President Donald Trump is outlining a new national security strategy that refocuses the United States’ relationship with the rest of the world, essentially implementing his “America First” mantra on a global scale.
It envisions nations in constant competition, reverses Obama-era warnings on climate change, and affirms that the United States will unilaterally defend its sovereignty, even if that means risking existing agreements with other countries that have dominated the United States’ foreign policy since the Cold War.
The Republican president, who ran on a platform of “America First,” will detail his plan Monday, one that if fully implemented could sharply alter U.S. international relationships. The plan, according to senior administration officials who offered a preview Sunday, is to focus on four main themes: protecting the homeland; promoting American prosperity; demonstrating peace through strength; and advancing American influence in an ever-competitive world.
Trump’s doctrine holds that nation states are in perpetual competition and that the U.S. must fight on all fronts to protect and defend its sovereignty from friend and foe alike. While the administration often says that “America First” does not mean “America Alone,” the national security strategy to be presented by Trump will make clear that the United States will stand up for itself even if that means acting unilaterally or alienating others on issues like trade, climate change and immigration, according to people familiar with the strategy.
The last such strategy document, prepared by then-President Barack Obama in 2015, declared climate change an “urgent and growing threat to our national security.” A senior official said the Trump plan removes that determination — following the administration’s threat to pull out of the Paris climate accord — but will mention the importance of environmental stewardship.
Despite the risk of potential isolation presented by Trump’s strategy, its fundamentals are not a surprise. The Associated Press last week reviewed excerpts of a late draft of the roughly 70-page document and spoke to two people familiar with it. The draft emphasizes that U.S. economic security is national security and that economic security must be ensured with military might. And they said it would stress the U.S. is interested only in relationships with other countries, including alliances like NATO, that are fair and reciprocal.
Trump, according to the senior officials, is also expected to discuss threats he’ll deem as “rogue regimes,” like North Korea. Others, like Russia and China, are deemed “revisionist powers,” who aim to change the status quo – Moscow and its actions with Ukraine and Georgia, and Beijing in the South China Sea. Trump is also planning to renew his call for the member states in the United Nations and NATO to spend more on defense, saying that the United States will insist on its alliances being fair and reciprocal.