President Donald Trump’s today announces his national security strategy that views the world as a competitive arena in which the USA is returning as a top contender.
Trump is clear that the foremost challengers to a pro-U.S. global community are China and Russia
The strategy is clear on the threats posed by “rogue states” Iran and North Korea, and it reverses President Barack Obama’s policy of prioritizing climate change as the foremost national security threat.
“China and Russia challenge American power, influence, and interests, attempting to erode American security and prosperity,” the strategy warns. “They are determined to make economies less free and less fair, to grow their militaries, and to control information and data to repress their societies and expand their influence.”
The security strategy is a formal document that each U.S. president since Ronald Reagan has produced.
One of the most striking contrasts in Trump’s strategy compared to Obama’s is the recognition of Iran as “the world’s most significant state sponsor of terrorism.”
Obama’s strategy emphasized the need to protect the Iran nuclear deal.
Trump’s strategy notes that Iran “has taken advantage of instability to expand its influence through partners and proxies, weapon proliferation, and funding. It continues to develop more capable ballistic missiles, intelligence capabilities, and it undertakes malicious cyber activities.”
Trump’s strategy states that the Iran nuclear deal has done nothing to stop any of the above activities.
“These activities have continued unabated since the 2015 nuclear deal,” the Trump document states. “Iran continues to perpetuate the cycle of violence in the region, causing grievous harm to civilian populations. Rival states are filling vacuums created by state collapse and prolonged regional conflict.”
Trump’s national security strategy explicitly credits Iran, not Israel, for conflicts in the Middle East.
“For generations the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians has been understood as the prime irritant preventing peace and prosperity in the region,” the strategy states.
“Today, the threats from radical jihadist terrorist organizations and the threat from Iran are creating the realization that Israel is not the cause of the region’s problems. States have increasingly found common interests with Israel in confronting common threats.”
The strategy notes that the U.S. will work “with allies and partners to deter and disrupt other foreign terrorist groups that threaten the homeland – including Iranian-backed groups such as Lebanese Hizbullah.”
The Obama administration had shot down a DEA operation against Hizbullah for money laundering and narcotics trafficking in order to preserve the Iran nuclear deal, according to a Dec. 17 report by Politico. The report said that the Obama administration’s reluctance to confront Hizbullah allowed the terrorist group to grow rapidly and expand its influence across Lebanon in particular and the Middle East as a whole.
Trump’s strategy also cites radical Islamist militant groups as challenges to U.S. national security.
Obama’s 2015 national security strategy referred to Islam just twice: as part of Islamic State’s (ISIS’s) name to say the administration rejected “the lie that America and its allies are at war with Islam.”
The new national security strategy states: “The United States continues to wage a long war against jihadist terrorist groups such as ISIS and Al Qaida. These groups are linked by a common radical Islamist ideology that encourages violence against the United States and our partners and produces misery for those under their control.”
Trump’s strategy also notes, “jihadist terrorists such as ISIS and Al Qaida continue to spread a barbaric ideology that calls for the violent destruction of governments and innocents they consider to be apostates. These Islamist terrorists attempt to force those under their influence to submit to Sharia law.”
In his 2015 national security strategy, Obama spoke more of the threat posed by climate change than the threat posed by North Korea.
“Climate change is an urgent and growing threat to our national security, contributing to increased natural disasters, refugee flows, and conflicts over basic resources like food and water,” Obama’s national security strategy said.
Trump’s national security strategy reverses that approach: “U.S. leadership is indispensable to countering an anti-growth energy agenda that is detrimental to U.S. economic and energy security interests. Given future global energy demand, much of the developing world will require fossil fuels, as well as other forms of energy, to power their economies and lift their people out of poverty.”
The 2015 strategy noted that the administration was “working toward an ambitious new global climate change agreement,” which became the Paris Climate Accords.
Trump withdrew the United States from the climate deal last summer, denouncing it as a threat to American sovereignty.
Trump’s new strategy states that “it should be clear that the United States will not cede sovereignty to those that claim authority over American citizens and are in conflict with our constitutional framework.”
On immigration, Trump’s strategy says the U.S. “affirms its sovereign right to determine who should enter our country and under what circumstances.”
Trump’s strategy also calls for an end to the Diversity Visa Lottery program and an increase in border security.
Two recent terrorist attacks, the October truck attack in New York City and last week’s attempted bombing, were committed by individuals who entered the country through either chain migration or the Diversity Visa Lottery program.
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