Public Papers

Statement on the 1991 National Security Strategy Report


Today I signed and forwarded to Congress the National Security Strategy Report for 1991. This report comes at a rare moment in history. Seldom if ever have we been offered such an opportunity: to build a new international system in accordance with our own values and ideals. The cold war has at long last released its grip on world events. Democracy is coming to Eastern Europe. The Gulf war helped create an unprecedented consensus that aggressive force must not be used to settle disputes and that if it is, the international community will respond. More so than ever before, we have seen the United Nations play the role dreamed of by its founders. The United States and Soviet Union have signed a treaty that for the first time significantly reduces their strategic nuclear arsenals. Yet, for all these national and international triumphs, the world remains a volatile place with ethnic antagonisms, national rivalries, religious tensions, spreading armaments, personal ambitions, and lingering authoritarianism. Our national security strategy reflects the significant achievements, sobering realities, and important opportunities that now confront us.

This report emphasizes the enduring political, economic, and military foundations of our national strategy, yet acknowledges the mandate for change in implementing elements of that strategy. While addressing our strategic relationship with the Soviet Union as an inescapable priority, we will work with our allies to respond to new political challenges, taking into account a more internally oriented and less threatening Soviet Union. While contributing to global stability as only America can, we will shift our focus to regional threats and peaceful engagement. While reducing nuclear and conventional force levels on the Continent, we will work with our NATO allies to foster reconciliation, security, and democracy in a Europe whole and free. And while providing adequately for our defense, our economic well-being will remain the foundation of our long-term strength.

Our response to strategic challenges has always been shaped by what we are as a people, for our values are the link between our past and our future, between our domestic life and our foreign policy, between our power and our purpose. Our responsibility as a Nation remains not only to protect our citizens and our interests but also to help create a new world in which our fundamental ideals not only survive but flourish. That is the essence of our national security strategy.

I look to this report to be the foundation for a productive, nonpartisan, national dialog as we continue to develop and articulate a strategic approach that will guide us safely into the 21st century.