rings somewhat hollow in responding to the fundamental concerns of China’s growing influence over Sri Lanka and Taiwan. While General Douglas MacArthur memorably referred to the latter as an “unsinkable aircraft carrier,” the description aptly characterizes both Sri Lanka and Taiwan. [6],[7]

Words vs. Deeds

When the pathogen began to multiply rapidly beyond China and spread to the United States and other countries, Beijing tried to block Taiwan’s participation in the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) as the global community collectively started to fight against the epidemic.[8] In response, the United States lobbied forcefully in favor of Taiwanese participation at these UN agencies, allowing Taiwanese health experts to have a voice at the WHO forum.[9] To distract from negative press coverage and to divert attention away from their mistakes handling the outbreak, Beijing began to conduct war-games in the Taiwan Strait in February and promoted a conspiracy theory in March 2020 that claimed the US military brought the pandemic to Wuhan, the capital city of Hubei province.[10],[11] These were widely perceived as provocations, prompting the United States to send reconnaissance aircraft through the Strait towards the Philippines and the South China Sea while President Trump publicly began to refer to the coronavirus as the “China virus.” [12],[13]

While visiting Sri Lanka in mid-January, Foreign Minister Wang Yi announced the importance of the island to China’s BRI and foreign policy and security interests. The foreign minister said that China “will not allow any outside influences to interfere” on the island’s internal affairs.[14] When Minister Wang met with the newly elected President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, the president expressed that he was an “admirer of President Xi Jinping” and “followed his speeches and statements closely.”[15] Reiterating that China is a “reliable” friend and a “strategic partner,” the foreign minister Wang assured the President that “China will continue to stand by Sri Lanka’s interests.”[16]

Immediately after Minister Wang’s visit, US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Alice Wells and Senior Director Lisa Curtis of the National Security Council arrived in Colombo to deliver a letter from President Donald Trump to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa.[17] Ambassador Wells told Rajapaksa and his brother Mahinda (the current prime minister and former president from 2005-15) that “a wider and safer Indo-Pacific region” is a mutual interest of theirs and that strengthening “military-to-military engagements” and expanding trade relations are equally beneficial to both countries.[18]

Sri Lanka renewed its Acquisition and Cross-Servicing Agreement (ACSA) with the United States for another ten years in 2017 during the pro-American Sirisena-Wickremesinghe administration (2015-19), which was initially signed by then-Defense Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa during his brother’s presidency. Since August 2018, Washington has been trying to revise and reinstate the SOFA agreement that was first secured in 1995, when Mahinda Rajapaksa’s party was also in power. A pro-China administration returning to power in Colombo gives the Trump White House some reason to worry about the balance of power in the Indian Ocean region, as China has already offered Sri Lanka a 10-year $500 million loan in March to mitigate the financial impact of covid-19.[19]

In his letter, President Trump underscored the US government’s “commitment and interest in furthering and depending [its] partnership” with Sri Lanka.[20] The message was clear: After years of neglect and reduced foreign assistance, the United States has a renewed interest in Sri Lanka.[21] Washington has increased its urgency with subtle threats and pressure to sign the $480 million MCC compact and to replace its revised SOFA agreement to align the island with America’s grand strategy to reduce Chinese influence.[22] After returning to Washington, Ambassador Wells remarked that “Sri Lanka occupies some very important real estate [emphasis added] in the Indo-Pacific region, and it is a country of increasing strategic importance in the Indian Ocean region” for the United States. These statements tacitly reveal Washington’s otherwise hidden reasoning on a key part of its Indo-Pacific policy.[23]

Two Unsinkable Aircraft Carriers

The degree of “strategic autonomy” these Island nations wield will determine their ability to deal with the BRI and IPS as independent countries. The BRI is a comprehensive and transformative strategy to revive the ancient Chinese civilization that existed before European colonization, combining the cosmopolitan polity of the Tang Dynasty (618-907) and the maritime supremacy of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644).[24] A belated response to BRI, the American-led IPS is a revised concept initiated by Japan and India to which Washington later joined. In joining the IPS, the US strengthened its military component while adding economic elements like the MCC and the Blue Dot Network (BDN).[25] The BDN is a US-led multi-stakeholder initiative to bring together governments, the private sector, and civil society to certify development projects that uphold global infrastructure principles, according to the US State Department.[26]

The political history and the economic geography of these two island nations have long been intertwined with the national security interests and foreign policy goals of the United States. In his “Chinese Memorandum” to the War Department in 1883, General Arthur MacArthur – the military governor of the Philippines – presented a prescient study of Asia. Advocating American economic expansion to remedy the predicaments of overproduction, General MacArthur wrote that “we cannot attain our natural growth, or even exist as a commanding and progressive nationality, unless we secure and maintain the soverignty [sic] of the Pacific.”[27]

Nearly 70 years later, in 1950 his son General Douglas MacArthur – the supreme commander of allied powers in Japan – sent a now-declassified top secret “Memorandum on Formosa” to Washington.[28] To put the United States in an offensive posture to contain the spread of communism, MacArthur insists that the Truman White House should consider the strategically located Taiwan as a counterbalance to the Soviet and Chinese communists. He reasons that “Formosa in the hands of the Communists can be compared to an unsinkable aircraft carrier and submarine tender.” If the island, he continues, “should be acquired by the Chinese Communists,” the military “bases thereon made available to the USSR” could serve as an offensive strategy to “checkmate counteroffensive operations by United States Forces based on Okinawa and the Philippines.” [29] The supreme commander then argues that Taiwan should instead be an unsinkable aircraft carrier for the United States to project American power and to preserve American national interests in the Pacific.

Indeed, the United States has its own “unsinkable aircraft carrier” on the more secretive but strategic 17-square-mile Diego Garcia in the middle of the Indian Ocean—just 1,200 miles from Sri Lanka.[30] The horseshoe-shaped atoll had been used for American wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Syria, and other counteroffensive operations elsewhere in the Horn of Africa, the Persian Gulf, and the Pacific. The United States renewed the lease of the charted real estate (from the British in 1966) for another 20 years in 2016.[31] The naval base is home to some 5,000 service-members and contractors for military and intelligence operations. The Diego Garcia facility is also assigned as a backup landing site for NASA space missions; it is a strategically vital refueling station for the US Navy and Air Force patrols from West Africa to the South China Sea.

The Cost of Guns and Butter

Washington maintains nearly 800 military bases in more than 70 countries and territories, with nearly 200,000 active-duty personnel deployed across 177 countries. [32],[33],[34] For unrestricted global operations, the United States has signed Acquisition and Cross Servicing Agreements (ACSA) and Status of Forces Agreements (SOFA) with over 100 countries. Citing President Donald Trump’s national defense strategy, former Secretary of Defense James Mattis declared in 2018 that “the United States has enjoyed uncontested or dominant superiority in every operating domain. We could generally deploy our forces when we wanted, assemble them where we wanted, and operate how we wanted.” Today, however, every domain is contested in “air, land, sea, space, and cyberspace” by China.[35]

With nearly $1 trillion in defense expenditure proposed in the 2021 federal budget, General Arthur McArthur’s vision of the “commanding” height of the American military may have now come to a crossroads. In his famous 1961 “military-industrial complex” speech, President Dwight Eisenhower warned of the increasing danger of a militarized economy to the republic.[36] For President Trump’s Indo-Pacific economic vision, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced in 2018 that he could only find $113 million for new investments “to expand economic engagement in the Indo-Pacific” to counterbalance China.[37]

In the proposed 2021 budget, Trump’s Office of Management and Budget has allocated more than $2 billion to support the Indo-Pacific defense strategy while cutting the international development assistance budget by 21 percent.[38],[39] The increasing defense expenditure comes with a widening federal budget deficit of over $1 trillion, which was prior to the signing of the coronavirus stimulus package of over $2.2 trillion.[40] With the 2018 tax cut, the Trump administration has now been forced to reduce Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security spending by a total of $756 billion as well as limit the funds for infrastructure development (in road, bridges, and airports) and other initiatives like investment in education, science, and technology.[41]

In contrast to Washington, Beijing has deliberately maintained its long-term investment strategy initiative with over $1 trillion in BRI development projects.[42] The US government has spent $6.4 trillion on the wars in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iraq—including interest payments on direct war borrowing. [43] For the federal government debt to China, Japan, and other countries, Washington is obligated to pay the annual interest payments of more than $900 billion.[44]Based on the 2010 estimates of the Congressional Budget Office data, Congressman Randy Forbes, chairman of the Congressional China Caucus, calculated that “each day our nation pays communist China $73.9 million in interest on our debt.”[45] It added up to a total of over $26.9 billion a year. By January 2020, China owned over $1.1 trillion of American Treasury securities.[46]

In the “new era” of China’s unprecedented rise as a civilization-state, the mammoth BRI investment is estimated to incorporate between $1 trillion and $8 trillion in infrastructure development projects, connecting more than 100 countries across Asia, Africa, Europe, and Oceania through trade and commerce.[47] With 276 embassies and diplomatic posts, China now has more than the United States, focusing mainly on commercial diplomacy.[48] In the interim, the Trump administration has reduced the vitality of diplomatic missions abroad by cutting the budget and kept a large number of senior posts unfilled in the Department of State. [49],[50] As a result, foreign policy and diplomatic responsibilities are increasingly carried out via the Department of Defense, especially in the Indo-Pacific region.

In the meantime, China has already become the largest economy in the world in Purchasing Power Parity (PPP), a measurement used by the CIA and IMF for comparing national economies.[51] The American rival is also the largest net exporter and global lender.[52] China’s “overall investments in research and development are expected to surpass those of the United States within 10 years,” according to Dr. Eric Schmidt, former CEO of Google and the current chairman of the US National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence.[53] Schmidt has further written that “AI is essential to growing our economy and protecting our security.”[54] Quoting the Global AI Index of more than 100 metrics, he warned that China will lead the world in five to 10 years and cited that China has “almost twice as many supercomputers and about 15 times as many deployed 5G base stations as the United States.” [55],[56] According to Professor Graham Allison of Harvard University, China is leading the United States in all 25 indicators of economic performance except in military superiority.[57]

Lasting Force for Good

Adhering to General Arthur MacArthur’s military-led “self-preservation doctrine,” the United States still seeks to define national and security interests through the lens of defense strategies of the past. By contrast, however, Beijing is filtering its interests in historical and economic lens, selectively modeling the BRI after China’s Tang and Ming Dynasties in the forms of the New Silk Road (i.e., the component of the Belt) and the Maritime Silk Road (the sea route, that is ironically called “the Road”).[58] The BRI is now being rebranded as the Health Silk Road by exporting medical equipment and health professionals to BRI countries in the midst of Covid-19 global pandemic while still promoting the Digital Silk Road with the new battlefield 5G and artificial intelligence technologies of Huawei, ZTE, and other companies.[59],[60]With these companies and state-owned enterprises, China has achieved impressive domestic infrastructure developments in high-speed railways connecting highly sophisticated urban centers and modern airports and harbors as well as developed space exploration projects. Beijing has now comprehensively positioned itself to expand its diplomatic influence and economic “sharp power” globally—increasingly now with American friends and allies, especially from the NATO countries.

In the “new era” of rising Chinese dominance in Asia, even the two democratic island-nations of Sri Lanka and Taiwan are being challenged with the choices of the past. For the future, they are presented with Chinese economic opportunities and American security assurances. For example, China has invested an estimated $11 billion in Sri Lanka.[61] It has employed thousands of local workers and built a giant harbor in Hambantota, completed the Lotus Telecommunication Tower in Colombo, finished the Nelum Pokuna National Theater, and donated a kidney hospital in Polonnaruwa.[62] China is still constructing an artificial island for the Colombo Port City and building a network of the expressway.[63]

For the United States, Sri Lanka could reportedly be an alternative to the leased real estate of Diego Garcia (which will expire in 2036 unless its lease is renewed with the British). In this grand scheme of finding a long-term basing arrangement, Washington reasons that Sri Lanka occupies “some very important real estate” that could become the cornerstone of the IPS and its Free and Open Indo-Pacific (FOIP) policy.[64] Closer to Indian Ocean rim countries and located on major shipping lanes, Sri Lanka would be a less expensive option to sustain the supremacy of American power than is the distant Diego Garcia. Unlike the stated goal of BRI connectivity for international commerce, the FOIP strategy seeks to improve “the freedom of navigation” between the Indian and Pacific Oceans through strategic and military collaboration with Australia, India, and Japan—the Quadrilateral Dialogue (i.e., the Quad). Thus, the enforcement ofthe SOFA, the ACSA, and the MCC are integral elements for the continuation of the American self-preservation project in Sri Lanka and the preservation of the post-WWII liberal international system.

Expressing concerns over the Chinese “debt trap” in Sri Lanka and recognizing the growing Chinese influence on sovereign governance, Washington has now begun to advocate the urgency of signing the SOFA and MCC agreements with the pro-Beijing Rajapaksa administration.[65] Departing from a policy of a friendlier approach to the previous pro-American Sirisena-Wickremesinghe government (2015-19), the State Department has signaled an increasingly difficult road for the Colombo administration.[66] Washington has, for example, recently announced a travel ban on former General Shavendra Silva, who was accused of human rights violations against the separatist Tamil Tigers during the Eelam War that ended in May 2009.[67] In the past five years, Washington has kept a softer diplomatic approach to human rights and transitional justice for the minority Tamil people at the UN Human Rights Commission (UNHRC).

The Rajapaksa administration is heavily staffed by former and current military personnel, including General Silva as the chief of staff of the Sri Lankan Army.[68] To fulfill his campaign promise, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has given his priority to national security and public safety after the 2019 Easter Sunday suicide-bombings of churches and luxury hotels in Colombo that killed more than 350 Sri Lankans and foreign tourists.[69] For economic development and public debt management, Rajapaksa needs the sources of income and investment from China, India, Japan, and the United States. Pursuing a combined policy of reward and punishment, the Trump administration has suddenly decided to coerce Sri Lanka to align with Washington. Partnering with Australia, India, and Japan, the American IPS is designed to counter “the Chinese Malign influence” and champion “security, democracy, and economic growth for a free and open Indo-Pacific,” according to the US State Department.[70] Sri Lanka is often recalibrating and finding effective ways to play China and the US against each other amidst its shrinking space for “strategic autonomy,” as illustrated by recent withdrawal of its war crimes investigation of the landmark UNHRC resolution of 30/1 in 2015.[71]

Reliance and Alliance 

In the case of Taiwan, President Trump’s self-preservation strategy is derived from the extension of the perennial American military-industrial complex. Similar to his $110 billion arms sales to Saudi Arabia, Trump signed an $8 billion deal of military hardware sales and training personnel to Taiwan in August 2019, solidifying American reliance, and then an informal alliance with Washington.[72] The goal of the deal was first to safeguard the island and counterbalance China’s increasing military posture, and second, to develop “domestic training for jets, submarines, and other weapons technology” arriving from the United States.[73]

Indeed, the Trump administration had previously authorized the $2 billion sale of military weapons to Taiwan in 2019.[74] It was in direct response to President Xi Jinping’s first significant declaration in January 2019 in which he warned “the contested island of democracy” that “unification must be the ultimate goal” of China, but a “full independence” for the wayward province “could be met by armed force.”[75] Challenging President Xi’s proposed “one country, two systems” formula – similar to Hong Kong and Macau – the newly re-elected President Tsai Ing-wen again rejected Beijing’s unification blueprint.[76],[77] She then re-asserted that Taiwan would continue to pursue a free and democratic way of life. During the violent Hong Kong protests in 2019, Tsai openly supported the cause for political rights and independence for Hongkongers and portrayed China as inimical to democratic freedoms and the sovereignty of Taiwanese people. Like Hongkongers, the 24 million people of Taiwan have increasingly identified themselves as Taiwanese, who migrated mostly from the nearest coastal Fujian province of China.[78]

Even after the signing of phase one of the Sino-American trade deal in January 2020, Washington has continued to maintain its active military and subtle diplomatic support for Taipei—including the more frequent movements of American aircraft and ships in the Taiwan Strait. With unanimous bipartisan congressional endorsement, President Trump signed the Taiwan Travel Act of 2018 that “should encourage visits between officials from the United States and Taiwan at all levels.”[79] It is a milestone since passing the Taiwan Relations Act of 1979. In the Taiwan Relations Act, released over 40 years ago, Jimmy Carter recognized the government of the People’s Republic of China (PRC), acknowledging the “one China policy” for which Taiwan (i.e., the Republic of China, ROC) is part of the mainland. This 2018 legislation and the TAIPEI Act established a deliberate “ambiguity” in the evolving American foreign policy of unofficial and informal diplomatic relations between the two countries.

The United States has carefully maintained its “ambiguity” – as opposed to a strategic “clarity” – towards Taiwan with the hope that China would be less likely to invade Taiwan. A policy of absolute “clarity” would essentially provoke Chinese hostility and also challenge American legitimacy to involve itself in cross-strait relations. Moreover, a system of “strategic ambiguity” would further validate the American military presence in the Pacific to protect Taiwan and other defense treaty-allies like Japan and South Korea in spite of the TAIPEI Act of 2020.[80]

Signs of the Tipping Points

The proposed Trump budget has incentives for allies and friends to buy more weapons to build their militaries around US systems. This self-preservation of the American republic further highlights evolving defense arrangements. Trump’s national security strategy—forcing a tradeoff with domestic economic and social development priorities—would forestall addressing national infrastructure development needs and repayment of national debts to China and other countries.

To develop his IPS, the Trump White House has radically expanded and revised President Barack Obama’s “Asia-Pacific rebalancing strategy.” The Obama strategy was focused more on economic, trade, and investment components embedded in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)–a coordinated effort with eleven other countries to challenge China’s rise and to ensure that the United States lead the way on “global trade rules.”[81] The collective TPP strategy also emphasized the use of commercial diplomacy to uphold higher environmental and labor standards that would eventually benefit the ordinary people in the Asia-Pacific region.

With the creation of an Indo-Pacific Command, the Department of Defense is the lead agency to promote the Quad framework with Australia, India, and Japan. Each of these Quad partners has its own strategic and economic interests that are not necessarily aligned with the “America First” geopolitics of the military containment of China and its BRI investment projects. China has several trade agreements with Australia and other Asian countries while pursuing bilateral and trilateral trade pacts with South Korea and Japan, the two critical American treaty allies in Asia. Beijing has also invested in BRI projects with American partner-countries and friends in Asia, Europe, and elsewhere.

The Trump administration is behind as key European allies and members of the exclusive Five Eyes intelligence alliance begin to doubt Washington’s leadership on key issues. Several are considering allowing “the construction of next generation 5G networks by the Chinese technology company Huawei”–the world leader in 5G implementation.[82] For these countries, fulfilling their economic needs has so far come first; thus, China’s commercial diplomacy of over $1 trillion in BRI projects speaks louder for their national aspirations and development requirements than American military solutions to every interlocking Sino-American issue. While praising China (and Russia), for example, President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines in February 2020 decided to terminate the 22-year Visiting Forces Agreement with the United States.[83] China has so far pledged $9 billion in infrastructure investment in the Philippines, including the $4.3 billion expansion and upgrade of the road and railway networks around Metro Manila, equivalent to 1.2% of GDP. Beijing and Manila have inked roughly $300 million loan agreements to fund water and irrigation projects, equivalent to 0.1% of GDP.[84] The outcome has signaled a severe threat to the Philippine-US 69-year military alliance that has long been seen as essential to countering the rise of China and its growing dominance over the South China Sea.[85]

America Needs Rearview Mirrors

Like the Philippines, Taiwan and Sri Lanka naturally desire to find strategic autonomy. The founding ideals of the United States, as embedded within the Declaration of Independence, continue to provide needed Jeffersonian inspiration and to galvanize these countries struggles for democratic values and self-government. Even for Deng Xiaoping of China, the Hamiltonian approach to economic progress and centralized governance was the guiding model for his continued trade liberalization and open economic policy.[86] Yet the United States has seemingly departed from its own Hamiltonian and Jeffersonian framework and pursued failed military solutions to every conflict from Vietnam to Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria. Given its forgotten history and the lessons not learned, the United States is not likely to achieve a winnable military confrontation with an increasingly powerful China either in Sri Lanka or Taiwan.[87] Evaluating the 2018 national defense strategy for US Congress, the National Defense Strategy Commission concluded that “if the United States had to fight . . . China in a war over Taiwan, Americans could face a decisive military defeat.”[88] Similarly, former Deputy Secretary of Defense Robert Work and former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense David Ochmanek shared a public summary of the results of “classified” war-games in March 2019.[89] Ochmanek summarized, “when we fight Russia and China, [America] gets its ass handed to it.”[90]

Moreover, Beijing seems to have steadily improved “military capabilities,” which includes “its ability to strike aircraft carriers” of the United States.[91] In a series of war-game scenarios over Taiwan or the South China Sea, in 18 of the last 18 Pentagon war-games involving China in the Taiwan Strait, the US reportedly lost.[92] Of course, these could be somewhat misleading; the domino effects of unforeseen events in real wars would always be challenging to predict—like the US bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade in the former Yugoslavia for which America was humiliated for its “precise weaponry” and needed to compensate and apologize.[93]

Unlike the super-power competition between the former Soviet Union and the United States, China is a thriving civilization-state with a greater sense of national pride and perennial control. In contrast to the former Soviet Union, China has almost $3 trillion in currency reserves with a vast network of trading partnerships in Asia, Africa, Europe, Latin America, and the Caribbean Basin—America’s backyard.[94] With America’s concurrent global war on terror and intractable wars and conflicts in the Middle East and elsewhere, the over-militarization of US foreign policy has increasingly become a burden to its national progress. It is also counterproductive to the enduring ideas of democratic freedoms that the Trump administration pretends to champion when it comes to Saudi Arabia and human rights violations.[95]

For Hamiltonian and Jeffersonian ideas to flourish, the United States does not need a grand strategy.[96] It requires creativity and imagination to break away from the conditioned mindset of the past, especially to nurture private enterprises and facilitate free people to conduct their affairs with strategic autonomy in Taiwan and Sri Lanka. To strengthen American self-preservation, the United States must rediscover the superiority of diplomatic and foreign development assistance programs and global engagement—not the prevalence of military tools, subjecting other countries to American might. John Quincy Adams advocated a soft power strategy over the military disposition of the nation. He said in 1821 that the United States “goes not abroad in search of monsters to destroy. She is the well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all. She is the champion and vindicator only of her own. She will recommend the general cause, by the countenance of her voice, and the benignant sympathy of her example.”[97]

Indeed, the price of “America First” militarized foreign policy is costly. To boost America’s economic edge against China, the Trump administration and Congress passed the Better Utilization of Investment Leading to Development (BUILD) Act of 2018.[98] The Build Act created a new US International Development Finance Corporation (called DFC) with a merger of the former Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) and the Development Credit Authority (DCA), formerly housed in the US Agency for International Development. The DFC has a combined investment portfolio of $60 billion from OPIC and DCA to compete with China’s $1 trillion.[99] By contrast, China has deliberately combined its growing economic, military, and diplomatic power with American funds (including the interest payments to Beijing) for their advancement and global influence operation.

In his Farewell Address in 1796, George Washington offered a piece of advice: “avoid the necessity of those overgrown military establishments, which, under any form of government, are inauspicious to liberty, and which are to be regarded as particularly hostile to Republican Liberty. In this sense it is, that your Union ought to be considered as a main prop of your liberty, and that the love of the one ought to endear to you the preservation of the other.”[100] In the final analysis, the preservation of liberty and autonomy is the very essence of authentic Americanism. The Chinese system with its influence industry based upon “sharp power,” hardly match the ultimate desires of freedom-loving people in Sri Lanka, Taiwan, and elsewhere.

*Patrick Mendis, a former American diplomat and a military professor, is currently serving as a Taiwan fellow of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of China, as a distinguished visiting professor of global affairs at the National Chengchi University, and as a visiting scholar at the Taiwan Center for Security Studies in Taipei. Dr. Mendis has until recently served as a distinguished visiting professor of Sino-American relations at the Yenching Academy of Peking University and as a commissioner of the United States National Commission for UNESCO at the US Department of State. He is an alumnus of the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and the Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota. The views expressed in this analysis do not represent the official positions of the author’s current or past institutional or governmental affiliations. This article is courtesy of the SAIS Review of International Affairs, a Foreign Policy Institute publication of the Paul Nitz School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) at the Johns Hopkins University in Washington, DC, USA. 


[1] Caitlin Campbell, Ethan Meick, Kimberly Hsu and Craig Murray, “China’s ‘Core Interests’ and the East China Sea” (U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission Staff Research Backgrounder, 2013), 2, https://www.uscc.gov/sites/default/files/Research/China’s%20Core%20Interests%20and%20the%20East%20China%20Sea.pdf.

[2] Patrick Mendis and Dominique Reichenbach, “Taiwan and Sri Lanka as the anchors of the Indo-Pacific Strategy of the United States, China US Focus, May 8, 2020, https://www.chinausfocus.com/foreign-policy/taiwan-and-sri-lanka-as-the-anchors-of-the-indo-pacific-strategy-of-the-united-states.

[3] Ben Blanchard and Robert Birsel, “US Increases Support for Taiwan in Recognition Battle With China,” New York Times, March 26, 2020, https://www.nytimes.com/reuters/2020/03/26/world/asia/26reuters-taiwan-usa.html.

[4] “SL Govt Decides not to Sign $480mn MCC Agreement,” Outlook, February 29, 2020, https://www.outlookindia.com/newsscroll/sl-govt-decides-not-to-sign-480mn-mcc-agreement/1747783.

[5] “US Set to Designate China as ‘Strategic Competitor’ in Trump’s First National Security Strategy,” Japan Times, December 18, 2017, https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2017/12/18/asia-pacific/politics-diplomacy-asia-pacific/u-s-set-designate-china-strategic-competitor-trumps-first-national-security-strategy/#.Xo1ELdNKhdh.

[6] Bakkton Booker, “Trump Administration Diverts $3.8 Billion In Pentagon Funding To Border Wall,” National Public Radiol, February 13, 2020, https://www.npr.org/2020/02/13/805796618/trump-administration-diverts-3-8-billion-in-pentagon-funding-to-border-wall.

[7] “Memorandum of Conversation, by the Ambassador at Large,” (Foreign Relations of the United States, Volume VII, Korea, 1950), https://history.state.gov/historicaldocuments/frus1950v07/d86.

[8] Kenji Kawase, Lauly Li, and Cheng Ting-Fang, “Taiwan Grills WHO Over Seat at the Table as Coronavirus Spreads,” Nikkei Asian Review, February 7, 2020, https://asia.nikkei.com/Spotlight/Coronavirus/Taiwan-grills-WHO-over-seat-at-the-table-as-coronavirus-spreads.

[9] Kensaku Ihara and Rintaro Hosokawa, “With Nod from China, Taiwan Gets Seat at WHO Coronavirus Forum,” Nikkei Asian Review, February 13, 2020, https://asia.nikkei.com/Spotlight/Coronavirus/With-nod-from-China-Taiwan-gets-seat-at-WHO-coronavirus-forum.

[10] Patrick Mendis and Joey Wang, “The Three Mistakes the Chinese Government has made in its Mishandling of the Coronavirus Crisis,” South China Morning Post, February 19, 2020, https://www.scmp.com/comment/opinion/article/3051164/three-mistakes-chinese-government-has-made-its-mishandling.

[11] Ryan Pickrell, “Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman Pushes Coronavirus Conspiracy Theory that the US Army ‘brought the epidemic to Wuhan,’” Business Insider, March 14, 2020, https://www.businessinsider.com/chinese-official-says-us-army-maybe-brought-coronavirus-to-wuhan-2020-3.

[12] Idrees Ali and Huizhong Wu, “U.S. Warship Sails Through Taiwan Strait, Stirs Tensions with China,” Reuters, July 24, 2019, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-taiwan-china-military/u-s-warship-sails-through-taiwan-strait-stirs-tensions-with-china-idUSKCN1UJ370.

[13] Maegan Vazquez and Betsy Klein, “Trump again Defends use of the Term ‘China virus,’” CNN, March 19, 2020, https://www.cnn.com/2020/03/17/politics/trump-china-coronavirus/index.html.

[14] “Won’t Allow ‘outside interference’ in Sri Lanka’s Internal Affairs: China,” Hindustan Times, January 15, 2020, https://www.hindustantimes.com/world-news/wouldn-t-allow-outside-interference-in-sri-lanka-s-internal-affairs-china/story-WM9nCRg95YC730X562wXUL.html.

[15] “President tells Chinese Foreign Minister: Sri Lanka working for economic independence,” Daily News, January 15, 2020, http://www.dailynews.lk/2020/01/15/local/208464/sri-lanka-working-economic-independence.

[16] “Won’t Allow ‘outside interference.’”

[17] “US, Sri Lanka Share Compelling Interests: Alice Wells,” Colombo Page, January 26, 2020, http://www.colombopage.com/archive_20A/Jan26_1580024205CH.php.

[18] Kelum Bandara, “Alice Wells Delivers Letter to Prez from Trump,” Daily Mirror UK, January 15, 2020, http://www.dailymirror.lk/breaking_news/Alice-Wells-delivers-letter-to-Prez-from-Trump/108-181263.

[19] “Sri Lanka gets USD 500 Million Loan from China as Financial Aid,” New Indian Express, March 18, 2020, https://www.newindianexpress.com/world/2020/mar/18/sri-lanka-gets-usd-500-million-loan-from-china-as-financial-aid-2118472.html.

[20] Kelum Bandara, “Alice Wells Delivers.”

[21] “Maintaining U.S. Influence in South Asia: The FY 2018 Budget,” (House Hearing, 2017), https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/CHRG-115hhrg26758/html/CHRG-115hhrg26758.htm.

[22] Asoka Bandarage, “Neocolonialism and geopolitical rivalry in Sri Lanka,” Asia Times, January 29, 2020, https://asiatimes.com/2020/01/neocolonialism-and-geopolitical-rivalry-in-sri-lanka/.

[23] “Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Alice Wells,” Global Public Affairs, January 24, 2020, https://translations.state.gov/2020/01/24/principal-deputy-assistant-secretary-of-state-for-south-and-central-asian-affairs-alice-wells/.

[24] “China, India and Lanka: How to understand Beijing’s vision and mission in the post-American world,” Daily FT, November 29, 2019, http://www.ft.lk/opinion/China–India-and-Lanka–How-to-understand-Beijing-s-vision-and-mission-in-the-post-American-world/14-690565.

[25] Patrick Mendis and Joey Wang, “Washington’s Blue Dot Network (BDN): Missing the Mark on its Counter-China Strategy,” China-US Focus, December 18, 2019, https://www.chinausfocus.com/finance-economy/washingtons-blue-dot-network-bdn-missing-the-mark-on-its-counter-china-strategy.

[26] US State Department, Blue Dot Network, no date, https://www.state.gov/blue-dot-network/

[27] Brian M. Linn, Guardians of Empire: The U.S. Army and the Pacific, 1902-1940 (North Carolina: The University of North Carolina Press, 1999), 6.

[28] “Memorandum of Conversation.”

[29] Ibid

[30] Tom Porter, “See Inside Diego Garcia, a secretive US Navy base on British land at the center of a bitter tug-of-war in the Indian Ocean,” Business Insider, September 2, 2019, https://www.businessinsider.com/photos-diego-garcia-air-base-indian-ocean-2019-8.

[31] Ibid.

[32] Gregory M. Reynolds and Amanda Shendruk, “Demographics of the U.S. Military,” Council on Foreign Relations, April 24, 2018, https://www.cfr.org/article/demographics-us-military.

[33] David Vine, “Where in the World Is the U.S. Military?” Politico, July 2015, https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2015/06/us-military-bases-around-the-world-119321.

[34] Jeff Desjardins, “Nearly 200,000 US Troops are Currently Deployed around the World — here’s where,” Business Insider, March 20, 2017, https://www.businessinsider.com/us-military-personnel-deployments-by-country-2017-3.

Also see Stephanie Savell, “This Map Shows Where in the World the U.S. Military Is Combatting Terrorism,” Smithsonian Magazine, January 2019,https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/map-shows-places-world-where-us-military-operates-180970997/.

[35] Jim Mattis, “Summary of the 2018 National Defense Strategy of the United States of America,” (Department of Defense, 2018), https://dod.defense.gov/Portals/1/Documents/pubs/2018-National-Defense-Strategy-Summary.pdf.

[36] Dwight D. Eisenhower, “Military-Industrial Complex Speech,” Public Papers of the Presidents, 1960, https://avalon.law.yale.edu/20th_century/eisenhower001.asp, 1035-1040.

[37] Michael R. Pompeo, “Remarks on ‘America’s Indo-Pacific Economic Vision’ at Indo-Pacific Business Forum,” American Institute of Taiwan, July 30, 2018, https://www.ait.org.tw/secretary-pompeos-remarks-at-the-indo-pacific-business-forum/.

[38] “Proposed US Budget Seeks to Allocate $2 Billion for Indo-Pacific Strategy,” Belt and Road News, February 12, 2020, https://www.beltandroad.news/2020/02/12/proposed-us-budget-seeks-to-allocate-2-billion-for-indo-pacific-strategy/.

[39] Jeff Mason, “Trump slashes foreign aid, cuts safety net programs in new budget proposal,” Reuters, February 9, 2020, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trump-budget/trump-slashes-foreign-aid-cuts-safety-net-programs-in-new-budget-proposal-idUSKBN2030PV.

[40] Clare Foran, Manu Raju, Haley Byrd and Ted Barrett, “Trump Signs Historic $2 Trillion Stimulus After Congress Passes it Friday,” CNN, March 27, 2020, https://www.cnn.com/2020/03/27/politics/coronavirus-stimulus-house-vote/index.html.

[41] Elena Botella, “What Seniors Need To Know About Trump’s 2021 Federal Budget,” Forbes, February 10, 2020, https://www.forbes.com/sites/elenabotella/2020/02/10/what-seniors-need-to-know-about-trumps-2021-federal-budget/#7a6484b38426.

[42]Allen Cheng, “New Silk Road: Realizing China’s dream, Asia Money, September 27, 2018,https://www.euromoney.com/article/b1b3gssw2d1dlq/new-silk-road-realizing-china39s-dream

[43] “Economics Costs,” Watson Institute of International and Public Affairs Brown University, January 2020, https://watson.brown.edu/costsofwar/costs/economic.

[44] Nelson D. Schwartz, “As Debt Rises, the Government Will Soon Spend More on Interest Than on the Military,” N New York Times, September 25, 2018, https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/25/business/economy/us-government-debt-interest.html.

[45] Jacob Geiger, “Randy Forbes says the U.S. pays China $73.9 million per day in debt interest,” Politifact, April 26, 2011, https://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2011/apr/26/randy-forbes/randy-forbes-says-us-pays-china-739-million-day-de/.

[46] “How Much Debt Does China Own,” Investopedia, January 15, 2020, https://www.investopedia.com/articles/investing/080615/china-owns-us-debt-how-much.asp.

[47] Jonathan A. Hillman, “How Big Is China’s Belt and Road?” CSIS, April 3, 2018, https://www.csis.org/analysis/how-big-chinas-belt-and-road.

[48] “China Now has More Diplomatic Posts than any other Country,” CNN, November 27, 2019, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-china-50569237.

[49] Courtney McBride, “Trump Keeps the Pressure on State Department Spending,” Wall Street Journal, March 11, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/trumps-keeps-the-pressure-on-state-department-spending-11552326475.

[50] Jack Corrigan, “The Hollowing-Out of the State Department Continues,” The Atlantic, February 11, 2018, https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2018/02/tillerson-trump-state-foreign-service/553034/.

[51] “The Chinese Century is Well Under Way,” Economist, October 27, 2018, https://www.economist.com/graphic-detail/2018/10/27/the-chinese-century-is-well-under-way.

[52]Sebastian HornCarmen M. Reinhart and Christoph Trebesch, “How much money does the world Owe China,” Harvard Business Review, February 26, 2020, https://hbr.org/2020/02/how-much-money-does-the-world-owe-china.

[53] Eric Schmidt, “Eric Schmidt: I Used to Run Google. Silicon Valley Could Lose to China,” New York Times, February 27, 2020, https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/27/opinion/eric-schmidt-ai-china.html.

[54] Ibid.

[55] “The Global AI Index,” Tortoise Media, https://www.tortoisemedia.com/intelligence/ai/.

[56] Eric Schmidt, “I Used to Run Google.”

[57] Graham Allison, “America second? Yes, and China’s lead is only growing,” Boston Globe, May 22, 2017, https://www.bostonglobe.com/opinion/2017/05/21/america-second-yes-and-china-lead-only-growing/7G6szOUkTobxmuhgDtLD7M/story.html.

[58] “Lotus Tower shows cultural ties between Sri Lanka, China,” China.org.cn, December 6, 2017, http://www.china.org.cn/arts/2017-12/06/content_50088474.htm.

[59] Patrick Mendis and Dominique Reichenbach, “Taiwan and Sri Lanka as the anchors of the Indo-Pacific Strategy of the United States, China US Focus, May 8, 2020, https://www.chinausfocus.com/foreign-policy/taiwan-and-sri-lanka-as-the-anchors-of-the-indo-pacific-strategy-of-the-united-states.

[60] David E. Sanger and Mary K. Brooks, “Battlefield 5G,” Wilson Quarterly, Spring 2020, https://www.wilsonquarterly.com/quarterly/who-writes-the-rules/battlefield-5g/.

[61] Shihar Aneez and Sanjeev Miglani, “A hospital and clean water: China on the charm offensive in Sri Lanka,” Reuters,November 19, 2019, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-sri-lanka-politics-china/a-hospital-and-clean-water-china-on-the-charm-offensive-in-sri-lanka-idUSKBN1XU01T.

[62] Reuter, “Hospital, clean water: China’s charm offensive in SL,” Deccan Herald, November 20, 2019,https://www.deccanherald.com/international/hospital-clean-water-chinas-charm-offensive-in-sl-777869.html.

[63] Marwaan Macan-Markar, “China grips Sri Lanka with artificial island off Colombo,” Nikkei Asian Review, December 12, 2019, https://asia.nikkei.com/Spotlight/Belt-and-Road/China-grips-Sri-Lanka-with-artificial-island-off-Colombo.

[64] “Principal Deputy Assistant.”

[65] Kelum Bandara, “Alice Wells Delivers Letter to Prez from Trump,” Daily Mirror UK, January 15, 2020, http://www.dailymirror.lk/breaking_news/Alice-Wells-delivers-letter-to-Prez-from-Trump/108-181263.

[66] Daphne Psaledakis, Doina Chiacu, Mary Milliken, and Alistair Bell, “U.S. bans Sri Lankan army chief from entry, citing civil war abuses,” Reuters, February 14, 2020, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-sri-lanka/us-blacklists-sri-lankan-army-commander-cites-killings-abuses-idUSKBN2081UR.

[67] Maria Abi-Habib and Dharisha Bastians, “U.S. Bars Sri Lankan Army Chief Accused of War Crimes,” New York Times, February 15, 2020, https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/15/world/asia/sri-lanka-us-sanctions.html.

[68] Julian Borger, “US Imposes Sanctions on Sri Lankan Army Chief Over War Crimes,” Guardian, February 14, 2020, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/feb/14/us-sanctions-sri-lanka-army-chief-shavendra-silva.

[69] Sanjeev Miglani and Paul Tait, “Death Toll from Sri Lanka Bombing Attacks Rises to 359: Police,” Reuters, April 23, 2019, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-sri-lanka-blasts-toll/death-toll-from-sri-lanka-bombing-attacks-rises-to-359-police-idUSKCN1S00C7.

[70] Office of the Spokesperson, State Department and US Agency for International Development (USAID) FY 2021 Budget Request, February 10, 2020, https://www.state.gov/state-department-and-u-s-agency-for-international-development-usaid-fy-2021-budget-request/.

[71] Arul Louis, “Proposed US Budget Seeks to Allocate $2bn for Indo-Pacific Strategy,” Indica News, February 11, 2020, https://indicanews.com/2020/02/11/proposed-us-budget-seeks-to-allocate-2bn-for-indo-pacific-strategy/.

[72] Aaron Mehta and Joe Gould, “Taiwan F-16 Sale Office Cleared by Trump Administration,” Defense News, August 20, 2019, https://www.defensenews.com/global/asia-pacific/2019/08/20/taiwan-f-16-sale-officially-cleared-by-trump-administration/.

[73] “US: Taiwan defense spending to rise with China threat,” Military Times, August 15, 2019, https://www.militarytimes.com/flashpoints/2019/08/15/us-says-taiwan-defense-spending-to-rise-with-china-threat/.

[74] Zack Budryk, “State Department OKs $2 Billion Arms Sale to Taiwan,” Hill, July 9, 2019, https://thehill.com/policy/international/asia-pacific/452127-state-department-gives-ok-to-arms-sale-to-taiwan.

[75] Chris Buckley and Chris Horton, “Xi Jinping Warns Taiwan That Unification Is the Goal and Force Is an Option,” New York Times, January 9, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/01/world/asia/xi-jinping-taiwan-china.html.

[76] Dereck Grossman, “Where Does China’s ‘One Country, Two Systems’ Stand in 2020?” RAND Corporation, February 13, 2020, https://www.rand.org/blog/2020/02/where-does-chinas-one-country-two-systems-stand-in.html.

[77] Yimou Lee, “Taiwan leader rejects China’s ‘one country, two systems’ offer,” Reuters, October 9, 2019, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-taiwan-anniversary-president/taiwan-leader-rejects-chinas-one-country-two-systems-offer-idUSKBN1WP0A4.

[78] Alice Su, “With each generation, the people of Taiwan feel more Taiwanese — and less Chinese,” Los Angeles Times, February 15, 2019, https://www.latimes.com/world/asia/la-fg-taiwan-generation-gap-20190215-htmlstory.html.

[79] “H.R.535-Taiwan Travel Act,” (Congressional Report, Vol. 164, 2018), https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/535/text.

[80] Patrick Mendis and Fu-kuo Liu, “The Early Casualties of the TAIPEI Act in the Post-Coronavirus World,” The National Interest, May 17, 2020,https://nationalinterest.org/feature/early-casualties-taipei-act-post-coronavirus-world-1548511.

[81] James McBride and Andrew Chatzky, “What is the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)?” The Council on Foreign Relations, January 4, 2019, https://www.cfr.org/backgrounder/what-trans-pacific-partnership-tpp.

[82] Alasdair Nicholson, “Suspicion creeps into the Five Eyes,” Interpreter, August 30, 2019, https://www.lowyinstitute.org/the-interpreter/suspicion-creeps-five-eyes.

[83] “Philippines Notifies US of Intent to End Major Security Pact,” Military.com, February 11, 2020, https://www.military.com/daily-news/2020/02/11/philippines-notifies-us-intent-end-major-security-pact.html.

[84] Yuwa Hedrick-Wong, “Philippines’ Richest 2019: Chinese Infrastructure Investment Could Inject Much-Needed Growth,” Forbes, September 25, 2019, https://www.forbes.com/sites/yuwahedrickwong/2019/09/25/philippines-richest-2019-chinese-infrastructure-investments-could-inject-much-needed-growth/#3bd04b8c25fa. Also see a Russian investment tracker for China, “IntelTrak: A visual analytic tool that tracks the global business operations and risk profiles of Chinese and Russian companies,” https://www.rwradvisory.com/services/inteltrak/.

[85] Op cit., Military.com, February 11, 2020.

[86] Patrick Mendis, “The Battle for the Global Future: The Christians in America and the Confucians in China?” in the Hong Kong Journal of Law And Public Affairs, Inaugural Volume 2019, see pp. 43-52, http://warpweftandway.com/images/2019/11/HKJLPA-Inaugural-Volume.pdf.

[87] Patrick Mendis and Dominique Reichenbach, “Taiwan and Sri Lanka as the anchors of the Indo-Pacific Strategy of the United States, China US Focus, May 8, 2020, https://www.chinausfocus.com/foreign-policy/taiwan-and-sri-lanka-as-the-anchors-of-the-indo-pacific-strategy-of-the-united-states.

[88] Eric Edelman and Gary Roughead, “Providing for the Common Defense,” United States Institute of Peace, 2018, https://www.usip.org/sites/default/files/2018-11/providing-for-the-common-defense.pdf.

[89] “Panel Discussion: A New American Way of War,” Center for a New American Security, March 7, 2019, https://www.cnas.org/events/panel-discussion-a-new-american-way-of-war.

[90] Sydney J. Freedberg Jr, “US ‘Gets Its Ass Handed To It’ In Wargames: Here’s A $24 Billion Fix,” Breaking Defense, March 7, 2019, https://breakingdefense.com/2019/03/us-gets-its-ass-handed-to-it-in-wargames-heres-a-24-billion-fix/.

[91] Nicholas Kristof, “This Is How a War With China Could Begin,” New York Times, September 4, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/04/opinion/china-taiwan-war.html.

[92] Ibid.

[93] Steven Lee Meyers, “Chinese Embassy Bombing: A Wide Net of Blame,” New York Times, April 17, 2000, https://www.nytimes.com/2000/04/17/world/chinese-embassy-bombing-a-wide-net-of-blame.html.

[94] Patrick Mendis and Joey Wang, “China’s Era of Debt-Trap Diplomacy May Pave the Way for Something Sinister, National Interest, February 3, 2019, https://nationalinterest.org/feature/chinas-era-debt-trap-diplomacy-may-pave-way-something-sinister-42927.

[95] Patrick Mendis, “How Donald Trump Betrayed American Values and Jeffersonian Legacy with Trip to Saudi Arabia,” South China Morning Post, June 1, 2017, https://www.scmp.com/comment/insight-opinion/article/2096469/how-donald-trump-betrayed-american-values-and-jeffersonian.

[96] Patrick Mendis and Joey Wang, “Decoding China’s Grand Plan,” China US Focus, January 31, 2019, https://www.chinausfocus.com/foreign-policy/decoding-chinas-grand-plan.

[97] John Quincy Adams, “‘She Goes Not Abroad in Search Of Monsters To Destroy,’” American Conservative, July 3, 2013, https://www.theamericanconservative.com/repository/she-goes-not-abroad-in-search-of-monsters-to-destroy/.

[98] Daniel Kliman, “Leverage the new US International Development Finance Corporation to compete with China,” The Hill, November 16, 2018,   https://thehill.com/opinion/international/416904-leverage-us-international-development-finance-corporation-compete-with-china.

[99] Daniel Bases, “US development agency looks to boost funding to $60 billion,” The Reuters, September 25, 2018, https://uk.reuters.com/article/us-usa-development-opic/u-s-development-agency-looks-to-boost-funding-to-60-billion-idUKKCN1M501M.

[100] George Washington, “Washington’s Farewell Address 1796,” Yule Law School Lillian Goldman Law Library, 1796, https://avalon.law.yale.edu/18th_century/washing.asp.

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Latest comments

  • 1

    Wow and wow!
    The learned author must be commended for a list of references which is longer than than some more convincing articles by others.
    Still, there is only one island aircraft carrier in the Indian Ocean. Hasn’t the author heard of Diego Garcia ?

    • 1

      A sufficiently long list of references can impress.
      Anything longer is overkill and mostly self defeating.

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