Obama Security Policy Stresses Diplomacy, Development and Coalitions

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This is IN THE NEWS in VOA Special English.

This week, the Obama administration released its first National Security Strategy. The policy statement renews support for American military superiority in the world. But the fifty-two pages also talk about the importance of diplomacy, development and coalition-building to reach policy goals.

The Obama administration has sought to distance itself from the disputed policies of George W. Bush. The former president's policy on the right to attack possible threats came after the terrorist attacks in two thousand one.

Under a nineteen eighty-six law, presidents are supposed to report their national security goals to Congress each year. That has not happened. But the Obama administration has made its general goals known for some time.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton calls it "smart power." She discussed the new strategy report in a speech at the Brookings Institution in Washington. She said the United States is moving from mostly the direct exercise of power to what she called "a more sophisticated and difficult mix of indirect power and influence."

She said the military itself, examining its experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan, has come to recognize the limits of the use of force.

HILLARY CLINTON: "We cannot have a militarized model of diplomacy and development and expect to be successful in making our case on all these other issues that we engage with governments on."

The policy statement also discusses the link between the economic health of the United States and its position in the world. Secretary Clinton said current levels of debt and deficits cannot continue without the United States losing influence and being limited in the decisions it has to make.

The strategy says the United States aims to disrupt, dismantle and defeat al-Qaida, but also to support democracy and human rights. It says the United States "is  waging a global campaign" but adds "this is not a global war against a tactic — terrorism or a religion — Islam."

Presidential adviser John Brennan says a top goal will be to fight the rise of "home-grown" terrorism.

But terrorism is not the only national security concern. The strategy also deals with issues like North Korea.

This week, tensions continued to rise over the sinking of a South Korean navy ship in March. International investigators have blamed a North Korean submarine for the attack. Forty-six sailors died on the Cheonan. North Korea denies any involvement.

The sinking has led the two Koreas to cut most of their trade and communications links. The situation raised fears that the peninsula could be headed toward a return of the warfare of the early nineteen fifties.

Secretary of State Clinton, in Seoul earlier this week at the end of a trip to Asia, said the world has a duty to act over the sinking. South Korea and the United States have been urging China to join them in punishing North Korea in the United Nations Security Council.

And that’s IN THE NEWS in VOA Special English, written by Brianna Blake with David Gollust in Washington and Steve Herman in Seoul. I’m Doug Johnson.

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