The Cable

An early look at Obama’s National Security Strategy

In unveiling his first formal National Security Strategy Thursday, U.S. President Barack Obama called for "a strategy of national renewal and global leadership," emphasizing U.S. economic strength as the foundation of American power and promising to deepen U.S. alliances and partnerships around the world. The Cable has obtained the text of the 52-page document, which ...

In unveiling his first formal National Security Strategy Thursday, U.S. President Barack Obama called for "a strategy of national renewal and global leadership," emphasizing U.S. economic strength as the foundation of American power and promising to deepen U.S. alliances and partnerships around the world.

The Cable has obtained the text of the 52-page document, which the White House is planning to roll out later today.

The NSS was the product of months of deliberation and consultation inside the administration. Its lead author is Ben Rhodes, the president’s lead foreign-policy speechwriter and a deputy national security advisor. It represents both a repudiation of some of the most controversial aspects of the Bush-era strategy and a continuation of many of its key elements.

The opening letter from President Obama begins with a call to arms:

"Time and again in our nation’s history, Americans have risen to meet — and to shape — moments of transition. This must be one of those moments," it starts. "We live in a time of sweeping change. The success of free nations, open markets, an social progress in recent decades has accelerated globalization on an uprecedented scale."

He then pivots sharply to the tense national security atmosphere and the war against Islamic extremism — though the word "Islamic" is no longer in the document, as the administration seeks to head off concerns that the United States is at war with the Muslim world:

"For nearly a decade, our nation has been at war with a far-reaching network of violence and hatred," it reads. "Moreover, as we face multiple threats — from nations, non-state actors, and failed states — we will maintain the military superiority that has secured our country, and underpinned global security, for decades."

Nodding repeatedly to the economic turmoil that has so far defined his 16 months in office, Obama calls for a focus on strengthening the U.S. economy:

"Yet as we fight the wars in front of us, we must see the horizon behind them — a world in which America is stronger, more secure, and is able to overcome our challenges while appealing to the aspirations of the people around the world. To get there we must pursue a strategy of national renewal and global leadership — a strategy that rebuilds the foundation of American strength and influence."

The opening letter makes arguments for all the national-security themes Obama has emphasized since coming to office: integrating defense with diplomacy and development, using all the instruments of national power, rebuilding old alliances while adding new ones, and sharing the responsiblities of world governance based on common interests.

"The burdens of a young century cannot fall on American shoulders alone," Obama wrote.

You can read the rest of the body of the NSS here: Or you can wait for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to unveil it at 1:30 PM at the Brookings Institution.

The Cable – The Obama administration’s National Security Strategy, May 2010

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