Protecting our nation’s security -- our people, our territory and our way of life -- is my Administration’s foremost mission and constitutional duty. America’s security imperatives, however, have fundamentally changed. The central security challenge of the past half century -- the threat of communist expansion -- is gone. The dangers we face today are more diverse. Ethnic conflict is spreading and rogue states pose a serious danger to regional stability in many corners of the globe. The proliferation of weapons of mass destruction represents a major challenge to our security. Large-scale environmental degradation, exacerbated by rapid population growth, threatens to undermine political stability in many countries and regions. And the threat to our open an d free society from the organized forces of terrorism, international crime and drug trafficking is greater as the technological revolution, which holds such promise, also empowers these destructive forces with novel means to challenge our security. These threats to our security have no respect for boundaries and it is clear that American security in the 21st Century will be determined by the success of our response to forces that operate within as well as beyond our borders.
At the same time, we have unprecedented opportunities to make our nation safer and more prosperous. Our military might is unparalleled. We now have a truly global economy linked by an instantaneous communications network, which offers increasing opportunities for American jobs and American investment. The community of democratic nations is growing, enhancing the prospects for political stability, peaceful conflict resolution and greater dignity and hope for the people of the world. The international community is beginning to act together to address pressing global environmental needs.
Never has American leadership been more essential -- to navigate the shoals of the world’s new dangers and to capitalize on its opportunities. American assets are unique: our military strength, our dynamic economy, our powerful ideals and, above all, our people. We can and must make the difference through our engagement; but our involvement must be carefully tailored to serve our interests and priorities.
This report, submitted in accordance with Section 603 of the Goldwater-Nichols Defense Department Reorganization Act of 1986, elaborates a national security strategy that is tailored for this new era and builds upon America’s unmatched strengths. Focusingon new threats and new opportunities, its central goals are:
To enhance our security with military forces that are ready to fight and with effective representation abroad.
To bolster America’s economic revitalization.
To promote democracy abroad.
Over the past three years, my Administration has worked diligently to pursue these goals. This national security strategy report presents the strategy that has guided this effort. It is premised on a belief that the line between our domestic and foreign policies is disappearing -- that we must revitalize our economy if we are to sustain our military forces, foreign initiatives and global influence, and that we must engage actively abroad if we are to open foreign markets and create jobs for our people.
We believe that our goals of enhancing our security, bolstering our economic prosperity and promoting democracy are mutually supportive. Secure nations are more likely to support free trade and maintain democratic structures. Free market nations with growing economies and strong and open trade ties are more likely to feel secure and to work toward freedom. And democratic states are less likely to threaten our interests and more likely to cooperate with the United States to meet security threats and promote free trade and sustainable development. These goals are supported by ensuring America remains engaged in the world and by enlarging the community of secure, free market and democratic nations.
As the boundaries between threats that start outside our borders and the challenges from within are diminishing, the problems others face today can more quickly become ours, tomorrow. This is why U.S. leadership and our engagement have never been more important: if we withdraw from this world today, our citizens will have to pay the price of our neglect. We therefore measure the success of our efforts abroad, as at home, by one simple standard: Have we made the lives of the American people safer, today; have we made tomorrow better and more secure for our children?
Since my Administration began, we have been deeply engaged in efforts to realize this measure of success by meeting the goals of our strategy:
To enhance our security, for example, we have helped achieve peace between Jordan and Israel and an Interim Agreement between Israel and the Palestinians in the Middle East; brokered a comprehensive peace agreement in Bosnia and successfully deterred the spread of conflict to the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia; established NATO’s Partnership for Peace and initiated a process that will lead to NATO’s enlargement; concluded an agreement with Russia to detarget ICBMs and SLBMs; secured the accession of Ukraine, Kazakstan, and Belarus to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and their agreement to eliminate nuclear weapons from their territory, which in turn opened the door to the ratification and entry into force of the START I Treaty and Senate advice and consent to the ratification of the START II Treaty; led successful international efforts to secure the indefinite and unconditional extension of the NPT; initiated negotiations on a comprehensive test ban treaty (CTBT), which we hope to conclude in 1996; participated in an unprecedented regional security gathering of the ASEAN countries and others, including Russia and Vietnam; reached an Agreed Framework with North Korea that halted, and will eventually eliminate, its dangerous nuclear program; and used our diplomatic support and the power of our example to give new impetus to the efforts of the people of Northern Ireland and the British and Irish governments to achieve a just and lasting settlement to the conflict there.
To bolster prosperity at home and around the world, we have secured the enactment of legislation implementing both the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the Uruguay Round of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT); completed over 80 separate trade agreements; actively engaged China on trade issues through extension of its Most Favored Nation status and vigorous pursuit of China’s adherence to the rules-based regime of the World Trade Organization; worked to open Asia-Pacific markets through three leaders meetings of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum; lowered export controls; and held a Western Hemisphere Summit in Miami where the 34 democratic nations of this hemisphere committed themselves to negotiate a free-trade agree ment by 2005.
To promote democracy, we have supported South Africa’s recent transformation; provided aid to a democratizing Russia and other new independent states of the former Soviet Union as well as Central and Eastern European nations; assisted Cambodia; advocated improvements in human rights globally through the UN urging that the rule of law replace the rule of oppressive regimes; and worked with our Western Hemisphere neighbors restoring the democratically elected government in Haiti and hosting the Summit of the Americas, which reaffirmed and strengthened our mutual commitment to democracy.
Our extraordinary diplomatic leverage to reshape existing security and economic structures and create new ones ultimately relies upon American power. Our economic and military might, as well as the power of our ideals, also makes America’s diplomats the irst among equals and enables us to help create the conditions necessary for U.S. interests to thrive. Our economic strength gives us a position of advantage on almost every global issue. For instance, our efforts in South Africa and our negotiations with North Korea demonstrate how the imposition -- or the threat -- of economic sanctions helps us to achieve our objectives as part of our determined diplomacy. That determined diplomacy also is reflected in our consistent effort to engage in productive relations with China across a broad range of issues, including regional security, nonproliferation, human rights and trade. We seek a strategic relationship with China, advancing our own national interests in key areas. It is this steady approach -- asserting America’s core national security interests while keeping in mind longer-term goals -- that is the hallmark of determined diplomacy.
But military force remains an indispensable element of our nation’s power. Our nation must maintain military forces sufficient to deter diverse threats and, when necessary, to fight and win against our adversaries. While many factors ultimately contribute to our nation’s safety and well-being, no single component is more important than the men and women who wear America’s uniform and stand sentry over our security. Their skill, service and dedication constitute the core of our defenses. Today our military is the best-equipped, best-trained and best-prepared fighting force in the world. Time after time in the last three years, our troops demonstrated their continued readiness and strength: moving with lightning speed to head off another Iraqi threat to Kuwait; helping to save hundreds of thousands of lives in Rwanda; giving freedom and democracy back to the people of Haiti; and helping enforce UN mandates in the former Yugoslavia and subsequently deploying forces under NATO command to help implement the peace agreement in Bosnia. I am committed to ensuring that this military capability is not compromised.
The United States recognizes that we have a special responsibility that goes along with being a great power and, at times, our global interests and ideals lead us to oppose those who would endanger the survival or well-being of their peaceful neighbors. At the same time, all nations should be able to expect that their borders and their sovereignty will always be secure; however, this does not mean we or the international community must tolerate gross violations of human rights within those borders.
When our national security interests are threatened, we will, as America always has, use diplomacy when we can, but force if we must. We will act with others when we can, but alone when we must. We recognize, however, that while force can defeat an aggressor, it cannot solve underlying problems. Democracy and economic prosperity can take root in a struggling society only through local solutions carried out by the society itself. We must use military force selectively, recognizing that its use may do no more than provide a window of opportunity for a society -- and diplomacy -- to work.
We therefore will send American troops abroad only when our interests and our values are sufficiently at stake. The courage, loyalty and willingness of our men and women in uniform to put their lives at risk is a national treasure which should never be taken for granted, but neither should we fear to employ U.S. military forces wisely. When we do so, it will be with clear objectives to which we are firmly committed and which -- when combat is likely -- we have the means to achieve decisively. To do otherwise, risks those objectives and endangers our troops. These requirements are as pertinent for humanitarian and other nontraditional interventions today as they were for previous generations during prolonged world wars. Modern media communications may now bring to our homes both the suffering that exists in many parts of the world and the casualties that may accompany interventions to help. But no deployment of American service members is risk-free, and we must remain clear in our purpose and resolute in its execution. And while we must continue to reassess the costs and benefits of any operation as it unfolds, reflexive calls for withdrawal of our forces when casualties are incurred would simply encourage rogue actors to try to force our departure from areas where there are U.S. interests by attacking American troops.
During the past three years, diplomacy backed by American power has produced impressive results: When Iraq moved forces towards Kuwait, we reacted swiftly and dispatched additional, large-scale forces to the region under the authority of the United Nations -- but were prepared to act alone, if necessary.
In Haiti, it was only when the Haitian military learned that the 82nd Airborne Division was en route that we achieved peacefully what we were prepared to do under fire.
In Bosnia, we achieved a breakthrough when U.S. diplomatic leadership was married to appropriate military power. After the fall of Zepa and Srebrenica, the United States secured an agreement from our NATO allies to meet further assaults on the UN safe areas with a decisive military response. American pilots participated in the NATO bombing campaign following the shelling of a Sarajevo marketplace, demonstrating our resolve and helping to bring the parties to the negotiating table.
U.S. leadership then seized the opportunity for peace that these developments created: U.S. diplomats, along with our Contact Group partners, brokered a cease-fire and after intensive U.S.-led negotiations in Dayton, Ohio, a comprehensive peace agreement. U.S. forces are now working as part of a larger NATO force -- joined by forces from members of NATO’s Partnership for Peace -- to help implement the military aspects of the agreement and create the conditions for peace to take hold.
In Rwanda and Somalia, only the American military could have accomplished what it did in these humanitarian missions, saving hundreds of thousands of lives. However, over the longer run our interests were served by turning these operations over to multilateral peacekeeping forces once the immediate humanitarian crisis was addressed. No outside force can create a stable and legitimate domestic order for another society -- that work can only be accomplished by the society itself.
Our national security strategy reflects both America’s interests and our values. Our commitment to freedom, equality and human dignity continues to serve as a beacon of hope to peoples around the world. The vitality, creativity and diversity of American society are important sources of national strength in a global economy increasingly driven by information and ideas.
Our prospects in this new era are promising. The specter of nuclear annihilation has dramatically receded. The historic events of the past three years -- including the handshake between Israel and the PLO, the peace treaty between Israel and Jordan, the transformation of South Africa to a multiracial democracy headed by President Mandela and the peace agreement to end the war in Bosnia -- suggest this era’s possibilities for achieving security, prosperity and democracy.
Our nation can only address this era’s dangers and opportunities if we remain actively engaged in global affairs. We are the world’s greatest power, and we have global interests as well as responsibilities. As our nation learned after World War I, we can find no security for America in isolationism nor prosperity in protectionism. For the American people to be safer and enjoy expanding opportunities, our nation must work to deter would-be aggressors, open foreign markets, promote the spread of democracy a broad, combat transnational dangers of terrorism, drug trafficking and international crime, encourage sustainable development and pursue new opportunities for peace.
Our national security requires the patient application of American will and resources. We can only sustain that necessary investment with the broad, bipartisan support of the American people and their representatives in Congress. The full participation of Congress is essential to the success of our continuing engagement, and I will consult with members of Congress at every step as we formulate and implement American foreign policy.
The need for American leadership abroad remains as strong as ever. I am committed to forging a new public consensus to sustain our active engagement abroad in pursuit of our cherished goal -- a more secure world where democracy and free markets know no borders. This document details that commitment.