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Examining the September 2002 National Security Strategy

September 6, 2002

In the National Security Strategy (NSS) released on 20 September 2002, President George W. Bush outlines a “distinctly American internationalism” to further U.S. interests through decisive security actions, cooperative stability and economic progress.

The document stresses the interdependence of a firm security posture, sound international relationships, economic and political stability, strong trade and good governance to establish and sustain global peace and prosperity. It also reiterates several policy statements made in the last year, including the President’s call for preemptive use of force against emerging threats.

“Today the distinction between domestic and foreign affairs is diminishing,” the document states.

Tumultuous events unfolding in the world may appear initially to be of little significance for the United States. However, unanticipated consequences and secondary effects can cause a backlash, disrupting domestic tranquility. One need not recount the prevalence and severity of terrorist plots, proliferating weapons of mass destruction (WMD), regional conflicts, genocide, AIDS and collapsed governments in the decade since the fall of the Iron Curtain to realize the potential dangers to the United States. To promote American values and promulgate national interests, the National Security Strategy acknowledges the need for the United States to wield its strength and influence in the world to shape it for the better.