President Trump will unveil his administration’s National Security Strategy on Monday, laying out its objectives and how it views various threats.
According to officials who briefed reporters Sunday, the strategy – a congressionally mandated document – identifies four national interests: protecting the homeland, advancing American prosperity, preserving peace through strength and pushing American influence by new approaches to development.
The President will discuss the strategy during a speech Monday afternoon in Washington.
Repeating the emphasis Trump laid out on the campaign trail of “America First,” the officials described a similar aim for this strategy, in which America’s economic prosperity is the key objective.
One emphasis in the document is on China, a country in which the United States is juggling various interests. While the Trump administration has complained about the trade imbalance with China, the White House also has been putting pressure on Beijing to limit its trade with North Korea.
“The strategy refers to China as a strategic competitor … China is effectively across the political, economic, military and informational domain in ways probably not duplicated by our other competitors,” one official said.
“We know that we need China, to work with them, and to continue to work with them on the DPRK (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, or North Korea) problem. It’s not mutually exclusive. We’re working together to cooperate at the same time acknowledging that competition exists as well.”
Senior administration officials said “revisionist powers” that are trying to create a world that is in conflict with American values is one of the big threats, citing China’s action in the South China Sea and very briefly mentioning Russia’s involvement in Ukraine and Georgia.
Asked to define what they mean about revisionist powers and how central Russia was to this policy vision, one official said, “The nature of competition doesn’t mean that you don’t also cooperate, and we’re clear throughout this document – revisionist basically means, how is it seeking to change the status quo? So most people would argue that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Georgia – those activities sought to change the status quo in Europe – in generally not a positive reaction or a peaceful direction.”
The officials were also asked whether the document makes reference to election security.
The question was not directly answered but an official said, “We talk about how our adversaries have always – especially for the past few years – used information warfare, political warfare: China, Russia, jihadist terrorists have used the web to great effect. These are trends that have only been increasing and getting more troublesome and we talk about the need for Americans to be engaged and to ensure the resilience of our democracy.”
On how the new strategy might affect cooperation with Russia, the officials cited Sunday’s phone call between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Trump as well as efforts to combat ISIS.
“You will see a lot of areas where our interests either just don’t align or directly conflict. I think we’re certainly better off right now than we were several months ago when both the Secretary of State and the president remarked that the relationship seemed to be at a low point,” an official said.
Regarding climate change, it is “not identified as a national security threat, but climate and the importance of the environment and environmental stewardship are discussed,” one official said.
There are mentions, the officials said of trade throughout the strategy document with an aim of what they said was free and fair trade – as the administration has pulled out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement and is renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement with Mexico and Canada.