Rolling Back the Chinese Strategy Against American Power: President Trump Launches a Strategic Opportunity

By Ed Timperlake

The strategic shift facing the liberal democracies is not only about preparing for higher intensity operations.

The confrontation with “peer” competitors is also about shaping a broader strategy of engagement and pressure on those competitors.

Much like in a military offensive, there are “objective rallying points” around one which forces are generated and tactics and strategies shaped and executed.

In the USMC Basic School for teaching Platoon leader infantry tactics for small unit engagements, the “objective rallying point” plays a key role.

The objective rally point is located nearest the objective where the patrol makes final preparations prior to approaching the objective.

It also serves as a location where the patrol reassembles after completing actions on the objective. The objective rally point must be suitable to accommodate those activities accomplished prior to actions on the objective.

This position must provide the patrol concealment from enemy observation and, if possible, cover from enemy fires. It may be located short of, to a flank or beyond the objective. It should be out of sight, sound, and small-arms range of the objective area.

For many years, the “Blue Team” has focused attention on the Chinese offensive against Western values and interests.

“.. the “Blue Team”–a loose alliance of members of Congress, congressional staff, think tank fellows, Republican political operatives, conservative journalists, lobbyists for Taiwan, former intelligence officers and a handful of academics, all united in the view that a rising China poses great risks to America’s vital interests.

The “Blue Team” now has an “objective rallying point” as well as for the broader public as well.

A core “objective rallying point” is the strategic guidance recently provided by President Trump and his National Security team to the US government.

President Trump just initiated Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962: 

Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962 (19 U.S.C. §1862) authorizes the Secretary of Commerce to conduct comprehensive investigations to determine the effects of imports of any article on the national security of the United States.

The importance of indeed generating actions provided by this historical opportunity is straightforward and well articulated by Dr. Michael Pillsbury in his most recent book entitled, The Hundred-Year Marathon: China’s Secretary Strategy to Replace America as the Global Superpower. 

For more than forty years, the United States has played an indispensable role helping the Chinese government build a booming economy, develop its scientific and military capabilities, and take its place on the world stage, in the belief that China’s rise will bring us cooperation, diplomacy, and free trade. But what if the “China Dream” is to replace us, just as America replaced the British Empire, without firing a shot?

President Trump’s action can provide the start of moving out from the “objective rallying point” to shaping a strategy to deflect and defeat this Chinese strategy.