As Shanahan heads to Asia, Iran tensions threaten Pentagon’s ‘great power’ focus
On Tuesday, acting US Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan will travel to Asia to deliver a speech underlining the US national defense strategy that since 2018 prioritizes great-power competition with China and Russia. However, experts believe that the escalating tensions between the US and Iran could undermine the US military’s strategy.
Tensions between the US and Iran have risen dramatically in recent weeks after the US imposed new sanctions on Iran. On Friday Trump announced that his government will send an additional 1,500 troops to the Middle East as a result of the deteriorating situation that has been fueling global worries about a possible military conflict between the two countries.
Former Department of Defense (DoD) official Mara Karlin believes “the greatest way to kill the National Defense Strategy and its focus on long-term competition and preparing for the possibility of conflict with China and Russia is to start another war in the Middle East.” The DoD seems to be aware that a potential conflict with Iran could upend its broader strategy, as it is currently looking into this matter according to an unnamed official.