Monday, May 24, 2010


With the new National Security Strategy to be released this week, Obama's address to the 2010 graduating class at West Point may provide some initial shadings of what to expect from that longer report. In an address that begins to define an Obama vision at achieving US security, there are clear rejections of his predecessor's agenda - both by insisting on upholding freedoms in the face of terrorist scares and by calling for increased participation in the international system - and the introduction of a more comprehensive vision of security itself.

Obama called for an "international order" to fight terrorism, nuclear proliferation, and poverty coupled with aggressive action to curb climate change and restore global economic health, among other pillars.

- Definition of US Security must be broadened both tactically...

Broad American innovation must complement its military campaigns because "at no time in human history has a nation of diminished economic vitality maintained its military and political primacy."
Domestic nation-building to include: development of clean energy; increase technological innovation and R&D, improve US education system
Accompanying international effort to include: participation in international system despite its flaws; reliance on allies and seamless intelligence-cooperation; reengagement of US diplomacy and development in the world

- ...and Conceptually:

• A traditional military victory over terrorism being impossible, the US will be judged on what it builds and how it adheres to its core values, and security will depend directly on economic stability and forward-thinking development both at home and in the world.

• Obama on upholding core American values: "A fundamental part of our strategy for our security has to be America's support for those universal rights that formed the creed of our founding. And we will promote these values above all by living them [...] even when it's hard; even when we're being attacked; even when we're in the midst of war."

• A Comment on remaining steady despite terrorist attempts to derail the US: "Al Qaeda and its affiliates are small men on the wrong side of history. [...] We should not discard our freedoms because extremists try to exploit them. We cannot succumb to division because others try to drive us apart."

- Amy Greene
(photo credit: Politico)