President Trump signaled a clean break from the national security policies of the Obama administration in a strong speech yesterday from the Reagan Library in Simi Valley, California.
The president spent the first part of the speech outlining a list of reasons why a new direction in national security was needed. He certainly didn't spare the previous president.
"Our leaders engaged in nation-building abroad while they failed to build up and replenish our nation at home," the president stated. "They neglected a nuclear menace in North Korea; made a disastrous, weak and incomprehensibly bad deal with Iran; and over the profound objections of the American people, our politicians left our borders wide open."
And he sent a loud signal to America's European allies that it was no longer business as usual. "We have made clear that countries that are immensely wealthy should reimburse the United States for the cost of defending them," he said.
He also restated his plan for a border wall. "We are reasserting these fundamental truths: a nation without borders is not a nation – and a nation that is not certain of its values cannot summon the will to defend them."
President Trump laid out the four pillars of his national security agenda: (1) protecting the American people, homeland, and way of life, (2) promoting American prosperity, (3) preserving peace through strength, and (4) advancing American influence in the world.
He also conveyed a strongly aspirational tone to the address. "With this strategy we are calling for a great reawakening of America, a resurgence of confidence, and a rebirth of patriotism, prosperity, and pride," Trump said.
New strategy requires a new team
"President Trump unveiled yesterday a National Security Strategy that bears an uncanny resemblance to the platform on which he campaigned for office. For those of us who voted for his pledge to restore the practice of peace through strength and American greatness, this is a most welcome development.
"That's because for the intervening year, Mr. Trump has been saddled with insubordinate subordinates who objected to much of his national and homeland security agenda. Having served in many cases in the previous administration, they were determined – the electorate's direction notwithstanding – to act as though it's Obama's third term.
"If Donald Trump means to keep his promised, dramatic course corrections on things like Sharia-supremacism, nuclear deterrence, missile defense, and border security, he must replace National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster with someone who actually supports and will faithfully execute his strategy for American security and greatness."
Lt. Col. Robert Maginnis (USA-Ret.), senior fellow for national security at the Family Research Council, likes what he heard last night.
"So the president says the right words, the strategy appears to be correct – and it does remind me much of what Reagan outlined in his national security strategy," he tells OneNewsnow. "And yet the president faces some severe obstacles going forward just because of, I suppose, the hand that he was dealt."
That hand, says Maginnis, was dealt by Barack Obama, who claimed climate change is an "urgent and growing threat to our national security." The FRC fellow remembers that claim by the previous chief executive: "Mr. Obama's progressive national security strategy outlined a host of issues that I thought were not necessarily related to our security."
And Maginnis contends a national security strategy is much broader than a national defense strategy.
"The national defense strategy – which I've seen and [which] will come out in the coming months – takes this national security strategy and transforms it into the eyes of the defense establishment and how we defend our country and the many challenges that we have."
Conservative icon Gary Bauer with American Values says Trump's remarks "were everything a conservative could want on foreign policy" - adding: "And you could hear the liberal and NeverTrumper heads exploding."
Bauer has lived and worked in Washington, DC, for years. "This city is full of people who yearn for a return to Obama's globalism," he writes. "To them, it is okay for every other country in the world to have a leader that puts his country first, but our elites think that is unacceptable for America."
In contrast, says Bauer, the Trump administration "is committed to putting America first - and it is pursuing policies that will make America great again."
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