The Strategic Approach—The World We Seek
In the past, the United States has thrived when both our nation and our national security policy have adapted to shape change instead of being shaped by it. For instance, as the industrial revolution took hold, America transformed our economy and our role in the world. When the world was confronted by fascism, America prepared itself to win a war and to shape the peace that followed. When the United States encountered an ideological, economic, and military threat from communism, we shaped our practices and institutions at home—and policies abroad—to meet this challenge. Now, we must once again position the United States to champion mutual interests among nations and peoples.
Building Our Foundation
Our national security begins at home. What takes place within our borders has always been the source of our strength, and this is even truer in an age of interconnection.
First and foremost, we must renew the foundation of America’s strength. In the long run, the welfare of the American people will determine America’s strength in the world, particularly at a time when our own economy is inextricably linked to the global economy. Our prosperity serves as a wellspring for our power. It pays for our military, underwrites our diplomacy and development efforts, and serves as a leading source of our influence in the world. Moreover, our trade and investment supports millions of American jobs, forges links among countries, spurs global development, and contributes to a stable and peaceful political and economic environment.
Yet even as we have maintained our military advantage, our competitiveness has been set back in recent years. We are recovering from underinvestment in the areas that are central to America’s strength. We have not adequately advanced priorities like education, energy, science and technology, and health care—all of which are essential to U.S. competitiveness, long-term prosperity, and strength. Years of rising fiscal and trade deficits will also necessitate hard choices in the years ahead.
That is why we are rebuilding our economy so that it will serve as an engine of opportunity for the American people, and a source of American influence abroad. The United States must ensure that we have the world’s best-educated workforce, a private sector that fosters innovation, and citizens and businesses that can access affordable health care to compete in a globalized economy. We must transform the way that we use energy—diversifying supplies, investing in innovation, and deploying clean energy technologies. By doing so, we will enhance energy security, create jobs, and fight climate change.