For instance, a study by the Washington-based Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments and Australia’s Strategic Forum published last year concluded that China had alarmingly increased its expansionism in the South China Sea since President Xi Jinping came to power in 2012.
North Korea has “proven adept over the years at using force in pretty calibrated ways to achieve political objectives,” said Thomas Mahnken, president of the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, which does war-game planning. He said the North takes advantage of the relative unwillingness of the United States and South Korea to risk war.
“We lived in a period from the end of the Cold War until the recent past where we could delude ourselves that we lived in a risk-free world — and that era is over,” Mahnken said.
Bryan Clark, senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, believes the approach the service established for the RFI points to cost being the main consideration.
"On the practical level, the most effective power of Congress is their public role," said Katherine Blakeley, a defense analyst at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments. "That was in large part what scuttled Obama's ambitions to have Congress authorize use of force for Syria in 2013."
A recent post by Hal Brands in War on the Rocks sums them up well. Trump has moved away from a cooperative approach to dealing with other nations, ditched long-standing commitments to the free world in favor of a transactional approach, removed purpose from American power, stepped back from a leadership role, ignored steadiness and reliability, exhibited remarkable incompetence, snubbed soft power, and pledged to be unexceptional.
As Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments senior fellow Toshi Yoshihara put it, speaking to Asia Times: “Sino-Russian military drills are mostly about political signaling, even though Chinese naval reach will increase as Beijing maintains a permanent presence in the Indian Ocean.”