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Thomas Gallatin / Dec. 19, 2017

Trump: Strong Economy Equals Strong Security

His national security strategy is a stark reversal and repudiation of Obama's failed policy.

President Donald Trump released his “America First” national security strategy Monday. The 68-page document sets forth a clear and sober understanding of the genuine threats the nation faces, as well as outlining a strategy for confronting these threats. In short, it represents both a reversal and a repudiation of U.S. policy over the previous eight years. Gone are the Barack Obama-era references to the supposed imminent security threat posed by climate change. So too is Obama’s self-defeating doctrine of “leading from behind.” No more apologizing for American global power and influence. That nonsense has been replaced with a realistic view of the world and America’s role as the world’s leader.

Trump’s policy is based on four fundamental principles: protecting the American people and homeland, promoting American economic prosperity, maintaining peace through strength, and expanding American influence across the globe. Strategically, the policy focuses on controlling America’s borders, rebuilding the military and taking the lead in both NATO and the UN. The document states:

We must convince adversaries that we can and will defeat them — not just punish them if they attack the United States. We must ensure the ability to deter potential enemies by denial — convincing them that they cannot accomplish objectives through the use of force or other forms of aggression. We need our allies to do the same.

Trump’s national security strategy also doesn’t shy away from naming those nations that pose the greatest threat to the American way of life, namely China and Russia, as well as the “rogue regimes” of Iran and North Korea.

What may be the biggest break from Obama’s foreign policy, however, is Trump’s emphasis on establishing U.S. national security via building up the nation’s economic strength. Trump declared that “economic security is national security,” explaining, “Economic vitality, growth and prosperity at home is absolutely necessary for American power and influence abroad. Any nation that trades away its prosperity for security will end up losing both.” Obama was far more focused on social engineering in the military and redistributing the nation’s wealth to his favored constituents.

In his announcement, Trump summed up his primary national security perspective, stating, “We are calling for a great reawakening of America, a resurgence of confidence, and a rebirth of patriotism, prosperity and pride. And we are returning to the wisdom of our Founders: In America the people govern, the people rule and the people are sovereign.”

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