Senator Josh Hawley (R-MO) has asked the White House to focus more on blocking Chinese ambitions in the Indo-Pacific area rather than continue to support a NATO membership for the Ukraine.
Hawley wrote a letter the Secretary of State Antony Blinken (which was copied to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin) in which he requests “clarity about the Biden Administration’s support for Ukraine’s perspective membership in the Ukraine.” This letter was obtained by Fox News Digital.
In the letter, the senator urged the Biden Administration to instead place its top focus on the current situation in China, “where Beijing aims to propel its rise through domination of the region’s resources.”
Late last week, Chinese officials warned the United States of “military conflict” over what the Chinese see as “American influence” regarding Taiwan’s push for independence. China flew nearly forty warplanes over Taiwan days before an NPR interview with the Chinese ambassador who sounded this warning. That’s just one of many shows of Chinese aggression in the last few months.
Hawley’s letter read: “Americans’ security and prosperity rest upon our ability to keep that from happening, and so the United States must shift resources to the Indo-Pacific to deny China’s bid for regional domination.”
A takeover of Taiwan could put American assets in harm’s way. Guam and the Philippines are in close proximity to Taiwan.
Hawley reminded the Biden Administration that the United States has long participated in European conflicts, chiefly due to our alliances with those nations. However, Hawley said the United States needed to prioritize “denying China’s hegemonic ambitions in the Indo-Pacific.”
This isn’t the first time Hawley has called for American action to thwart Chinese ambition. In 2020, he spoke about reforming the “global economy” in a way that would “shift economic power away from China.”
On Wednesday, after learning that Biden would be sending some 3,000 troops to “bolster NATO allies,” Hawley took to Twitter with a stark warning: “Sending more American troops to Europe is a mistake. We need to send the opposite signal – that the crisis in Ukraine shows Europeans must do more in their own defense.”
Hawley has argued in the past that “U.S. interest is not so strong” in order to “justify” sending troops to the region.
Currently, aerial photos taken by Maxar Technologies show that tanks, missiles and troops are situated in positions close to Ukrainian territory or settled in Crimea, which is annexed by Russia. Experts believe that there are at least 125,000 Russian forces in those areas, perhaps more.
A spokesperson for Maxar Technologies told Sky News, “Troop tents . . .have been seen at virtually every deployment location in Belarus, Crimea, and western Russia . . .which suggests units are now accompanied by troops and have increased their overall readiness level.”
Hawley believes this is an opportunity for the United States to “make clear its commitments abroad.” Hawley’s letter infers that America sending troops to Eastern Europe “can only detract from the United States’ military ability to ready and modernize forces to deter China.”
Hawley requested a response to his letter from Blinken by the end of February.