On June 10th, the Republican Study Committee (RSC) released “The RSC National Security Strategy: Strengthening America & Countering Global Threats.”
Spearheaded by RSC Chairman Mike Johnson and RSC National Security & Foreign Affairs Task Force Chairman Joe Wilson, the proposal is a conservative, solutions-oriented plan for preserving American leadership around the globe and promoting a U.S. foreign policy that advances the interests of the American people at home and abroad.
It provides over 130 solutions to counter China, Russia, Iran and other ‘US adversaries’.
The report is separated into five parts, presented briefly below:
- Communist China: A New Strategy for Countering America’s Top Threat.
China is now the US top competitor, Russia’s now #2, and that’s reality. In order to rein in China, the US needs to do the following, according to the RSC:
- Preserving American leadership: The strategy stands up to the Chinese Communist Party’s attempts to reorient today’s world order to one based in authoritarianism by standing strongly for American values of freedom, democracy, human rights, the rule of law, and open markets.
- A tough but targeted approach to China: The strategy offers the toughest package of sanctions ever proposed by Congress on the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). It would specifically sanction the entire United Front Work Department and senior CCP leaders, including members of the Politburo for their malign influence campaigns, internment of Uyghurs, and assault on Hong Kong. The strategy proposes targeted measures rather than broad-based tariffs that may hurt the U.S. economy.
- A multifaceted strategy to protect American innovation and ideas: The strategy would enhance U.S. laws safeguarding American intellectual property (IP), modernize the Foreign Asset Registration Act (FARA), block Chinese propaganda efforts, and ensure a whole-of-government effort to stop the transfer of critical technology to China.
- Bold free trade expansion around the world: The strategy proposes bilateral free trade agreements with democratic partners facing increasing threat or malign influence from China, including Taiwan, Indonesia, the Philippines, India, Brazil, Kenya, and others.
There are numerous recommendations for congress such as introducing a tougher visa regime for Chinese nationals, and even such conditions as “student visa holders to report to the Department of Homeland Security if they change majors and require periodic revetting upon reentering the United States.”
The US needs to review every potential benefit that China receives from it, whether it was intentional or not.
“Congress should require a report detailing the extent China has benefited from U.S. taxpayer funded research and from Chinese funding of U.S. research institutions.”
Furthermore, sanctions on China should be ramped up, with an added graphic presenting who has been sanctioned so far.
Trade is also something that needs heavy focus, the map below shows which countries the US has free trade with, in total they are 20. China has 11 such agreements.
- Russia: Rolling Back Aggression Through a Strategy of Deterrence
Russia, of course, is still dangerous, but it’s competitiveness of the US isn’t so all-encompassing as it previously was, according to the RSC.
A large portion is focused on specifically stopping “Putin’s aggression.”
- Stopping Putin’s aggression: The strategy offers the toughest package of sanctions on Russia ever proposed by Congress, including secondary sanctions on Russian oil and gas projects, sanctions on Russian sovereign debt, sanctions on Russian proxies in other countries, and designating Russia as a State Sponsor of Terrorism.
- Communicate with the Russian people: The strategy would call for the creation of a strategy to communicate directly to the Russian people and support their aspirations for democracy and human rights.
Activities should be focused on stopping Russia’s expanding influence in the Black Sea region, according to the RSC.
In short, Georgia should be strengthened and receive much more support so it doesn’t get invaded by Russia, even there being no actual danger of that happening.
Also sanctions, sanctions and more sanctions.
And of course, spreading propaganda, stoking the flames of Russians’ “aspirations for democracy and human rights.”
- Advancing American Interests in the Middle East: Confronting Iran & the Jihadi Terrorist Movement
Iran and the jihadists are put in the same pile, all the while one of the parties most responsible for the decline of ISIS and other extremist groups in the Middle East is specifically Iran, and also Russia.
Major General Qassem Soleimani, who was assassinated by the US was a central figure in the fight against terror.
- Enhancing the President’s maximum pressure campaign on Iran: The strategy proposes the toughest sanctions on Iran ever proposed by Congress. It codifies many of the President’s successful efforts into law, blocks additional sectors of Iran’s economy, and sanctions Iran’s regional proxies, including its militias in Iraq, Syria, and Yemen, the Assad regime in Syria, as well as Hezbollah in Lebanon.
- Deplete the resources of Iranian proxies: The strategy would prevent U.S. taxpayer dollars from funding Iran’s proxies in Lebanon and Iraq by ending aid to the Lebanese Armed Forces and the Iraqi Ministry of Interior.
- A new clear authorization to pursue terrorist groups: The strategy pushes back against House Democrats’ efforts to limit the President’s war powers by offering for consideration a new AUMF that would allow the President to go after any State Department designated Foreign Terrorist Organizations.
- Directly confronting the Salafi-jihadi ideological movement: The strategy would prevent the creation of Salafi-jihadi safe havens and cut off financing and state support for associated groups. It would codify President Trump’s efforts to deplete terrorist’s resources and designate additional terrorist organizations.
- According to the report, the Congress should require a report on the long-term threats posed by backing the Iraqi Popular Mobilization Forces and other Iranian-backed militias in the war on ISIS.
Also, any opportunity for Iran to have effective relations with its neighbors should be impeded.
Congress should cut off U.S. security assistance funding to the Lebanese Armed Forces and prohibit an IMF bailout of Lebanon. Because Lebanon isn’t allied to Israel, Hezbollah is the enemy.
In Syria, Congress should support the Trump administration’s push for a political transition and withdrawal of all Iranian forces from Syria and require the Department of Defense to produce a feasibility assessment for a no-fly zone in Idlib, Syria.
The Houthis should be sanctioned by the US, and should be designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization.
And to further support Saudi Arabia and the UAE’s military intervention in the country, the Congress shouldn’t withhold any arms sale, on the contrary – it should increase them. After all, the indigenous population of the country has no right to fight against the invaders and their puppet government.
In terms of countering extremism, the US Congress should invest funds in the Saudi Arabian Ministry of Education so as to help its citizens not join the ranks of Al-Qaeda and other groups.
“Congress should reject partnering with Russia to combat ISIS in Libya and enact the Libya Stabilization Act.”
After all, Russia, together with Iran defeated ISIS, while the US-led coalition was busy attempting to occupy as many oil wells as possible, and paying Kurdish fighters to fight the militants.
Congress should enact a statement of policy supporting the use of U.S. intelligence, reconnaissance, and air strikes to aid local Iraqi and Syrian forces fighting ISIS, prevent the rise of other Salafi-jihadist terror groups, and, in Syria, prevent oil resources from being taken by Iran. Like protect these same oil resources from being taken by the Syrians themselves.
- Maintaining an International Order Based on American Values
This really needs no in-depth explanation, if they’re not American values – they’re wrong. It’s the same on the ground, and also even in space, where American values mean right of the strong, blackmailing your allies into submission, and be willing to sacrifices every allied interest for the purpose of fulfilling one’s own goals.
- Elevating human rights and democracy: The strategy would elevate these values in American foreign policy by strengthening human rights sanctions and codifying the Ministerial on Religious Freedom. It would support Secretary Pompeo’s Commission on Unalienable Rights and reject attempts by international organizations to redefine human rights and curtail economic and religious liberties.
- Competing to win at the U.N. and other multilateral organizations: The strategy would counter China and Russia’s efforts to control international bodies. It would also urge Congress to support President Trump’s efforts to withdraw from irreparable organizations and replace them with new mechanisms of multilateral cooperation with democratic countries.
- Promoting accountability at the U.N.: The strategy would mandate that U.S. Ambassadors meet annually with their host governments to discuss that country’s voting record at the U.N. It would also audit the use of U.S. funding by the U.N. and condition funding to U.N. bodies on implementation of accountability reforms. The U.N. must cut off assistance to dictatorships such as humanitarian aid that is being diverted to the Assad regime in Syria.
In addition, Congress should remove references in U.S. law that rely upon the UN or other international organizations for human rights determinations.
Essentially, all international agreements should be withdrawn from, and then the rules-based order should be entirely ad hoc, depending on whatever goal Washington deems worthy.
Notably, with all the speaking about support of human rights, the RSC claims the following:
“Congress should prohibit the use of federal funding for promoting international guidelines and standards obligating businesses to protect and fulfill social and economic rights.”
Human rights could be kept, but only if others keep them, and it doesn’t cost money for US businesses and government.
In regard to the UN, Congress should direct the President to pressure the U.N. to shift member contributions toward a voluntary basis. So that the US can voluntarily use its funding as a way to strongarm the global bureaucracy into submission.
Congress should direct the Department of State Inspector General to inspect and audit the use of U.S. funds by international organizations and make a portion of U.S. contributions to international organizations contingent on cooperation.
Congress should direct the Department of State to rank U.N. organizations in terms of how valuable they are to U.S. interests.
Finally, Congress should stop funding for some pressing issues that don’t cater directly to US interest.
“Congress should end U.S. funding for the U.N. Development Program, the U.N. Office of Dis-armament Affairs, the U.N. Human Settlements Program, the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change.”
Finally, an alternate UN should potentially be established, but only for “Democracies.” (taking into accout that the US leadership uses the word ‘democracy’ pretty wide when it wants to protect its PP – puppets and partners, and claims that its compentitors are not ‘democracies’ just because they defend their interests against the US pressure)
“Congress should enact a statement of policy promoting the Community of Democracies as an alternative multilateral organization to the U.N.
Congress has always played an important role in U.N. reform efforts. As mentioned before, the Task Force believes that the U.N. system plays an important role in pushing international cooperation and multilateralism, but the time has come for Congress to discuss replacements for some international organizations, especially those within the U.N. umbrella, that would be more democratic, efficient, and accountable.”
- Results-Oriented Approach to Foreign Aid and International Diplomacy
“Unlike the state-directed mercantilism of some competitors that can disadvantage recipient nations and promote dependency, the purpose of U.S. foreign assistance should be to end the need for it. The United States seeks strong partners, not weak ones. U.S. development assistance must support America’s national interests. We will prioritize collaboration with aspiring partners that are aligned with U.S. interests. We will focus on development investments where we can have the most impact— where local reformers are committed to tackling their economic and political challenges,” US President Donald Trump.
- Aligning U.S. foreign aid with U.S. foreign policy: The strategy would help assistance reach more people while better advancing our international interests. It supports replacing the Foreign Assistance Act with new legislation reducing legislative directives for foreign assistance, placing the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) inside the Department of State, and empowering Ambassadors to have a stronger role in administering foreign aid.
- Modernizing the Department of State: The strategy would strengthen diplomacy by ensuring the State Department concentrates on its core competencies. It supports replacing the Foreign Service with a new diplomatic corps rooted in merit rather than tenure, as well as eliminating duplicative bureaus and programs, and elevating human rights, democracy, and multilateral affairs.
- Strengthening public diplomacy, international broadcasting, and counter disinformation efforts: The strategy would reconstitute the U.S. Information Agency (USIA) and empower it with U.S. public diplomacy and counter disinformation efforts. The USIA’s mission would be to promote American ideals of democracy, human rights, and open markets, and undermine U.S. adversaries such as China, Russia, Iran, and others. The USIA would be able to contract with private entities to assist in counter-disinformation efforts.
In conclusion, the RSC say that such large changes and re-establishment of US hegemony are necessary due to the various threats to global order that have arisen in recent times.
“New global threats make American leadership more imperative now than ever before. Americans have risen to the challenge time and time again to confront threats to our homeland and to the world at large. Our success is fueled by our national character marked by the ideals of liberty, human rights, and open markets. This is not the first time the American way of life has been challenged. Whether during World War II, the Cold War, or the Global War on Terrorism, conservatives have provided solutions rooted in these bedrock principles to help us face a variety of threats. In this critical time, a retreat from global leadership does not only mean a strengthening of Russia, China, Iran, and the Salafi-jihadi terrorist movement, but it also means a retreat of liberty and prosperity itself around the world, and a threat to our own national security and economic prosperity.”
The timing of the RSC-proposed ‘security strategy’ is telling itself. The US is currently passing through a strong crisis in the social, economic and political spheres.
It is caused by several factors: the global economic decline, negative consequences of the COVID-19 crisis and the political and social turbulence amid the ongoing wave of protests.
Therefore, the authors and supporters of the newly proposed ‘strategy’ seeks to draw attention of the public from the internal crisis of the United States and consolidate the society under the pretext of fighting ‘foreign enemies’.
At the same time, the Neocon faction of the Republican Party likely sees the single opportunity for the United States to deal with the global crisis – to start a new aggressive war.
If the RSC-proposed document is accepted as an official posture of the United States foreign policy, it will become a strong step, rather even two steps, towards the new global conflict.
Meanwhile, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) of the US Department of Energy predicted a shortage of oil supply at 2.9 million barrels per day in the third quarter of 2020. Does it expect some ‘destructive developments’ that would target oil producing countries?
As to the efficiency of the possible increase of the US pressure on its competitors, it should be noted that in this particular period the situation in Russia and China is advantageous for external meddling.
Both countries are weakened by the developing economic crisis, while the situation in Russia is further complicated by consequences of the wide COVID-19 lockdown measures implemented earlier this year.
Published by South Front
The 21st Century
The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of 21cir.