- Washington to press Islamabad to intensify its counterterrorism efforts
- Urges Pakistan to continue demonstrating responsible stewardship of its nuclear assets
WASHINGTON: United States President Trump presented a blueprint for the country’s national security on Monday that warns of a treacherous world in which the United States faces rising threats from an emboldened Russia and China, as well as from what it calls rogue governments, like North Korea and Iran.
While announcing the national security approach, Trump asked Pakistan to take “decisive action” against terrorist groups operating from its soil, adding, “We have made clear to Pakistan that while we desire continued partnership, we must see decisive action against terrorist groups operating on their territory. And we make massive payments every year to Pakistan. They have to help.”
Welcoming India’s rise as a “leading global power”, Trump said that the United States will increase quadrilateral cooperation with it, Japan and Australia.
Underscoring the warning to Pakistan, which had appeared in Trump’s “regional strategy” for Afghanistan earlier this year, the US president said, “the United States continues to face threats from transnational terrorists and militants operating from within Pakistan.”
“We will press Pakistan to intensify its counterterrorism efforts since no partnership can survive a country’s support for militants and terrorists who target a partner’s own service members and officials,” said the 55-page document that pertained to South Asia. It also said that the US will encourage Pakistan to continue demonstrating that it is a responsible steward of its nuclear assets.
Focusing on South Asia, the strategy document said, the United States big concern was the “prospect for an Indo-Pakistani military conflict that could lead to a nuclear exchange”.
“In Pakistan, we will build trade and investment ties as security improves and as Pakistan demonstrates that it will assist the United States in our counterterrorism goals,” the document read.
Turning to India specifically, the document said, “We welcome India’s emergence as a leading global power and stronger strategic and defence partner. We will seek to increase quadrilateral cooperation with Japan, Australia, and India.”
While the US, India, Japan and Australia deny it, the quadrilateral cooperation — or just the Quad, as it is called — is aimed at managing China’s rise, which has been seen to be upending rules and regulations of global order, as officials of the four member-countries have said, insisting it’s not about containing China.
The president’s new strategy also stressed that the United States will “expand our defence and security cooperation with India, a Major Defence Partner of the United States, and support India’s growing relationships throughout the region”.
It added: “We will deepen our strategic partnership with India and support its leadership role in Indian Ocean security and throughout the broader region.”
About China and Russia, the document said the “revisionist powers” — as they are challenging the status quo and the international order — “are determined to make economies less free and less fair, to grow their militaries, and to control information and data to repress their societies and expand their influence.”
To fend off challenges against Russia and China, the report said the government must put “America First,” fortifying its borders with Cold War urgency, ripping up unfair trade agreements and rebuilding its military might.
But in his speech announcing the strategy, Trump struck a much different tone. Instead of explaining the nature of these threats, he delivered a campaignlike address, with familiar calls to build a wall along the southern border with Mexico and a heavy dose of self-congratulation for the bull market, the low jobless rate and tax cuts, which, he promised, were “days away.”
“America is in the game, and America is going to win,” he said, to an audience that included cabinet members and military officers.
“After being dismissed as a phenomenon of an earlier century, great power competition returned,” the document says. China and Russia, it says, “are determined to make economies less free and less fair, to grow their militaries, and to control information and data to repress their societies and expand their influence.”
The document’s call to push back against China on trade is familiar from the campaign, but its description of the challenge posed by Russia seems at odds with Trump’s own refusal to criticise Putin for his seizure of Crimea, his efforts to destabilise Ukraine and his violations of a key nuclear treaty with the United States.
Referring to nuclear weapons, Trump said those weapons “the foundation of our strategy to preserve peace and stability by deterring aggression against the United States”.
Trump’s strategy does not recognise the changing climate as a threat to national security. The document instead places climate under a section on embracing “energy dominance,” and says that while “climate policies will continue to shape the global energy system,” American leadership will be “indispensable to countering an anti-growth energy agenda.”
In describing the use of cyberattacks against the United States, the document described the problems facing the nation rather than prescribing solutions. It refers to cyberweapons as a new threat because they can strike “without ever physically crossing our borders.”
“Deterrence today is significantly more complex to achieve than during the Cold War,” the document reads, saying a mix of inexpensive weapons and “the use of cyber tools have allowed state and nonstate competitors to harm the United States across various domains.”