B. Current Context: Successes and Challenges
The United States has enjoyed unprecedented levels of cooperation on many of its highest national security priorities:
• The global coalition against terror has grown and deepened, with extensive cooperation and common resolve. The nations that have partnered with us in Afghanistan and Iraq have developed capabilities that can be applied to other challenges.
• We have joined with other nations around the world as well as numerous multilateral organizations to improve the capability of all nations to defend their homelands against terrorists and transnational criminals.
• We have achieved extraordinary coordination among historic rivals in pressing the DPRK to abandon its nuclear program.
• We have partnered with European allies and international institutions to pressure Iran to honor its non-proliferation commitments.
• The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is transforming itself to meet current threats and is playing a leading role in stabilizing the Balkans and Afghanistan, as well as training the Iraqi military leadership to address its security challenges.
• We have set aside decades of mistrust and put relations with India, the world’s most populous democracy, on a new and fruitful path.
At the same time, America’s relations with other nations have been strong enough to withstand differences and candid exchanges of views.
• Some of our oldest and closest friends disagreed with U.S. policy in Iraq. There are ongoing and serious debates with our allies about how best to address the unique and evolving nature of the global terrorist threat.
• We have disagreed on the steps to reduce agricultural subsidies and achieve success in the WTO Doha Round of trade negotiations. We have also faced challenges in forging consensus with other major nations on the most effective measures to protect the environment.
C. The Way Ahead
The struggle against militant Islamic radicalism is the great ideological conflict of the early years of the 21st century and finds the great powers all on the same side – opposing the terrorists. This circumstance differs profoundly from the ideological struggles of the 20th century, which saw the great powers divided by ideology as well as by national interest.
The potential for great power consensus presents the United States with an extraordinary opportunity. Yet certain challenges must be overcome. Some nations differ with us on the appropriate pace of change. Other nations provide rhetorical support for free markets and effective democracy but little action on freedom’s behalf.
Five principles undergird our strategy for relations with the main centers of global power.
• First, these relations must be set in their proper context. Bilateral policies that ignore regional and global realities are unlikely to succeed.
• Second, these relations must be supported by appropriate institutions, regional and global, to make cooperation more permanent, effective, and wide-reaching. Where existing institutions can be reformed to meet new challenges, we, along with our partners, must reform them. Where appropriate institutions do not exist, we, along with our partners, must create them.
• Third, we cannot pretend that our interests are unaffected by states’ treatment of their own citizens. America’s interest in promoting effective democracies rests on an historical fact: states that are governed well are most inclined to behave well. We will encourage all our partners to expand liberty, and to respect the rule of law and the dignity of the individual, as the surest way to advance the welfare of their people and to cement close relations with the United States.
• Fourth, while we do not seek to dictate to other states the choices they make, we do seek to influence the calculations on which these choices are based. We also must hedge appropriately in case states choose unwisely.
• Fifth, we must be prepared to act alone if necessary, while recognizing that there is little of lasting consequence that we can accomplish in the world without the sustained cooperation of our allies and partners.
1. The Western Hemisphere
These principles guide our relations within our own Hemisphere, the frontline of defense of American national security. Our goal remains a hemisphere fully democratic, bound together by good will, security cooperation, and the opportunity for all our citizens to prosper. Tyrants and those who would follow them belong to a different era and must not be allowed to reverse the progress of the last two decades. Countries in the Hemisphere must be helped to the path of sustained political and economic development. The deceptive appeal of anti-free market populism must not be allowed to erode political freedoms and trap the Hemisphere’s poorest in cycles of poverty. If America’s nearest neighbors are not secure and stable, then Americans will be less secure.
Our strategy for the Hemisphere begins with deepening key relationships with Canada and Mexico, a foundation of shared values and cooperative policies that can be extended throughout the region. We must continue to work with our neighbors in the Hemisphere to reduce illegal immigration and promote expanded economic opportunity for marginalized populations. We must also solidify strategic relationships with regional leaders in Central and South America and the Caribbean who are deepening their commitment to democratic values. And we must continue to work with regional partners to make multilateral institutions like the OAS and the Inter-American Development Bank more effective and better able to foster concerted action to address threats that may arise to the region’s stability, security, prosperity, or democratic progress. Together, these partnerships can advance our four strategic priorities for the region: bolstering security, strengthening democratic institutions, promoting prosperity, and investing in people.
Africa holds growing geo-strategic importance and is a high priority of this Administration. It is a place of promise and opportunity, linked to the United States by history, culture, commerce, and strategic significance. Our goal is an African continent that knows liberty, peace, stability, and increasing prosperity.
Africa’s potential has in the past been held hostage by the bitter legacy of colonial misrule and bad choices by some African leaders. The United States recognizes that our security depends upon partnering with Africans to strengthen fragile and failing states and bring ungoverned areas under the control of effective democracies.