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American National Security Strategy: The Noise Before Defeat

Trump administration has presented National Security Strategy (NSS) after almost a year to take office. I had a chance to review the strategy document and when I was reviewing that NSS document the words of former Soviet Union’s leader Nikita Khrushchev were recalling into my mind. Once he said that “America will fall without a shot being fired. It will fall from within.” How much his assessment is correct the time will decide but right now one thing is crystal clear that the US is precisely pensive on the turbulent situation at structural as well as domestic level.

            The NSS document denotes that America is facing multiple internal and external challenges and the Trump administration needs to deal with them. All these challenges including rough states with Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMDs) to American porous borders and violent non-state actors to unfair trade practices all are categorically conferred in the document. But it is worth mentioning that the first time since the cold war ended America firmly declares China and Russia as an open challenge to American supremacy. It has written on the second page of the document that “China and Russia challenge American power, influence and interest. They are determined to attempt to erode American security and prosperity. 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.”

            Although China and Russia have denied American sentiments with an advice to quit cold war approach in its foreign policy, in fact, it is the acceptance of the reality by the United States and the reality is the change at a structural level. The world is briskly entering into the multipolar world order. China is going to revive the millennia-old concept of Middle Kingdom and One Belt One Road (OBOR), military modernization, offensive postures in the South China Sea and Chinese investments in every corner of the globe are the indicators that China is ready to maximize its sphere of influence at a structural level.

            The United States criticizes that increasing economic inducement and military power of China is to enhance it’s political as well as security agenda. It also points out that OBOR is comprised of biased trade approach and extractive economic policies. Chinese OBOR initiative is actually connecting more than 40 countries of the world physically and economically which will enhance Chinese influence and supremacy in these countries that are strongly challenging American long enjoyed sole power role in the world. Chinese increasing military strength, deployment of the military in the South China Sea, huge investment all over the world, and ports and harbour construction on Indo-Pacific main Sea Lanes of Communications (SLOCs) are leading to bipolarity in the world and have strategic challenges to the United States and Allies.

            On the other hand resurgence of Russia under so-called “expansionist” Putin is an evident challenge to existing world order. In energy politics to the Syrian crisis and boosting ties with so-called rough states to the annexation of Crimea, Kremlin has the capacity as well as the capability to challenge America and its western allies. Today Russia is regaining power and influence in the Middle East and Asia. Moscow has provided full support to Syria and Iran to fail Washington’s interests in these countries and has done a lot of loss to the US sphere of influence. Russia has also joined hands with China to reduce the usage of American dollar to affect American economic supremacy. That is why Moscow-Beijing Nexus is seen as the real threat to the US by the NSS document as both countries are members of the UN Security Council and had confronted America many times by using Veto power against American resolutions.

            The NSS denotes that during one-year trump administration did its best. And further, we are ready to deal these challenges. According to the document America has a great history to crush all challenges throughout its history. But realistically this time the situation seems more pessimistic. After reviewing the NSS document I am not reluctant to say that United States’ national security strategy is the “noise before defeat”. Uncertainty in the policy-making circles of Washington is quite obvious.

Can Trump’s America reverse worldwide disapproval?

            Donald Trump’s behaviours and approaches to deal various matters are unsatisfactory. Here I would like to quote renowned American author Michael Wolff’s recent book “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House”. Which is number one bestseller by the New York Times.  Basically, it is a brief account of commotion and disorder in the White House under President Donald Trump. Mr Wolff has conducted multiple interviews of all those people who served on the key positions under president Trump. All accounts by them are bewildering and disappointing not only in America but also in the world.

             Realistically, Coping up with all these challenges is the real challenge for Trump Administration. Mr President! Pushing North Korea and Iran more, scapegoating Pakistan for failure in Afghanistan, giving Cache Blanche to Israel, patronizing India to take care of interests in South Asia and South East Asia, sabotaging environmental regimes, annoying western allies and vitiating American liberal values within America, these are not wise choices.

Author:  Sahibzada Muhammad Saeed, IR analyst and freelance columnist based in Islamabad. Twitter:

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