White House releases Biden’s national security strategy

The White House on Wednesday released its national security strategy, outlining President Biden’s priorities at the start of what officials are calling a “decisive decade” for global challenges like climate change and competition among major powers.

The strategy focuses broadly on investing domestically so the U.S. has a modern military and is not dependent on foreign supply chains. It also puts an emphasis on building alliances abroad to counter the influence of adversaries like China.

“The world is at an inflection point, and the choices we make today will set the terms on how we are set up to deal with the significant challenges and the significant opportunities faced in the years ahead,” national security adviser Jake Sullivan told reporters.

Sullivan said the administration highlighted two major challenges that the national security strategy needed to address. The first is “competition between major powers,” he said, pointing to both economic competition and Biden’s long-running warnings about democracies versus autocracies.

The second key challenge is dealing with “transnational challenges” like climate change, food insecurity and infectious diseases, Sullivan added.

Underlying it all is the growing competition between the U.S. and China, as well as the ongoing war in Ukraine sparked by Russia’s invasion in February.

“We will effectively compete with the People’s Republic of China, which is the only competitor with both the intent and, increasingly, the capability to reshape the international order, while constraining a dangerous Russia,” the national security strategy states.

The administration said that the U.S. is willing to work “with any country, including our competitors, willing to constructively address shared challenges,” but officials will simultaneously pursue deeper ties with other democracies to prove that they can deliver results.

The strategy calls for investments in emerging technologies and modernizing the U.S. military. It also calls for a focus on trade and shared technology among allies in the Indo-Pacific and Europe.

Lastly, the strategy calls for “affirmative engagement” across the world. It highlights the U.S. interest in the Indo-Pacific to counter Chinese influence; notes the importance of engagement in Africa to address global problems; and it calls greater integration in the Middle East critical to advancing peace efforts.

The release of the national security strategy was delayed from earlier this year in light of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, with officials unsure how that development might shift the administration’s priorities and planning.

The strategy is largely used for budgeting purposes and for national security agencies to get their priorities in line with the current administration. The White House last year released interim guidance that pivoted away from the Trump administration’s “America First” strategy and focused instead on global cooperation to take on China and fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine has taken center stage in much of the administration’s national security efforts, particularly in recent weeks as Russian President Vladimir Putin escalates his rhetoric and actions with missile strikes in Ukrainian cities and thinly veiled references to nuclear weapons — and some overt ones.

The administration is also in the middle of a potential upheaval in its relationship with Saudi Arabia after OPEC+ —  a coalition of oil producing nations that the kingdom is part of — announced it would slash supply by 2 million barrels per day.

Biden said in an interview on Tuesday with CNN that Saudi Arabia would face “consequences” for the decision, but he declined to offer a timeline for a decision or what the repercussions might be.

Tags Biden global competition Jake Sullivan National security National Security Strategy Vladimir Putin
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