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President Trump’s National Security Strategy: Is this a new approach?

Caricature of SteveI read the full 68-page National Security Strategy report released by the White House two days ago. It’s a document that could have been penned by either a Democrat or Republican president.

Partisan foes will claim that this congressionally mandated report represents a significant reversal in the U.S. approach to world affairs. That’s not true.

Although billed as a picture of what an American First approach to security would look like, the report essentially repeats long-standing U.S. policies on political, economic and military relations.   In essence, this is a recycling of historical positions and practices

President Trump underscores his often-stated opinion that China and Russia represent our principal adversaries abroad.   But terrorism and transnational criminal organizations threaten our domestic security and well-being. Cyber warfare receives lots of attention.

This administration continues the Barack Obama view of Asia as the new focus of America’s security interests. A powerful, expansionary China is mentioned frequently as is North Korea as a potential nuclear threat.

Although the report does include some of Mr. Trump’s campaign promises and subsequent policy pronouncements, they do not constitute significant shifts in America’s traditional role on the world stage.

Again, this strategy reinforces the status quo that has transcended past administrations rather than a marked departure from tradition.

Contrary to the frequent complaints and worries of pundits and partisan foes about America’s changing international role under President Trump, this report essentially promises that the United States will continue along a familiar path.

Whether actual practice follows this promise, however, is the important question.

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