Beyond that venerable adage, we might consider a few shortcomings of Trump's actual national security policy, so often divergent from the parchment strategy released Monday. Both leaders are considered to be intending to create better ties. The US president also claimed China and Russian Federation are developing "advanced weapons and capabilities" which could threaten the US' "critical infrastructure and our command and control architecture". In her view, not only the U.S. but also "the rest of the world has to accommodate China's rising power and global influence, and choose cooperation over conflict". The world, therefore, will be watching the Trump administration's actions more closely than it will read the new NSS. The US is openly acknowledging that "vigorous military, economic and political contests are now playing out all around the world" and the Trump administration intends to "raise our competitive game to meet that challenge, to protect American interests, and to advance our values". The difference is that such a harsh posture is no longer mere rhetoric.
Overall, however, the "America First National Security Strategy" laid out in the NSS is a welcome articulation of this administration's commitment to ensure that the United States can still play a leading role on the worldwide stage, even though some of the approaches it takes may be unconventional. First, it explicitly singles out China and Russian Federation as competitors that have emerged to "challenge American power, influence, and interests".
"This is the right choice that serves the interests of the two peoples - and people around the world".
That's why Trump emphasized that the NSS "calls for firm action against unfair trade practices and intellectual-property theft".
While he added that Moscow could "not agree with an attitude that sees our country as a threat", the Kremlin spokesman also said there were "some modestly positive aspects" in the blueprint, "in particular, the readiness to cooperate in areas that correspond to American interests". As always, the Global Times reacted quickly and furiously.
U.S. officials don't seem to agree on if President Trump even read his new National Security Strategy, as presented Monday, but someone definitely gave him the gist of it. It questions conventional wisdom, based on which past administrations, both Republicans and Democrats, have shaped their national strategies since the end of the Cold War, and criticizes it as "strategic complacency".
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As Bonnie Kristian noted last week, Trump's "new" national security strategy is unlikely to change the American pattern of "promiscuous intervention", if for no other reason than that the administration has not yet attempted to change that pattern at all. Foreign ministry spokeswomen Hua Chunying said in Beijing on Tuesday, "We urge the U.S. side to stop deliberately distorting China's strategic intentions and abandon such outdated concepts as the Cold War mentality and the zero-sum game - otherwise it will only end up harming itself as well as others".
But apparently his gambit didn't pay off. China has not only been referred to as a US competitor that challenges America's leadership in the world and the global order, but it also has been singled out for its aggressive investment and other economic activities in the areas outside the Indo-Pacific region, including Latin America and Africa.
Besides business contracts and investment agreements worth about US$250 billion inked during his visit, which were still regarded by US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson as "pretty small", Trump's China trip didn't result in major breakthroughs that could help bridge the trade deficit of between $300 billion and $500 billion the US is suffering.
Thus, while there may be other factors, including his erratic behavior, Trump's failure to get Chinese cooperation or concession on these two prominent issues probably led him to take a hawkish posture on China in his first NSS.