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U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis at a hearing of the House Armed Services Committee on the National Defense Strategy and the Nuclear Posture Review, Washington, Feb. 6, 2018 (AP photo by Alex Brandon).

The Shortsighted National Defense Strategy Repudiates Obama—but Also Trump

Wednesday, Feb. 7, 2018

The National Defense Strategy released by the Pentagon in January paints a worrying picture not only of the world, but also of the Pentagon’s perception of it. In doing so, the document manages to achieve an extraordinary feat: repudiate the worldview of both the sitting president and his predecessor.

The National Defense Strategy, or NDS, portrays the international arena as a field of strategic competition, where geopolitical contests have replaced terrorism as the chief threat to American security. This newly competitive world pits the U.S. against great powers in China and Russia and regional ones in Iran and North Korea. The document pointedly states that in recognizing these threats, the U.S. is emerging from a period of “strategic atrophy.” ...

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