The Atlantic

Trump Is Preparing for a New Cold War

By undermining America’s soft power even as it ramps up competition with China, the Trump administration is sabotaging its own strategy.
Source: Thomas Peter / AP

Read its foreign policy statements and this much becomes clear: The Trump administration is preparing for a new Cold War. Its National Security Strategy, unveiled in December, asserts that “The United States will respond to the growing political, economic, and military competitions we face around the world. China and Russia challenge American power, influence, and interests.” The following month, in announcing the administration’s National Defense Strategy, Defense Secretary James Mattis declared that “Great power competition, not terrorism, is now the primary focus of U.S. national security.”

There are problems with this. President Trump’s national security documents make “competition” sound like an inevitability rather than a choice. Thus, they skip over a critical question: When can America best achieve its interests

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from The Atlantic

The Atlantic7 min readPolitics
Trump’s Fury at Don McGahn Is Misplaced
The former White House counsel helped stock the federal courts with conservative judges. Now multiple lawsuits involving Trump are headed there.
The Atlantic4 min readPolitics
Trump Was Right Not to Sign the Christchurch Call
The pledge to eliminate extremist content online is antithetical to the American understanding of free expression.
The Atlantic5 min read
Europe’s Far-Right Leaders Are Using Facebook to Transcend Borders
Captioned in English, sponsored by the Hungarian government, promoted to social-media users in Greece: A video about a Belgian politician represents a new trend in the spread of illiberalism.