By Kenneth Mansion
President Trump published his first National Security Strategy “for a new era” this Monday: “Our government’s first duty is to its people, to our citizens—to serve their needs, to ensure their safety, to preserve their rights, and to defend their values,” he’s quoted, and he plans to do that by “protect[ing] the homeland,” “promote American prosperity,” “preserve peace through strength” and “advanc[ing] American influence.”
National Security Strategy is a document obligated by the Goldwater-Nichols Act, it is a purposefully general documentation of the major national security concerns regularly authored by the executive for the Congress.
This year’s NSS is distinctly adversarial and “builds on the 11 months of Presidential action to restore respect for the United States abroad and renew American confidence at home,” faithfully echoing Trump’s “America first” mantra: China and Russia are distinctly highlighted as “revisionist” powers that use technology and propaganda to shape a world that goes against American ethics. Including the two, regional dictators, jihadist terrorists and transnational criminal organizations gets the honor to be cited as key challenges and trends that affects “[America’s] standing in the world.”
The Strategy also advances Trump’s concept of “principled realism.” Realism grounded in acknowledging US’s central role and muscle in global politics; principled in spreading American principles to “spread peace and prosperity around the globe.”
Under the first tenet of the Strategy, protect the homeland, the president promises to strengthen control of the borders reform the immigration system to restore sovereignty against the threat of “jihadist terrorists” and “transnational criminal organizations.” Trump promises proactive effort to confront the threats “before they ever reach our borders or cause harm to our people,” redouble protection of “critical infrastructure” and “digital networks” against emerging vulnerabilities with introduction of new technology, and “deploy layered missile defense system to defend America against missile attacks.”
To promote American prosperity, the administration will rejuvenate American economy for the benefit of American workers and companies, “necessary to restore our national power.” “Chronic trade abuses” will no longer be tolerated in favor of “free, fair, and reciprocal economic relationships.” Intellectual properties will be fiercely protected as the “national security innovation base” to prevent unfair exploitation of free societies’ innovation. And finally, use American domination of the energy sector to ensure international markets remain “open.”
Trump administration will preserve peace through strength, and to achieve such, the Strategy proposes rebuilding American military strength until it is “second to none.” Use every “tools of statecraft,” diplomatic, information, military, and economic to “protect” American interests. Revitalize neglected American capabilities, including space and cyber. Rely on American parters and allies to protect common interests while “expect[ing] them to take greater responsibility for addressing common threats.” And finally, ensure American influence remains dominant in key regions in the world, including the Indo-Pacific, Europe, and the Middle East.
Finally, Trump wants to advance American influence by continuing to enhance overseas influence in name of protection of the American people and prosperity.