The populous nations ‘seek to challenge American influence and values and wealth’ Trump said, building on his administration’s designation of the powers of as ‘revisionist’ in a Monday document.
Trump said that under his watch, Americans ‘will stand up for ourselves, and we will stand up for our country like we have never stood up before’ as he declared, ‘We are now putting America first.’
He also pledged in his remarks to take ‘all necessary’ steps to halt North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un‘s nuclear advance.
His speech compliments the release of the administration’s national security blueprint – the formal realization of the U.S. government’s shift away from Barack Obama’s foreign policy doctrine.
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President Donald Trump labeled China and Russia ‘rival powers’ to the United States in a speech this afternoon outlining his administration’s National Security Strategy
Trump said that under his watch, Americans ‘will stand up for ourselves, and we will stand up for our country like we have never stood up before’ as he declared, ‘We are now putting America first’
His speech compliments the release of the administration’s national security blueprint – the formal realization of the U.S. government’s shift away from Barack Obama’s foreign policy doctrine
The crux of Trump’s speech, which members of the military are pictured listening to on Monday, was that American confidence is essential to economic competitiveness which goes hand-in-glove with national security
Heralding his first year in office, Trump said that America is ‘coming back strong’ with him in the seat of power.
‘Our leaders drifted from American principles. They lost sight of America’s destiny, and they lost their belief in American greatness. As a result, our citizens lost something as well, the people lost confidence in their government, and eventually even lost confidence in their future, ‘ he said.
Last year, when he was elected, Trump said, a national awakening took place.
‘The American people rejected the failures of the past. You rediscovered your voice and you reclaimed ownership of this nation and it’s destiny,’ he stated.
Trump said his administration is not only putting ‘America first,’ it is confronting the nation’s challenges ‘head on,’ including the threat posed by a nuclear North Korea, which he said the U.S. has attempted to stop with an ‘unprecedented effort’ to isolate Kim Jong-un’s regime.
‘However, there is much more work to do,’ Trump said. ‘America and its allies will take all necessary steps to ensure denuclearization and ensure that this regime cannot threaten the world.’
Following on the document detailing his top priorities, Trump committed his administration to protecting Americans’ way of life, promoting the nation’s prosperity, pushing peace through strength and advancing U.S. influence.
‘America will lead again. We do not seek to impose our way of life on anyone, but we will champion the values without apology,’ Trump said. ‘We will not allow inflexible ideology to become an obsolete and obstacle to peace.’
The crux of Trump’s position is that American confidence is essential to economic competitiveness which goes hand-in-glove with national security.
He on Monday called for a ‘rebirth of patriotism, prosperity, and pride’ and a renewal of the founders’ spirit.
‘As long as we are proud — and very proud — of who we are, how we got here, and what we are fighting for to preserve, we will not fail,’ he asserted.
Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, left, and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, chat as they wait for Trump to arrive at the Ronald Reagan building in Washington. Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford is standing to the right
Seated in the first two rows of Trump’s Ronald Reagan building audience were members of his cabinet and top military brass, including Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Joseph Dunford and Defense Secretary James Mattis.
The administration intends to build its defense and counter terror strategies, including its ballistic missile review, off the principles outlined in the 70-page security document that accompanied the commander-in-chief’s remarks.
‘We are demanding extraordinary strength, which will hopefully lead to long and extraordinary peace. We are giving our courageous military men and women the support they need and so dearly deserve,’ Trump said in his remarks on Monday. ‘We have a great military,’ he appeared to ad-lib later.
Trump said his new national outlook is based on ‘principled realism, guided by our vital national interests, and rooted in our timeless values’ and that it recognizes ‘that whether we like it or not, we are engaged in a new era of competition.’
‘We accept that vigorous military, economic, and political contests are now playing out all around the world,’ he said. ‘We will attempt to build a great partnership with those and other countries, but in a manner that always protects our national interest.’
The administration’s National Security Strategy is intended to serve as a blueprint for America to ‘regain momentum to reverse many of these trends,’ a senior White House official said prior to Trump’s speech ‘while recognizing there are some very, very new threats that we have to have new strategies to address.’
Challengers to American prosperity fall into three categories under the administration’s new policy: so-called revisionist powers that the administration believes are seeking ‘to shape a world antithetical to our interests and values,’ including China and Russia, and rogue regimes such as Iran and North Korea that sponsor terror and threaten America’s allies and transnational organizations like ISIS that ‘foment hatred to incite violence against innocents in the name of their wicked ideology.’
SO MUCH FOR THAT RED CARPET, XI JINPING
China is referred to as a ‘strategic competitor’ as well as a ‘revisionist power’ in the document in an acknowledgement that it is a political, economic, military and informational powerhouse.
The document also makes the case, as an official said Sunday, that the U.S. ‘is under threat by the serious intellectual property theft that’s going on by the Chinese and other actors.’
Beijing’s creation of man-made islands in the South China Sea also earned it a slap from the administration.
A set of talking points offered Monday by the White House pointedly calls both China and Russia revisionist powers for their use of ‘technology, propaganda, and coercion’ to push their agendas.
‘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,’ the Trump administration’s National Security Strategy says.
The document asserts that ‘China seeks to displace the United States in the Indo-Pacific region’ and wants to ‘reorder the region in its favor.’
‘China expanded its power at the expense of the sovereignty of others. China gathers and exploits data on an unrivaled scale and spreads features of its authoritarian system, including corruption and the use of surveillance,’ the administration says in a scathing review of Beijing’s offenses.
‘It is building the most capable and well-funded military in the world, after our own. Its nuclear arsenal is growing and diversifying.’
An official stressed Sunday on a call that the recognition does not mean the U.S. sees China as a foe. In fact, the official said, the United States realizes that it needs China’s assistance in resolving the dispute with North Korea over its nuclear program.
‘We’re working with China. We do not rule out cooperation in any way, and talks throughout the document about areas of mutual cooperation,’ the official said on a call previewing the president’s speech. ‘We’re working together to cooperate, at the same time acknowledging that competition exists as well.’
THE CHALLENGERS: China, led by Xi Jinping, is referred to as a ‘strategic competitor’ in acknowledgement of it is a political, economic, military, and informational powerhouse. North Korea is labeled a ‘rogue regime’ over its pursuit of nuclear weapons
The administration takes a similar approach to Russia in its security strategy as China, labeling Vladimir Putin’s government a ‘revisionist power’ for its incursion into Ukraine and election meddling
SO GLAD WE HAVE NATO TO COUNTER VLADIMIR PUTIN
The administration takes a similar approach to Russia in its National Security Strategy, labeling it a revisionist power, as well, for its incursion into Ukraine.
‘Russia seeks to restore its great power status and establish spheres of influence near its borders,’ the manifesto states.
It reflexively ‘aims to weaken U.S. influence in the world and divide us from our allies and partners,’ it says, arguing that Russia perceives the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and European Union (EU) ‘as threats.’
The Kremlin’s military and nuclear systems ‘remain the most significant existential threat to the United States, as does its ‘destabilizing cyber capabilities,’ the administration acknowledges.
‘Russia interferes in the domestic political affairs of countries around the world. The combination of Russian ambition and growing military capabilities creates an unstable frontier in Eurasia, where the risk of conflict due to Russian miscalculation is growing,’ the strategy states.
Stressing the importance of the NATO alliance in Europe, which an official referred to on Sunday as an ‘arena of competition’ between the Kremlin, Beijing and Washington, the document promotes the ‘alliance of free and sovereign states’ as ‘one of our great advantages over our competitors.’
That does not mean that NATO member nations get a pass, Trump said in his speech on Monday.
‘We have made clear that countries that are immensely wealthy should reimburse the United States for the cost of defending them. This is a major departure from the past, but a fair and necessary one — necessary for our country, necessary for our taxpayer, necessary for our own thought process.’
Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke on the phone twice in the last week, the first time, the U.S. president says, about North Korea. The second time, Putin called to thank Trump for a CIA tip that prevented a terror attack in St. Petersburg.
‘That is the way it’s supposed to work,’ he said. ‘But while we seek such opportunities of cooperation, we will stand up for ourselves, and we will stand up for our country like we have never stood up before.’
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy speaks to Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and top adviser of his, on before the president’s speech on Monday
IRAN IS AS BAD AS LITTLE ROCKET MAN KIM JONG-UN
North Korea is defined a ‘rogue regime’ by the Trump administration alongside Iran.
Trashing his predecessors, on Monday Trump said ‘they neglected a nuclear menace’ in Pyongyang and ‘made a disastrous, weak, and incomprehensibly bad deal with Iran.
‘This situation should have been taken care of long before I got into office, when it was much easier to handle,’ he said, returning to the topic of North Korea later. ‘But it will be taken care of. We have no choice.’
He spent comparatively little time discussing Iran, which he had dressed down this summer in a speech dedicated to his decision to decertify its compliance with an international accord that lifted some sanctions once it demonstrated that it had halted its development of nuclear weapons.
Trump reminded on Monday that he moved ‘to counter Iran and block its path to a nuclear weapon’ and sanctioned its Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) for state-sponsored support of terrorism.
The administration’s national security strategy lumps the two countries together as powers that are ‘determined to destabilize regions, threaten Americans and our allies, and brutalize their own people.’
‘North Korea—a country that starves its own people—has spent hundreds of millions of dollars on nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons that could threaten our homeland,’ the document says. ‘In addition, many actors have become skilled at operating below the threshold of military conflict—challenging the United States, our allies, and our partners with hostile actions cloaked in deniability.’
Iran is also developing ballistic missiles and could resume its pursuit of nuclear weapons, the strategy assesses.
Tehran has taken advantage of the instability of its neighbors in the wake of ISIS’ thrashing of Iraq and Syria, the document states.
‘Iran continues to perpetuate the cycle of violence in the region, causing grievous harm to civilian populations. Rival states are filling vacuums created by state collapse and prolonged regional conflict.’
The Trump administration ultimately concludes, ‘We will work with partners to neutralize Iran’s malign activities in the region.’
THIRSTY: Trump nearly had another mishap during his speech when he had to pause on Monday to take a sip from a glass of water
WE’RE BEATING ISIS, BUT NOW WE NEED TO BUILD THE WALL
Vice President Mike Pence posited in introductory remarks on Monday that ‘ISIS is on the run, their capital has fallen, and their so-called caliphate has crumbled.’
Still, the administration warns its National Security Strategy that the U.S. is facing terror threats from across the Middle East. It identifies Pakistan and Afghanistan as countries that are at risk of being overrun by terrorists.
‘We will bolster the fighting strength of the Afghan security forces to convince the Taliban that they cannot win on the battlefield and to set the conditions for diplomatic efforts to achieve enduring peace,’ a section on South and Central Asia says. ‘We will insist that Pakistan take decisive action against militant and terrorist groups operating from its soil.
African nations are also becoming ‘battlegrounds for violent extremism and jihadist terrorists’ the document says such as ISIS, al-Qa’ida, and their affiliates.
‘We have dealt ISIS one devastating defeat after another. The coalition to defeat ISIS has now recaptured almost 100 percent of the land once held by these terrorists in Iraq and Syria. Great job, Trump said on Monday. ‘We’re now chasing them wherever they flee, and we will not let them into the United States.’
Trump said his administration is also coming up with new ways to counter extremists online, in addition to the extreme vetting procedures it has deployed to keep potential terrorists from entering the U.S. in the first place.
‘We cannot secure our nation if we do not secure our borders,’ he said.
Trump highlighted his plans to protect American soil from outside threats through comprehensive immigration reform, a border wall and a war on transnational criminal organizations that brings drugs across America’s borders.
He used the speech to push once more for a an end to chain migration ‘and the horrible visa and lottery programs.’
DON’T MENTION THE C-WORDS: TRUMP DITCHED OBAMA’S CLIMATE CHANGE OBSESSIONS
Trump did not mention climate change on Monday, which has been downgraded in his administration as a security threat, although he did make reference to his announcement earlier this year that the United States intends to withdraw ‘from the ‘very expensive and unfair Paris Climate Accord.’
A single mention of climate change comes up in the administration’s national security blueprint in relation to the U.S. economy and energy market.
‘We are committed to supporting energy initiatives that will attract investments, safeguard the environment, strengthen our energy security, and unlock the enormous potential of our shared region,’ it says. ‘Climate policies will continue to shape the global energy system. U.S. leadership is indispensable to countering an anti-growth energy agenda that is detrimental to U.S. economic and energy security interests.’
A U.S. official previewing the speech on Sunday evening had said, ‘Climate change is not identified as a national security threat, but climate and the importance of the environment, and environmental stewardship are discussed.’
A White House official on the call also asserted, ‘America doesn’t have anything to apologize for in terms of its record on clean energy, clean technology, and its overall environmental record.’