Pentagon’s China review seen as Trump-style sleight of hand

The Defense Department’s point man on China, Ely Ratner, took the stage in the Pentagon briefing room recently to describe a nebulous mission: a four-month “sprint” to assess where the department stands on China. But some are warning the destination, in terms of policy prescriptions, will merely lead him back to the starting line.

China had already been at the forefront of the Trump administration’s defense policy. Previous Defense Secretary Mark Esper frequently warned of Chinese aggression and growing military might and used regular visits with Indo-Pacific allies and burgeoning partners to highlight what was being done. President Barack Obama, too, famously declared a “pivot” toward Asia in 2012 that began a slow DOD
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