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Public Papers - 1993 - January

Statement on the National Security Strategy Report


Today, as required by the Goldwater-Nichols Defense Reform Act of 1986, I signed and forwarded to the Congress the National Security Strategy Report. This report comes at a particularly important time, when the international security environment is in the midst of a turbulent transition and when the continuity of America's engagement and leadership is perhaps more important than ever before. No other nation can provide the same combination of moral, cultural, political, economic, and military leadership. No other has won such confidence, respect, and trust. If we are to seize the opportunities that will be offered and reduce the dangers that will surely confront us in the future, America must lead. We must lead because we simply cannot hope to achieve a more democratic and peaceful future in a world still rife with turmoil and conflict and political or economic isolation. This does not mean we aspire to be the world's policeman or that we can postpone addressing our own domestic imperatives while we devote attention and resources to international demands. It is not an either/or choice. We cannot be strong abroad if we are not strong at home. We cannot be strong at home if we are not strong and engaged abroad.

The National Security Strategy Report acknowledges the diverse political, economic, and military challenges that America faces, as well as the domestic imperatives that define our overall national health. It identifies our enduring national security interests and objectives: the security of the United States as a free and independent nation; global and regional stability; open, democratic, and representative political systems worldwide; an open international trading and economic system; and an enduring global faith in America.

The report acknowledges our political achievements over recent years and outlines both short- and long-term approaches to promote peace and democracy worldwide. It specifically addresses priorities of our bilateral efforts as well as initiatives in multinational and regional organizations designed to influence the future. Emphasizing the now-diminishing distinction between domestic and international economic policy, it identifies the steps necessary for domestic economic renewal, as well as prioritized initiatives to strengthen our international economic competitiveness. It also emphasizes the need to reform U.S. economic institutions and our bilateral development assistance and to expand considerably our efforts in the environment and in space.

Stressing the continued mandate for security through strength, the report defines four enduring and mutually supportive strategic goals: deterrence and the capability to defeat aggression should deterrence fail; strengthening our alliance arrangements and our preference for multilateral action; maintaining stability through forward presence and force projection; and helping to preclude conflict and keep the peace. Most important, the report identifies a strategy for near-term leadership and outlines ways the United States can help influence the future through the United Nations, regional organizations, and alliances.

America has always stood for much more than the sum of its political and economic goals and aspirations. We do care about the world around us, and our contributions are written in history for all to see. We inspire others because of what we have achieved and because of what we represent. We have a vision for the future. We seek a world of cooperation and progress, not confrontation; a world no longer divided but a community of independent and interdependent nations joined together by shared values; a world in which the U.S. role is defined by what we stand for, freedom, human rights, economic prosperity, the rule of law and peace, rather than what we stand against.

To succeed, our strategy must be more than words on a piece of paper. We must have faith, courage, hard work, and inspiration. We must continue the dialog and the debate, for that too is what democracy is all about. As a nation, let us work together to lead the world toward the 21st century, the age of democratic peace. There is no more important goal to which we would aspire.

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