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White House Foreign Policy Objectives, 21 January 2009
21 January 2009.
President Obama and Vice President Biden will renew
America’s security and standing in the world through a new era of
American leadership. The Obama-Biden foreign policy will end the war in
Iraq responsibly, finish the fight against the Taliban and al Qaeda in
Afghanistan, secure nuclear weapons and loose nuclear materials from terrorists,
and renew American diplomacy to support strong alliances and to seek a
lasting peace in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Afghanistan and Pakistan
- Afghanistan: Obama and Biden will refocus American
resources on the greatest threat to our security -- the resurgence of
al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan. They will increase
our troop levels in Afghanistan, press our allies in NATO to do the
same, and dedicate more resources to revitalize Afghanistan’s
economic development. Obama and Biden will demand the Afghan government
do more, including cracking down on corruption and the illicit opium
- Pakistan: Obama and Biden will increase nonmilitary
aid to Pakistan and hold them accountable for security in the border
region with Afghanistan.
- A Record of Results: The gravest danger to the American
people is the threat of a terrorist attack with a nuclear weapon and
the spread of nuclear weapons to dangerous regimes. Obama has taken
bipartisan action to secure nuclear weapons and materials:
- He joined Senator Dick Lugar (R-In) in passing a law to help the
United States and our allies detect and stop the smuggling of weapons
of mass destruction throughout the world.
- He joined Senator Chuck Hagel (R-Ne) to introduce a bill that
seeks to prevent nuclear terrorism, reduce global nuclear arsenals,
and stop the spread of nuclear weapons.
- Secure Loose Nuclear Materials from Terrorists: Obama
and Biden will secure all loose nuclear materials in the world within
four years. While working to secure existing stockpiles of nuclear material,
Obama and Biden will negotiate a verifiable global ban on the production
of new nuclear weapons material. This will deny terrorists the ability
to steal or buy loose nuclear materials.
- Strengthen the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty:
Obama and Biden will crack down on nuclear proliferation by strengthening
the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty so that countries like North Korea
and Iran that break the rules will automatically face strong international
- Move Toward a Nuclear Free World: Obama and Biden
will set a goal of a world without nuclear weapons, and pursue it. Obama
and Biden will always maintain a strong deterrent as long as nuclear
weapons exist. But they will take several steps down the long road toward
eliminating nuclear weapons. They will stop the development of new nuclear
weapons; work with Russia to take U.S. and Russian ballistic missiles
off hair trigger alert; seek dramatic reductions in U.S. and Russian
stockpiles of nuclear weapons and material; and set a goal to expand
the U.S.-Russian ban on intermediate-range missiles so that the agreement
- Diplomacy: Barack Obama supports tough and direct
diplomacy with Iran without preconditions. Now is the time to use the
power of American diplomacy to pressure Iran to stop their illicit nuclear
program, support for terrorism, and threats toward Israel. Obama and
Biden will offer the Iranian regime a choice. If Iran abandons its nuclear
program and support for terrorism, we will offer incentives like membership
in the World Trade Organization, economic investments, and a move toward
normal diplomatic relations. If Iran continues its troubling behavior,
we will step up our economic pressure and political isolation. In carrying
out this diplomacy, we will coordinate closely with our allies and proceed
with careful preparation. Seeking this kind of comprehensive settlement
with Iran is our best way to make progress.
- Achieving Energy Security: Obama will put America
on a path to energy independence by investing $150 billion in renewable
and alternative energy over the next ten years -- an investment that
will create millions of jobs along the way. He’ll also make the
U.S. a leader in the global effort to combat climate change by leading
a new international global warming partnership.
Renewing American Diplomacy
- Renew our Alliances: Obama and Biden will rebuild
our alliances to meet the common challenges of the 21st century. America
is strongest when we act alongside strong partners. Now is the time
for a new era of international cooperation that strengthens old partnerships
and builds new ones to confront the common challenges of the 21st century
-- terrorism and nuclear weapons; climate change and poverty; genocide
- Talk to our Foes and Friends: Obama and Biden will
pursue tough, direct diplomacy without preconditions with all nations,
friend and foe. They will do the careful preparation necessary, but
will signal that America is ready to come to the table and is willing
to lead. And if America is willing to come to the table, the world will
be more willing to rally behind American leadership to deal with challenges
like confronting terrorism and Iran and North Korea's nuclear programs.
- Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: Obama and Biden will
make progress on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict a key diplomatic priority
from day one. They will make a sustained push -- working with Israelis
and Palestinians -- to achieve the goal of two states, a Jewish state
in Israel and a Palestinian state, living side by side in peace and
- Expand our Diplomatic Presence: To make diplomacy
a priority, Obama and Biden will stop shuttering consulates and start
opening them in difficult corners of the world -- particularly in Africa.
They will expand our foreign service, and develop our civilian capacity
to work alongside the military.
- Fight Global Poverty: Obama and Biden will embrace
the Millennium Development Goal of cutting extreme poverty and hunger
around the world in half by 2015, and they will double our foreign assistance
to achieve that goal. This will help the world's weakest states build
healthy and educated communities, reduce poverty, develop markets, and
- Seek New Partnerships in Asia: Obama and Biden will
forge a more effective framework in Asia that goes beyond bilateral
agreements, occasional summits, and ad hoc arrangements, such as the
six-party talks on North Korea. They will maintain strong ties with
allies like Japan, South Korea and Australia; work to build an infrastructure
with countries in East Asia that can promote stability and prosperity;
and work to ensure that China plays by international rules.
- Ensure a Strong U.S.-Israel Partnership: Barack Obama
and Joe Biden strongly support the U.S.-Israel relationship, and believe
that our first and incontrovertible commitment in the Middle East must
be to the security of Israel, America's strongest ally in the region.
They support this closeness, and have stated that the United States
will never distance itself from Israel.
- Support Israel's Right to Self Defense: During the
July 2006 Lebanon war, Barack Obama stood up strongly for Israel's right
to defend itself from Hezbollah raids and rocket attacks, cosponsoring
a Senate resolution against Iran and Syria's involvement in the war,
and insisting that Israel should not be pressured into a ceasefire that
did not deal with the threat of Hezbollah missiles. He and Joe Biden
believe strongly in Israel's right to protect its citizens.
- Support Foreign Assistance to Israel: Barack Obama
and Joe Biden have consistently supported foreign assistance to Israel.
They defend and support the annual foreign aid package that involves
both military and economic assistance to Israel and have advocated increased
foreign aid budgets to ensure that these funding priorities are met.
They have called for continuing U.S. cooperation with Israel in the
development of missile defense systems.
Bipartisanship and Openness
- A Record of Bringing People Together: In the Senate,
Obama has worked with Republicans and Democrats to advance important
policy initiatives on securing weapons of mass destruction and conventional
weapons, increasing funding for nonproliferation, and countering instability
- Consultative Group: Obama and Biden will convene
a bipartisan Consultative Group of leading members of Congress to foster
better executive-legislative relations and bipartisan unity on foreign
policy. This group will be comprised of the congressional leadership
of both political parties, and the chair and ranking members of the
Armed Services, Foreign Relations, Intelligence, and Appropriations
Committees. This group will meet with the president once a month to
review foreign policy priorities, and will be consulted in advance of
- Getting Politics out of Intelligence: Obama will
insulate the Director of National Intelligence from political pressure
by giving the DNI a fixed term, like the Chairman of the Federal Reserve.
Obama and Biden will seek consistency and integrity at the top of our
intelligence community -- not just a political ally.
- Change the Culture of Secrecy: Obama will institute
a National Declassification Center to make declassification secure but
routine, efficient, and cost-effective.
- Engaging the American People on Foreign Policy: Obama
and Biden will bring foreign policy decisions directly to the people
by requiring their national security officials to have periodic national
broadband town hall meetings to discuss foreign policy. Obama will personally
deliver Your Weekly Address via webcast.
Source: The White House, www.whitehouse.gov.
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