More military spending, a more adversarial approach to free trade, and a more aggressive fight against ISIS seem likely in the near future. Trump’s inaugural address was a natural extension of his campaign speeches. It was brash, bold, nationalistic, and focused on a few key themes.
Still, while the speech was driven by domestic concerns, it did offer some interesting foreign-policy takeaways. First off, Trump’s biggest foreign-policy priority is trade. “We must”, he said, “protect our borders from the ravages of other countries making our product, stealing our companies, and destroying our jobs.” Such words indicate a looming showdown with China.
Along with China’s undercutting of U.S. labor-market costs, its theft of American intellectual property has been a central complaint of Trump’s. To deal with this challenge, he seemed to imply he’ll blend economic protectionism — “Protection will lead to great prosperity and strength,” he said — and other measures.
But what might these other measures be? Well, for one, perhaps a more aggressive use of cyberwarfare. NSA director Mike Rogers is known to favor a more offensive U.S. posture in cyberspace, and today’s speech suggests Trump is inclined to agree. The NSA has the capability to cause serious damage to Chinese commercial interests that steal U.S. intellectual property. Until now, those capabilities have rarely been used.
SOURCE: National Review Online