Trump announced on Monday a new National Security Strategy in which the U.S. would pursue a “great partnership” with China and Russia, but would do so “in a manner that always protects our national security.”
Prof. John Walsh said on Monday that the language in the new NSS was confrontational rather than friendly and cooperative, and was therefore sharply different from the warmer tones Trump had used in his conversations with the leaders of Russia and China.
“Certainly this NSS document sounds somewhat different in tone from Trump’s statements about [Chinese President] Xi Jinping and [Russian President Vladimir] Putin and it was also different in tone from Trump’s stated desire to ‘get along’ with Russia and China,” Walsh said.
Walsh acknowledged that the military assertiveness of the new document was a troubling sign for those who hoped for something less bellicose from Trump.
“In part, this statement also reflects the pressure on Trump to back away from ‘getting along’ with Russia brought about by the [Special Counsel Robert] Mueller investigation which is really quite pathetic in terms of substance and does come down to a witch hunt as Trump has correctly termed it,” he said.
Walsh also observed that the document never mentioned any goal of working constructively with Moscow and Beijing to reduce global tensions and resolve international problems.
“This document does not appear to speak of ‘solving the problems of the world’ by working together with Russia and China as Trump has promised to do in the past,” he said.
Walsh noted that in the document, Trump appeared to have abandoned his previous often-repeated aspiration to work constructively with other nations around the world in favour of a determination instead to maintain US and Western global dominion.
The new NSS “does not speak of win-win situations, as far as I know… In this sense, it is par for the course for Western Empires in their 500 years of global domination.
He said domination and win-win [the policy of mutual cooperation and benefit] are as far apart as can be imagined”.
Also, the Director of the Independent Institute Centre for Peace and Freedom Ivan Eland agreed that the new NSS document left open the question of whether future U.S. competition with Russia and China would be peaceful or confrontational.
“Economic competition should not be feared, because economic transactions are ‘win-win,’ not ‘zero-sum,’ as are military and informational competition, and thus governments should stay out of them as much as possible,” Eland said.
Eland noted that the U.S. would continue to confront Russia and China in military planning and deployments and probably on cyber security issues, but he advised that both these rivalries could be peacefully managed by both sides.
“The Russians and Chinese are US military and cyber warfare adversaries. However, perhaps an agreement banning hacking or limiting it might be possible,” Eland said.
Eland suggested that Trump and later U.S. leaders could also reach modus vivendi agreements with Russia and China to avoid any serious risk of confrontation in Eastern Europe and the Asia-Pacific region.
“If the U.S. tacitly allowed the Russians to maintain their sphere of influence in Eastern Europe, including Ukraine and Georgia, and China in the South China Sea, the possibility of military competition would be minimized,” Eland said.
Trump frequently blasted China on the campaign trail for alleged unfair trading practices, such as artificial currency devaluation.
Since becoming U.S. president, though, Trump has softened his stance toward Beijing.