International institutions—most prominently NATO and the United Nations—have been at the center of our international order since the mid 20th century. Yet, an international architecture that was largely forged in the wake of World War II is buckling under the weight of new threats, making us less able to seize new opportunities. Even though many defining trends of the 21st century affect all nations and peoples, too often, the mutual interests of nations and peoples are ignored in favor of suspicion and self-defeating competition.
What is needed, therefore, is a realignment of national actions and international institutions with shared interests. And when national interests do collide—or countries prioritize their interests in different ways—those nations that defy international norms or fail to meet their sovereign responsibilities will be denied the incentives that come with greater integration and collaboration with the international community.
No international order can be supported by international institutions alone. Our mutual interests must be underpinned by bilateral, multilateral, and global strategies that address underlying sources of insecurity and build new spheres of cooperation. To that end, strengthening bilateral and multilateral cooperation cannot be accomplished simply by working inside formal institutions and frameworks. It requires sustained outreach to foreign governments, political leaderships, and other critical constituencies that must commit the necessary capabilities and resources to enable effective, collective action. And it means building upon our traditional alliances, while also cultivating partnerships with new centers of influence. Taken together, these approaches will allow us to foster more effective global cooperation to confront challenges that know no borders and affect every nation.
Ensure Strong Alliances
The foundation of United States, regional, and global security will remain America’s relations with our allies, and our commitment to their security is unshakable. These relationships must be constantly cultivated, not just because they are indispensible for U.S. interests and national security objectives, but because they are fundamental to our collective security. Alliances are force multipliers: through multinational cooperation and coordination, the sum of our actions is always greater than if we act alone. We will continue to maintain the capacity to defend our allies against old and new threats. We will also continue to closely consult with our allies as well as newly emerging partners and organizations so that we revitalize and expand our cooperation to achieve common objectives. And we will continue to mutually benefit from the collective security provided by strong alliances.
Although the United States and our allies and partners may sometimes disagree on specific issues, we will act based upon mutual respect and in a manner that continues to strengthen an international order that benefits all responsible international actors.