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Thread: US top general secretly called China over fears Trump could spark war, report says

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    Default US top general secretly called China over fears Trump could spark war, report says

    US top general secretly called China over fears Trump could spark war, report says

    September 15, 2021

    WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - The US top general secretly called his Chinese counterpart twice last year over concerns then-president Donald Trump could spark a war with China as his potential election loss loomed and in its aftermath, The Washington Post reported on Tuesday (Sept 14).

    US General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, called General Li Zuocheng of the People's Liberation Army on Oct 30, 2020 - four days before the presidential election - and again on Jan 8, two days after Trump supporters led a deadly riot at the US Capitol, the paper reported.

    In the calls, Gen Milley sought to assure Gen Li the United States was stable and not going to attack and, if there were to be an attack, he would alert his counterpart ahead of time, the report said.

    The report was based on a new book, Peril, by journalists Bob Woodward and Robert Costa, which they said relied on interviews with 200 sources and is due to be released next week.

    Mr Trump said in an interview with news website Newsmax on Tuesday that Gen Milley’s reported promise to give Gen Li advance warning of any attack was “treasonous” and that there was no need for such a call.

    “I did not ever think of attacking China,” Mr Trump said.

    Gen Milley's office declined to comment.

    Republican Senator Marco Rubio called on President Joe Biden, a Democrat, to immediately fire Gen Milley.

    “I do not need to tell of you the dangers posed by senior military officers leaking classified information on US military operations, but I will underscore that such subversion undermines the President’s ability to negotiate and leverage one of this nation’s instruments of national power in his interactions with foreign nations,” Mr Rubio said in a letter to Mr Biden.

    Asked about the report by reporters travelling with Mr Biden aboard Air Force One, White House spokesman Karine Jean-Pierre declined to comment and referred them to the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Defence Department.

    The Republican Trump named Gen Milley to the top military post in 2018 but began criticising him after losing the November election to Mr Biden and left the White House on Jan 20.

    Gen Milley was motivated to contact Beijing the second time in part due to a Jan 8 call with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who had asked the general what safeguards were in place to prevent an "unstable president" from launching a nuclear strike, the report said, citing a transcript of the call.

    "He's crazy. You know he's crazy," Ms Pelosi told Gen Milley in the call, according to the report.

    According to the cited call transcript, the general replied: "I agree with you on everything."

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    Default Re: US top general secretly called China over fears Trump could spark war, report say

    Dubious of Trump's sanity, US general secretly called China, claims new book

    15 Sep 2021

    WASHINGTON: The top US general was so worried in early January that Donald Trump was out of control that he took secret action to prevent the outgoing president from sparking a war with China, according to a new book.

    Joint Chiefs Chair General Mark Milley ordered aides to not act immediately on any move by Trump to use US nuclear forces, and he called a Chinese general to reassure Beijing, presidential chronicler Bob Woodward and co-author Robert Costa wrote in their soon-to-be-released book.

    The Washington Post - Woodward's and Costa's employer - and CNN on Tuesday (Sep 14) reported excerpts from the book "Peril," depicting Milley as organizing the Pentagon and intelligence community to resist any move by Trump to ratchet up tensions with China after he lost the November 2020 presidential election.

    Milley called Chinese counterpart General Li Zuocheng twice, on Oct 30 just before Trump's election defeat, and on Jan 8, two days after Trump supporters attacked the US Capitol, to reassure him that the Republican president's anti-China rhetoric could not translate into military action.

    "General Li, I want to assure you that the American government is stable and everything is going to be okay," Milley told Li in the October call, Woodward and Costa write.

    "We are not going to attack or conduct any kinetic operations against you," Milley said.

    NUCLEAR STRIKE WORRIES

    Two months later, Milley used the secret back-channel with Li again after the US Capitol riot, amid concerns both in Beijing and Washington that Trump was unstable.

    "We are 100 per cent steady. Everything's fine. But democracy can be sloppy sometimes," Milley told Li, according to the book.

    To reassure the Chinese, Milley went so far as to have the Pentagon's Indo-Pacific Command postpone military exercises that Beijing might have viewed as a possible threat.

    Separately, Milley told his top staff that if Trump sought to exercise his power to order a nuclear strike, that they had to inform him first.

    And Milley discussed with other top officials, including CIA director Gina Haspel and National Security Agency head Paul Nakasone, the need to be vigilant amid concerns Trump could act irrationally.

    "Some might contend that Milley had overstepped his authority and taken extraordinary power for himself," the authors wrote.

    But he believed he was acting correctly "to ensure there was no historic rupture in the international order, no accidental war with China or others, and no use of nuclear weapons," they said.

    The Pentagon declined to comment on the book's claims.

    Milley and others, including Haspel, were worried that Trump would undertake an attack on China or Iran out of frustration or to find a way to hold onto the presidency.

    "This is a highly dangerous situation. We are going to lash out for his ego?" said the CIA chief, according to the book.

    'HE'S CRAZY'

    Milley's second Li call came after the top lawmaker in Congress, House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi, phoned Milley about Trump's state of mind and his rejection - held to this day - of President Joe Biden's election victory.

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