Ronald Reagan understood it is only from strength that we may find a true peace. To Reagan, such strength was focused on military strength—an overwhelming and technologically innovative military dominance on land, at sea, in the skies, and surely in the “Star Wars” heavens above.
Under the banner of peace through strength, President Reagan undermined the very foundations of the Soviet Union without firing a shot, even as he presided over one of the most peaceful decades since World War II.
Today, we live in more complex times. Nation-states do not only challenge us as strategic competitors. Rogue nations develop weapons of mass destruction even as stateless actors engage in jihad and terrorism. We are also in an intense economic competition with nations with whom we trade freely—yet our own free and fair trade often goes unreciprocated.
Into this breach comes President Donald J. Trump with a new organizing principle for strategic policy: Economic security is national security.
Peter Navarro is Assistant to the President and Director of the Office of Trade and Manufacturing Policy. This article appeared in RealClearPolitics on December 9, 2018.