National security, for the United States under Donald Trump, is all about dollars and threats.
The authors of the strategy had a hard job to do. Nevertheless, they seem to have ignored current realities and historical facts to draw up the document.
While the Trumpsters now have intellectual fig leaves for their actions, the rest of us can look forward to more insecurity.
Beyond the document, it is Trump’s actions and policies that will make us far less secure.
National Security and Trade
Not surprisingly, Trump’s economic nationalism was a strong presence in the document. In practice, his steps on trade threaten American livelihoods.
Many people don’t realize how many US jobs depend on exports. According to a federal agency, in 2016 exports supported about 10.7 million jobs.
Without jobs, communities shrivel and become hotbeds of depression. They become fertile grounds for insecurity.
Further, cheap imports allow us to enjoy goods and services we would not be able to afford. Besides, those employed gainfully in those exporting countries have fewer incentives to migrate.
National Security and Terrorism
As expected from a Trump administration, the national security strategy stressed strict borders and external threats.
Although the document didn’t say “Islamic radical terrorism,” it still reflected the obsession with “jihadist” terrorists. There was nothing about domestic terrorists, who have been deadlier after 9/11 than any losers spouting Islamic phrases.
Fundamentally, it is US foreign policy that drives anti-Americanism globally. US values, on the other hand, attract many from around the world to the US. Those values are an afterthought in the strategy.
National Security and US Influence
For Trump, the emphasis is on the US being the 800-pound gorilla on the global state. Diplomacy and values take a backseat to military and economic chest-thumping in the national security strategy.
No wonder various polls have shown US reputation slumping in the past year. Other countries have emerged to take leadership on issues like trade and climate change.
In addition, we have Trump administration actions that are frittering away our influence.
Trump selectively scolds allies and cozies up to traditional foes. His tweets influence foreign policy and often undercut the hapless Secretary of State.
Bluster and threats are now hallmarks of US foreign policy. For example, Nikki Haley is threatening to “take names” of those supporting a UN resolution on Jerusalem.
Far from advancing our influence, Trumpian actions arouse fear and suspicion. Those global feelings create more insecurity for Americans.