National Security Strategy Stresses Globalized Approaches
By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, March 16, 2006 The White House today released President Bush's second-term National Security Strategy, a 49-page document that details how the administration intends to protect the United States, its interests and its people.
In a speech today at the U.S. Institute for Peace here, Stephen Hadley, the president's national security adviser, explained the rationale behind the strategy.
"The president's strategy begins with the recognition that America is at war," Hadley said. "Protecting the American people remains the first duty of the president of the United States. The president's strategy renews his commitment to maintain an American military without fear, that can dissuade, deter and defeat a wide variety of potential threats."
Hadley said President Bush "continues to mobilize all elements of America's national power to defeat the terrorist threat. To do that, he believes we must stay on the offense. We must defeat the terrorists abroad so we do not need to face them here at home."
The strategy also reaffirms that America makes no distinction between terrorists and countries that harbor them, Hadley said. Though the preference is to work with allies and friends to seek diplomatic solutions to situations that pose potential threats, Hadley said, the strategy allows for pre-emptive action if it's deemed necessary.
"The president believes that we must remember the clearest lesson of Sept. 11: that the United States of America must confront threats before they fully materialize," he said. "The president's strategy affirms that the doctrine of pre-emption remains sound and must remain an integral part of our national security strategy."
At the heart of the strategy is the idea that as the world becomes more interconnected -- or "globalized" to use the strategy's term -- the more the need for global solutions to security.
Building democracy and promoting freedom are keys to this globalized approach. This is not a new concept for the Bush administration. "These inseparable priorities -- fighting and winning the war on terror and promoting freedom as the alternative to tyranny and despair -- have now guided American policy for more than four years," Bush says in the introduction to the strategy.
In the short term, the strategy continues the campaign to root out and capture or kill terrorists and terrorist supporters. It seeks to build militaries around the world to effectively combat the threat, and seeks to strengthen counterterrorism cooperation among nations.
Short-term goals also include strengthening democratically elected governments. Many democratic governments in the world are shaky at best. Strengthening these governments' effectiveness and the rule of law in these nations is a U.S. security necessity. Working with nations to combat transnational threats -- such as pandemic diseases, HIV/AIDS, counternarcotics, illegal immigration, natural disasters and terrorism -- makes those governments more secure and, as a result, the United States more secure.
Training foreign servicemembers, police and government employees becomes more important to this strategy. Strong, free, democracies "do not oppress their people or attack other free nations,," according to the strategy. They also can exercise control over the entire territories of their countries -- cutting down the amount of "ungoverned areas" that terrorist may use to train, refit and plan.
The strategy marshals all aspects of the government as it confronts the threats of "the Long War." Promoting and honoring basic human rights -- including freedom of religion, speech, assembly, association, the press and conscience -- will be the key to U.S. foreign policy.
Stopping young people from joining extremists groups is a large part of the strategy. The strategy says that terror groups recruit people "who have no voice in their own government and see no legitimate way to promote change in their own country. Without a stake in the existing order, they are vulnerable to manipulation by those who advocate a perverse vision based on violence and destruction."
Helping these nations develop economically and politically will stem the flow of recruits to these terrorist groups.
The strategy points out that democracy in other nations will not look the same as it does in the United States. "Freedom cannot be imposed; it must be chosen," the strategy reads. "The form that freedom and democracy take in any land will reflect the history, culture and habits unique to its people."
In fact, the strategy is tailored to each area and contingency.
The strategy uses examples to show the changes. Iran has become an increasing U.S. concern. "We may face no greater challenge from a single country than from Iran," the strategy document says. "For almost 20 years, the Iranian regime hid many of its key nuclear efforts from the international community. Yet the regime continues to claim that it does not seek to develop nuclear weapons.
"The Iranian regime's true intentions are clearly revealed by the regime's refusal to negotiate in good faith; its refusal to come into compliance with its international obligations by providing the (International Atomic Energy Agency) access to nuclear sites and resolving troubling questions; and the aggressive statements of its president calling for Israel to 'be wiped off the face of the earth.'"
The U. S. has joined with the European Union and Russia to pressure Iran to meet its international obligations and provide objective guarantees that its nuclear program is only for peaceful purposes. "This diplomatic effort must succeed if confrontation is to be avoided," the document states.
The strategy addresses threats from rogue states such as North Korea and Sudan. The strategy promises the United States will remain involved in negotiating between Israelis and Palestinians, between India and Pakistan, and between Eritrea and Ethiopia as just a few examples.
"The president's National Security Strategy charts the way forward along the path of confidence," Hadley said. "It is a strategy of leadership. It is a strategy of partnership. It is a strategy that protects America's vital interests, reflects America's history and promotes America's highest ideals."