Obama’s new security strategy reaffirms ‘strategic partnership’ with India

Washington, May 27 (IANS) President Barack Obama’s first formal National Security Strategy, arguing that preserving American leadership in the world hinges on learning to accept and manage the rise of many competitors, reaffirms ‘building a strategic partnership’ with India.

The strategy, being released Thursday, dismisses as far too narrow the Bush era doctrine that fighting terrorism should be America’s overarching objective, the New York Times reported.

While former President George Bush’s 2002 document explicitly said the United States would never allow the rise of a rival superpower, Obama argues that America faces no real military competitor, but that global power is increasingly diffuse. ‘To succeed, we must face the world as it is,’ he was quoted as saying.

The principal author of the report, Ben Rhodes, a deputy national security adviser, noted in an interview with the Times that Obama’s move to replace the G-8 nations with a broader group, called the G-20, that includes China, India and Brazil, recognizes this reality.

‘We are deeply committed to broadening the circle of responsible actors,’ Rhodes was quoted as saying.

The 52-page document lays out a vision of a ‘stable, substantive, multidimensional relationship with Russia’ but promises to ‘promote the rule of law, accountable government and universal values’ within Russia and ‘support the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Russia’s neighbours.’

It also reaffirms that the United States is ‘building a strategic partnership’ with India and that ‘we welcome Brazil’s leadership,’ the Times said.

It calls on China to take on ‘a responsible leadership role’ and vows to ‘monitor China’s military modernisation programme and prepare accordingly’ while saying that disagreements on human rights ‘should not prevent cooperation on issues of mutual interest’.

The strategy tries to balance the idealism of Obama’s campaign promises with the realities of his confrontations with a fractious and threatening world over the past 16 months. Obama describes an American strategy that recognizes limits on how much the United States can spend to shape the globe, the Times said.

An America ‘hardened by war’ and ‘disciplined by a devastating economic crisis,’ Obama argues, cannot sustain extended fighting in both Iraq and Afghanistan while fulfilling other commitments at home and abroad.

Although the administration has put renewed focus on the war in Afghanistan and escalated CIA drone strikes against militants, the strategy rejects Bush’s single-minded focus on counter-terrorism as the organizing principle of national security policy, the Times said.

Those efforts ‘to counter violent extremism are only one element of our strategic environment and cannot define America’s engagement with the world,’ Obama says – avoiding the use of the word ‘Islamic’.