Triumphalism followed the election of US President Donald Trump, particularly among those opposed to US foreign policy under US President Barack Obama. In particular, hope was rekindled that America would withdraw from the many, provocative conflicts it was cultivating, ranging from the Middle East to East Asia.
During this period of overt American colonisation throughout Asia Pacific, the annexation of Taiwan was also considered, as an American analogue of Britain’s annexation of Hong Kong.
Since it appeared unlikely that Taiwan would long remain a part of the Chinese empire and there was ample justification for action by the United States, [US Commissioner in China, Peter] Parker argued that the United States should move quickly. “I believe Formosa and the world will be better for the former coming under a civilized power,” he wrote.
The US State Department’s own Office of the Historian, in a section titled, “189. Draft Memorandum From Secretary of Defense McNamara to President Johnson,” dated 1965, states explicitly:
The February decision to bomb North Vietnam and the July approval of Phase I deployments make sense only if they are in support of a long-run United States policy to contain Communist China.
Bannon’s sentiments and his position in Trump’s inner circle add to fears of a military confrontation with China, after secretary of state Rex Tillerson said that the US would deny China access to the seven artificial islands. Experts warned any blockade would lead to war.
Bannon is clearly wary of China’s growing clout in Asia and beyond, framing the relationship as entirely adversarial, predicting a global culture clash in the coming years.
“You have an expansionist Islam and you have an expansionist China. Right? They are motivated. They’re arrogant. They’re on the march. And they think the Judeo-Christian west is on the retreat,” Bannon said during a February 2016 radio show.