Trump and the National Security Strategy - ABDULLAH MURADOĞLU

Trump and the National Security Strategy

Yes, the “National Security Strategy” announced by U.S. President Donald Trump is continuing in terms of its scope and objectives, but it doesn’t seem like everybody is happy with the resulting document. American analysts see the document as the day to day pacification of the theory of globalists and neo-nationalists who say, “America first.” Even during the speech, in which he announced the strategy, Trump moved away from the text and used conflicting terms in many areas. Nobody thinks Trump will remain completely loyal to the strategy document. Such that, American commentators are not sure if Trump even read the strategy document.

Mainstream political elites had leaned toward Gen. H. R. McMaster being made national security adviser, Gen. James Mattis being made secretary of defense and Gen. John Kelly the White House administrator, based on the justification that they would prevent Trump from acting on his impulses and ruining everything. The National Security Strategy document appears to meet some of Trump’s demands – such as economic protectionism and anti-climate change. However, it can’t be said that Trump left his mark on the entire document. Even though some commentators say, “Welcome to little America,” as it reflects Trump’s “America First” discourse, the situation is not that clear. “American interventionism” and “American exceptionalism” are emerging once again. An unnamed “globalism” is observed in the document. Let us remind that there was a serious war between the Globalists and Neo-nationalists in the first couple of months of the Trump administration over determining the new American strategy.

Sebastian Gorka, one of Trump’s former White House advisers, had said the new National Security Strategy would fill the gap between “isolation” and “internationalism.” Gorka had also advocated that the new American strategy would not be dominated by “political correctness.” Accordingly, “Trump’s America” would prioritize “national interests” rather than universal values. Political correctness is supposedly not excluded from the document, but it is only there as abstract generalizations.

As it was also stated by Center for a New American Security (CNAS) Chairman Richard Fontaine, national security strategies lack the conventional “strategy” characteristics. According to Fontaine, the strategy documents do not express the desired aims, they only state the steps necessary to reach these aims, or they identify the sources required to realize these steps. These documents clearly do not prioritize aims. On the contrary, objectives are inclined to be vast and abstract. These documents generally lack detailed action plans. National Security Strategy documents tend to give a logic to governments’ actions. Such documents that are filled mostly with generalizations, look, in terms of rhetoric, like long speeches.

One other issue is how much the national security strategy documents that are open to the public reflect the reality. Thus, Patrick Porter, a strategic research professor at Exeter University, says in his Dec. 22 article, “War on the Rocks,” that, naturally, there is something “anti-strategic” about strategies that are published in a way everyone can see them. Porter states that most great strategies in history were confidential, saying, “In a world where states are competing for security and they are expected to show reaction to unexpected situations, strategy must be hidden to a certain degree.” In other words, the strategy documents open to the public must be flexible on stating the true objectives. In reality, states do not reveal their true intentions either. The real strategy is what is not shown to all, but what is kept secret. States spend a whole heap of money to find out other states’ intentions. We should know this too.


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