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Last Updated: Thursday, 16 March 2006, 20:09 GMT
US security strategy: Key points
The new US National Security Strategy document
The National Security Strategy is the first issued since 2002
The White House has published a new National Security Strategy for the US, the first revision to the doctrine since the invasion of Iraq in 2003. Below are a selection of key points from the 49-page document.

CHAMPIONING HUMAN DIGNITY

The US says it aims to end tyranny around the world - characterised as a combination of brutality, poverty, instability, corruption and suffering under despotic rulers and systems. At least seven nations are identified as currently suffering under these conditions: North Korea, Iran, Syria, Cuba, Belarus, Burma and Zimbabwe.

By upholding basic human rights and democratic values around the world, as well promoting national sovereignty, the rule of law and strengthening civil society, the US hopes to erode the power of tyranny and promote the cause of freedom.

ANTI-TERROR STRATEGY

Despite ongoing military action in Afghanistan and Iraq, the US concedes that al-Qaeda's operational capabilities have been degraded, not destroyed, and that the fight continues against insurgents in Iraq. Both nations remain on the front line of the "war on terror", the US says.

The US sees its war on terror as a battle of arms and a battle of ideas, but not as a battle of religions. Terrorism, the US says, springs from political alienation, perceived injustices, conspiracy, misinformation and an ideology that justifies murder. It offers democracy as an alternative ideology to terrorism.

To fight terror, the US says it will work to prevent attacks before they occur; deny weapons of mass destruction to rogue states and terrorists; deny terrorist groups sanctuary within rogue states; deny terrorists control of any nation.

DEFUSING REGIONAL CONFLICTS

Venezuela's Hugo Chavez and Cuba's Fidel Castro
Hugo Chavez (l) and Fidel Castro are seen as enemies of the US
Ongoing civil conflicts in Darfur, Colombia, Uganda and Nepal, as well as the border conflict between Ethiopia and Eritrea, are highlighted.

The left-wing leaders of Cuba and Venezuela, Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez, are criticised as, respectively, an oppressive dictator and an anti-democratic demagogue.

Conflict prevention, international intervention in ongoing disputes and a hands-on approach to post-conflict resolution are key, the US says. It suggests that current international efforts are often substandard, particularly in responding to potential genocides.

WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION

Both Iran and North Korea pose potential threats to regional peace and security and US interests, the document says. Terrorists continue to seek WMD, while some fissile material remains unsecured and biotechnological advances increase the chances of attack.

The US backs plans for existing nuclear exporters to produce and export nuclear energy without spreading nuclear weapons. Specifically regarding Iran, described as the greatest single challenge of the time, the US aims to prevent it acquiring nuclear weapons but also, more broadly, to change the nature of the state. It stresses the need to continue six-party talks with North Korea, but also calls for greater openness within that society.

DEVELOPMENT AND THE GLOBAL ECONOMY

Priorities include promoting economic growth through free trade agreements, global trade talks, open markets, energy security and financial reform. In addition, debt relief and the fights against corruption, Aids and other diseases remain vital. "Transformational diplomacy" aims to build strong, democratic states that are less dependent on foreign aid and use donations well.

DIPLOMACY

Learning from the diplomatic near-isolation of the invasion of Iraq, the document notes that some nations differ with the US over how to tackle Islamic radicalism. All diplomatic relations must be placed in a proper context, with bilateral initiatives unlikely to succeed. It stresses the desirability of democracy and economic stability in the Western hemisphere; good governance and peace in Africa; increasing democratic participation and peace in the Middle East; the continued transformation of Nato and the European Union; the respecting of human rights and freedoms Russia and China.

21st CENTURY CHALLENGES

Public health challenges such as HIV/Aids and pandemic flu are among the new challenges the US aims to tackle. The illicit trade in drugs, sex, or people, as well as environmental destruction - natural or man-made - also requires close attention.

Existing international organisations have a role to play, the US says, but individual situations may be better served by "coalitions of the willing". All of these challenges, the US feels, are better faced by effective democracies than repressive or poorly governed states.


SEE ALSO:
US backs first-strike attack plan
16 Mar 06 |  Americas
Bush hopes for a democratic Iran
01 Feb 06 |  Americas
Bush urges Iran nuclear diplomacy
13 Jan 06 |  Middle East
Bush slams Iraq war 'revisionism'
11 Nov 05 |  Americas
Bush speaks - now what?
22 Jan 05 |  Americas


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