With the release of the strategy document — which every president is required by law to produce — we get a first look at Trump’s military and foreign policy. This plan will help guide decisions on defense spending, trade negotiations, and international cooperation. The strategy consists of protecting the homeland, promoting prosperity, peace through strength and advancing American influence.
The document echoes many things that were said during the 2016 campaigns by President Trump. In the introduction, Trump writes, “unfair trade practices had weakened our economy and exported our jobs overseas. Unfair burden-sharing with our allies and inadequate in our defense had invited danger from those who wish us harm.” Three types of challenges were identified in the document: revisionist powers such as Russia and China, unstable rogue regimes like North Korea and groups such as ISIS.
With those challenges though comes challenges within each. For example, China is both an ally when it comes to helping with counting North Korea as a nuclear threat and an enemy when it comes to the administration’s attempts to counter what it sees as China’s unfair trading practices. Also, for example, Russia’s movements in Ukraine leave the US wary but that didn’t prevent eh CIA from sharing intelligence with Russia that helped foster a potential terrorist plot in St. Petersburg. Russian President Vladimir Putin even called Trump to say thank you for the help. The White House said, “President Trump stressed the importance of intelligence cooperation to defeat terrorists wherever they may be,” in a statement detailing the call.
The substantial buildup in the U.S. forces was a big part of Trump’s campaign. “We stand up for ourselves and we will stand up for our country like we have never stood up before.” However, lawmakers are still using budget caps from 2011 and it is not clear if Congress will provide the necessary funding. Congressional Republicans have pushed to lift the cap while Democrats have demanded a corresponding increase in domestic programs. Todd Harrison, a defense analyst at the Center for Strategic and International Studies believes that “unless the president is able to pull a rabbit out of his hat,” that the increase in the military is unlikely.
Woven into the strategy is also concerns of U.S. trade policy along with immigration policies.
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