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New US Security Strategies 'Could Hurt Caribbean': Council

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    An "America First" policy will be the "foundation of U.S. leadership in the world through outcomes, not ideology," warns Caribbean council member David Jessop. | Photo: Reuters

Published 25 December 2017

An "America First" policy will be the "foundation of U.S. leadership in the world through outcomes, not ideology," warns Caribbean Council member David Jessop.

U.S. President Donald Trump's 54-page "America First" report on national security strategy reforms could pose a problem for nations who see the world in a different light, warns Caribbean Council member David Jessop.


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Jessop, a consultant and non-executive director for the Caribbean Council, criticized the new strategies in his weekly column "The View from Europe,"saying that although there are a few legitimate proposals, others have potentially "profound implications" for nations unsupportive of U.S. policies.

In the list of national security strategies announced Tuesday, the U.S. president outlined his plans to strengthen borders, increase combat initiatives in the battle against terrorism, and continue neglecting climate change.

"Although it contains some positive language – for instance on organized crime, corrupt officials, terrorism and engaging the private sector in development – it suggests that a divide is likely to emerge between the U.S. and the Caribbean if Washington decides to deploy its worldview in a regional context," Jessop writes.

"Any reading of the whole document suggests numerous points of divergence. The most obvious relates to China, which over the last decade has become for almost all nations in the region an important investor, trade partner and advocate of issues of vital importance, most notably climate change."

Both China and Russia have, however, been criticized by Trump for allegedly moving to monopolise their markets via state-led investments and loans. Jessop warns that such failure to "act as responsible partners in advancing hemispheric peace and prosperity" will result in isolation.

Jessop went on to say that China and Russia aren't the only countries who could be affected by changes to U.S. national security strategies. Canada, Cuba, Venezuela and the Caribbean could be next on the list of "unsuitable" partners,  positions on trade, or conflicting climate perspectives.

An "America First" policy will be the "foundation of U.S. leadership in the world through outcomes, not ideology," Jessop concludes. 

"China and Russia want to 'shape a world antithetical to our interests and values,' and are perceived to be challenging U.S. power, influence and interests. Unless they and others adapt their thinking, the United States 'will compete with all tools of national power' to ensure 'that the regions of the world are not dominated by one power.'"


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The U.S. proposal also includes new requirements for continued binternational usiness which puts America's interests first, Jessop notes.

"When it comes to future U.S. development assistance, this 'must support America's national interests' contains potentially contentious language in its qualified support for multilateral institutions, and more generally suggests that the United States will respond negatively to those nations that do not support its foreign policy."

Size, the potential or relative importance as a trade and investment partner, good relations, or a country's location will be emphasized as small countries in the Caribbean labor to prove their worth and gain support.

"If followed through on, the Trump doctrine will be divisive and significantly less in the interests of the region and its desire for a joined-up global approach to its future development."


David Jessop
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