Analysis & Opinions - The National Interest

Trump's New Strategy Is America's Old Strategy: Gathering Allies

| Jan. 07, 2018

The Trump administration's National Security Strategy paints a picture of a world order marked by growing strategic competition by China and Russia.

The newly-released U.S. National Security Strategy (NSS) is the most detailed document on President Donald Trump’s international agenda so far. It paints a sharp picture of a world order marked by growing strategic competition where China and Russia are seeking to “challenge American power, influence, and interests.” China, in particular, clearly appears as America’s main challenger economically and even geopolitically.

Although China was heavily criticized by candidate Trump during the presidential campaign, discussions with Beijing over the Korean peninsula in particular have so far been the main focus of the administration. The national security strategy suggests that Trump may be returning to his basic assumptions about great power competition, putting China back in the spotlight. In particular, the document underscores Trump’s desire to focus on trade, or rather, the unfairness of trade towards the United States.

In the context of China’s expanding influence and attempts to gain competitive advantages against the United States, the report notes that “China is investing billions of dollars in infrastructure across the globe” as it “exploits data on an unrivaled scale and spreads features of its authoritarian system.” The U.S.-China rivalry has rarely been so clearly expressed in an official U.S. strategic document.

For more information on this publication: Belfer Communications Office
For Academic Citation: Le Corre, Philippe and Erik Brattberg.“Trump's New Strategy Is America's Old Strategy: Gathering Allies.” The National Interest, January 7, 2018.

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