Sunday, May 30, 2010

Clinton: Diplomacy, Development Critical to National Security

By Merle David Kellerhals Jr. [Staff Writer]

Washington - Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton says diplomacy and economic development are integral parts of President Obama's security strategy and have equal status with military force in protecting the American people.

The White House released the president's National Security Strategy on May 27. It relies heavily on diplomacy and engagement, economic development and other methods of influence, along with U.S. military capabilities with global reach and unsurpassed resources.

Every president since Harry Truman has developed a national security strategy, and while they tend to build on the work of previous administrations, each president also seeks to carve out his mark on U.S. foreign policy and global relations while shaping an international agenda that reflects his goals.

"This is a comprehensive National Security Strategy that integrates our strength here at home, our commitment to homeland security, our national defense and our foreign policy," Clinton said May 27 at the Brookings Institution, a Washington-based policy research center.

"In a nutshell, this strategy is about strengthening and applying American leadership to advance our national interests and to solve shared problems," she said.

Clinton said the approach by Obama, who assumed office 16 months ago, is to build on the diverse sources of American power at home and shape the global system with all of its flaws so that it becomes conducive to meeting overriding U.S. objectives - security, prosperity, the explanation and spread of American values, and an international order that is just and sustainable.

"We do this against the backdrop of a changed and always changing global landscape, and a difficult inheritance - two wars, a struggling economy, reduced credibility abroad, international institutions buckling under the weight of systemic changes and so much more," Clinton said.

While preserving U.S. military preeminence, the Obama administration also emphasizes diplomatic engagement and multilateral coalition-building, she said.

General James Jones, the president's national security adviser, told reporters at the Washington Foreign Press Center May 27 that after 16 months, one of the things the president and his administration have learned is that they must deal with the world as it is.

"This is a time of sweeping change. Two decades since the end of the Cold War, the free flow of information, people and trade continues to accelerate at an unprecedented pace," Jones said. "Events far beyond our nation's shores now impact our safety, our security and prosperity."

Jones said the strategic approach is based on several elements: rebuilding the nation and recognizing that national security begins at home, comprehensive engagement and recognizing that no one nation can meet global challenges alone, promoting international order, and strengthening and integrating national capabilities.

Senator John Kerry, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said Obama's strategy restores a reality-based approach to meet U.S. security imperatives.

"The president recognizes we can't achieve the world we want if we don't recognize the world as it is today, and that combination of idealism and realism is the foundation of his strategy," Kerry said.

(by the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State)