President Trump Identifies the Competition in National Security Speech

Matthew McMullan

Matthew McMullan Communications Manager, Alliance for American Manufacturing

Happy Holidays! President Donald Trump gave a speech last week in which he described (broadly) his administration’s national security strategy. Though he only mentioned them once and twice by name respectively, he called China and Russia “rival powers.” Okay.

The Chinese and Russian governments reacted predictably to the rhetoric, in the speech and the accompanying policy document. And some have noted the marked shift in rhetoric between the Trump and Obama administrations.

This language was closer to what Trump said on the campaign trail than what he’s said earlier this year – when he hosted Chinese President Xi Jinping at the fabulous Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, and then during his visit to Beijing in November. The talk of economic rivalry, of competition in trade and jobs, is a return to campaign form after Monday’s speech.

But don’t get it twisted: So far, it’s still just talk.

And many of those who professionally watch U.S.-China diplomacy say China, in reality, isn’t yet holding its breath:

Shi Yinhong, a professor of international relations at Renmin University and a leading expert on Chinese diplomacy, was equally perplexed. “What is the strategy after all? It’s not clear,” he said.

Shi, like several other Chinese experts, read Monday’s speech as a sign that the White House may adopt a tougher line on China, but cautioned against taking Trump at his word.

“China doesn’t pay much attention to what Trump says, it mainly pays attention to what Trump does,” he said.  

“We need to wait and see what he will do rather than what he said,” echoed Lu Xiang, an expert in Sino-U.S. relations at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing.

The gap between what Trump has said on China and what he’s done is the source of much debate here — and Monday’s speech did little to change that.

The bilateral goods trade deficit is still enormous; the Buy American, Hire American executive order has gone nowhere; and those big trade enforcement actions on steel and aluminum have been idling for over six months.

Let’s see if the president goes beyond talk and follows through on some of this stuff.

***

Reposted from AAM

Posted In: Allied Approaches, From Alliance for American Manufacturing

Union Matters

Saving the Nation’s Parks

From the USW

From tumbledown bridges to decrepit roads and failing water systems, crumbling infrastructure undermines America’s safety and prosperity. In coming weeks, Union Matters will delve into this neglect and the urgent need for a rebuilding campaign that creates jobs, fuels economic growth and revitalizes communities. 

The wildfires ravaging the West Coast not only pose imminent danger to iconic national parks like Crater Lake in Oregon and the Redwoods in California, but threaten the future of all of America’s beloved scenic places.

As climate change fuels the federal government’s need to spend more of National Park Service (NPS) and U.S. Forest Service budgets on wildfire suppression, massive maintenance backlogs and decrepit infrastructure threaten the entire system of national parks and forests.

A long-overdue infusion of funds into the roads, bridges, tunnels, dams and marinas in these treasured spaces would generate jobs and preserve landmark sites for generations to come.

The infrastructure networks in the nation’s parks long have failed to meet modern-day demand. The American Society of Civil Engineers gave parks a D+ rating in its 2017 infrastructure report card, citing chronic underfunding and deferred maintenance.

Just this year, a large portion of the Blue Ridge Parkway, which is owned and managed by the NPS, collapsed due to heavy rains and slope failures. Projects to prevent disasters like this one get pushed further down the road as wildfire management squeezes agency budgets more each year.

Congress recently passed the Great American Outdoors Act,  allocating billions in new funding for the NPS.

But that’s just a first step in a long yet vital process to bring parks and forests to 21st-century standards. America’s big, open spaces cannot afford to suffer additional neglect.

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