AP National Security Writer
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Trump administration's peace deal with the Taliban opens the door for an initial American troop withdrawal that Defense Secretary Mark Esper sees as a step toward the broader goal of preparing for potential future war with China.
Esper has his eye on "great power competition," which means staying a step ahead of China and Russia on battlefields of the future, including in space and in next-generation strategic weapons like hypersonic missiles and advanced nuclear weapons. He sees China in particular as a rising threat to American predominance on the world stage.
To do more to prepare for the China challenge, Esper wants to do less in Afghanistan, Iraq and other places. It's less about moving troops directly to Asia from