(Bloomberg) -- President Donald Trump’s top national security adviser described Russia and China as “revisionist powers” posing bellicose threats to the U.S. in a muscular speech that went further than his boss has in criticizing the two countries.
“Geopolitics are back and are back with a vengeance after this holiday from history we took in the so-called post-Cold War period,” H.R. McMaster, the director of the National Security Council, said in a speech in Washington on Tuesday. China and Russia, he said, “are undermining the international order and stability. They’re ignoring the sovereign rights of their neighbors and the rule of law.”
McMaster’s comments, made at an event hosted by a U.K. research group, Policy Exchange, come the week before Trump is set to unveil his national security strategy.
Russia, McMaster said, has pioneered “new generation warfare” that employs “subversion and disinformation and propaganda using cyber tools, operating across multiple domains, that attempt to divide our communities within our nations and pit them against each other, and try to create crises of confidence.”
While McMaster didn’t directly mention election meddling, his comments broadly reflect the activity that prompted Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.
Trump said last month during a summit in Vietnam that Russian President Vladimir Putin had assured him his country hadn’t tried to interfere in the 2016 U.S. election, contrary to the conclusion of the U.S. intelligence community.
Russia has with its military “forcibly changed the borders of Europe for the first time since World War II” in Ukraine and Georgia, said McMaster.
China, meanwhile, is engaged in “economic aggression” to challenge a global economic order that “helped lift hundreds of millions of people out of poverty,” McMaster said. Trump has tried to forge a relationship and something of an alliance with Chinese President Xi Jinping to help curb North Korea’s nuclear weapons program, an effort that has so far proved unsuccessful.
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