Our duty is to the United States….We should be friendly to all nations, and in any crisis we should judge each nation by its conduct in that crisis. We should condemn the misconduct of any nation, we should oppose its encroachments upon our rights with equal vigor…..according to what it actually does on the given occasion with which we have to dealTheodore Roosevelt, America for Americans, Afternoon Speech in St. Louis, MO; May 31, 1916
The new National Security Strategy outlined in President Trump’s December 18 speech has the potential to be an historic change in American foreign policy. The good news is that it expressly adopts realism as our operating theory of international relations and thus “acknowledges the central role of power in international politics, affirms that strong and sovereign states are the best hope for a peaceful world, and clearly defines our national interests.” It rejects the Bush-Obama messianic goal of leading in the imposition of Americans values around the world in favor of a foreign policy “guided by outcomes, not ideology”. Indeed, it’s realism admits that “the American way of life cannot be imposed upon others, nor is it the inevitable culmination of progress”. These are the essential building blocks of a sustainable nationalist foreign policy.
However, the policy still contains significant internal contradictions and faces daunting challenges in its implementation. The doctrine is described as a “principled realism” equally committed to advancing American values, a goal globalists would recognize and cheer. It’s unnecessarily confrontational tone appears to be designed to justify Trump’s aggressive response to North Korea and ISIS. Finally, coherent international and domestic structures must be developed to support the policy.
Nonetheless, it is a welcome first step in breaking with the failed globalist “new world order” pursued by the Bush-Obama administration. My next few posts will examine the policy in more detail and outline the process necessary to successfully implement it.