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Over the last eight years, we have once again mustered the creative energies of our Nation to reestablish the United States' military and economic strength within the world community. This leadership position has been achieved in a manner in which our forefathers would likely have been pleased; a nation leading by the authority that comes from the attractiveness of its values and force of its example, rather than the power of its military might to compel by force or sanction. As a result, the world now looks to the United States to be not just a broker of peace, but a catalyst of coalitions, and a guarantor of global financial stability. It has been achieved in spite of a period of tumultuous change in the strategic landscape. Yet, it has been realized because we have maintained a steadfast focus on simple goals -- peace, shared prosperity, and freedom -- that lift the condition of all nations and people that choose to join us.
Our strategy for engagement is comprised of many different policies, the key elements of which include:
• Adapting our alliances
• Encouraging the reorientation of other states, including former adversaries
• Encouraging democratization, open markets, free trade, and sustainable development
• Preventing conflict
• Countering potential regional aggressors
• Confronting new threats
• Steering international peace and stability operations.
These elements are building blocks within a strategic architecture that describe a foreign policy for a global age. They are not easily summed up in a single phrase but they have all been guided by two simple principles -- protecting our interests and advancing our values. Together, the sum of these goals, elements, and principles represent the blueprint for our strategy of engagement, and we believe that strategy will best achieve our vision for the future.
But we must not be too sanguine about the future. New challenges to the sustainability of our current economic, political, and national security successes will arise. The true question is what will best ensure our leadership in the years ahead. It took great vision almost a decade ago to realize that strength abroad would depend not only on maintaining an internationalist philosophy but also on reestablishing strength at home. Putting our economic house in order, while not retreating into isolationism proved a wise course and validated the mutual linkage between disparate goals of peace, shared prosperity, and democracy. Any other policy choice might well have permitted the world to fall into a series of regional conflicts in the aftermath of the Cold War and possibly have precluded opportunity for the U.S. economic recovery of the 1990s. Although past is not necessarily prologue, the inexorable trend of globalization supports the continued viability of a strategy of engagement. We must not, in reaction to the real or perceived costs of engagement, retreat into a policy of "Fortress America." To do so would lead us down a path that would dishonor our commitments, ignore our friends, and discount belief in our values. The result would be a global loss of our authority and with it ultimately our power. A strategy of engagement, however, is the surest way to enhance not only our power but also our authority, and thus our leadership, into the 21st century.