President Donald Trump dropped a massive threat on China on Monday morning, tweeting that the Asian giant might soon have to protect its own interests in the dangerous waters of the Strait of Hormuz.
Trump’s tweets are consistent with his previous statements questioning the United States’ role as the world’s police force.
“So why are we protecting the shipping lanes for other countries (many years) for zero compensation. All of these countries should be protecting their own ships on what has always been a dangerous journey,” Trump tweeted.
….a dangerous journey. We don’t even need to be there in that the U.S. has just become (by far) the largest producer of Energy anywhere in the world! The U.S. request for Iran is very simple – No Nuclear Weapons and No Further Sponsoring of Terror!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 24, 2019
“We don’t even need to be there in that the U.S. has just become (by far) the largest producer of Energy anywhere in the world!” Trump said in his follow-up tweet.
“The U.S. request for Iran is very simple – No Nuclear Weapons and No Further Sponsoring of Terror!”
The possibility of economic danger to China under this scenario is great.
Trump knows that China, like many others nations, depends on safe passage through the strait for much of its oil.
“Any blockage of the strait would have serious consequences for its economy,” Reuters reported of China’s dependence on oil shipments through the region.
In 2018, oil flow through the strait averaged 21 million barrels per day, the equivalent of about 21 percent of global petroleum liquids consumption, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
That is why, historically, the United States has worked to keep the area safe for all countries that use it.
Trump’s tweets stand out as a huge departure — both from American precedent, but also from China’s understanding of its free ride through the strait.
It can’t be overstated how Trump’s move could expose a nasty rift between China and Russia.
Russia stands to gain from increased exports to China, but the price to China would be higher. China would feel that squeeze.
Indeed, as Bloomberg reported at the end of 2018, America became a “net oil exporter … breaking almost 75 years of continued dependence on foreign oil.”
Energy independence has been a domestic goal for the U.S. since then-President Nixon stated it in 1973.
Trump’s statements make it crystal clear why energy independence is crucial, not just to our domestic economy, but to our international position.
If we truly have energy independence, then we are free to negotiate and deal with bad actors in a way that protects American interests first.
And that is always a good thing.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.