Executive Intelligence Review


Trump’s Views of National Security Evolving

Dec. 5, 2018 (EIRNS)—Loren Thompson, chief operating officer of the Washington, D.C.-based Lexington Institute, writing on Dec. 4 in a column in Forbes magazine, offers an insightful analysis of President Donald Trump’s tweet of Dec. 3, in which he said that he, Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin would have to get together to work out will start talking “about a meaningful halt to what has become a major and uncontrollable Arms Race,” and in which he called the Pentagon’s 2019 budget of $716 billion “Crazy!”

Thompson, who often covers defense industry matters, writes that he thinks that the tweet “signals a significant evolution in the President’s view of national security.” He argues that over the past two years, Trump has learned a lot and it is influencing how he views the world. Thompson lists what he thinks are four implications of Trump’s tweet: 1) Trump now realizes in a way few average citizens do that there really is an arms race under way with Russia and China, and he thinks he can make a deal with Putin and Xi to end it; 2) he now sees that defense budgets over $700 billion have “opportunity costs,” one of which is that there’s less money for infrastructure development; 3) Trump’s worldview is increasingly shaped by his closest advisors, National Security Advisor John Bolton, Budget Director Mick Mulvaney, and trade advisor Peter Navarro, whom he says have helped Trump see better that national security depends first and foremost on a strong economy; and 4)

“Trump’s dim view of foreign partners and the drain they impose on U.S. resources has contributed to a rift between him and Secretary of Defense James Mattis, which has bolstered the influence of Bolton, Mulvaney and Navarro.”

Trump, Thompson concludes,

“is still committed to transforming U.S. trade relations and protecting Social Security, but his views of the military competition with Russia and China are shifting the same way Ronald Reagan’s did. If the Pentagon gets a budget increase in 2020, that will likely be its last.”