What We Believe
A New Vision for American Foreign Policy
Our country is at its best when we are far-sighted, courageous, and true to our common values. In 1776, our republic’s founders fought for liberty and freedom, and went on to seek an ever more perfect union. In 1941, Americans united to defeat the forces of fascism, and went on to win the peace by building the institutions and alliances that kept the world secure for half a century. Through decades of Cold War, we faced down the communist threat with the strength of our military, the power of our diplomacy, and the example of our democratic ideals.
The National Security Network was established to revitalize America’s national security policy for a new era. We seek to help our country be its best again, keep our people safe, and forge a better, stronger global future.
That means taking a clear-eyed look at the world and building upon, not turning our backs on, the strongest traditions of our past.
Today, terrorism and weapons of mass destruction pose grave threats. Our dependence on oil threatens our economy, our security, and the environment. Regional instability in the Middle East, Asia, Africa, and Latin America threatens our national interests. Unprecedented environmental, economic, and public health challenges loom on the horizon.
We reject the Bush Administration’s reckless, incompetent, and short-sighted policies that have emboldened our enemies, tarnished our moral standing, overstretched our military, and endangered our people.
It’s time to get back to basics – to combine a strong military with shrewd diplomacy, effective alliances, and commitment to our bedrock values.
It’s time for policies built on innovation, pragmatism, and courage to replace policies built on cynicism and fear. It’s time for a truly American foreign policy.
We believe that a 21st-century national security policy for our country should be built on five pillars:
Waging a smarter, stronger, and more comprehensive fight against terrorists and hostile states. We will keep deadly weapons out of our enemies’ hands; destroy terrorist networks; cut off terrorist recruitment through effective outreach to the Islamic world; and put into action an effective homeland security strategy that protects all Americans.
Confronting tomorrow’s challenges before they become today’s crises. We will reverse the reckless energy policies that have left us vulnerable to foreign oil producers, restore our economic competitiveness, and engage countries like Iran and North Korea before they pose urgent threats, not after.
Rebuilding effective American leadership. America always stands tallest when others stand with us. We will rebuild institutions for international cooperation and put our effort into building alliances and partnerships that get results.
Restoring America’s moral authority. We will lead with our values, not our cynicism; fight terrorists in a way that is consistent with our laws; and show the world we can be secure without sacrificing our freedoms.
Honoring America’s fighting men and women. We will keep our military the world’s strongest; invest in its people and technologies; and pledge that our armed forces will never again be sent to war without clear objectives and the resources needed for success.
Goals and Principles for a Revitalized Foreign Policy
Waging a Smarter, Stronger Fight Against Terrorists and Hostile States
• We will aggressively root out terrorist networks, disrupting their financial lifelines, destroying their training sites, disabling their recruiting efforts, and capturing or killing their leaders.
• We will build coalitions with our allies whenever possible, but we will act independently if necessary to confront imminent threats to American security.
• We will reach out to the Islamic world, isolating extremists and inspiring and empowering those committed to responsible government.
• We will prevent terrorists and hostile states from building or acquiring weapons of mass destruction. We will secure existing stockpiles of WMD, halt further proliferation, and eliminate the transnational networks that sell WMD materials and technologies to the highest bidder.
• We will put into action a well-funded homeland security strategy that protects all Americans, including our most vulnerable citizens. We will prevent, prepare for, and respond to acts of terrorism and natural disasters by implementing the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission.
Confronting Tomorrow’s Challenges
• We will reverse the reckless energy policies that have left us vulnerable to foreign oil producers. We will reduce America’s debilitating dependence on oil by aggressively pursuing cleaner alternative energy sources, implementing tougher efficiency standards, and creating a culture committed to energy efficiency in support of our national security goals.
• We will engage countries such as Iran and North Korea before they pose urgent threats, instead of neglecting problems until they turn into crises.
• We will restore America’s international competitiveness by ending crippling budget deficits and aggressively investing in education, technology, and research.
• We will work with our allies to revive moribund global trade negotiations, ensuring a global trading system that is free, fair, and serves the interests of American workers.
• We will actively prevent and resolve conflicts, promote the growth of democratic civil society, respond to emerging environmental, public health, and economic threats, and foster freedom and economic opportunity around the globe.
Rebuilding Effective American Leadership
• We will address global problems through global coordination, with the U.S. taking the lead.
• We will reinvigorate weakened international institutions and rebuild America’s frayed alliances. We will always remember that America’s power is maximized when others stand with us.
• We will once more make America the preeminent global force for peace and prosperity.
Restoring America’s Moral Authority
• We will always remember that our nation was founded upon the principles of justice, freedom, and the inherent rights of all people. These American values have sustained our strength since 1776, through civil war and world wars, through good times and bad.
• We will faithfully honor the letter and the spirit of our Constitution. We will never sanction torture, and we will never tolerate spying on law-abiding citizens.
• We will use our foreign policy to empower those who seek freedom, support those who stand up for human rights, and aid those who struggle for democracy.
• We will restore America’s moral stature, holding ourselves to the same high standards we demand of others. We will lead by example, showing the world that justice and liberty will always prevail over hatred, repression, and brutality. We will never compromise America’s values out of fear.
Honoring America’s Fighting Men and Women
• We will revitalize and strengthen the U.S. military, which has been hollowed out by reckless overextension. We will invest in the people and technologies needed to support the most powerful and flexible military in the world.
• We will never hesitate to use force when necessary, but we will never needlessly place American military personnel in harm’s way. We will send our fighting men and women to war only when peaceful means of resolving conflicts fail.
• We will provide our armed forces with responsible military strategies that lay out clearly defined political and military objectives; and we will make sure our military has the resources and the political support to achieve those goals.
• We will actively seek the views of our military leaders, not sideline them when their advice is politically inconvenient.