Russia and China rightly condemned the new US National Security Strategy (NSS) signed off this week by President Donald Trump. Moscow and Beijing rebuked the 68-page document’s “imperialist character” and “Cold War mentality”.
Purportedly setting out Trump’s “vision” of the world and strategic challenges facing the US, the national security document is rife with contradictions and falsehoods, as well as the usual cringe-making American delusions over its proclaimed virtues and greatness.
However, of serious note is an abiding theme targeting Russia and China as “rivals” who, it is claimed, are “malign actors” trying to undermine America as a world power.
There is little doubt from reading the latest NSS that Washington under Trump is no different from past administrations in its fundamentally hostile view of the world, and in particular a world where Russia and China are perceived as existential enemies.
Both are said to be “contesting our geopolitical advantages and trying to change the international order in their favor”.
It goes on more sinisterly: “We must convince adversaries that we can and will defeat them – not just punish them if they attack the United States”… by developing “weapons systems that clearly overmatches their lethality.”
This amounts to a deplorable call for ever-more militarism, and a dystopian world of America seeing other nations as relentless threats.
China is accused of “economic aggression”; while Russia is accused of “subversion”.
“Russia aims to weaken US influence in the world and divide us from our allies… through modernized forms of subversive tactics, Russia interferes in the domestic political affairs of countries around the world,” states the NSS, repeating baseless claims over the past year saturating US and Western media, which Trump himself has at other times dismissed.
The torrent of contradictions and anomalies in the official US strategic view is staggering and untenable. None more so than the views of the president himself.
When Trump announced the NSS publication on Monday, he played down the rivalries that the document explicitly and repeatedly levels against Russia and China. In particular, Trump’s speech did not accuse Russia of interfering in US politics. As on previous occasions he has dismissed US media claims of Russian collusion in the 2016 presidential elections as “fake news”. Yet, in the strategy document, Russia is provocatively accused of subversion.
More than that, at one point the NSS document makes the following blatantly false claim: “With the invasions of Georgia and Ukraine, Russia demonstrated its willingness to violate the sovereignty of states in the region. Russia continues to intimidate its neighbors with threatening behavior, such as nuclear posturing and forward deployment of offensive capabilities.”
It adds: “The United States and Europe will work together to counter Russian subversion and aggression.”
Bear in mind that the NSS is signed off by President Trump. Bear in mind too that a White House official reportedly admitted that the president was unlikely to have read the entire document.
That means that whatever President Trump says about respecting “sovereign states” and, in his speech Monday, building “great relationships with China and Russia”, we can take his words with a grain of salt. He has little credibility.
The real strategic thinking of the US ruling establishment is not what may be garnered from anything Trump says, but rather in the hostile content of the NSS document.
That document’s “vision” is predicated on the US trying to assert global dominance, and using military force, if needs be. In that way, there is no change from decades, indeed centuries, of official American thinking, from the Wolfowitz Doctrine in the 1990s, back to the Monroe Doctrine in the 1850s.
While Russia, China and others advocate for a multipolar world of cooperation between powers, lamentably Washington is still frozen in a zero-sum mentality from the Cold War era; a mentality which views the world as a theater of conflict; a Darwinian jungle of “survival of the strongest”.
America’s hegemonic ambitions of asserting unipolar dominance in the world, euphemistically called “leadership”, is unacceptably imperialist. This, in turn, stems from American capitalism and its imperative to dominate resources and markets. Cooperation and genuine coexistence are anathema to such power.
That is why US power is fundamentally destabilizing to the world despite its narcissistic claims of being a “beacon of freedom and peace”.
It was 10 years ago that Russian President Vladmir Putin made his landmark speech in Munich, in February 2007, when he called out the US as destabilizing the global order through illegal invasions, wars and regime-change operations. Putin nailed the true nature of US power in the world, not the vainglorious nonsense spouted by American leaders and regurgitated unquestioningly by Western media.
Trump, or rather his ghost writers declare the latest US strategy document as being based on “principled realism”. A more accurate description is “unscrupulous fantasy”.
This week we saw the real face of American “greatness” when it again threatened North Korea with pre-emptive war, and at the United Nations where it threatened financial retribution on any country which voted against Trump’s reckless, unilateral declaration of Jerusalem as the Israeli capital.
American rulers can never thaw from Cold War aggression because that is how they operate the world to satisfy US desire for dominance. The brute imperialist function is varnished with quixotic, lofty rhetoric. But there is no altering the underlying brute force.
Still, there were notable changes in the latest US strategic view. The sense of paranoia and insecurity over US global demise was palpable despite attempts to sound confident and strong.
One Orwellian phrase stood out: the call for “peace through strength” and military expansion.
Ominously, America’s incorrigible Cold War mentality is a harbinger of more conflict and war. The world beware.