President outlines threats, actions to meet challenges
THE WHITE HOUSE,
Time and again in our Nation's history, Americans have risen to meet — and to shape — moments of transition. This must be one of those moments. We live in a time of sweeping change. The success of free nations, open markets, and social progress in recent decades has accelerated globalization on an unprecedented scale. This has opened the doors of opportunity around the globe, extended democracy to hundreds of millions of people, and made peace possible among the major powers. Yet globalization has also intensified the dangers we face — from international terrorism and the spread of deadly technologies, to economic upheaval and a changing climate.
For nearly a decade, our Nation has been at war with a far-reaching network of violence and hatred.
Even as we end one war in Iraq, our military has been called upon to renew our focus on Afghanistan as part of a commitment to disrupt, dismantle, and defeat al-Qa'ida and its affiliates. This is part of a broad, multinational effort that is right and just, and we will be unwavering in our commitment to the security of our people, allies, and partners. Moreover, as we face multiple threats — from nations, nonstate actors, and failed states — we will maintain the military superiority that has secured our country, and underpinned global security, for decades.
Yet as we fight the wars in front of us, we must see the horizon beyond them — a world in which America is stronger, more secure, and is able to overcome our challenges while appealing to the aspirations of people around the world. To get there, we must pursue a strategy of national renewal and global leadership — a strategy that rebuilds the foundation of American strength and influence.
Our strategy starts by recognizing that our strength and influence abroad begins with the steps we take at home. We must grow our economy and reduce our deficit. We must educate our children to compete in an age where knowledge is capital, and the marketplace is global. We must develop the clean energy that can power new industry, unbind us from foreign oil, and preserve our planet. We must pursue science and research that enables discovery, and unlocks wonders as unforeseen to us today as the surface of the moon and the microchip were a century ago. Simply put, we must see American innovation as a foundation of American power.
We must also build and integrate the capabilities that can advance our interests, and the interests we share with other countries and peoples. Our Armed Forces will always be a cornerstone of our security, but they must be complemented. Our security also depends upon diplomats who can act in every corner of the world, from grand capitals to dangerous outposts; development experts who can strengthen governance and support human dignity; and intelligence and law enforcement that can unravel plots, strengthen justice systems, and work seamlessly with other countries.
The burdens of a young century cannot fall on American shoulders alone — indeed, our adversaries would like to see America sap our strength by overextending our power. In the past, we have had the foresight to act judiciously and to avoid acting alone. We were part of the most powerful wartime coalition in human history through World War II, and stitched together a community of free nations and institutions to endure a Cold War. We are clear-eyed about the challenge of mobilizing collective action, and the shortfalls of our international system. But America has not succeeded by stepping outside the currents of international cooperation. We have succeeded by steering those currents in the direction of liberty and justice — so that nations thrive by meeting their responsibilities and face consequences when they don't.
To do so, we will be steadfast in strengthening those old alliances that have served us so well, while modernizing them to meet the challenges of a new century. As influence extends to more countries and capitals, we will build new and deeper partnerships in every region, and strengthen international standards and institutions. This engagement is no end in itself. The international order we seek is one that can resolve the challenges of our times — countering violent extremism and insurgency; stopping the spread of nuclear weapons and securing nuclear materials; combating a changing climate and sustaining global growth; helping countries feed themselves and care for their sick; resolving and preventing conflict, while also healing its wounds.
In all that we do, we will advocate for and advance the basic rights upon which our Nation was founded, and which peoples of every race and region have made their own. We promote these values by living them, including our commitment to the rule of law. We will strengthen international norms that protect these rights, and create space and support for those who resist repression. Our commitment to human dignity includes support for development, which is why we will fight poverty and corruption. And we reject the notion that lasting security and prosperity can be found by turning away from universal rights — democracy does not merely represent our better angels, it stands in opposition to aggression and injustice, and our support for universal rights is both fundamental to American leadership and a source of our strength in the world.
As a Nation made up of people from every race, region, faith, and culture, America will persist in promoting peace among different peoples and believes that democracy and individual empowerment need not come at the expense of cherished identities. Indeed, no nation should be better positioned to lead in an era of globalization than America — the Nation that helped bring globalization about, whose institutions are designed to prepare individuals to succeed in a competitive world, and whose people trace their roots to every country on the face of the Earth.
As a citizen, Senator, and President, I have always believed that America's greatest asset is its people — from the awe I felt as a child watching a space capsule pulled out of the Pacific, to the strength I drew from workers rebuilding their lives in Illinois, to the respect that I have for the generation of Americans who serve our country today. That is why I also believe that we must foster even deeper connections among Americans and peoples around the globe. Our long-term security will come not from our ability to instill fear in other peoples, but through our capacity to speak to their hopes. And that work will best be done through the power of the decency and dignity of the American people — our troops and diplomats, but also our private sector, nongovernmental organizations, and citizens. All of us have a role to play.
From the birth of our liberty, America has had a faith in the future — a belief that where we're we’re going is better than where we’ve been, even when the path ahead is uncertain. To fulfill that promise,generations of Americans have built upon the foundation of our forefathers — finding opportunity, fighting injustice, and forging a more perfect Union We have also created webs of commerce, supported an international architecture of laws and institutions, and spilled American blood in foreign lands .— not to build an empire, but to shape a world in which more individuals and nations could determine their own destiny, and live with the peace and dignity that they deserve.
In 2010, America is hardened by wars, and inspired by the servicemen and women who fight them. We are disciplined by a devastating economic crisis, and determined to see that its legacy is a new foundation for prosperity; and we are bound by a creed that has guided us at home, and served as a beacon to the world. America's greatness is not assured — each generation's place in history is a question unanswered. But even as we are tested by new challenges, the question of our future is not one that will be answered for us, it is one that will be answered by us. And in a young century whose trajectory is uncertain, America is ready to lead once more.
(Distributed by the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site: http://www.america.gov)
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Obama’s Introduction to National Security Strategy Report