In March 2020, what the US Defense Department now calls its Indo-Pacific Command asked Congress for slightly more than US$20 billion to cover a six-year expansion of its operations across East Asia. Congress had invited the Pentagon’s request, effectively saying, “You need more money. Ask and you shall receive.” Few questioned this course.
This is all about China, to state the obvious. More to the point, it is about prolonging American primacy in the Pacific as the People’s Republic emerges as a regional and global power. This is a forlorn project by any balanced reckoning. Yes, America will remain a Pacific power. No, it can no longer presume pre-eminence. The compulsion to insist otherwise arises out of longing for the once-was, anxiety in the face of change and an appallingly poor grasp of China’s aspirations and intentions.