U.S. President Donald J. Trump rolled out his first “National Security Strategy” Monday, a combative document designed to put meat on the bones of his “America First” sloganeering.
“Less than a year after taking office, President Donald J. Trump is unveiling a new National Security Strategy that sets a positive strategic direction for the United States that will restore America’s advantages in the world and build upon our country’s great strengths,” the White House said in a press release.
The 45th president delivered an address launching the text, which declares China an economic and ideological “competitor,” bent on rolling back U.S. influence.
The document also mentions Russia as a power that uses “technology, propaganda, and coercion” to shape a world “antithetical” to U.S. interests and values. “Regional dictators that spread terror” and “jihadist terrorists” have also been named as “key challenges and trends” that affect U.S. standing in the world.
It is a “clear-eyed view of the threats that we face” said an administration official, laying out an economic-focused text.
The document “affirms the belief that America’s economic security is national security,” a senior administration official said.
“The greatest weapon we have is our strong GDP,” the official said, citing Defense Secretary Jim Mattis.
President Trump is unveiling a new National Security Strategy that sets a positive strategic direction for the United States that will restore America’s advantages in the world and build upon our country’s great strengths. Read more: https://t.co/i5EedkmJdM pic.twitter.com/u8RjLNKSJb
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) December 18, 2017
Since his swearing-in last January, Mr. Trump has taken an aggressive stance on trade.
He has vowed to reduce bilateral trade deficits, particularly with China, and has said he wants to level the playing field for American companies.
Asked on Monday about the expected U.S. strategy, Beijing’s Foreign Minister Hua Chunying said U.S.-China economic and trade relations “are mutually beneficial.”
The document — which has been eleven months in the making — is required by law and is designed to form a framework for how America approaches the world.
Previous national security strategies have been released without much fanfare and served as guideposts, rather than doctrinal commandments. But in this topsy-turvy administration, the document has taken on extra significance.
The text identifies four main priorities: protecting the country and the American people, promoting American prosperity, preserving peace through strength and advancing American influence.
.@POTUS: A nation without borders is not a nation. A nation that does not protect prosperity at home cannot protect its interests abroad. A nation that is not prepared to win a war is a nation not capable of preventing a war. pic.twitter.com/FAAzOIuB1S
— Department of State (@StateDept) December 18, 2017
Since coming to office, Mr. Trump has work to dismantle the legacy of his predecessor Barack Obama on issues ranging from climate change to free trade, sometimes leaving Washington isolated on the world stage.
Mr. Trump’s National Security Strategy broke with allies on the role of climate change.
Ascending to power on a message resolutely skeptical of climate change, Mr. Trump said in June that he would pull the U.S. out of the Paris agreement on climate change signed by almost 200 countries.
A year before he left office, Mr. Obama said climate change would affect the way America’s military must defend the country, through profound adjustments in organization, training and protection of infrastructure.
This time round it “is not identified as a national security threat” to the U.S., the administration official said.