The central animating principle of President Trump’s new National Security Strategy (NSS) is American sovereignty. But the exercise and defense of national sovereignty under the banner of “America First” is not isolationist. Throughout his campaign for the Oval Office and over the past year, President Trump grounded his arguments for continuing America’s engagement in the world, its participation in international organizations and security alliances, the need to oppose Russian and Chinese efforts to overturn the current international order and the importance of restoring American military might in the defense of our sovereignty and that of other nations. The NSS asserts that the exercise of American sovereignty today means competing in all the arenas of national power. But as the National Security Advisor, Lieutenant General H.R. McMaster observed a few weeks ago, “We vacated a lot of competitive space in recent years and created opportunities for these revisionist powers.” Thus, competing effectively may require even greater involvement in the world than that exercised by recent administrations. So much for isolationism. I have written commentary on this topic for RealClearDefense here.
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