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I. Overview of America’s National Security Strategy

It is the policy of the United States to seek and support democratic movements and institutions in every nation and culture, with the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our world.  In the world today, the fundamental character of regimes matters as much as the distribution of power among them.  The goal of our statecraft is to help create a world of democratic, well-governed states that can meet the needs of their citizens and conduct themselves responsibly in the international system.  This is the best way to provide enduring security for the American people.

Achieving this goal is the work of generations.  The United States is in the early years of a long struggle, similar to what our country faced in the early years of the Cold War.  The 20th century witnessed the triumph of freedom over the threats of fascism and communism.  Yet a new totalitarian ideology now threatens, an ideology grounded not in secular philosophy but in the perversion of a proud religion.  Its content may be different from the ideologies of the last century, but its means are similar:  intolerance, murder, terror, enslavement, and repression.

Like those who came before us, we must lay the foundations and build the institutions that our country needs to meet the challenges we face.  The chapters that follow will focus on several essential tasks.  The United States must:

  • Champion aspirations for human dignity;
  • Strengthen alliances to defeat global terrorism and work to prevent attacks against us and our friends;
  • Work with others to defuse regional conflicts;
  • Prevent our enemies from threatening us, our allies, and our friends with weapons of mass destruction (WMD);
  • Ignite a new era of global economic growth through free markets and free trade;
  • Expand the circle of development by opening societies and building the infrastructure of democracy;
  • Develop agendas for cooperative action with other main centers of global power;
  • Transform America’s national security institutions to meet the challenges and opportunities of the 21st century; and
  • Engage the opportunities and confront the challenges of globalization.