During the last fifteen years the National Security Strategy of the United States has undergone several changes. This includes the relationships with foreign governments in terms of economic cooperation, the struggle against terrorism, protection of the environment, eradication of poverty and other important problems.
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Secondly, we need to discuss internal policies, pursued by the state. In this paper, we need to compare the policies of the Obama administration with those ones of Bill Clinton and George Bush.
When the Bill Clinton came to power, he faced the task of developing new security policies in the post-Cold War world. The president immediately placed emphasis on international cooperation not only with Western democracies but also with China, Russia and India1. In addition to that, he tried to avoid the use of military force.
He was an opponent of pre-emptive wars and military intervention into the affairs of foreign countries2. It should be borne in mind that the Clinton administration was often criticized for such lack of initiative, for instance, in connection with Rwanda genocide. Overall, the Clinton administration relied more on persuasion and negotiation, rather than coercion and militarized diplomacy.
In turn, the Bush administration adopted a new form of National Security Strategy. To a large extent, it was shaped by 9/11 terrorists attacks. This new doctrine was based on preventive war and economic sanctions against those countries, which act against the US security interests.
Furthermore, the Bush administration took a more conservative approach to relationships with Russia and other countries of former USSR. Finally, we need to say that the Bush Doctrine attached importance to intensified domestic security, namely we should mention the signing of the PATRIOT Act. This National Security Strategy evinced much criticism inside and outside the country.
The Obama administration has rejected the approach taken by their predecessors. In her speech at the Brookings Institution the US Secretary of the State Hillary Clinton pointed out no country can cope with global challenges on its own3 and this premise must be the corner stone of the US Security Strategy.
The President Obama believes that more intensive cooperation with China, Russia, and India is not only necessary but beneficial for the United States. This cooperation has to take place at different levels, for example, governmental, entrepreneurial, and educational. The new security strategy rejects the idea of militarized diplomacy. The use military force must the last resort.
At the moment, we can speak about several institutional changes, entailed by the new policy. First, it sets stress on information-sharing among the intelligence agencies of various countries especially if these countries fight against global terrorism.
The thing is that several years ago, intelligence services of various countries seldom cooperated with one another on an international level, even despite the fact that it could minimize many terrorist threats4.
Another institutional change is the restructuring of NATO. In her speech, Hillary Clinton argues that NATO as an organization is far too bureaucratic and expensive and its structure has to be simplified.
Overall, the new National Security Strategy implies that the United States should occupy a pivotal role in international politics. Yet, this role should be that one of a mediator rather than a commander.
Clinton Hillary. 2010 “Secretary Clinton Addresses U.S. National Security Strategy at the Brookings Institution”.
Lowenthal, Mark. 2008 Intelligence From Secrets To Policy Fourth Edition. NY: CQ Press.
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Murdock, Clark. 2004 Improving the practice of national security strategy: a new approach for the post-Cold War world. New York: CSIS.
Sarkesian Sam, Williams John & Cimbala Stephen. 2008 US national security: policymakers, processes, and politics. NY: Lynne Rienner Publishers.
1 Sarkesian Sam, Williams John & Cimbala Stephen. US national security: policymakers, processes, and politics. P 68
2 Murdock, Clark. Improving the practice of national security strategy: a new approach for the post-Cold War world, p 61
3 Clinton Hillary. 2010 “Secretary Clinton Addresses U.S. National Security Strategy at the Brookings Institution”.
4 Lowenthal, Mark. 2008 Intelligence From Secrets To Policy Fourth Edition