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 You are in: Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs > Bureau of Public Affairs > Bureau of Public Affairs: Electronic Information and Publications Office > White House Releases > U.S. National Security Strategy

U.S. National Security Strategy: Overview of America's International Strategy



Our Nation's cause has always been larger than our Nation's defense. We fight, as we always fight, for a just peace—a peace that favors liberty. We will defend the peace against the threats from terrorists and tyrants. We will preserve the peace by building good relations among the great powers. And we will extend the peace by encouraging free and open societies on every continent.

President Bush
West Point, New York
June 1, 2002

The United States possesses unprecedented— and unequaled—strength and influence in the world. Sustained by faith in the principles of liberty, and the value of a free society, this position comes with unparalleled responsibilities, obligations, and opportunity. The great strength of this nation must be used to promote a balance of power that favors freedom.

For most of the twentieth century, the world was divided by a great struggle over ideas: destructive totalitarian visions versus freedom and equality.

That great struggle is over. The militant visions of class, nation, and race which promised utopia and delivered misery have been defeated and discredited. America is now threatened less by conquering states than we are by failing ones. We are menaced less by fleets and armies than by catastrophic technologies in the hands of the embittered few.We must defeat these threats to our Nation, allies, and friends.

This is also a time of opportunity for America. We will work to translate this moment of influence into decades of peace, prosperity, and liberty. The U.S. national security strategy will be based on a distinctly American internationalism that reflects the union of our values and our national interests. The aim of this strategy is to help make the world not just safer but better. Our goals on the path to progress are clear: political and economic freedom, peaceful relations with other states, and respect for human dignity.

And this path is not America’s alone. It is open to all. To achieve these goals, the United States will:

  • champion aspirations for human dignity;
  • strengthen alliances to defeat global terrorism and work to prevent attacks against us and our friends;
  • work with others to defuse regional conflicts;
  • prevent our enemies from threatening us, our allies, and our friends, with weapons of mass destruction;
  • ignite a new era of global economic growth through free markets and free trade;
  • expand the circle of development by opening societies and building the infrastructure of democracy;
  • develop agendas for cooperative action with other main centers of global power; and
  • transform America’s national security institutions to meet the challenges and opportunities of the twenty-first century.

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