Trump's new National Defence Strategy will prepare the US for a great power war with Russia and China

Photo: Saul Loeb /AFP/Getty Images
  • President Donald Trump’s new National Defence Strategy reportedly calls for the US to focus on Russia and China as main adversaries and to prepare for a great power war.
  • The US hasn’t focused on great power wars since the end of the Cold War, and Trump’s strategy may return the focus to beating near peer adversaries, as opposed to terror groups like ISIS.
  • The new strategy ties in with a new National Security Strategy and a nuclear posture review that recommended more nuclear weapons.

President Donald Trump’s administration is set to release the Pentagon’s first new National Security Strategy on Friday, and it will reportedly refocus the US on great power wars against the likes of Russia and China.

While the US under former President Barack Obama mainly focused on defeating insurgencies overseas, like in Iraq and Syria, and later on defeating non-state actors like ISIS, Trump’s strategy will reportedly shake off the post-Cold War mentality and return to outgunning near-peer adversaries, according to the Financial Times.

China has developed a class of “carrier killer” missiles specifically designed to target US aircraft carriers. Russia has also designed systems specifically with US weapons in mind. Many now openly question whether or not the US Navy could win a war overseas against China or Russia.

“As you look at what China and Russia have developed, it is purposefully meant to counter some of our strengths,” an official familiar with the new defence strategy told the FT. “What the Chinese have done on hypersonics is specifically meant to limit our aircraft carriers.”

Hypersonic weapons, specifically, fly at many times the speed of sound, and can speed past most US defences. China recently embarked on building the world’s largest wind tunnel to cheaply test such weapons.

The strategy follows a new National Security Strategy that names Russia and China as the US’ top adversaries, as well as a nuclear posture review that calls for more nuclear weapons to counter recent Russian advancements in nuclear weaponry.

The strategy will try to make the US “more competitive in those areas where China and Russia have invested and sought to exploit asymmetries that are favourable to them,” a second source told the FT.

Since the close of World War II, establishment foreign policy and military policy figures have emphasised nuclear weapons and their ability to deter conflict. The nuclear era has seen seven decades of relative peace pass by and unprecedented prosperity in economies around the world.

But Trump’s new policies – in defence, security, and nukes – reflect a US military that’s waking up to the possibility that world wars have again become a real threat.

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