1 big thing: Pence details the China challenge...
Axios' Dave Lawler has a good writeup of the vice president's speech. Overall I thought it was a useful articulation of the problems the U.S. sees with China but short on prescriptions. The election meddling accusations were weak, though I have been told there is more substance that is still classified.
ICYMI: Pence yesterday accused China of using its military, spies, economic power and propaganda prowess to undermine the U.S. around the world and influence its domestic politics. The U.S. had long turned a blind eye, Pence said, “but those days are over.”
Why it matters: Pence made headlines by declaring that China “wants a different American President,” and by repeating the still-unsubstantiated claim that Beijing is meddling in the midterms.
But his underlying message echoes a growing consensus among China watchers: We're entering a new era of U.S.-China relations, driven by competition and confrontation.
This is just the beginning, according to Axios' Jonathan Swan, who says President Trump is planning an "administration-wide" offensive against China.
What they're saying:
- Chris Johnson, a former CIA China analyst now at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, describes the “pronounced groundshift in Washington about how China is viewed” on this week’s Intelligence Matters podcast with Michael Morell. One of his points: "The gears are starting to lock into place in both leadership’s minds that this is an implacable enemy, a global struggle for influence and maybe domination."
- David Rennie, the Economist’s Beijing bureau chief, writes in his latest column that America's China policy "has long whiffed of hypocrisy,” but honesty poses dangers of its own. "Trump’s preferred form of candor —an amoral, might-makes-right cynicism — may be the least help of all.”
My thought bubble: I have no doubt this will just be seen as more evidence to support the belief held by Chinese President Xi Jinping and his team that we are in a new era of U.S.-China relations where the U.S. is determined to keep China down.
- They did not fully believe this even a few months ago but now they seem to have fully bought into the idea that the trade war is just one dimension of a growing adversarial relationship and conflict across every dimension.
- The gloves on both sides are not yet off, but we should prepare for them to come off.