Breaking with tradition, President Trump chose to personally announce a new national security strategy in the White House on 18 December, 2017. This takes a more realist stance against perceived threats from rising "revisionist" superpower challengers like China and Russia to the world order fashioned by American power, influence and values.
The 55-page White House National Security Strategy document can be downloaded below.
Trump made reference to "a new era of competition" where “vigorous military, economic and political contest are now playing out all around the world”. “China and Russia challenge American power, influence and interests, attempting to erode American security and prosperity,” Trump said.
According to South China Morning Post, the president stated that although the US sought to continue to cooperate with China, Beijing was using economic inducements and penalties, influence operations and implied military threats to persuade other states to heed its political and security agenda. He vows to protect American interests, including intellectual property and cyber security, to raise US competitive advantages and to advance American values. “Competition does not always mean hostility, nor does it inevitably lead to conflict,” Trump said, “although none should doubt our commitment to defend our interests”.
This national security thrust tallies with Trump's Post-Pivot Strategy, an Indo-Pacific Dream or "grand vision" to counter the threats from a rising China. This seeks to cement ties with Japan and India in an apparent "arc of democracies", including their burden sharing, together with other countries in South East Asia.
This grand strategy is beginning to take shape. Japan has recently announced fitting out a new aircraft carrier to counter threats from North Korea and China. In face of reported China's plan to build six aircraft carriers with ten overseas military bases, India is now building 6 nuclear-powered attack submarines.
The intensifying US strategic rivalry with China and Russia was presaged at a live radio panel discussion on BBC's News Hour of 24 April, 2015. The discussion was anchored by BBC China editor Carrie Gracie, featuring myself, Dr. Dmitri Trenin, director of the Carnegie Moscow Center, an affiliate think tank of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Washington D.C., and Mark MacKinnon, former Beijing and Moscow bureau chief for Canada’s Globe and Mail, now based in London.