WASHINGTON: President Donald Trump used the launch of his first National Security Strategy on Monday to laud the benefits of cooperation with Russia, a striking departure from the document’s more combative tone toward the Kremlin, reports AFP. Unveiling a text that pilloried both Russia and China as “revisionist powers” bent on rolling back American interests, Trump hailed recent counterterror cooperation between Moscow and Washington.
“They were able to apprehend these terrorists before the event with no loss of life and that’s a great thing, and the way it’s supposed to work,” Trump said, offering the prospect of better ties.Trump claimed that a recent CIA tip-off about a terror attack on a cathedral in Vladimir Putin’s home town of Saint Petersburg had prevented deaths “in the thousands.”
His conciliatory tone toward Putin came in sharp contrast to the 68-page strategy that was put together by key aides and which was designed to serve as a framework for the Trump administration’s approach to the world.
The text uses remarkably biting language to frame Beijing and Moscow as global competitors. “China and Russia challenge American power, influence, and interests, attempting to erode American security and prosperity,” the document says.
It warns that “Russia aims to weaken US influence in the world and divide us from our allies and partners,” while Russian nuclear weapons are deemed “the most significant existential threat to the United States.” Trump’s presidential campaign is being investigated for possible collusion with Russia in the runup to his shock 2016 election win—allegations the 45th president has dubbed “fake news.”
The strategy accuses China of seeking “to displace the United States” in Asia, listing a litany of US grievances, from deficits, to data theft to spreading “features of its authoritarian system.”
“Contrary to our hopes, China expanded its power at the expense of the sovereignty of others,” it says.
Meanwhile, China and Russia yesterday decried President Donald Trump’s first National Security Strategy—which pilloried both nations as challengers to US power—as a “Cold War mentality” with an “imperialist character”.