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President Donald Trump speaks on national security Monday, Dec. 18, 2017, in Washington. Trump says his new national security strategy puts "America First." (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

'A nation without borders is not a nation,' Trump said


Updated December 18, 2017 02:32 PM EST

President Trump opened his national security plan speech on Monday by outlining the faults of his predecessor, former President Barack Obama.

He criticized the Obama administration for engaging in a "bad deal" with Iran on its nuclear program, hamstringing U.S. energy resources and engaging in an immigration policy that brought in the "wrong people" and left the right ones out.

Trump claimed these actions made voters lose confidence in the government, thus leading to a "rejection of the failures of the past" on Election Day 2016.

The president noted that the first duty of the government is to serve its citizens, leading to his "America First" policy. He touted expanded spending on defense while also withdrawing the U.S. from international agreements like the Trans Pacific Partnership and the Paris climate accord.

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Trump outlined several of what he considers are his accomplishments thus far, including dealing ISIS "one devastating defeat after another" and decertifying Iran's compliance with the nuclear agreement.

He promoted the removal of "artificial timelines" in Afghanistan, which he said hampered U.S. efforts there. Trump also noted his administration's attempts to pressure Pakistan when it comes to countering terrorism.

"We have united out allies in an unprecedented effort to isolate North Korea," said Trump.

He promised to pursue a denuclearization policy in order to prevent North Korea from threatening the world.

The economy also made an appearance in Trump's speech, including points on job and stock growth. The president touted his administration's deregulation policies and the upcoming tax reform legislation making its way through Congress.

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GDP growth will be "one of America's greatest weapons," said the president, giving confidence to the country as a whole.

Trump noted that "a nation without borders is not a nation" and that a nation that does not appreciate its past can't be confident of its future.

Trump kept open the idea of working with foreign nations without sacrificing U.S. security. He pointed to the recent sharing of intelligence with Russia that helped thwart a potential terrorist attack that he claimed could have led to the deaths of thousands.

Trump said his plan focuses on four vital interests. First, Trump said, the U.S. cannot "secure our nation without securing our borders," including the building of a wall and ending the visa lottery.

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The second "pillar" in Trump's plan calls for economic prosperity. He said the country cannot trade its economic prosperity for growth. Specifically, the plan focuses on changing U.S. trade policy to ensure the country is getting a fair deal.

Third, Trump's plan focuses on preserving peace through strength. The strategy "breaks from the damaging defense sequester," according to Trump, and modernizes and grows the U.S. military forces.

Fourth, Trump's strategy aims to advance American influence in the world by building up U.S. power at home. That means not forcing the American way on others, but also not apologizing for U.S. values.

Updated December 18, 2017 02:05 PM EST

President Trump’s new national security strategy will not list climate change as a threat facing the U.S.

The last version of such a strategy document – prepared by then-President Barack Obama in 2015 – called climate change an “urgent and growing threat to our national security.”

A senior official on Monday said that Trump’s plan removes that determination following his administration’s move to pull the U.S. from the Paris climate accord earlier this year.

The official added that Trump will instead mention the importance of environmental stewardship while detailing his new strategy.

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Trump will elaborate on his plan Monday, which essentially implements his “America First” promise on a global scale.

Senior administration officials said the strategy will focus on protecting the homeland, promoting American prosperity and demonstrating peace through strength.

The plan also advocates advancing U.S. interests in an ever-competitive world full by standing up for America even if it means acting unilaterally or alienating other nations.

The early draft of the strategy reviewed by The Associated Press on Sunday decried that the U.S. had put itself at a disadvantage by entering into multinational agreements.

The document noted pacts such as those aimed at combating climate change, as well as introducing domestic policies to implement them.

Senior officials added that Trump is expected to discuss threats he will label “rogue regimes” like North Korea.

Trump will call other nations – like China and Russia – “revisionist powers” aimed at changing the world’s status quo.

The president will additionally urge member states in the United Nations (U.N.) and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) to spend more on defense.

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Trump will argue that the U.S. will insist on such alliances being fair and reciprocal as it must fight on all fronts to ensure its sovereignty is defended and protected.

The president last June said he would formally withdraw America from the Paris climate deal, calling it “unfair at the highest level to the United States.”

The pact consists of individual greenhouse gas limits that each of the approximately 200 original signatory nations set for themselves.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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