America’s new National Security Strategy envisions greater role for its vassals

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Drago Bosnic, independent geopolitical and military analyst

The US government periodically drafts and issues a document called the National Security Strategy (NSS). The paper lists the national security concerns the country is faced with and maps out the course of action for the incumbent administration to deal with the said issues. Apart from the usual identification of major (Russia, China) and lesser adversaries (North Korea, Iran), the paper deals with other key issues such as US nuclear posturing and the greater integration between the belligerent thalassocracy and its regional allies and vassals.

According to CSIS (Center for Strategic and International Studies), a well-known think tank based in Washington DC, the NSS also provides more details about future plans than most of the Quadrennial Defense Reviews and other National Defense Strategy documents the US government has issued over the last two decades.

The new NSS (officially unclassified in late October) includes some broad sections on future priorities and force planning that provide a strategic perspective on how the US is seeking to shape and improve its military capabilities. It’s also more similar to the NSS review under the Trump administration, which identified major countries as the main security challenges. The main difference is that Donald Trump’s approach was more isolationist and focused on economic warfare, while the Biden administration shows more belligerence and a tendency to relegate much of its power projection to allies and vassals such as Israel, the UK, Australia, the European Union (particularly Germany and Poland), Japan, South Korea, etc.

There are three basic geopolitical frameworks in the new document. Firstly, the US is clearly defined as a “great power with global interests”. This can be considered a continuation of Obama’s definition of the US as an “indispensable nation”, a highly controversial claim that essentially erased the line between the US domestic and foreign policy, resulting in a series of undeclared wars due to the imposition of America’s internal laws on dozens of sovereign countries (particularly in the Middle East). This approach, while previously extremely aggressive towards smaller countries, is now effectively being expanded not only to major regional powers but global ones, too. This will be the most important prerequisite for the establishment of global US hegemony.

Just how dangerous this new strategy is can already be seen in the tragic events in Ukraine and the escalating tensions in China’s breakaway island province of Taiwan. While the US essentially turned Ukraine into an extension of itself (as opposed to a simple proxy), as evidenced by the massive amounts of weapons and other resources the belligerent thalassocracy is providing to its Kiev puppets, the deteriorating domestic situation is getting even worse and the Biden administration shows little interest in prioritizing it. This further proves the point that the line between domestic and foreign policy in the US is effectively gone at this point.

The second position taken in the NSS identifies the division of all world countries into so-called “free, democratic states” and “autocracies”. The latter are then divided into so-called “lesser (regional) autocratic states” (Iran and North Korea), and “major (global) autocracies” (Russia and China). Interestingly, while Russia is defined as “not able to change the world order, although it can cause regional instability”, the US sees China as “possessing the strength and capabilities to change the current balance of power in the world.” This distinction between Moscow and Beijing might not refer to strategic military power, but it does focus on the ideological and economic aspect of geopolitical rivalry, which is more pronounced in the case of China.

The third position focuses on the new US attitude towards globalization. According to this revised approach, Russia and China have “benefited greatly from the process of globalization,” which supposedly shows “the need for the existing model of globalization to be changed.” This primarily refers to the introduction of various restrictions on free trade and access to modern technologies with the aim of hampering the development of both Russia and China. The end goal in this case is to derail both (Eur)Asian giants and their technological and economic strategies. This approach clearly represents a large degree of continuity between the Trump and Biden administrations. The former effectively tried to use globalization as a tool of American national interests and blackmail countries into submission through various sanctions and restrictions.

The final and most important points in the new NSS refer to the change in the US approach towards the so-called “containment” of its geopolitical rivals. Ever since the end of the (First) Cold War, the US directly engaged virtually all of its adversaries, while the strategic level of rivalry was kept dormant. However, with Russia’s return and China’s rise, as well as the expanding power of various regional players, the US is now pushing its allies and vassals into the spotlight.

In the Middle East, this is evidenced by an even greater rivalry between Israel and Iran (which will inevitably include most other Middle Eastern countries). In Europe, in addition to the Kiev regime, Berlin is being pushed towards greater militarization, with the clear goal of “containing” Russia. In Asia, the same is true for South Korea and particularly Japan, which is undergoing an unprecedented (re)militarization program.

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