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Forging a World of Liberty under Law: US National Security in the Twenty-first Century

Created date

Thursday, August 31, 2006 - 12:02

This report outlines a new US security strategy for the decades to come. The basic objective of this strategy must be, for the authors, to protect the American people and the American way of life. This overarching goal should comprise three more specific aims: 1) a secure homeland, including protection against attacks on the American people and infrastructure, and against fatal epidemics; 2) a healthy global economy, which is essential for US prosperity and security; and 3) a benign international environment, grounded in security cooperation among nations and the spread of liberal democracy.

The report deals with several topics and proposals such as the UN reform, the development of a "Concert of Democracies" for assuring peace under law, the military supremacy of the liberal democracies, the right of interference, the Middle East, the global terror networks, and nuclear weapons, among others.
The purpose of this project is to outline the guidelines of the US foreign policy for the years to come. The main idea is that the United States must surpass its current unilateral and war-ready foreign doctrine. In the first decade of the twenty-first century, the United States must assess the world not through the eyes of World War II, the Cold War, or even 9/11. Instead, Americans need to recognize that ours is a world lacking a single organizing principle for foreign policy, such as anti-Fascism or anti-Communism. On the other hand, power cannot be wielded in the pursuit of a narrowly drawn definition of the national interest, because such actions breed growing resentment, fear, and resistance.

The alternative is to stand for, seek, and secure a world of liberty under law. Recognizing the complex balance that must be struck between order and liberty to secure true liberal democracy means engaging some governments on securing order and others on promoting liberty, but without sacrificing order. Recognizing that order must come through law and that the rule of law requires ordinary citizens to have a stake in upholding the rules means paying attention to those citizens’ most basic economic and social needs around the world.

Such a strategy encloses many different elements and prescriptions, to be developed depending on the context. Some of them are explained below:

- The United States should assist and encourage popular, accountable, and rights-regarding governments worldwide.

- The United States must make sweeping UN reform a political priority. Necessary reforms include: expanding the Security Council to include India, Japan, Brazil, Germany, and two African states as permanent members; ending the veto for all Security Council resolutions authorizing direct action in response to a crisis; and requiring all UN members to accept "the responsibility to protect," which acknowledges that when sovereign states are unwilling or unable to protect their own citizens from "avoidable catastrophe," it is up to the international community to do so.

- The United States should work in parallel with its friends and allies to develop a global "Concert of Democracies": a new institution designed to strengthen security cooperation among the world’s liberal democracies. This Concert would ratify "democratic peace" and would provide an alternative forum to authorize collective action, including the use of force, if the UN is not reformed. However, the preventive use of force against states should be very rare, employed only as a last resort, and authorized by multilateral institutions.

- Any long-term solution in the Middle East must include a comprehensive two-state solution in Israel and Palestine. American forces inside Iraq should be redeployed, in cooperation with the Iraqi government, to places where they can be useful in building order.

- The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) should be reformed and revived by revising Article IV to allow non-nuclear-weapons states nuclear energy but not nuclear capacity and by taking concrete steps to live up to the US commitment under Article VI to reduce its dependence on nuclear weapons.

- To combat the threat of new global pandemics, more investment is needed in the public health system, providing adequate resources and training to our first responders, and building the capacity of governments that are least equipped to deal with disease outbreaks.

- Decreasing dependence on oil is needed for security reasons, in order to avoid transferring wealth to autocratic regimes and to fight climate change and environmental degradation.

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