Less than a year after entering the White House, President Donald Trump announced the new National Security Strategy of the United States on December 18, 2017. On presenting the document, Trump said that his country has entered a “new era of competition,” in which its global leadership is threatened by Russia and China, although he noted, “We will attempt to build a great partnership with these and other countries.”
The document constitutes the strategic guide for the U.S. government’s foreign and security policy over the coming years. Politicians, analysts, and academics from around the world are attempting to assess its 68-page content, in order to determine the implications it will have for their countries and regions. The National Security Act of 1947 states that these reports have both a public and a “classified” version.
The public version of the security strategy has been freely available since 1986. As such, this is a carefully drafted document that presents the vision the United States government wishes to impose on the rest of the world. On this occasion, an attempt is made to define what could be considered the “Trump doctrine” for foreign and security policy, which has a marked imperialist character. The document presented defends the President’s nationalist electoral platform of “America First,” which has meant in practice “The Military-Industrial Complex First,” aimed at reestablishing U.S. global hegemony.
THE “FOUR PILLARS” OF THE STRATEGY
Four vital national interests or “pillars” are identified, which will be the focus of the United States over the coming years, confirming the militarist course of the current administration. According to the document these are summarized as follows:
I. Protect the American People, the Homeland and the American Way of Life: Border control will be strengthened and the immigration system reformed to protect the country and restore its sovereignty. Threats will be confronted before reaching borders and causing harm to the population.
II. Promote American Prosperity: The economy will be rebuilt to benefit U.S. workers and companies, which is necessary to restore national power. Work will be focused toward free, fair and reciprocal international economic relations. The U.S. will use its dominance in the energy sector to ensure that international markets remain open.
Both pillars are presented with a seemingly noble intention, but a strong demagogic character. The broad argument of the document attempts to justify discriminatory policies against minorities that contribute to the U.S. economy, and instigate xenophobic practices and sentiments that divide U.S. society.
III. Preserve Peace through Strength: U.S. military strength will be reinforced to ensure it is the biggest in the world. All state tools will be used in a new era of strategic competition – in the diplomatic, information, military and economic domains – to protect its interests. U.S. nuclear arsenal and infrastructure will be modernized.
IV. Advance American Influence: U.S. influence abroad should continue to extend to protect the American people and boost prosperity. Diplomatic and development actions will seek to achieve better results in all areas – bilateral, multilateral and intelligence – to defend U.S. interests, identify new economic opportunities and face competitors.
Regarding these last two national interests, the document reveals that the use of force will continue to be predominant, combined with the strategy of “public diplomacy.” The proposed objective of modernizing U.S. nuclear strength and infrastructure presents a threat to international peace. In the introduction to the report, Trump notes that his administration is “making historic investments in the United States military,” in reference to the bill he signed a week prior to the announcement of the Strategy, which allocates 700 billion dollars to the Pentagon for 2018 defense spending.
APPROACH TO LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN
The region is evaluated in the section devoted to the “Western Hemisphere,” focusing on alleged threats to security and attacking Cuba and Venezuela. It is claimed that “democratic states connected by shared values and economic interests” will be able to “reduce the violence, drug trafficking and illegal immigration that threaten our common security, and will limit opportunities for adversaries to operate from areas of close proximity to us,” in reference to Russia and China, identified in the Strategy as the main threats to the United States.
The text notes that challenges remain such as transnational criminal organizations that “perpetuate violence and corruption, and threaten the stability of Central American states including Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador.”
Referring to Cuba and Venezuela, it is claimed that their “governments cling to anachronistic leftist authoritarian models that continue to fail their people.” The text goes on to add that Russia continues to support its “radical Cuban allies as Cuba continues to repress its citizens,” and that China and Russia support the “dictatorship” in Venezuela, thus undermining the respectful and collaborative relations that exist between our countries.
U.S. allies in the region are invited to build together “a stable and peaceful hemisphere that increases economic opportunities for all, improves governance, reduces the power of criminal organizations, and limits the malign influence of non-hemispheric forces.” A series of priority actions in the political, economic, military and security fields are also outlined.
The Trump administration proposes to “isolate governments that refuse to act as responsible partners in advancing hemispheric peace and prosperity,” adding the desire to see the people of Cuba and Venezuela “enjoy freedom and the benefits of shared prosperity,” of the rest of the “free states” of the hemisphere. It is noted that the United States will “encourage further market-based economic reforms,” and continue supporting efforts to combat crime.
Once again, neighboring countries are treated with contempt, ignoring the values and culture of their peoples. The document is a true manual of imperialist “modesty” in the style of the Monroe Doctrine and the confrontational phase of the Cold War. It also demonstrates the apparently low priority given to our region, by dedicating just a single page of the report. However, one can not underestimate the aggressive and disrespectful rhetoric against Cuba and Venezuela, without recognizing in the least their contribution to guaranteeing regional peace and security, much less their social achievements.
Faced with the risks and threats outlined in the Strategy, the Cuban people will maintain their socialist course and continue to defend the thought of Martí and Fidel regarding a united “Our America.” Such was stated by Army General Raúl Castro Ruz, on December 21, 2017, at the close of the 10th Period of Ordinary Sessions of the National Assembly of People’s Power 8th Legislature: “the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean have a duty to move toward the political, economic and social integration of Our America. As I have stated in various forums, working for “unity within diversity” is an imperative need.”
Regarding the setback in relations with the United States, the First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba Central Committee and President of the Councils of State and Ministers, made it clear that our country is not responsible for the deterioration, and ratified that “Cuba is willing to continue negotiating pending bilateral issues with the United States, on the basis of equality and respect for the sovereignty and independence of our country, and continue the respectful dialogue and cooperation on issues of common interest with the U.S. government.” However, he emphasized an unquestionable reality: “The Cuban Revolution has withstood the onslaught of 11 U.S. administrations of different kinds and here we are and will remain, free, sovereign and independent.”