This depiction of a globe divided along ideological lines—between white-hatted American democrats and black-hatted Russian and Chinese authoritarians—sounds more like John McCain, Mitt Romney, or Marco Rubio than Donald Trump. Which may be why Trump largely abandoned it in his speech.
The National Security Strategy declares that, “The United States distinguishes between economic competition with countries that follow fair and free market principles and competition with those that act with little regard for those principles.” In other words, mercantilist regimes like China’s rip America off, not rule-of-law-respecting ones like Japan, South Korea, and Germany. But in his speech, Trump ignored that distinction. He declared that “leaders in Washington negotiated disastrous trade deals” and “failed to insist that our often very wealthy allies pay their fair share for defense.” As during the campaign, he described a world not of benign democratic allies and menacing authoritarian adversaries but a world in which every major government—irrespective of political system—screws the United States.
While insisting that America’s NATO allies pay more for their defense, the National Security Strategy urged American and European unity against the common threat from Moscow. “Russia,” it declared, “is using subversive measures to weaken the credibility of America’s commitment to Europe, undermine transatlantic unity, and weaken European institutions and governments.” To combat that, “The United States and Europe will work together to counter Russian subversion and aggression,” including by reaffirming that “the United States remains committed to Article V of the Washington Treaty,” which obligates America to defend its NATO allies.
Trump’s discussion of NATO, by contrast, omitted any reference to a Russian threat and focused exclusively on the threat posed by America’s deadbeat allies. “I would not allow member states to be delinquent in the payment while we guarantee their safety and are willing to fight wars for them,” he boasted. “We have made clear that countries that are immensely wealthy should reimburse the United States for the cost of defending them. This is a major departure from the past, but a fair and necessary one: necessary for our country, necessary for our taxpayer, necessary for our own thought process.” Unlike the National Security Strategy, Trump said nothing in his speech about America’s obligation under Article 5.
Later, Trump did acknowledge that, “We also face rival powers, Russia and China, that seek to challenge American influence, values, and wealth.” But he then declared that, “We will attempt to build a great partnership” with them—hardly the language of someone girding for a new cold war. And he cited America’s assistance in foiling a terrorist attack in St. Petersburg as an example of how that partnership might work.