Issue Position: National Security
Finding Security in Freedom
In the 20th century, the great struggles of the world were between the forces of liberty and totalitarianism. From imperialism to Nazism from fascism to communism, these struggles ended in decisive victories for the forces of freedom. Protecting these hard-won values is the duty of freedom-loving people around the world. As the preeminent leader in these struggles the United States enjoys a position of unparalleled military strength and great economic and political influence.
With this enormous influence comes great responsibility. Defending our nation against its enemies is the first and fundamental commitment of the Federal government, and since September 11th this task has changed dramatically.
Enemies in the past needed great armies and industry to threaten America. Today, the United States is confronted by a new paradigm where terrorists and tyrants menace the world with weapons of mass destruction and asymmetric warfare that can kill thousands simultaneously. Shadowy networks of terrorists are organized to penetrate open societies and turn the power of modern technologies against us, bringing great chaos and suffering to our shores. Left unchecked, this threat will devastate nations and paralyze societies. That is why the United States can not afford to stand by while networks of terror assemble, plan, and act.
To defeat this threat we must make use of every tool in our arsenal - military, economic, and diplomatic. Ensuring our security will require the active pursuit and elimination - not merely containment - of the terrorist threat. We must not falter in our effort to take the war to where the terrorists are and hold them and anyone who supports their murderous plans to account. Anything less is a victory for terror and a severe blow to the security of America and the world.
At the same time, the reality of the global economy in which we live has intrinsically linked our security with economic and democratic development in other countries around the world. The nations that embrace democracy, show respect for human rights, and support private enterprise continue to prosper and improve the lives of their citizens. The spread of democracy during the 20th Century is proof that the only path to national success is through the promotion of these forces.
These nations are much more likely to resolve their difference with other countries through peaceful means. As a result, extensive global trade networks and multilateral agreements are replacing military might as a prime mover of diplomacy and national security. That is why America's security policy must also place a priority on encouraging global economic growth through free markets and free trade.
As President Bush stated, "freedom is God's gift to humanity." It is the non-negotiable birthright of every person in every civilization. And as the world's sole superpower, the United States has a great responsibility to continue to promote policies that seek to unleash the forces of freedom, democracy, and free enterprise around the world.