Dec 19, 2017

Trump's national security strategy is at odds with his own priorities

President Trump presents his National Security Strategy in Washington, D.C., on Dec. 18, 2017. Photo: Mark Wilson / Getty Images

Trump's National Security Strategy tries to both set him apart from his predecessors and embed "America First" in the realist tradition.

The big picture: The NSS emphasizes not just protecting the homeland but closing it off, and shows little interest in combating climate change or transforming other societies. It takes a surprisingly tough line on Russia and China, labeling them "revisionist powers" opposed to U.S. values and interests. And its most striking passage rejects the traditional assumption that "engagement with rivals and their inclusion in international institutions and global commerce would turn them into benign actors and trustworthy partners."

Yet the greatest problem with the document is its frequent disconnects with the policies implemented by Trump's administration. The NSS:

  • Talks tough on China, but the administration walked away from the TPP, the best tool to counter Chinese regional influence, and still wants China's help with North Korea.
  • Highlights Russian interference in other countries' domestic affairs, a charge Trump continues to deny when it comes to his election.
  • Supports multilateral diplomacy, but the administration has left the Paris accord, boycotted a new compact on migration, and gutted the State Department.
  • Cites national debt as a grave threat, but the GOP tax cut will increase it by at least $1.5 trillion.

The bottom line: For all that Trump's NSS stresses its break from tradition, it also departs from many of his own policies and professed opinions.

Go deeper

Federal court temporarily blocks coronavirus order against some abortions

Gov. Greg Abbott. Photo: Tom Fox-Pool/Getty Images

A federal judge ruled on Thursday that clinics in Texas can immediately offer medication abortions — a pregnancy termination method administered by pill — along with patients nearing the state's time limits on the procedure.

Driving the news: The decision comes after federal appeals court ruled 2-1 on Tuesday in favor of an executive order by Republican Gov. Greg Abbott that prohibits abortions during the coronavirus outbreak.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 28 mins ago - Politics & Policy

The view from the other side of the coronavirus peak

We'll soon be crowding into cafes it's 1954 in Rapallo, Italy. Photo: LIFE Picture Collection via Getty

Europeans and Americans are desperate to move beyond the worst of the crisis and return to something approximating normality, but the World Health Organization is cautioning that moving too fast will undermine the sacrifices made so far.

Where things stand: Nearly every country on Earth is still seeing their caseload increase, and a recent uptick in Singapore shows that apparent victory over the virus can be fleeting. But several countries are providing reason for optimism.

Go deeperArrow40 mins ago - World

God and COVID-19

Alone at the Western Wall. Photo: Guy Prives/Getty Images

Few aspects of life bring as many people together as religion.

Why it matters: In most crises, that is a blessing. In a pandemic, it can be dangerous.

Go deeperArrow50 mins ago - World