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House Democratic Caucus National Security Task Force Statement on President Trump’s National Security Strategy

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Washington, December 18, 2017 | comments

The co-chairs of the Democratic Caucus’ National Security Task Force—Rep. Seth Moulton of Massachusetts, Rep. Stephanie Murphy of Florida, and Rep. Jimmy Panetta of California—issued a response to President Trump’s long awaited National Security Strategy:


“The Trump administration has finally released its legally-required National Security Strategy document, as we called for in June.  As we have witnessed over the past 11 months, the administration’s actions have not aligned with the language of this document.  There is a fundamental disconnect between what the administration says, and what it is actually doing.


“For example, the Task Force has urged the administration to use all elements of our national power, pairing a robust military posture with a forceful diplomatic presence.  The document pays lip service to this notion, stating that “diplomacy is indispensable.”  These words ring hollow in light of the fact that the administration has clearly sought to hollow out the State Department and marginalize diplomacy as a national security tool.


“Likewise, the Task Force has encouraged the administration to strengthen, not subvert, alliances.  The document states that our 'allies and partners are a great strength of the United States.'  Yet, as a result of the President’s actions and rhetoric, our most important partners in Europe and Asia have cause to question the U.S. commitment to our shared security.  It is no surprise that confidence in U.S. leadership has fallen sharply among our closest allies. 


“In addition, the document says the U.S. will 'offer encouragement to those struggling for human dignity in their societies.'  This restates a core American principle, promoted under both Republican and Democratic administrations.  However, this statement rings hollow, given the President’s praise for Russian President Vladmir Putin, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, and other authoritarian leaders.


“More generally, the Task Force has expressed our dismay that the administration has yet to name or nominate personnel for numerous critical positions at the Departments of Defense and State.  A strategy document—even if sound—is merely words on paper unless the administration has the men and women in place to execute that strategy around the globe.   

“The credibility and importance of the National Security Strategy rely entirely on the actions of the administration and alignment of these actions with the document's stated goals. To date, these actions have not reflected the goals in the strategy and represent a turn towards an undemocratic, inward-looking approach that stands as a poor excuse for American leadership.”

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