290. Report on the National Security Strategy of the United States1

[Omitted here are the title page and the table of contents.]

I. An American Perspective

In the early days of this Administration we laid the foundation for a more constructive and positive American role in world affairs by clarifying the essential elements of U.S. foreign and defense policy.

Over the intervening years, we have looked objectively at our policies and performance on the world scene to ensure they reflect the dynamics of a complex and ever-changing world. Where course adjustments have been required, I have directed changes. But we have not veered and will not veer from the broad aims that guide America’s leadership role in today’s world:

  • Commitment to the goals of world freedom, peace and prosperity;
  • Strong and close relationships with our Alliance partners around the world;
  • Active assistance to those who are struggling for their own self-determination, freedom, and a reasonable standard of living and development;
  • Willingness to be realistic about the Soviet Union, to define publicly the crucial moral distinctions between totalitarianism and democracy; and
  • Seeking meaningful ways of working with the Soviet leaders to prevent war and make the world a more peaceful place.

The foundation of a sound National Security Strategy, laid in the early days of this Administration, has held firm and served us well. Our economic, political and military power is resurgent. The Western democracies are revitalized, and across the world nations are turning to democratic ideas and the principles of the free market. In all of this, the United States continues to encourage those who seek the benefits of our democratic way of life.

While the United States has been the leader of the free world since the end of the Second World War, we have not acted alone. During that war and in the succeeding four decades, our strategy has been based on partnership with those nations that share our common goals.

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As the world has changed over the years, the differences between nations striving to develop democratic institutions and those following the totalitarian banner have come into sharp focus. As future changes take place in human rights, advanced technology, quality of life, and the global economy, our example will continue to exert tremendous influence on mankind. The United States is on the right side of this historic struggle and we have tried to build a lasting framework for promoting this positive change.

This National Security Strategy Report builds on the efforts of the Administration, Congress, and the American people over the past six years. But any strategy document is only a guide. To be effective, it must be firmly rooted in broad national interests and objectives, supported by an adequate commitment of resources, and integrate all relevant facets of national power to achieve our national objectives. It must provide a framework within which more specific and detailed objectives can be identified by those executive branch agencies charged with stewardship over various elements of the nation’s power. And it must guide the creation of specific plans for attainment of those more detailed objectives.

For this reason, the annual presentations to the Congress by the Secretary of State and Secretary of Defense play a key role in supporting the objectives outlined in this report. In their respective areas of Foreign and Defense Policy, they develop detailed plans of action to sustain our National Strategy, advance U.S. interests and most importantly, reduce the risk to our nation and our allies.

What follows is this Administration’s effort to articulate the National Security Strategy of the United States-a blueprint for future freedom, peace, and prosperity.

II. Fundamentals of U.S. National Security Strategy

U.S. Security in a Complex and Changing World

In the years following World War II, the United States faced, for the first time, an inescapable responsibility for world affairs. No longer protected by nearly perfect fortresses of oceans, allied with countries devastated by war, and presented with irrefutable evidence of Soviet expansionist aspirations, the United States shouldered the dual burden of facilitating the restoration of a world economic order and arresting the spread of the Soviet Union’s peculiar brand of totalitarianism and communism.

The United States responded to the threats posed by Moscow with a policy of containment. Containment, as a strategy for world peace, entailed three distinct elements.

The first element, U.S. defense policy, involved forward deployment of military forces as necessary to deter and contain Soviet military [Page 1266] expansion. In practice, this meant keeping, for the first time in our history, large military formations on the soil of allies in Western Europe and East Asia. As Soviet nuclear weapons delivery systems grew, it also required a large strategic force, to augment the deterrence provided by the conventional forces of the United States and its allies. Thus our military security system rested primarily on two strategic zones, Europe and East Asia, backed by our nuclear deterrent forces.

The second element, U.S. international economic policy, involved economic recovery programs for Western Europe and Japan. It also required U.S. leadership in establishing and managing the international monetary system, and encouraging regional and global free-trade agreements.

The third element, U.S. policy toward the Third World, included both economic and security assistance. It also had a profound political component: decolonization, self-determination, and support for the evolution toward democracy. The Soviet Union opposed us in the Third World with a policy of “wars of national liberation,” through which they sought to exploit the instability of emerging nations to establish Marxist-Leninist regimes based on the Soviet model.

The three postwar decades witnessed important successes for our National Strategy. World war was avoided. Europe and Japan regained their prosperity, with the help of massive U.S. assistance, and most of the Third World was decolonized. Containment, however, was an expensive policy. But because the United States had the lion’s share of the developed world’s economic power, we could carry the burden.

The postwar era came to an end during the 1970s. The causes of its demise were threefold. First, the success of U.S. economic policies in Europe and East Asia dramatically changed the distribution of wealth and power within our alliance systems. The United States no longer had an overwhelming economic position vis-a-vis Western Europe and the East Asia rimland. And our success in deterring Soviet military aggression in these two strategic zones created growing public belief that direct Soviet aggression in these two regions had become less likely.

Second, the Soviet military buildup and the projection of Soviet power into Cuba, Nicaragua, the Middle East, Southeast and Southwest Asia, and Africa required changes in strategy for implementing our containment policy. Particularly significant was the Soviet Union’s attainment of strategic nuclear parity with the United States.

Third, the political awakening in the Third World created civil wars and regional conflicts that threatened to draw the United States and the Soviet Union into direct military confrontations. And economic developments, particularly in the energy area, contributed to political [Page 1267] instability and caused destabilizing effects in the international monetary system.

In such a significantly different world, the foundations of strategic planning had to be reconsidered. U.S. military superiority in strategic forces no longer exists and the continued growth of Soviet military capabilities applicable to Europe, the Persian Gulf, and other important areas, pose a continuing threat to regional security.

Today it is more important than ever before that our National Security Strategy be based on a solid understanding of U.S. interests and objectives and a realistic approach to dealing with the Soviet Union and other threats to U.S. security.

U.S. Interests

U.S. National Security Strategy reflects our national interests and presents a broad plan for achieving the national objectives that support those interests. The key national interests which our strategy seeks to assure and protect include:

The survival of the United States as a free and independent nation, with its fundamental values and institutions intact.
A healthy and growing U.S. economy.
The growth of freedom, democratic institutions, and free market economies throughout the world, linked by a fair and open international trading system.
A stable and secure world, free of major threats to U.S. interests.
The health and vigor of U.S. alliance relationships.

Major Objectives in Support of U.S. Interests

U.S. national security objectives are statements of broad goals which support and advance national interests. As such, they are not intended to be applied mechanically or automatically, but constitute a general guide for policy development in specific situations which call for the coordinated use of national power. The principal objectives which support our national interests are:

To maintain the security of our nation and our allies. The United States, in cooperation with its allies, must seek to deter any aggression that could threaten that security, and, should deterrence fail, must be prepared to repel or defeat any military attack and end the conflict on terms favorable to the United States, its interests, and its allies.


  • To deter hostile attack of the United States, its citizens, military forces, or allies and to defeat attack if deterrence fails.
  • To maintain the strength and vitality of U.S. alliance relationships.
  • To deal effectively with threats to the security of the United States and its citizens short of armed conflict, including the threat of international terrorism.
  • To prevent the spread of nuclear weapons.
  • To reduce over the long term our reliance on nuclear weapons by strengthening our conventional forces, pursuing equitable and verifiable arms control agreements, and developing technologies for strategic defense.
  • To assure unimpeded U.S. access to the oceans and space.
  • To prevent the domination of the Eurasian landmass by the USSR (or any other hostile power, or coalition of powers).
  • To force the Soviet Union to bear the brunt of its domestic economic shortcomings in order to discourage excessive Soviet military expenditures and global adventurism.
  • To foster closer relations with the People’s Republic of China.

2. To respond to the challenges of the global economy. Economic interdependence has brought tremendous benefits to the United States, but also presents new policy problems which must be resolved. Since our resource dependence has grown, the potential vulnerability of our supply lines is an issue of concern. Although continuing U.S. economic growth is helping lift the world out of recession, economic slowdown continues in many countries. We must devote attention to critical global problems, which if unresolved or unattended, may affect U.S. interests in the future. Many of these problems such as Third World debt, the international narcotics trade, and growing protectionism are currently having an impact on U.S. interests.


  • To promote a strong, prosperous and competitive U.S. economy, in the context of a stable and growing world economy.
  • To ensure U.S. access to foreign markets, and to ensure the United States and its allies and friends access to foreign energy and mineral resources.
  • To promote a well-functioning international economic system with minimal distortions to trade and investment, stable currencies, and broadly agreed and respected rules for managing and resolving differences.

3. To defend and advance the cause of democracy, freedom, and human rights throughout the world. A foreign policy that ignored the fate of millions around the world who seek freedom would be a betrayal of our national heritage. Our own freedom, and that of our [Page 1269] allies, could never be secure in a world where freedom was threatened everywhere else.


  • To promote the growth of national independence and free institutions throughout the world.
  • To encourage and support aid, trade, and investment programs that promote economic development and the growth of free and humane social and political orders in the Third World.
  • To encourage liberalizing tendencies within the Soviet Union and its client states.

4. To resolve peacefully disputes which affect U.S. interests in troubled regions of the world. Regional conflicts which involve allies or friends of the United States may threaten U.S. interests, and frequently carry the risk of escalation to a wider conflict. Conflicts, or attempts to subvert friendly governments, which are instigated or supported by the Soviets and their client states, represent a particularly serious threat to U.S. interests.


  • To maintain stable global and regional military balances vis-a-vis the USSR and states aligned with it.
  • To aid threatened states in resisting Soviet or Soviet-sponsored subversion or aggression.
  • To eliminate, where possible, the root causes of regional instabilities which create the or risk of major war.2
  • To neutralize the efforts of the Soviet Union to increase its influence in the world and weaken the links between the USSR and its client states in the Third World.
  • To aid in combatting threats to the stability of friendly governments and institutions from insurgencies, state-sponsored terrorism and the international trafficking of illicit drugs.

5. To build effective and favorable relationships with all nations with whom there is a basis of shared concern. In the world today, there are over 150 nations. Not one of them is the equal of the United States in total power or wealth, but each is sovereign, and most, if not all, touch U.S. interests directly or indirectly.


  • To support the formation of associations of states friendly to U.S. interests using the full range of diplomatic, political, economic, and informational efforts.
  • To make major international institutions more effective in promoting peace, world order and political, economic and social progress.
  • To explore the possibility of improved relations with those nations hostile to us in order to reduce the chance of future conflict.
  • To strengthen U.S. influence throughout the world.

Our National Security Strategy must be resolute in supporting U.S. interests and objectives. It must also take into account the many threats and instabilities of today’s complex and changing world.

Principal Threats to U.S. Interests

The most significant threat to U.S. security and national interests is the global challenge posed by the Soviet Union. While only a handful of people in the Politburo can claim with any confidence to know the Kremlin’s precise near-term, tactical plans, the long-term strategic direction of Soviet foreign policy is clearer. Motivated by the demands of a political system held together and dominated by Marxist-Leninist ideology and the political party which represents it, Moscow seeks to alter the existing international system and establish Soviet global hegemony. These long-range Soviet objectives constitute the overall conceptual framework of Soviet foreign and defense policy.

Fundamental differences in economic, social, and political beliefs and objectives lead to an essentially adversarial relationship between the United States and the Soviet Union. The two sides nevertheless share the common goal of avoiding direct confrontation and reducing the threat of nuclear war. The real challenge for American statecraft is how best to realize this commonality of interests, so as to preserve peace, without jeopardizing our national security or abandoning our commitment to the cause of freedom and justice.

To execute its expansionist policies, the USSR has perpetuated a domestic political system of centralized totalitarian control and mobilized and organized this system to support its international objectives. Internationally, the Soviets have continued to assist groups waging so-called wars of “national liberation,” sponsor with arms and military training international terrorist groups, promote and exploit regional instabilities and conduct an aggressive and illegal war in Afghanistan. In numerous other places around the globe, Soviet advisors and combat troops have also engaged in conduct in violation of international agreements.

The Soviets have undertaken an unprecedented military buildup that poses a continuing threat to the United States and our allies. The Soviet leadership clearly attaches the greatest importance to its military strength, which has been the most significant source of the USSR’s influence on the international scene. For decades the Soviet Union [Page 1271] has allocated a disproportionate percentage of national income to the buildup of its military forces. It now has a uniformed military of more than five million (excluding more than one million border guards and other security forces). It is estimated that military expenditures currently absorb 15–17 percent of the total Soviet GNP.

Soviet military power permits Moscow to provide a strong defense of the homeland while facilitating direct and indirect participation in regional conflicts beyond Soviet borders. Furthermore, Soviet military resources increasingly are used to influence and broker the policies of other countries and to promote instability.

The evidence of the relationship between the Soviet Union and the growth of worldwide terrorism is now conclusive. Even though the Soviet Union does not have direct control over most of the terrorist groups, it supplies massive amounts of arms, money, and advisory assistance to revolutionary forces engaged in terrorist activities. The Soviets attempt to disguise such support by using middle men—radical governments such as Cuba, North Korea, Nicaragua, Syria, and Libya, which deal directly with radical terrorists and insurgents. Whether Moscow is providing support directly or indirectly, the ultimate targets of radical terrorism are the United States, Western Europe, Japan, and other moderate, pro-Western governments.

The Soviet Union in recent years has become much more sophisticated in wielding the instruments of national power. Despite significant weaknesses in the Soviet economy, the Politburo actively employs economic instruments in its global strategy. It uses trade with the West to obtain economic leverage, technology, and foreign exchange. The acquisition of military-related advanced technology through legal and illegal means, is especially important to the Soviets, to shorten weapon development times, reduce costs, and to compensate for the weakness of the Soviet economy. Acquisition of production technology is equally important to the Soviets, to improve the efficiency of their defense industry. Access to Western manufacturing equipment, processes, and know-how has enabled Soviet defense plants to introduce some advanced weapons into production up to five years earlier than would have been otherwise possible. The Soviets also attempt to obtain long-term economic agreements which build relationships of dependency on the USSR (e.g., those relating to the supply of energy resources to Western Europe).

In addition, the Soviets have established a massive political influence apparatus. This apparatus includes the world’s largest propaganda machine, incorporating overt and clandestine activities in all types of media; funding and support of foreign communist parties and front organizations; political and ideological indoctrination of foreign students, government officials, terrorists, and military personnel; and [Page 1272] perceptions management of foreign visitors to the USSR. It includes separate efforts to conduct “active measures,” including disinformation, forgeries, the use of political agents of influence, and other deceptive operations.

While the Soviets cannot be branded as instigators of all revolutionary movements, their strategy clearly is to exploit domestic vulnerabilities in foreign countries to promote the emergence of regimes under Soviet influence or control. All this is accomplished under the rubric of “peaceful coexistence” with the United States and the West, defined as a continuing contest in which all forms of struggle are permissible short of all-out war.

While we remain properly concerned with the Soviet threat, we must not neglect other destabilizing international threats and problems which can seriously damage U.S. interests if not properly addressed. These include non-communist nations with oppressive governments and ideologies opposed to ours; international economic concerns of massive world debt, trade imbalances, and shifts in comparative advantage in our interdependent global economic system; the global population explosion and related food, water, and poverty problems; the proliferation of nuclear weapons; drug trafficking; and human rights violations, to name only a few.

An additional threat, which is particularly insidious in nature and growing in scope, is international terrorism—a worldwide phenomenon that is becoming increasingly frequent, indiscriminate, and state-supported. Terrorism is likely to be a prominent feature of the international landscape for the remainder of this century. It directly attacks our democratic values, undermines our diplomatic efforts for peaceful solutions to conflicts, and erodes the foundations of civilized societies. Effectively countering terrorism is a major national security objective of the United States.

A solid understanding of our national interests and objectives, against the backdrop of major threats to those interests, is essential to devising sound strategies. The next two chapters will discuss the principal elements of our foreign and defense policies, and the ways in which they contribute to the achievement of national security objectives. The effective integration of our foreign and defense policies provides the foundation for our National Security Strategy.

III. U.S. Foreign Policy

Continuity of Basic Goals

Our foreign policy reflects the basic thrust of our National Security Strategy——the promotion of our democratic way of life. History has shown us repeatedly that only in democracies is there inherent respect for individual liberties and rights. In the postwar world, democracies [Page 1273] have also exhibited extraordinary economic vitality. With their more flexible economies, democracies have continued to demonstrate the efficiency and dynamism necessary to maintain strength in a complex and difficult international economic environment.

If we are to achieve the kind of world we all hope to see, democracy must continue to prosper and expand. Today, in a number of countries in varying stages of economic development, democracy is growing stronger. The United States must be a beacon for democracy. Unfortunately, many in the world are prevented from seeing our beacon. For many more, it has been distorted; and still others, who are able to see it and are inspired by it, need help in the form of practical assistance.

We have provided assistance before—in postwar Western Europe and Asia—and we must again. What we helped achieve in those areas constitutes one of the most remarkable, positive chapters of recent history. Our support for democracy should not be hidden; it must be active and visible. Active support of democratic forces in the past two decades has demonstrated the value of this legitimate and important activity. The substantial support provided by West European democratic parties significantly aided the successful drives of democratic movements in Spain and Portugal.

We are interested in assisting constructive change which can lead to greater political stability, social justice, and economic progress. Change must come from within, following a path dictated by national and local traditions. In some instances, assistance and guidance is better provided by other democracies or multilaterally. Patience, respect for different cultures and recognition of our own limitations must guide our effort.

Instruments of Foreign Policy

The United States has an exceptionally diverse array of tools for protecting its international interests and for supporting the drive toward democracy across the globe. It is possible that no other nation has ever been comparably endowed. These instruments are normally most effective when used in concert with others. All of them must be adapted to changing situations. The resurgence of our national strength in this decade has been broadly based. It will endure into the next decade only if we protect this base and ensure that the tools available to us are properly sustained and effectively used. The separate, but interrelated tools on which the success of our foreign policy depends are:

Moral and political example. American spirit and prosperity represents a critical challenge to the ideology and the practical record of our adversaries: free, pluralist societies work. This power of example represents a potent advantage of American society, but we should not [Page 1274] leave its expression to chance. It is in our interest to spread this message in an organized way.

Military strength and economic vitality. A strong U.S. military capability is essential to maintaining the stable, secure environment in which diplomacy can be effective and our adversaries are deterred. America’s economic power sustains this strength and fortifies our relations with the other countries that share our interest in a free and open international order.

Alliance relationships. The pursuit of American goals depends on cooperation with like-minded international partners. This relationship enhances our strength and mitigates the understandable reluctance of the American people to shoulder security burdens alone. The predictable difficulties that arise from time to time in all alliance relationships must be measured against the enormous value that these ties bring us and our friends.

Security assistance. By helping friends, allies, and those targeted by our adversaries acquire the means to defend themselves, we limit the potential of our own involvement in dangerous conflicts. Security assistance abroad is productive investment in our own security. It aids deterrence, promotes regional stability, helps to ensure access to vital overseas military facilities, and lessens our own military requirements. Resolute use of this valuable foreign policy tool directly promotes our security interests.

Economic assistance. In the decades since World War II, America has contributed nearly $200 billion to the economic development of other countries. These financial resources have played a vital role in ensuring critical U.S. objectives are met. A well structured economic assistance program provides essential support for our world leadership position.

Trade policy. The impact of economic assistance is maximized when it is matched by a sound trade policy that facilitates the best use of our assistance. Moreover, a trade policy that aggravates the economic difficulties of others may only increase the need for future American assistance. Adherence to the principles of an open and fair world trading order ensures that countries acquire the economic strength to stand on their own feet, and contributes to our own well-being through mutually beneficial trade. Security considerations will sometimes require restrained trade and allied cooperation to prevent enhancing the military capabilities of our adversaries.

Science and Technology Cooperation. For most countries, access to advanced scientific and technological resources is critical to prosperity and long-term economic growth. U.S. world leadership and vast resources in science and technology constitute important strategic [Page 1275] assets to strengthen existing ties with friends and allies, and promote positive relationships with emerging nations.

Private investment in developing economies. The free flow of international investment is as central to global economic growth as an open trading order. U.S. private investment in less developed countries contributes significantly to their economic growth and promotes social stability. At a time when developing countries are striving to meet their debt-servicing obligations and the resources of our national budget are under pressure, the contribution of private-sector investment assumes increased importance.

Diplomatic mediation. In regions where conflict threatens our interests and those of our friends, political efforts are essential to ending violence, promoting freedom and national self-determination, and laying the foundations for future stability. The initiatives of American diplomacy take their strength from effective and integrated use of the other tools already discussed, and from the ability of U.S. representatives to act credibly as mediators of disputes. Making clear the firmness of our commitments to friends and allies will, in fact, increase the incentives of their adversaries to negotiate seriously.

International Organizations. Multilateral diplomacy and participation in international organizations provide an opportunity to address common global problems and share the task of solving them. Skillful U.S. diplomacy within these organizations has served to enhance our overall goals on issues such as peacekeeping, promotion of human rights, and encouraging the development of free economic and political systems.

Support for Freedom Fighters. The tools of foreign policy must encompass the special needs of those who resist the Soviet-style regimes implanted in Third World countries in the 1970’s and 1980’s. America has a long history of private and government support to groups seeking national independence and freedom. This is a vital and important effort, as aggressive Marxist-Leninist regimes clearly threaten international peace and stability. We seek to advance the cause of freedom and democracy, and to demonstrate to the Soviets that their actions aimed at spreading Marxist-Leninist totalitarianism will bring them no enduring gain.

International Economic Policy

The United States supports market-oriented policies that foster economic growth, both domestically and internationally. The economic growth of the United States is the cornerstone that ensures our strength and permits human potential to flourish. Our policies of economic growth have provided the underlying base of support for the most [Page 1276] important element in our National Security Strategy in the past six years—the revitalization of U.S. military power. The dynamic growth of the U.S. economy is the envy of much of the world. We are now working in this country to rebuild American productivity, sustain our scientific and technological leadership, make the most of our human potential, and move into the 21st century with an even more efficient, capable and competitive American economy. Our nation will achieve these goals with hard work, determination, and a commitment to the revitalization of American industry.

The United States places reliance on private enterprise and initiative. This philosophy leads to higher living standards and concern for the economic advancement of the individual. Our National Security Strategy in the international economic area seeks to support and promote market-oriented economic policies which will maximize economic opportunity and individual welfare.

It is important to understand why we stress private enterprise as the basis of our international economic policy. This is one of the prime areas in which the United States—and the free world generally—differ in all respects from the communist world. The Soviet economic model is characterized by the ineffectiveness of the centralized command economy, the failure of collective enterprises, and the inability to provide adequate standards of living for the mass of Soviet citizens. The Soviet model of economic organization does not work and will not work.

Under the leadership of General Secretary Gorbachev, the Soviet Union has announced that it is attempting fundamental reforms in the management of economic policy. Recently, Gorbachev invited the Western private sector, and U.S. business leaders in particular, to develop a long-term stake in the future of the Soviet economy. In light of this Soviet initiative, we need to ask ourselves what kind of Soviet Union we wish to see in the next twenty or thirty years. Clearly, we can affect the outcome only at the margin. But we should not ignore new opportunities for increasing economic interaction between our two societies. Greater economic freedom for the Soviet people is in the interest of the West as long as it does not foster greater Soviet investment in military capability.

But we must approach such interaction with a sense of realism. There are some areas where it would clearly not serve constructive purposes. Soviet membership in the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), for example, would not be in the best interests of the West at present, in addition to the danger of GATT politicization, the USSR’s state-directed trading system is fundamentally incompatible with the free-market orientation of the GATT international trading system. Suggestions by Soviet officials about possible USSR membership in the World Bank or International Monetary Fund should be [Page 1277] treated with caution for similar reasons. We would oppose such membership under present circumstances.

The USSR’s effort to broaden its foreign economic relations forms an integral part of Soviet national security strategy. In addition to aiding the Soviet economy, it is designed to exploit dependence of trading partners and enhance Soviet power and influence generally. Trade with the West can also provide access to advanced technology which facilitates the Soviet military buildup. Non-communist governments need to display greater discipline in weaving security considerations into the fabric of East-West commercial relations.


  • As recognized in the Helsinki Accords, government-to-government cooperation in the economic sphere should be dependent on progress in other areas of East-West relations, including Eastern observance of human rights.
  • COCOM controls on strategic technologies should be maintained, streamlined and enforced to restrain the ability of the Soviet Union and its allies to match or overtake Western defense capabilities.
  • The International Energy Agency (IEA) should continue its efforts to reduce dependence among member countries on insecure energy supplies.

Early in our Administration, we laid the international economic groundwork for greater cooperation with our allies. We have attempted to foster the view that the future belongs to those who allow free enterprise to guide economic decisions and not to those regimes which allow bureaucratic functionaries to set the course of economic development. Throughout these six years, we have witnessed these principles move from concept into reality. In France, economic liberalization is steadily progressing. In Japan, slowly but surely, trade and capital markets are being opened. In Germany and the United Kingdom, new economic courses are being set to sustain growth with low inflation.

We believe that market-oriented policies are key to greater growth in America and throughout the world over the long-term. We have worked diligently to resist protectionist tendencies both at home and abroad, since protectionism will harm all free nations. Immediate as well as long term costs would more than offset any short-term benefits which might be gained.

We have encouraged market-based energy policies and more open energy trade within the International Energy Agency. We have been the prime movers in laying the groundwork for a new round of negotiations in the GATT that will open markets for our exports of goods and services and stimulate greater growth, efficiency and worldwide job [Page 1278] opportunities. We have forged stronger ties with our Asian partners by emphasizing the future role of U.S.-Pacific economic relations.

The industrial nations of the West have become increasingly interdependent. None of these countries acting alone can effectively resolve long-term economic problems. The United States and its allies must work together if we, and the rest of the world, are to prosper and grow.

Enhancing world economic growth, opening markets, and ameliorating the developing country debt situation are long-term goals that can be met only through sound economic policies, prudent lending, and direct investment and aid strategies that will elicit the broad economic development and growing markets needed to sustain long-term prosperity. Significant contributions of capital and know-how through aid, investment, technology transfer and training are as much an ingredient of regional peace and collective security as are deterrent forces and defense alliances. This redefinition of the traditional concept of “burdensharing” is in keeping with the capabilities of the United States and our allies and the evolving responsibilities of shared leadership.

In short, our international economic policy is built around the belief that economic freedom is not the sole possession of a chosen few, but the universal right of all people. We will use our economic power and political will to preserve and nurture our vision of the world’s economic future, which belongs to free people, free governments and free economic enterprises.

Political and Informational Elements of National Power

We are faced with a profound challenge to our national security in the political field. This challenge is to fight the war of ideas and to help support the political infrastructure of world democracies. To accomplish this we must be as committed to the maintenance of our political defense as we are to our military defense.

Public opinion polls consistently find that two-thirds of the American electorate normally take no interest in foreign policy. Moreover, only a bare majority today believes that this country needs to play an active part in world affairs—and that majority is eroding. There is no natural domestic constituency for foreign policy—we must build one.

The instruments to implement such an approach include a number of traditional foreign policy agencies such as the Departments of State and Defense, Agency for International Development (AID), and U.S. Information Agency (USIA), plus several less traditional participants including the Departments of Commerce and Treasury, and the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR).

Another actor in the field of political, informational and communications activity is the private sector. During the past six years, the private sector has been energized as a key element in the projection [Page 1279] of U.S. foreign policy goals. Leading private citizens and groups are taking steps to identify and organize the many local forces throughout the United States that have a direct stake in the nation’s relations with the rest of the world. The private voluntary organizations in world affairs are doing an indispensible job of public education. They have our strongest encouragement and support.

While we focus on the needs of an effective political and informational policy, we must keep in mind that the Soviet Union has a most aggressive public deception and propaganda program, using a wide range of techniques aimed not only at the Third World, but also at our alliance partners. The current Soviet regime has increased the range and intensity of Soviet public diplomacy and propaganda efforts. We must actively counter Soviet propaganda and active measures using the full range of U.S. informational programs.

Our political and informational strategy must also reach to the peoples of denied areas, particularly the USSR and Eastern Europe—to encourage hope for change and to educate publics on the benefits of free institutions. This is achieved through the electronic media, written materials, and the increased contact and exchange of ideas that come from such contact. The process of gradual change will take place inside, but the stimulant and the vision of “how things could be” must come from outside in a closed society. This is the vision of a nation which believes that a world of democracies is a safer world, and one where the respect for the dignity of all men has a better chance to be realized.

[Omitted here is the remainder of III U.S. Foreign Policy, IV U.S. Defense Policy, and V Executing the Strategy.]

VI. Looking Forward to the 1990’s

Six years ago, when the American people elected me as their President, I was determined to achieve four near-term, urgently needed objectives in the National Security Strategy area:

  • First, to restore our nation’s military strength after a decade of neglect which allowed the Soviet Union to overtake us in many critical categories of military power;
  • Second, to restore our nation’s economic strength and reinvigorate the world economic system, in the wake of the energy crisis and global recession;
  • Third, to restore the nation’s international prestige as a world leader, after some years of our image being tarnished and our adversaries believing that the United States was retreating from its international obligations; and
  • Fourth, to restore personal motivation to all Americans and carry our message to the world that individuals and not governments should control their economic, spiritual and political destinies.

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After six years, I can report this restoration process is well underway. The ship of state is heading in a new, long-term direction which should be pursued over the remaining years of this century. I believe that our most important thrust in the National Security Strategy area has been to restore the image of the United States as the light of freedom throughout the world.

We have seen our message taken to heart by peoples and governments throughout the world in these last six years. We have seen nations change their economic thinking to place more emphasis on the worth and work of the individual as opposed to satisfying the interests of the state. We have seen thousands of freedom loving people take up arms against those regimes which seek to impose their will on populations who want peace and economic stability. We have seen mounting opposition to those forces in the world that aggressively employ military power and coercion to achieve their goals.

This is what has given me the personal strength to forge ahead in times of trouble and criticism, in times of great risk and potential loss. I have seen that time is on our side against those forces in this world that are committed to the elimination of freedom, justice, and democratic ways of life. Time is running out for those regimes because people everywhere realize that the way of life imposed by those forces is counter to basic human values. People across the world see that we offer a vision of the future. Our adversaries offer the darkened ways of an unsatisfied past through domination by military power, stifling statism, and political oppression.

I have used every opportunity these past six years to drive this theme home, both here and abroad. This is also the dominant theme of our National Security Strategy—the very pulse of our nation which must be carried into the future to ensure that we remain strong and innovative, vibrant and free.

We must never forget that freedom is never really free; it is the most costly thing in the world. And freedom is never paid for in a lump sum; installments come due in every generation. All any of us can do is offer the generations that follow a chance for freedom.

I ask that we stand together in my final two years as your President to ensure that we continue setting in place a strategy which will carry us securely into the 21st Century.

  1. Source: National Security Strategy of the United States, The White House, January 1987 (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1987).
  2. This bullet is printed as in the original.