The two countries were named the biggest potential challenges and possible “near-peer adversaries” in the Trump administration’s defence documents in a contrast to years of focusing on countering the terrorist threat by previous administrations.
The Pentagon’s plans to shift its focus to Russia and China as was laid out in the National Defence Strategy drafted in 2018 and in documents accompanying the 2020 defence budget might face trouble on a number of issues, such as ongoing deployments in the Middle East and a trimmed down defence budget for the coming two years, the online media outlet Politico stated, citing several US politicians.
One of the main concerns is the recent escalation of tensions between Iran and the US after the latter killed Iranian Quds Force commander Qasem Soleimani in an airstrike on 3 January. US House Armed Services Chairman, Democrat Adam Smith indicated that the president’s recent decisions undermined the Pentagon’s larger goals outlined in the National Defence Strategy, such as focusing on countering Russia and China.
US House member Seth Moulton, added that it will be difficult to explain a “pivot” to China and Russia to US troops “when they’re stuck in the sand”. Another Democratic lawmaker, Tammy Duckworth, pointed out that POTUS’ policy in the Middle East contradicts the administration’s stated intentions of going after the two countries it named as potential near-peer adversaries in own security documents.
“We say we’re going to do…