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NSC Official: Trump's Speech Will Reflect 'America First' Policy

Image: NSC Official: Trump's Speech Will Reflect 'America First' Policy
(AP)

By    |   Monday, 18 December 2017 09:30 AM

President Donald Trump's national security speech on Monday likely won't veer a lot from the speeches he made during his campaign and during the first year of his presidency, senior national security official Michael Anton said, but it will still reflect many differences from past practices in foreign policy while following the president's "America first" call.

"I don't think there is anything different from the president's campaign speeches and themes and his speeches in 2017," Anton, the deputy assistant to the president for strategic communications for the National Security Council told Fox News' "Fox & Friends" program.

"But there certainly is a lot different from past practice in foreign policy."

For example, Trump's strategy puts more emphasis and focus, along with more detail on homeland and border security "than any national security strategy ever has."

"This is one of the great themes the president ran and won on in 2016," Anton pointed out.

The president's speech also will likely put a greater emphasis on economic competition, said Anton, while keeping with themes of "fair and reciprocal trade that American foreign policy had gotten away from."

On Saturday, The Hill reported that Trump will accuse China of "economic aggression in his speech, in a hardline approach coming on the heels of a softer manner he assumed after taking office and meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping last April at his Mar-a-Lago resort.

During his campaign, however, Trump often complained that China was engaging in unfair trading practices.

Trump's strategy also recognizes that the world has become a "much more competitive place" than has been admitted on past national security strategies, which included the "unrealistic view all the problems were over all the great powers would get together and cooperate and solve problems."

A president's national security strategy normally includes a document, required by law for every administration to put out, said Anton, pointing out that Trump's speech marks a first time, "as far as we can tell," that an administration has gotten its national security strategy out in its first year.

"It shows the emphasis we have placed on it," he said. "It is also the first time a president has personally given a speech to the American people. Usually the document is either just delivered on paper, or the national security adviser maybe introduces it, but the president really feels strongly he wanted to do this himself."

The speech also will focus on a sense of "principled realism," about how the administration's plans are "fundamentally consistent with American principles," said Anton.

"[It is] realistic about what American power can achieve in the world, and there's a frank recognition that the president's critique that he gave during the campaign, of the past couple decades of American foreign policy, that it tried to do too much," he added.

"It overly defined what America's national interests were and American foreign policy, also tried to do things that frankly, we have learned through hard experience, were perhaps not achievable with American power," said Anton.

"This is a kind of necessary reassessment of what our interests really are and what we really can and need to accomplish in the foreign policy realm."

Meanwhile, the administration is no longer labeling climate change as a national security threat, said show co-host Brian Kilmeade, while it identifies China as a strategic competitor.

Where Russia is concerned, Anton said there remains areas of cooperation, pointing out how over the weekend, a call from Trump to Putin over the weekend warned Russia of a potential terrorist attack in St. Petersburg.

"We still have areas of cooperation possible with Russia in Syria in fighting ISIS, what's left of ISIS," said Anton. "One of the great accomplishments in 2017 in this administration is that ISIS' physical caliphate is almost completely gone."

There are still areas of competition with Russia, and Trump's strategy sees that clearly, he continued.

"It prioritizes our interest and will continue the president's policy of looking for areas of cooperation while being very clear-eyed about what our interests are in Russia," he concluded.

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President Donald Trump's national security speech on Monday likely won't veer a lot from the speeches he made during his campaign and during the first year of his presidency, senior national security official Michael Anton said...
nsc official, trump, national security, speech, america first, policy
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2017-30-18
Monday, 18 December 2017 09:30 AM
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