New security strategy signals US return to realpolitik

The announcement of a new US national security strategy plan, which describes China as competitor, indicates that America is returning to an old-fashioned realpolitik, according to a security expert.

On Monday, US President Donald Trump unveiled his own national security strategy plan that prioritizes US economic interests and calls for pursuing peace through strength, explicitly naming China as a rival that seeks to challenge American influence and attempt to erode American security and prosperity. Later, the Chinese government said that Trump's national security strategy demonstrated a "Cold War mentality" and "zero-sum game".

Commenting on Trump's national security strategy, Stephen Hadley, a former US national security advisor in the George W. Bush administration and executive vice chair of the Atlantic Council, said that the new national security strategy plan lays bare the comprehensive competition between the United States and China and puts emphasis on America's power and sovereignty.

Despite acknowledging the necessity of the international community and international organizations, the new US national security strategy attaches great importance to American-style democracy, American economic interests and geopolitics, which will likely lead to additional conflicts in the world, said Hadley.

However, the former national security advisor considered the emphasis on strength and power in Trump's national security strategy plan as "generally correct", saying that it would be beneficial to the future development of the United States.

When talking about competition between the United States and China, Hadley said that the new US national security strategy differs from the policy adopted by the Barack Obama administration, which excessively advocated US-China collaboration till 2014 when the divergences between the two powers began to emerge. The differences between the United States and China have always existed, but the most important thing that the two countries need to do is to strike a balance between cooperation and competition, Hadley noted.

The United States and China should strengthen cooperation in the fields where they have common interests and make efforts to prevent the differences from becoming a confrontation, said Hadley, adding that the two countries are reluctant to have a trade war because they both have domestic affairs to address.

For the first time, the new US national security strategy recognizes economic security as a kind of national security, calling for more resources and support from the private sector and the American allies. However, Hadley said that the US economic security can hardly be realized if the country fails to deal with the problem of budget, which determines the US military strength.

It is notable that the protection of cyber security is rarely mentioned in the new US national security strategy plan, which is attributed by the American expert to the fact that there is no clear conclusion in the investigation into Russia's alleged interference in the US presidential election in 2016.

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