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New White House ‘National Security Strategy’ Document Presents Outmoded Geopolitics

Dec. 19, 2017 (EIRNS)—The new White House "National Security Strategy" was released yesterday, as commissioned by Congress. The 68-page document begins with a cover letter by President Trump, stating his commitment to protect Americans, then proceeds, after an introduction, with chapters on the "Four Pillars" of U.S. security, ending with, "The Strategy in a Regional Context," covering six geographic areas, before the Conclusion. The regions are: Indo-Pacific, Europe, Middle East, South and Central Asia, Western Hemisphere, Africa.

The Pillars are: I. Protect the American People, the Homeland, and the American Way of Life; II. Promote American Prosperity; III. Preserve Peace Through Strength; and IV. Advance American Influence.

Among the recurring themes are the two most common, and outmoded geopolitical concepts, that the world is necessarily competitive among nations, and that one nation’s gain is another’s loss. Secondly, the most cited nations are China and Russia, for acting in ways deleterious to the United States.

The document’s authors are not cited, but it is reported that the principal author is Nadia Schadlow, Deputy Assistant to the President for National Security Strategy. A member of the Council on Foreign Relations, she was on the Defense Policy Board, 2006-2009, during the Bush-Cheney years.

H.R. McMaster, National Security Advisor, is acting as spokesman. McMaster gave interviews yesterday on questions of American security, to the BBC and the American National Public Radio network, and others. For example, on BBC, McMaster presented bullet-head charges against Russia, conforming to the British Russia-gate line, saying,

"I believe that Russia is engaged in a very sophisticated campaign of subversion to affect our confidence in democratic institutions, in democratic processes—including elections."

Trump’s own speech at the time of release of the document, labelled Russia and China as rivals, not enemies or adversaries; he further said that he sought "great partnerships" with them.

However, the document’s sense of confrontation comes right in the beginning, in the introduction.

"China and Russia challenge American power, influence and interests, attempting to erode American security and prosperity. 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."

Later, under Pillar III on "Preserving Peace Through Strength," the document claims that Russia and China "want to shape a world antithetical to U.S. values and interests." China, it claims,

"seeks to displace the United States in the Indo-Pacific Region, expand the reaches of its state-driven economic model, and reorder the region in its favor."

Russia, it claims, "seeks to restore its great power status and establish spheres of influence near its borders."

However, here and elsewhere, the document makes the point that, the intentions of Russia and China "are not necessarily fixed" and so therefore "the United States stands ready to cooperate across areas of mutual interest with both countries."

The document targets drug trafficking and other activities of transnational criminal organizations, commits the United States to rebuilding its physical infrastructure, though without providing a mechanism for making that happen, and does commit the U.S. to discussions with other states (presumably Russia and China) to reduce the risks of nuclear miscalculation. The document also rejects, in principle at least, the basis of regime change wars. "We are not going to impose our values on others," it says.

"When the United States partners with other states, we develop policies that enable us to achieve our goals while our partners achieve theirs."