Susan Rice: Giving up U.S. moral authority makes mockery of ‘America first’

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Former Obama national security adviser Susan Rice blasted President Trump’s recent national security policy rollout in a new op-ed, arguing the U.S. will lose its moral authority abroad as well as make a mockery out of his “America first” approach.

“Relinquishing the nation’s moral authority in these difficult times will only embolden rivals and weaken ourselves. It will make a mockery of the very idea of America first,” Rice wrote in The New York Times on Wednesday.


“The United States’s strength has long rested not only on our unmatched military and economy, but also on the power of our ideals,” wrote Rice, also a former United States ambassador to the United Nations.

Her opinion piece comes after the president announced his new “America First” national security strategy on Monday, emphasizing that he is willing to put American interests above the international community in order to get his way.

Rice said Trump painted a “world characterized by hostile states and lurking threats” rather than highlighting America’s “principled leadership” abroad. His policy, she argued, is a “nationalistic” strategy in which the United States can only win at the “expense” of others. 

She said his foreign policy position breaks from the precedents previous presidents have upheld since World War II, a time when the country began to serve as an authoritative voice in global affairs, promoting “opportunities to expand prosperity, freedom and security.” 

Rice said Trump failed “to draw nuanced distinctions” when he characterized China and Russia together as “revisionist” powers that seek to compete with U.S. interests, claiming that he failed to separate competitors from hostile “adversaries.”

His plan “also glaringly omits many traditional American priorities,” including issues of human rights, poverty, higher education, combating viruses, climate change, LGBT rights, as well as “the value of promoting democracy and universal rights,” Rice wrote. 

In addition, Rice took aim at top administration officials, directly rebuking Secretary of State Rex Tillerson for starving “the State Department of resources, talent and relevance,” while blasting the “nationalists around him” for their success “in enshrining Mr. Trump’s harsh anti-immigration policies.”

Tags Donald Trump Rex Tillerson

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