President Trump announced Monday a new national security strategy for the United States, focusing on protecting the homeland and the American way of life, promoting American prosperity, preserving peace through strength and advancing the influence of America.
There was hardly a whisper about climate change, which had become a focal point for President Obama.
Obama once told Coast Guard personnel “climate change constitutes a serious threat to global security, an immediate risk to national security.”
“We need to act and we need to act now,” he declared. “Isn’t that the true hallmark of leadership. When you’re on deck, you stay vigilant, you plan for every contingency. If you see storm clouds gathering … you don’t sit back and do nothing. You take action. Anything less is negligence. It is a dereliction of duty.
“So, too, with climate change,” he continued. “Denying it or refusing to deal with it endangers our national security.”
Trump, however, referenced climate change only briefly, when he said, climate policies “will continue to shape the global energy system.”
“U.S. leadership is indispensable to countering an anti-growth energy agenda that is detrimental to U.S. economic and energy security interests,” he said. “Given future global energy demand, much of the developing world will require fossil fuels, as well as other forms of energy, to power their economies and lift their people out of poverty.”
Trump said the United States “will continue to advance an approach that balances energy security, economic development, and environmental protection.”
“The United States will remain a global leader in reducing traditional pollution, as well as greenhouse gases, while expanding our economy. This achievement, which can serve as a model to other countries, flows from innovation, technology breakthroughs, and energy efficiency gains, not from onerous regulation.”
Instead, Trump’s national security strategy addresses the key challenges and trends that affect U.S. standing in the world, including complex interactions with China and Russia, who “use technology, propaganda, and coercion to shape a world antithetical to our interests and values.”
Issues include “regional dictators that spread terror” as well as jihadist terrorists “that foment hatred to incite violence against innocents.
The White House explained the strategy “articulates and advances the president’s concept of principled realism.”
He said he will focus on protecting the homeland from jihadists, criminal organizations and other threats.
“America will target threats at their source: we will confront threats before they ever reach our borders or cause harm to our people,” his plan explains. “We will redouble our efforts to protect our critical infrastructure and digital networks, because new technology and new adversaries create new vulnerabilities.”
“Rejuvenating” Americans economy is another key plank.
“America will no longer tolerate chronic trade abuses and will pursue free, fair, and reciprocal economic relationships. To succeed in this 21st century geopolitical competition, America must lead in research, technology, and innovation. We will protect our national security innovation base from those who steal our intellectual property and unfairly exploit the innovation of free societies,” the plan states.
Also playing a key role is his objective to rebuild America’s military “to ensure it remains second to none.”
America will strengthen its capabilities across numerous domains – including space and cyber – and revitalize capabilities that have been neglected, he continued.
And then there’s advancing American influence.
“America’s diplomatic and development efforts will compete to achieve better outcomes in all arenas – bilateral, multilateral, and in the information realm – to protect our interests, find new economic opportunities for Americans, and challenge our competitors,” his plan states. “America will seek partnerships with like-minded states to promote free market economies, private sector growth, political stability, and peace.”
In his address explaining the plan, Trump said government has forgotten “whose voices they were to respect.”
But he said that by voting for him, Americans rejected the failures of the past.
A spokesmen who briefed reporters Sunday said one of the messages is that “climate change is not identified as a national security threat.”
He pointed out that this is consistent with Trump’s earlier decision to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris climate accord that Obama had signed.
Obama made climate change a crucial part of his national security strategy in 2015. In September 2016, the former president ordered federal agencies to consider the effects of climate change while developing national security policies.
Trump’s strategy, on the other hand, calls for a balance between economic and environmental concerns in crafting a long-term national security plan.
“An America that is safe, prosperous, and free at home is an America with the strength, confidence, and will to lead abroad,” the new strategy reads. “U.S. leadership is indispensable to countering an anti-growth energy agenda that is detrimental to U.S. economic and energy security interests.”
Far from shunning fossil fuels, Trump’s plan embraces them, stating, “Given future global energy demand, much of the developing world will require fossil fuels, as well as other forms of energy, to power their economies and lift their people out of poverty.”
Trump will reportedly shift America’s focus from climate change to economic growth and national security. His plan is said to single out Russia and China as “revisionist powers” that challenge the U.S., along with “rogue regimes” such as North Korea and “transnational threat organizations” such as ISIS.
However, administration officials assured reporters the Trump administration would continue to cooperate with China and Russia on certain issues, such as the North Korean nuclear threat.