US Defense Secretary Mark Esper revealed a fresh drive to strengthen US alliances with “like-minded democracies” in part through arms sales in an effort to curb the global influence of Russia and China.

Esper said the Pentagon would systematically monitor and manage its relationships with partner countries, aiming to find ways to coordinate militaries and also to advance US arms sales.

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The initiative, called the Guidance for Development for Alliances and Partnerships (GDAP), comes just two weeks before the presidential election that, if President Donald Trump loses, could see Esper replaced in January.

It also came after nearly four years of Trump’s efforts to restructure and even dismantle alliances, including threatening NATO.

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