On Monday Trump gave a stump speech to announce his administration's National Security Plan. You can read all 55 pages of it on the White House website (it's yuge, the longest ever). The Plan is framed in terms of 'protecting the Homeland', substantially reads like boilerplate neocon/neolib State Dept exceptionalism, but contains a few novelties that again speak to apparent efforts on Trump's part to 'turn the ship of state around'.
The document was notable for the insertion of elements of realpolitik over idealism, and also for recognizing Russia and China as rivals, characterizing them as follows:
"China and Russia challenge American power, influence and interests, attempting to erode American security and prosperity. They 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.China and Russia each took issue with this, with Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying responding:
Through modernized forms of subversive tactics, Russia interferes in the domestic political affairs of countries around the world. Russia uses information operations as part of its offensive cyber efforts to influence public opinion across the globe. Its influence campaigns blend covert intelligence operations and false online personas with state-funded media, third-party intermediaries, and paid social media users or 'trolls.'"
"We urge the United States to stop deliberately distorting China's strategic intentions, and abandon outdated concepts such as a Cold War mentality and a zero-sum game, otherwise it will only harm everyone," Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told reporters on Tuesday.And the Kremlin:
Meanwhile, the Chinese embassy in the US said it is "completely selfish" for Washington to put its interest above others, warning that such an approach "will only lead to isolation." The Chinese mission also accused the US of "self-contradictory rhetoric" that diminishes the countries' cooperation.
"On the one hand, the US government claims that it is attempting to build a great partnership with China. On the other hand, it labels China as a rival. The self-contradictory rhetoric of the US betrays the truth that China and the US are becoming increasingly interdependent and have growing intertwined interests," the embassy said in a statement.
"For China and the United States, cooperation leads to win-win outcomes, while confrontation can only lead to a lose-lose situation," the diplomatic mission added, calling the US "to abandon its outdated zero-sum thinking" and "engage in win-win cooperation."
"Looking through [the strategy], particularly those parts concerning our country, one can see the imperial nature of the document, as well as persistent unwillingness to abandon the idea of a unipolar world and accept a multipolar world," [Press Secretary Peskov] said. Peskov stressed that Moscow strongly disagrees with Washington's stance towards Russia expressed in the document, which designates the country as a threat to US security. And yet, there are some positive signs too.Indeed, on Sunday we learned that US president Trump received a phone call from Russian president Putin - their second in four days incidentally - thanking him for his assistance with foiling a terror plot against a cathedral in St Petersburg. Putin specifically let it be known that he asked Trump to pass on his thanks to the CIA for providing the intelligence. Where that fits into Russiagate, inquiring minds would like to know.
"[The strategy] has some positive moments, particularly those regarding cooperation with Russia in fields corresponding to US interests. It is totally in line with our approach, voiced by [President Putin], because Moscow is also seeking cooperation with the United States in areas which are beneficial for us, and depending on how far our US counterparts are ready to go," President Vladimir Putin's press secretary said. When asked about "a perfect example of US-Russia cooperation," Peskov mentioned the recent exchange of information between the two countries' special services, which made it possible to thwart terrorist attacks in St. Petersburg and "helped save many lives."
The new US national security strategy is a long document with "rather impressive" wording "which needs to be thoroughly assessed" by relevant Russian agencies, the presidential spokesman said.
Overall then, there are indications of slight shifts in a direction away from the status quo. While they of course found it necessary to rebuff the specific allegations made against them, the two 'rivals' will have noted that the fact that the US even felt it necessary to single them out as competitors elevates them to - or towards - being seen as equals of the US. However misconstrued, mischaracterized, or misunderstood US foreign policy under Trump is with respect to those two nations, the document nevertheless marks a fundamental shift in perception towards a global outlook that takes stock of the new geopolitical reality that Russia and China cannot be regime-changed, 'enlightened' or otherwise 'subsumed' into Pax Americana.
Also yesterday, the US was the only UN Security Council member to vote against a resolution drafted by Egypt declaring any decisions aimed at altering Jerusalem's status null and void, further isolating the US in its unilateral decision regarding the erstwhile Israeli capital. Even France and the UK, beholden as they too are to the Zionist Lobby, didn't support the US on this. To add insult to injury, Russia's UN ambassador offered that Russia step in to 'fill the vacuum' by replacing the US as "an honest mediator" between Israel and Palestine.
In realpolitik terms, as long as it remains the dominant military and financial power, America still reigns supreme. But perception of that power is as foundational to it as its physical reach. With even CNN asking the question 'Is Russia the Middle East's New Power-Broker?', it is clear that the US is becoming increasingly isolated on the international stage.
The way things are going, the transition away from Pax Americana will be gradual, with the stewards of empire using up, bit-by-bit, what is left of their credibility. As global perception of the US as 'global leader' diminishes towards becoming a thing of the past, so too will its military-financial empire. Certainly this is in part due to active measures taken by the Russians, Chinese and others, who are chipping away at US 'interests' abroad - largely by bypassing those interests - but the death-knell or push over the edge will ultimately be the result of the US' reputation being destroyed.
Strangely enough, Trump is facilitating that process. Not intentionally, as the myth of 'Russian collusion' would suggest, but simply by virtue of his being 'a normal American' rather than 'a privileged insider' schooled in American 'exceptionalist' ideology. Trump lacks the 'Wizard of Oz factor' imbued in American leaders who are reared to see the whole Earth as their protectorate. What he means when he says 'America First' is fundamentally at odds with how the US establishment has long viewed it. Driven as he is to 'make America great again', he is contributing to the gradual shift in global perception from seeing America as 'The All-Powerful Oz' to just 'America'.
This, I believe, is the key to understanding why the US 'deep state' did not want him to become president, and have been trying fervently to get rid of him, even at the great risk of catastrophically tearing apart the social fabric of the USA.
Niall Bradley has a background in political science and media consulting, and has been an editor and contributing writer at SOTT.net for 8 years. His articles are cross-posted on his personal blog, NiallBradley.net. Niall is co-host of the 'Behind the Headlines' radio show on the Sott Radio Network and co-authored Manufactured Terror: The Boston Marathon Bombings, Sandy Hook, Aurora Shooting and Other False-Flag Terror Attacks with Joe Quinn.