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"A Strategy of Partnership", the article by the US Secretary of State Colin L. Powell, first appeared in Foreign Affairs Magazine, January/February 2004. It lays down basic principles and purposes of the US foreign strategy that will surely be of interest to our readers.

Following are the excerpts from this article:

When most people think about U.S. foreign policy these days, they think first and sometimes only about aspects of the war on terrorism: the reconstruction of Iraq and Afghanistan, the troubles of the Middle East, and the terror cells lurking in Southeast Asia, Europe, and even the United States. This preoccupation is natural. International terrorism literally hit home on September 11, 2001, and, for understandable reasons, an outraged American public wants those responsible brought to justice. The American people also want to understand why the attacks happened - and demand a foreign policy that makes sure such events will never happen again.

It is also natural that the war on terrorism has become the United States' number one foreign policy priority. It will remain so for as long as necessary, because terrorism - potentially linked to the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) - now represents the greatest threat to American lives. Defeating terrorism is a priority that drives not only military action to subdue individual terrorists and deter their state supporters but also multilateral cooperation in law enforcement and intelligence sharing. It encompasses efforts both to stigmatize terrorism as a political instrument and to reduce the underlying sources of terrorist motivation and recruitment.

President George W. Bush does have a vision of a better world. And he also has a strategy for translating that vision into reality. The president's strategy was first laid out publicly in September 2002, in the National Security Strategy of the United States (NSS). The NSS defines U.S. policy priorities in eight substantive sections. Together, these parts add up to an integrated strategy that is broad and deep, far ranging and forward looking, attuned as much to opportunities for the United States as to the dangers it faces.

It is somewhat odd, therefore, to discover that our foreign policy strategy is so often misunderstood by both domestic and foreign observers. U.S. strategy is widely accused of being unilateralist by design. It isn't. It is often accused of being imbalanced in favor of military methods. It isn't. It is frequently described as being obsessed with terrorism and hence biased toward preemptive war on a global scale. It most certainly is not.

Above all, the president's strategy is one of partnerships that strongly affirms the vital role of NATO and other U.S. alliances -- including the U.N.

Beyond partnership comes principle. The president's strategy is rooted, above all, in the promotion of freedom and dignity worldwide. "America must stand firmly," the president wrote, "for the non-negotiable demands of human dignity: the rule of law; limits on the absolute power of the state; free speech; freedom of worship; equal justice; respect for women; religious and ethnic tolerance; and respect for private property." We stand by these values now and always. They are the values served by the partnerships that we build and nurture.

Free trade and new American initiatives for economic development also figure prominently in the president's strategy. President Bush's strategy also demands that we play a role in helping to solve regional conflicts, in solving the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Not least among the policy priorities laid out in the NSS is our determination to develop cooperative relations among the world's major powers. It is here, above all, that the key to a successful conclusion to the war against terrorism lies.

We do not see the war against terrorism and the nurturing of constructive relationships among the major powers as mutually exclusive tasks. We conduct the war on terrorism with an eye toward great-power cooperation, and we seek enhanced great-power cooperation with an eye toward success in the war on terrorism. The logic of this dual approach rests on the fact that terrorism threatens the world order itself -- and thus creates a common interest among all powers that value peace, prosperity, and the rule of law.

As President Bush wrote in the NSS, " Today, the world's great powers find ourselves on the same side."
This development is not just good news; it is revolutionary news. For too many years - too many centuries - the imperial habits of great powers squandered untold resources and talent by jousting for land, glory, and gold. The futility of such habits has become evident in the twenty-first century. The possession of vast territory, raw physical resources, and brute power guarantees neither prosperity nor peace. Investment in human capital, social trust, trade, and cooperation within and among nations does.

The sources of national strength and security for one nation thus need no longer threaten the security of others. An insight of the Enlightenment and a deep belief of the American founders -- that politics need not always be a zero-sum competition -- has at last been adopted by enough people worldwide to promise a qualitative difference in the character of international relations. If, instead of wasting lives and treasure by opposing each other as in the past, today's powers can pull in the same direction to solve problems common to all, we will begin to redeem history from much human folly.

We must not take the present peace among the world's nations for granted. Today's peace will not just take care of itself. We have to work at it with patience, mindful that major war has broken out in the past despite a widespread conviction that it simply could not happen again.

Of course, we want to promote human dignity and democracy in the world, to help people raise themselves from poverty, and to transform the inadequate system of global public health. We are pursuing these goals right now. But only if the deep peace of our era can be "preserved, defended, and expanded" -- to use the president's words -- can we pursue these goals for as long as it will take to achieve them.

And make no mistake, these are the central goals of American policy in the twenty-first century. We fight terrorism because we must, but we seek a better world because we can -- because it is our desire, and our destiny, to do so. This is why we commit ourselves to democracy, development, global public health, and human rights, as well as to the prerequisite of a solid structure for global peace. These are not high-sounding decorations for our interests. They are our interests, the purposes our power serves.

Because this is so, the United States' reputation for honesty and compassion will endure. Today, U.S. motives are impugned in some lands. But as we preserve, defend, and expand the peace that free peoples won in the twentieth century, we will see the United States vindicated in the eyes of the world in the twenty-first.

It would be churlish to claim that the Bush administration's foreign policy has been error-free from the start. We are human beings; we all make mistakes. But we have always pursued the enlightened self-interest of the American people, and in our purposes and our principles there are no mistakes.

Our enlightened self-interest puts us at odds with terrorists, tyrants, and others who wish us ill. From them we seek no advice or comity, and to them we will give no quarter. But our enlightened self-interest makes us partners with all those who cherish freedom, human dignity, and peace. We know the side on which the human spirit truly abides, and we take encouragement from this as our strategy unfolds. In the end, it is the only encouragement we really need.


(As published by "Neutral Turkmenistan" newspaper of 09.01.04 with reference to Foreign Affairs Magazine)

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