A Strategy of Partnerships

Powell, Colin L.
January 2004
Foreign Affairs;Jan/Feb2004, Vol. 83 Issue 1, p22
The September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States has naturally led the administration of President George W. Bush to put to the forefront of its foreign policy on how to deal with terrorism both its causes and prevention. And the people in the United States want to understand why the attacks happened and they demand a foreign policy that makes sure such events will never happen again. Defeating terrorism is a priority that drives not only military action to subdue individual terrorists and deter their state supporters but also multilateral cooperation in law enforcement and intelligence sharing. It encompasses efforts both to stigmatize terrorism as a political instrument and to reduce the underlying sources of terrorist motivation and recruitment. But the breadth of United States strategy transcends the war on terrorism, which the people cannot get to acknowledge and understand. Contrary to his critics, President George W. Bush does have a vision of a better world and he also has a strategy for translating that vision into reality. President Bush's strategy was first laid out publicly in September 2002, in the National Security Strategy (NSS) of the United States. The NSS document made the concept of preemption explicit in the heady aftermath of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, and it did so for obvious reasons. These reasons are sensible, but some observers have exaggerated both the scope of preemption in foreign policy and the centrality of preemption in United States strategy as a whole. It must be clear that the United States puts primacy on alliances and partnership among nations and is not unilateral in its approach.


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