Finally, there can be no security where there is no hope of prosperity. We must continue to promote the spread of global markets in ways that advance economic growth, honor our values, and help alleviate economic disparity. We must build on the creation of the WTO, and of NAFTA, on the passage of PNTR for China, on extending trade preferences to nations in Africa and the Caribbean Basin, and on the nearly 300 trade agreements we have signed that have contributed to the longest U.S. economic expansion in history. At the same time, we must understand that trade, by itself, is not enough to lift the most desperate nations out of poverty or prevent the world from becoming bitterly divided between haves and have nots. That’s why we have led in promoting the HIPC initiative to provide deeper debt reduction for countries with unsustainable debt burdens, and placed global development issues at the forefront of the international agenda.
More than 50 years ago, Harry Truman said: “We are in a position now of making the world safe for democracy, if we don’t crawl in a shell and act selfish and foolish.” He believed that in the wake of our triumph in World War II, America had the ability and a responsibility to shape world events, so that we would not be shaped by them. Truman was right, and the historical forces he saw then have only intensified since the Cold War.
The ability to assure global security, shared prosperity and freedom is beyond the power of any one nation. But the actions of many nations often follow from the actions of one. America today has power and authority never seen before in the history of the world. We must continue use it, in partnership with those who share our values, to seize the opportunities and meet the challenges of a global age.
William J. Clinton
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.