This engagement will underpin our commitment to an international order based upon rights and responsibilities. International institutions must more effectively represent the world of the 21st century, with a broader voice—and greater responsibilities—for emerging powers, and they must be modernized to more effectively generate results on issues of global interest. Constructive national steps on issues ranging from nuclear security to climate change must be incentivized, so nations that choose to do their part see the benefits of responsible action. Rules of the road must be followed, and there must be consequences for those nations that break the rules—whether they are nonproliferation obligations, trade agreements, or human rights commitments.
This modernization of institutions, strengthening of international norms, and enforcement of international law is not a task for the United States alone—but together with like-minded nations, it is a task we can lead. A key source of American leadership throughout our history has been enlightened self-interest. We want a better future for our children and grandchildren, and we believe that their lives will be better if other peoples’ children and grandchildren can live in freedom and prosperity. The belief that our own interests are bound to the interests of those beyond our borders will continue to guide our engagement with nations and peoples.
Advancing Top National Security Priorities
Just as our national security strategy is focused on renewing our leadership for the long term, it is also facilitating immediate action on top priorities. This Administration has no greater responsibility than the safety and security of the American people. And there is no greater threat to the American people than weapons of mass destruction, particularly the danger posed by the pursuit of nuclear weapons by violent extremists and their proliferation to additional states.
That is why we are pursuing a comprehensive nonproliferation and nuclear security agenda, grounded in the rights and responsibilities of nations. We are reducing our nuclear arsenal and reliance on nuclear weapons, while ensuring the reliability and effectiveness of our deterrent. We are strengthening the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) as the foundation of nonproliferation, while working through the NPT to hold nations like Iran and North Korea accountable for their failure to meet international obligations. We are leading a global effort to secure all vulnerable nuclear materials from terrorists. And we are pursuing new strategies to protect against biological attacks and challenges to the cyber networks that we depend upon.
As we secure the world’s most dangerous weapons, we are fighting a war against a far-reaching network of hatred and violence. We will disrupt, dismantle, and defeat al-Qa’ida and its affiliates through a comprehensive strategy that denies them safe haven, strengthens front-line partners, secures our homeland, pursues justice through durable legal approaches, and counters a bankrupt agenda of extremism and murder with an agenda of hope and opportunity. The frontline of this fight is Afghanistan and Pakistan, where we are applying relentless pressure on al-Qa’ida, breaking the Taliban’s momentum, and strengthening the security and capacity of our partners. In this effort, our troops are again demonstrating their extraordinary service, making great sacrifices in a time of danger, and they have our full support.