President Barack Obama has unveiled a National Security Policy that emphasizes global cooperation and engagement with partners to produce security, rather than relying solely on military power.
Obama already laid out the broad principles of his security policy in a speech to graduating army officers on May 22. He emphasized multilateral cooperation over unilateral action, the strengthening of alliances, the building of new partnerships, and the promotion of human rights.
In an oblique reference to the perceived failure of the George W. Bush administration's policy favoring unilateralism and preemptive war, Obama said the United States had not succeeded "by stepping out of the currents of cooperation."
But despite its tendency to rely more than previously on what is called "soft power," the Obama doctrine remains implacable toward terrorism and terrorist groups.
Not A 'War On Islam'
This was made clear in a speech by John Brennan, deputy national-security adviser for counterterrorism and homeland security, to a Washington think tank on May 26.
Brennan said the United States was "at war" with Al-Qaeda and its terror affiliates. It will disrupt and dismantle Al-Qaeda's violent extremism by taking the fight to wherever they plot and train, whether in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, and beyond.
Brennan said the United States refused to call its enemies jihadists or lslamists, because he said jihad was a holy struggle, and a legitimate tenet of Islam.
"And there is nothing holy or legitimate about murdering innocent men, women, and children. Indeed, characterizing our adversaries in this way would actually be counterproductive," Brennan said.
"It would play into a false perception that they are religious leaders defending a holy cause, when in fact they are nothing more than murderers, including the murder of thousands upon thousands of Muslims."
Besides, Brennan said, describing the enemy in religious terms would lend credence to the lie that the United States is somehow at war with Islam. He said the reality was that the United States has never been at war with Islam, nor ever will be. Islam, like so any other faiths, is part of America.
Obama's National Security Strategy is the first to address the issue of homegrown terrorism, with Brennan noting that an increasing number of Americans are becoming captivated by extremist ideologies or causes.
Brennan also said Obama's strategy was based on traditional American values.
"Respect for universal values at home and around the world defines who we are and what we hold dear, and an international order that promotes peace, security and opportunity through stronger cooperation, as this is the only path which will allow us to meet global challenges," he said. "The strategy lays out a clear path for advancing these interests and shaping the world we seek."
The policy is also reported to include the economic well-being of the United States as a security consideration, as the economy "serves as the wellspring of American power."
compiled from agency reports