Ex-Trump adviser urges him to cut ties with China if he makes it back to the White House

Donald Trump’s former national security adviser has put forward his own recommendations to the next presidential administration: cut economic ties with China and resume nuclear weapon testing.

Offering his advice in a 5,000-word article for Foreign Affairs magazine, Robert O’Brien, who served as national security adviser from 2019 to 2021 under the Trump administration, said that “as China seeks to undermine American economic and military strength, Washington should return the favor.”

“Washington should, in fact, seek to decouple its economy from China’s,” O’Brien wrote in the article titled “The Return of Peace Through Strength: Making the Case for Trump’s Foreign Policy.”

Sincer serving in the Trump administration, O’Brien has still kept busy on the public stage, having met with top Israeli government officials, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, during a three-day visit to Israel last month.

He took the trip with two other Trump administration foreign policy officials, he told NBC News, which reported that the three remain close with the former president, who was likely briefed on their visit.

“My goal on this trip was really to show support for Israel,” O’Brien told the outlet. “But at the same time, people know that I’m a former Trump official; I’m in regular contact with the president and strongly support him in November.”

O’Brien offered other opinions in his Foreign Affairs op-ed, arguing that the 60 percent tariffs on China that Trump has advocated for should be followed with tougher export controls on any technology that may be of use to China.

Former President Donald Trump and his ex-national security advisor Robert O’Brien (Getty Images)
Former President Donald Trump and his ex-national security advisor Robert O’Brien (Getty Images)

“This morass of American weakness and failure cries out for a Trumpian restoration of peace through strength,” O’Brien said in the article. “Nowhere is that need more urgent than in the contest with China.”

The former national security adviser also argues that while the US should “keep open lines of communication” with Beijing, they should help expand the militaries of Indonesia, the Philippines, and Vietnam, as well as continue US commitment in Taiwan.

Focusing further on military operations, he also called for the Pentagon to consider deploying the entirety of the Marines to the Pacific, “relieving it in particular of missions in the Middle East and North Africa.”

O’Brien went on to discuss how the United States should strengthen its nuclear assets by testing new nuclear weapons, and resuming the production of uranium-235 and plutonium-239 “if China and Russia continue to refuse to engage in good-faith arms control talks.”

Touching on the ongoing war in Ukraine, O’Brien wrote that Trump’s approach if he were to step back into the White House would be to provide lethal aid to Ukraine while keeping open the option for diplomacy with Russia.

Donald Trump with Mike Pence, Robert O’Brien (far left), Mark Esper, and Mark Milley in October 2019 (Getty Images)
Donald Trump with Mike Pence, Robert O’Brien (far left), Mark Esper, and Mark Milley in October 2019 (Getty Images)

O’Brien offered his own opinion, saying that Washington should remind European allies that US defense is contingent on “Europe doing its part.”

He said that Europe should admit Ukraine into the European Union immediately without going through bureaucratic protocol.

“Such a move would send a strong message to Putin that the West will not cede Ukraine to Moscow,” he wrote in the Foreign Affairs article.

The article also includes criticizes the Biden administration’s handling of immigration, saying the “inability to secure the southern U.S. border is perhaps its biggest and most embarrassing failure.”

Following the November 2020 presidential election, O’Brien was among a minority of Trump officials to acknowledge President Biden’s victory, publicly saying that the National Security Council planned to ensure there was “a very professional transition.”

When Trump’s supporters then stormed the US Capitol on January 6, he is said to have considered resigning — but ultimately stayed on until the end of his term.