National Security or International Isolation?
5 things you should know about Donald Trump's National Security Strategy.
If you heard the president's speech when presenting his National Security Strategy (NSS), it is likely that you were left rather puzzled, without a clue on what the president is planning on the matter.
The presidential verbiage - quite similar, if not identical, to that of his campaign in 2016 - left out the details of a project that has been in preparation for more than 11 months and that deserves to be described in detail to the American people, especially after the last violent attacks in the city of New York and the political inconsistencies of the president in international matters.
In a caricatured speech, Trump insisted on comments such as "we are declaring that America is in the game and that America is going to win." But how exactly does he intend to do it and what does a vague statement like that mean?
Each president since the Reagan era has used the opportunity to deliver a report to Congress, giving a detailed strategy of their foreign policy priorities, avoiding falling into campaign paraphernalia and emphasizing what their project is supposed to be for the country.
This, obviously, was not the case.
Trump preferred to praise his administration, ensure the fulfillment of his electoral promises and ensure that this government has done much better than his predecessors, who "negotiated disastrous trade agreements", disfavored the military, neglected the crisis with North Korea, made a terrible nuclear agreement with Iran and allowed ISIS to recover ground in Iraq and Syria, according to USA Today.
But his real project raises four strategic pillars (Protect the American people, Promote American prosperity, Preserve peace through strength, Advance in American influence) and a section on regional strategies.
More than a National Security project, the document is an extension of Donald Trump's campaign project during 2016. Thus, he proposes:
1. China, Russia, North Korea and Iran are the first opponents of this administration. It promises thus, the improvement of the infrastructure, a system of missiles for the defense and the reinforcement of the borders.
2. Insists on "fair and reciprocal economic relations", embracing "the US energy domain" and "stimulating the energy resources" of the country.
3. It guarantees "peace through the reinforcement of the military", including space and cyberspace infrastructure.
4. Promises to "lead multilateral organizations" to protect the interests and principles of citizens.
5. And it warns that "Instability and weak governments of the regions threaten US interests."
While the document seems hopeful at first glance, the reality of the policy that the president has directed until now paints a totally different scenario.
The insistence on creating divisions with international agencies, as well as with governments with whom it should be strengthening ties (Canada and Mexico, for example), only shows that US influence on the international scene is minimal compared to other historical circumstances such as the Cold War.
The Middle East has become an expansive time bomb; the abandonment of the Transpacific Partnership, the questioning of NATO and the abandonment of the Paris Climate Agreement, has freed the way for China to become the true leader of international politics and the international market.
Last Tuesday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying recommended that the United States "abandon its Cold War mentality and zero-sum game concept", warning that maintaining that position could cause collateral damage to the country and to others, as reported by CNN.
As Ian Bremmer explains in his column for TIME, a leader who divides his own country cannot convincingly sell a security development program and expect the entire world to trust his iron arm. “Add the president’s indifference to rule of law in the United States, and there is little chance that the governments and citizens of other countries will welcome Washington’s advice on how to build a healthy democracy,” the columnist says.
It is true that the position of the United States had already been diminished during the Obama administration, but we cannot avoid comparing both security strategies and realizing that, during the previous eight years, Washington insisted on "leading with purpose, with force, by example, with capable partners, and with a long-term perspective ", an attitude more consistent with the principles and fundamental values of the nation, which seem to have taken second (if not last) place.