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I. Fundamentals of the Strategy

Goals of the Engagement Strategy

Since the end of the Cold War, the United States and its allies have developed a position of extraordinary strength. As the last decade of the 20th century unfolded, the United States sought to use that strength wisely and in a manner consistent with the fundamental values and ideals on which our republic was founded. The world is undergoing an accelerating process of globalization in which technology is developing exponentially; information is exchanged around the globe cheaply and instantaneously; economies are increasingly interdependent; borders are more porous; people seek political and economic freedoms; and groups seek expression of their ethnic identity. Some of these trends add to our strength and security. Others present new challenges. All entail great transformation and prescribe new imperatives for defining our Nation's role in this rapidly changing era.

In a democracy, a nation's foreign policy and security strategy must serve the needs of the people. At the dawn of the 21st century, our world is very different from that of our Founding Fathers, yet the basic objectives in the preamble to the Constitution remain timeless:

provide for the common defence, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity.

The changes we have seen in the last decade do not alter these fundamental purposes. They merely blur the dividing line between domestic and foreign policy and heighten the imperative for a cohesive set of active U.S. efforts, both at home and abroad, to pursue three modern day goals derived from the preamble's objectives: enhancing security at home and abroad, promoting prosperity, and promoting democracy and human rights. To accomplish these three goals in an ever-shrinking world, we have developed a series of policies, now recognized as the elements of our strategy for engagement.


Elements of the Strategy

Shaping the International Environment

A primary element of our strategy of engagement has been to help fashion a new international system that promotes peace, stability, and prosperity. This has involved remolding and shaping both sides of the Cold War bipolar system. It has meant both adapting our alliances and encouraging the reorientation of other states, including former adversaries.

The United States has led the transformation of what were defensive entities into proactive instruments for meeting post-Cold War challenges. Under U.S. leadership, NATO -- our most important Cold War alliance -- has formally revised its strategic concept, successfully ended aggression in Bosnia and Kosovo, and brought new members into the Alliance while holding out the prospect of further enlargement. It has increasingly pursued new initiatives and missions such as the Partnership for Peace (PFP) and peacekeeping operations with partners to help stabilize the continent. New dialogue between historic adversaries interested in joining NATO has helped to reconcile several long-standing disputes among countries in the region. Further challenges exist, but the signs of progress and nature of the changes are encouraging.

Other important security arrangements we forged in the Cold War remain strong in the post-Cold War world. For instance, in 1997 the United States and Japan revised their guidelines for defense cooperation. Our security commitments to the Republic of Korea and Australia also remain strong, as do our defense relations with Thailand and the Philippines, and new security cooperation exists with our friends in the Persian Gulf region.

Nations with whom we had been philosophically opposed during much of the Cold War are in the process of tremendous political and economic change. Our engagement with these states over the last eight years has been focused on encouraging them to undertake important political and economic reforms while at the same time dissuading them from regressing into confrontational relationships. Our efforts with the most populous of these nations -- China and Russia -- have been intended to offer opportunities and incentives for proactive participation, while also encouraging them to be responsible members of the world community. This means progress in respecting the rights of individuals and nations in areas as diverse as the environment, humanitarian issues, the rule of law, and economic fairness. While the outcome of transformation in these nations is not altogether certain, our engagement has had a positive impact on both regional and global stability.

The United States has sought to strengthen the post-Cold War international system by encouraging democratization, open markets, free trade, and sustainable development. These efforts have produced measurable results. The number of democracies, as a percentage of world states, has increased by 14% since 1992. For the first time in history, over half of the world's population lives under democratic governance. Our national security is a direct beneficiary of democracy's spread, as democracies are less likely to go to war with one another, more likely to become partners for peace and security, and more likely to pursue peaceful means of internal conflict resolution that promote both intrastate and regional stability.

The globalization of trade and investment, spurred by new technologies, open borders, and increasingly open societies, is a critical aspect of the 21st century world. United States efforts to expand trade and investment with both traditional and new trading partners fuel growth in our economy. United States efforts to extend market reforms to former adversaries and neutrals also enhance our security by increasing economic cooperation, empowering reformers, and promoting openness and democracy overseas. Economic freedoms routinely facilitate political freedoms. In addition to these opportunities, economic globalization also presents its proponents with tough challenges, such as assisting countries that embrace but are nonetheless left behind by the dynamics of globalization or working with countries that reject these dynamics for fear of losing their cultural or national identity.

Preventing conflict has been a hallmark of U.S. foreign policy under a strategy of engagement. All over the world, the United States has selectively used diplomatic means, economic aid, military presence, and deterrence as tools for promoting peace. We also assist other countries to develop their own defense capabilities through our foreign assistance and security assistance programs. In doing so, we have focused on the threats and opportunities most relevant to our interests as well as our values, and applied our resources where we can make the greatest difference.

Responding to Threats and Crises

The persistence of major interstate conflict has required us to maintain the means for countering potential regional aggressors. Long-standing tensions and territorial division on the Korean peninsula and territorial ambitions in the Persian Gulf currently define the main tenets of this requirement. For the foreseeable future, the United States, preferably in concert with allies, must have the capability to deter -- and if that fails, to defeat -- large-scale, cross-border aggression in two distant theaters in overlapping time frames.

Globally, as a result of more porous borders, rapid changes in technology, greater information flow, and the potential destructive power within the reach of small states, groups, and individuals, the United States finds itself confronting new threats that pose strategic challenges to our interests and values. These include the potential use and continued proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and their means of delivery, proliferation of small arms and light weapons, threats to our information/cyber security, international migrant smuggling and trafficking in persons, and the ability to disrupt our critical infrastructure. As a result, defense of the homeland against WMD terrorism has taken on a new importance, making coordinated Federal, state, and local government efforts imperative. The Domestic Preparedness Program has received significant resources to address immediate threats to our security. Ongoing efforts on National Missile Defense are developing the capability to defend the fifty states against a limited missile attack from states that threaten international peace and security. Prevention remains our first line of defense to lessen the availability of weapons of mass destruction being sought by such aggressor nations. To that end, we continue to work with Russia to control possible leakage of former Soviet nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons materials and expertise to proliferant states.

We are also vigorously pursuing a strengthening of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, the Chemical and Biological Weapons Conventions, the Missile Technology Control Regime, and entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty at the earliest possible time. Other persistent threats to our security in peacetime include international terrorism, drug trafficking, other organized crime, and environmental degradation. The United States has made great strides in restructuring its national security apparatus to address new threats with diplomatic, economic, and military tools.

Fragmentation of a number of states, which helped lead to the collapse of the Cold War's bipolar alignment, has caused turmoil within several regions of the world. This turmoil, a result of re-awakened ethnic and religious divisions and territorial ambitions, has reignited old conflicts and resulted in substantial bloodshed. U.S. leadership in steering international peace and stability operations has restored and maintained peace in a number of locations. We have been more inclined to act where our interests and values are both at stake and where our resources can affect tangible improvement, as in Bosnia and Kosovo. In each of these instances, atrocities against, and the expulsion of, people in the heart of Europe undermined the very values over which we had fought two World Wars and the Cold War. Left unchecked, they could have spread elsewhere throughout Europe and harmed the NATO alliance. We thus saw that our interests and values were affected to a sufficient degree to warrant U.S. military intervention in both Bosnia and Kosovo.

As we look to the future, our strategy must therefore be sufficiently robust so that when we choose to engage, we can do so to prevent conflict, assist failing states, or counter potential regional aggressors as necessary.

Preparing for an Uncertain Future

Meeting this widening array of new threats to our security will require us to transform our capabilities and organizations. Within our military, this transformation has taken several forms: focused science and technology efforts; concept development and experimentation by the Services, combatant commands, and the Joint Staff; robust processes to implement change; and new approaches to foster a culture of bold innovation and dynamic leadership.

The process of transformation must not end solely with defense. Preparation must also include diplomatic, intelligence, law enforcement, and economic efforts if we are to meet the new threats that rapidity of technological change brings to the hands of adversaries, potential and actual. Our government is therefore implementing interagency approaches to formulate, and then execute, policy and plans for dealing with potential contingencies. In addition, preventative diplomacy, often undergirded by the deterrence of our full military capabilities, may help contain or resolve problems before they erupt into crises or contingency operations.


The elements of engagement -- adapting 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; and steering international peace and stability operations -- define the Nation's blueprint for a strategy of engagement. These elements support three strategic concepts for engagement: shaping the international environment, responding to threats and crises, and preparing for an uncertain future. The blueprint and the concepts it supports have served the United States well in a rapidly changing world. Refined by experience, the strategy is a wise roadmap for national security in the 21st century.

Guiding Principles of Engagement

Both our goals, and the policies we pursue to achieve these goals, must reflect two guiding principles that influence both our national character and legacy: protecting our national interests and advancing our values. Throughout history, all sovereign nations have been guided by protection of their national interests, even if they have defined these interests quite differently. Many countries have also been guided by a desire to advance their values. Few, however, have chosen to advance those values principally through the power of their example instead of the might of their military. Historically, the United States has chosen to let our example be the strongest voice of our values. Both our goals and the policies we pursue to achieve these goals reflect these guiding principles.

Protecting our National Interests

Our national interests are wide-ranging. They cover those requirements essential to the survival and well being of our Nation as well as the desire to see us, and others, abide by principles such as the rule of law, upon which our republic was founded.

We divide our national interests into three categories: vital, important, and humanitarian. Vital interests are those directly connected to the survival, safety, and vitality of our nation. Among these are the physical security of our territory and that of our allies, the safety of our citizens both at home and abroad, protection against WMD proliferation, the economic well-being of our society, and the protection of our critical infrastructures--including energy, banking and finance, telecommunications, transportation, water systems, vital human services, and government services--from disruption intended to cripple their operation. We will do what we must to defend these interests. This may involve the use of military force, including unilateral action, where deemed necessary or appropriate.

The second category, important national interests, affects our national well being or that of the world in which we live. Principally, this may include developments in regions where America holds a significant economic or political stake, issues with significant global environmental impact, infrastructure disruptions that destabilize but do not cripple smooth economic activity, and crises that could cause destabilizing economic turmoil or humanitarian movement. Examples of when we have acted to protect important national interests include our successful efforts to end the brutal conflict and restore peace in Kosovo, or our assistance to our Asian and Pacific allies and friends in support of the restoration of order and transition to nationhood in East Timor.

The third category is humanitarian and other longer-term interests. Examples include reacting to natural and manmade disasters; acting to halt gross violations of human rights; supporting emerging democracies; encouraging adherence to the rule of law and civilian control of the military; conducting Joint Recovery Operations worldwide to account for our country's war dead; promoting sustainable development and environmental protection; or facilitating humanitarian demining.

Threats or challenges to our national interests could require a range of responses. Wherever possible, we seek to avert conflict or relieve humanitarian disasters through diplomacy and cooperation with a wide range of partners, including other governments, international institutions, and non-governmental organizations. Prevention of crises, through the proactive use of such diplomatic, economic, political and military presence tools, will not only save lives but also will prevent a much greater drain of fiscal resources than its alternative -- managing conflict.

Advancing American Values

The protection of national interests is not the sole factor behind the various expressions of U.S. national resolve. Since the beginning of our democracy, our policies and actions have also been guided by our core values -- political and economic freedom, respect for human rights, and the rule of law. In keeping with these values, we have lent our encouragement, support, and assistance to those nations and peoples that freely desire to achieve those same blessings of liberty. Pursuing policies that are guided by these values, and the open economic and political processes through which they are typically manifested, will in the long term strengthen international peace and stability, and reinforce the positive aspects of globalization.

Where Interests Meet Values

There are times when the nexus of our interests and values exists in a compelling combination that demands action -- diplomatic, economic, or military. At times throughout our history, our survival as a nation has been at stake and military action was the only possible recourse. On other occasions, our survival as a nation has not been at stake but our national interests have nonetheless been challenged. When such challenges to our interests occur in concert with morally compelling challenges to our values, the American people expect their government to take action. During the course of this Administration, we have employed military force only in circumstances in which our national interests were at stake and our values were challenged.

Preserving our interests and values has never been without cost, and every generation has been asked to bear a portion of the price of freedom. From a bridge at Concord over two centuries ago to the air over Kosovo last year, on numerous occasions Americans have been called upon to stand up for their interests, interests which are often inextricably linked with their values.

Today, 250,000 U.S. forces are stationed or deployed overseas to protect and advance our nation's interests and values -- down from a Cold War peak of 500,000. Of this, we maintain a continuous overseas presence of over 200,000 in places like Germany, Japan, and South Korea, while about 30,000 are currently involved in operations. These include nearly 20,000 stationed around the Persian Gulf to contain Iraq, roughly 10,000 in Bosnia and Kosovo, and 1,000 in the Sinai. Other forces, such as those rotationally deployed to the Mediterranean, the Pacific Ocean and the Arabian Gulf, remain involved in routine operations. Our diplomatic corps -- the Civil and Foreign Services -- also bear an important part of protecting and advancing our interests, often in the furthest reaches of the globe, through embassies, consulates, and missions worldwide.

The Efficacy of Engagement

Our strategy of engagement has allowed us to accrue a range of benefits, including sustained, relative peace, expanded trade and investment opportunities brought by globalization, and a large increase in the number of states that share our democratic values. We have exercised strong leadership in the international community to shape the international security environment in ways that promote peace, stability, prosperity, and democratic governance. We have transformed our alliances and reinvigorated relationships with friends and partners; forged broad relationships with former adversaries; fostered new relations with transitional states; and deterred major hostilities.

Enhancing Our Security at Home and Abroad

There are clear indicators that engagement is achieving our national security goals in this rapidly changing world. First, engagement has produced many benefits that enhance our security at home and abroad. The overseas presence of our military forces helps deter or even prevent conflict. It assures our allies of our support and displays our resolve to potential enemies. It allows for maximum military cooperation with our allies and therefore encourages burdensharing. Forward-deployed forces permit us to identify emerging security problems, and then facilitate a swift response, if necessary. Ongoing operations in Southwest Asia and Southeastern Europe have improved the current security environment by ensuring that a return to peace is sustained. Our new embassies in the countries of the former Soviet Union, and in some 140 other countries, allow the U.S. to advance America's interests and values in real time, and to immediately detect opportunities and challenges to these interests. Other aspects of our engagement policies, such as non-proliferation programs like the Expanded Threat Reduction Initiative (ETRI), have, within the framework of START 1, stabilized the security environment. Over 5,000 nuclear warheads, 600 missile launchers, 540 land-based and submarine launched inter-continental ballistic missiles, 64 heavy bombers, and 15 missile submarines have been deactivated and potential proliferation of WMD or their delivery means averted. These efforts have made the world a much safer place.

We have also seen international engagement enhance our ability to address asymmetric threats to our security, such as acts of terrorism and the desired procurement and use of WMD by potential regional aggressors. International counterterrorism cooperation, for example, led to the pre-emptive arrest of individuals planning to terrorize Americans at home and abroad celebrating the Millennium. Engagement efforts have already assembled an impressive record of international cooperation to harmonize legislation on terrorist offenses, conduct research and development, and create databases on terrorism. Strong U.S. overseas presence and engagement, enhanced by a network of multilateral agreements and arrangements, has enabled us to contain the proliferation of nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons and their means of delivery by potential regional aggressors. Inspections done at point of origin for goods destined for the U.S. improves our nonproliferation and border security efforts and even enhances cargo throughput. In other cases, it has actually interrupted the flow of sensitive goods to those countries. Robust engagement in support of law enforcement efforts of partner nations has resulted in the dismantling of a number of major drug trafficking organizations and the interdiction of significant quantities of elicit [sic] drugs that would otherwise have reached U.S. or other consumer markets. Together, efforts that focus on asymmetric threats to our security will reduce our potential vulnerability despite an increasingly inter-connected world.

Economic Benefits that Promote Prosperity

Engagement has had clear economic benefits that promote prosperity around the globe. This strategy provides stability to the world economic system on which the U.S. economy depends. Our involvement in international economic organizations like the G-8, G-20, World Trade Organization (WTO) and Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has helped build stable, resilient global economic and financial systems that promote strong, global prosperity. The U.S. - China Bilateral WTO agreement, for example, will reduce China's tariffs on U.S. priority agricultural products from an average of 31% to 14%. It will reduce similar tariffs on U.S. industrial products from 24.6% to 9.4%. Such agreements expand U.S. market access and bring new goods and services to these markets at lower cost. Overall, the Administration has concluded 304 trade agreements, and created a series of new fora for economic dialogue, that now include the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum, the Transatlantic Economic Partnership, and the ongoing development work on the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA). This has led to numerous economic and financial agreements/reforms in international institutions that bring stability to the global marketplace that is so essential for America's economic health and economic security. As a result, total U.S. exports of goods and services have grown by over 75% since 1992. Measures to strengthen the architecture of the international financial system, including through increased transparency and reform of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank, have helped put the international economy on a sound footing after recent financial crises and build a stronger global financial system. In addition, WTO agreements to strengthen and expand trade in information technology goods, financial services, basic telecommunications services, and electronic commerce have secured open markets in sectors key to American economic vitality, and laid the groundwork for future liberalization in agriculture, services, and other areas.

Military presence and engagement activities can also provide similar economic stability. Our naval presence ensures that international waters, the sea lines of communication, and ports remain open to commercial shipping, and our ground, air, and naval forces in Southwest Asia deter threats to the free flow of Middle East oil. The clearest and longest standing example of what overseas presence can do for economic stability is found in the sizeable U.S. military force found on the Korean peninsula since 1953. Currently 37,000 strong, U.S. forces have helped the South Koreans rebuild and grow, and now both sides support the continued presence of U.S. forces as a measure of stability. U.S. actions that protect the free flow of natural resources and finished goods provide an environment for sustained economic productivity. Engagement, through military, diplomatic, or other governmental entities, also enables rapid response to computer network incidents and attacks that harm our economy. International government-to-government cooperation, for example, led to the law enforcement action that definitively determined the source of some of the distributed, denial of service attacks in February 2000.

Promoting Democracy and Human Rights

Finally, engagement has had political and diplomatic benefits that promote democracy and human rights. Our policies bring our country's strengths directly to international publics, governments, and militaries, with the hope that this exposure may inspire others to promote democracy and the free market. Whether we're advising foreign governments on the conduct of free elections, teaching foreign troops about the importance of civilian control of the military, aiding international relief agencies in the wake of natural disasters, or in the diplomatic day-to-day efforts of our diplomats in 273 missions around the world, an engaged America brings its values to the world's doorstep. For example, the multi-faceted program for engagement in Africa is having a clear impact on the cultivation of democracy on the continent. From Kampala to Cape Town, from Dakar to Dar-es-Salaam, Africans have new hopes for democracy, peace, and prosperity. Although many challenges yet remain, visible change is occurring. Through our diplomatic missions, over 20 nations across Africa have requested and are receiving assistance to develop judiciary, legal, media, and civil society systems to build necessary institutions to sustain democratic ideals. We are assisting democratic transitions in Nigeria and South Africa.

In our own hemisphere, our engagement efforts have promoted free and fair elections throughout the hemisphere. In Southeast Europe, the Dayton Accords have sustained the peace in Bosnia, permitted a civil society with opposition parties and non-governmental organizations to take root, begun reforms of police and court systems, and allowed national and local elections to take place. The transformation is not complete and progress is not irreversible, but it is unmistakable. The best role model is a visible one.

In summary, a strategy of engagement reaps significant benefits for our Nation -- benefits that actively support our goals of security, prosperity and democracy, yet always remain in consonance with our principles of protecting our national interests and advancing our values. Indeed, there is no other viable policy choice in this global era.

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