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

1 hour ago - Health

Fauci says if people won't wear masks, maybe it should be mandated

Anthony Fauci. Photo: Graeme Jennings- Pool/Getty Images

NIAID director Anthony Fauci told CNN on Friday evening that if "people are not wearing masks, then maybe we should be mandating it."

Why it matters: Fauci made the comments the same day the U.S. hit its highest daily COVID-19 case count since the pandemic began.

Harris to Black voters: Casting a ballot is about honoring your ancestors

Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris speaks at a "Get Out The Vote" rally at Morehouse College. Photo: Elijah Nouvelage/AFP via Getty Images

Sen. Kamala Harris appealed to Black voters in Georgia on Friday, urging them to "honor the ancestors" by casting ballots, and again calling President Trump a "racist."

Why it matters: The U.S. saw a significant decline in African-American voter turnout between 2012 and 2016, reaching its lowest point since 2000. Higher turnout among Black Americans this year could tip the balance in favor of Democrats in key battleground states, including Georgia.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Politics: Fauci: Trump hasn't been to a COVID task force meeting in months.
  2. Sports: The youth sports exodus continues — Big Ten football is back.
  3. Health: U.S. hits highest daily COVID-19 case count since pandemic began —AstraZeneca to resume vaccine trial in U.S.How to help save 130,000 lives.
  4. Retail: Santa won't greet kids at Macy's this year.
  5. World: Spain and France exceed 1 million cases.