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Five key takeaways from Biden’s national security strategy

The report on US security and foreign policy priorities focuses on competition with China and efforts to contain Russia.

Washington, D.C. – In a report on US security policy and foreign policy goals, the Biden administration declared the intensifying competition with Beijing to be the greatest challenge for Washington.

The White House on Wednesday released its National Security Strategy (NSS), a document commissioned by Congress that details the country’s international interests and policies.

President Joe Biden’s NSS picks up where the last report – published in 2017, when Donald Trump was President – left off by putting China at the center as the United States’ main rival.

The US administration also stressed the need to “constrain” Russia amid the invasion of Ukraine and identified areas for deepening international cooperation, including with competitors. The report was due to be released last year but was delayed by the threat of war in Ukraine at the time.

Here are five key takeaways from the report:

The NSS called China the “most momentous geopolitical challenge” and announced that the US was “in the midst of a strategic contest to shape the future of the international order.”

“The PRC [People’s Republic of China] is the only competitor that has both the intention to transform the international order and increasingly has the economic, diplomatic, military and technological power to do so,” the document said.

Beijing plans to expand its sphere of influence in the Asia-Pacific region and become the leading world power.

Biden has drawn Beijing’s ire for saying on various occasions since taking office in 2021 that Washington would militarily defend Taiwan — a self-governing island that Beijing claims as its own — if China invaded.

The two countries have also clashed over trade, Beijing’s claims to the South China Sea and Washington’s deepening alliances in the region.

The NSS said the US would invest to bolster domestic “innovation” while working with allies in “common cause” to compete “responsibly” with China.

The Chinese Embassy in Washington, DC did not immediately respond to Al Jazeera’s request for comment.

The NSS accuses Russia of posing an “immediate and continuing threat to international peace and stability” through its policies, which “culminated” in the invasion of Ukraine.

The report noted that the war in Ukraine was preceded by Russian military intervention in support of the Syrian government, the annexation of Crimea and interference in the internal affairs of other countries, including the US.

The document stressed that the US and its allies are providing military support to Ukrainian forces and strengthening defenses in NATO countries bordering Russia while sanctioning Moscow for the invasion.

“We will continue to stand by the Ukrainian people as they resist Russia’s naked aggression,” it said. “And we will rally the world to hold Russia accountable for the atrocities it has perpetrated in Ukraine.”

The NSS added that the invasion of Ukraine has proven to be a “strategic misjudgment” for Russia.

“The United States will not allow Russia or any other power to achieve its goals by using or threatening to use nuclear weapons,” the document said.

Beyond China and Russia, the NSS said “minor autocratic powers” are acting aggressively in ways that threaten global stability.

“Most importantly, Iran is interfering in the internal affairs of its neighbors, circulating missiles and drones through proxies, plotting to harm Americans, including former officials, and pursuing a nuclear program that goes beyond any credible civilian need,” it said in the report.

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