We must also contend with the reality that the distribution of power across the world is
IN FOREIGN POLICY AND NATIONAL SECURITY,JUST AS IN DOMESTIC POLICY, WE HAVE TO CHART A NEW COURSE.
INTERIM NATIONAL SECURITY STRATEGIC GUIDANCE
changing, creating new threats. China, in particular, has rapidly become more assertive.
It is the only competitor potentially capable of combining its economic, diplomatic, military,
and technological power to mount a sustained challenge to a stable and open international
system. Russia remains determined to enhance its global influence and play a disruptive
role on the world stage. Both Beijing and Moscow have invested heavily in efforts meant to
check U.S. strengths and prevent us from defending our interests and allies around the world.
Regional actors like Iran and North Korea continue to pursue game-changing capabilities and
technologies, while threatening U.S. allies and partners and challenging regional stability.
We also face challenges within countries whose governance is fragile, and from influential
non-state actors that have the ability to disrupt American interests. Terrorism and violent
extremism, both domestic and international, remain significant threats. But, despite these
steep challenges, the United States’ enduring advantages—across all forms and dimensions of
our power—enable us to shape the future of international politics to advance our interests and
values, and create a freer, safer, and more prosperous world.
Today, more than ever, America’s fate is inextricably linked to events beyond our shores. We confront a global pandemic, a crushing economic downturn, a crisis of racial justice, and a deepening climate emergency. We face a world of rising nationalism, receding democracy, growing rivalry with China, Russia, and other authoritarian states, and a technological revolution that is reshaping every aspect of our lives. Ours is a time of unprecedented challenges, but also unmatched opportunity.
Interim National Security Strategic Guidance .March 03, 2021 •
Today, the Administration released the Interim National Security Strategic Guidance, attached.
This interim guidance has been issued to convey President Biden’s vision for how America will engage with the world, and to provide guidance for departments and agencies to align their actions as the Administration begins work on a National Security Strategy.
Blinken, Biden outline global strategy with China as key focus .
“China is the only country with the economic, diplomatic, military, and technological power to seriously challenge the stable and open international system — all the rules, values, and relationships that make the world work the way we want it to,” Blinken said in the speech, delivered at the State Department.
Most of Blinken’s speech consisted of pledges he and Biden made repeatedly during the 2020 presidential campaign and since Biden won November’s election. But taken as a whole, the speech underscored how much the national security discussion in Washington is shifting away focusing on threats like terrorism and more on competition with “great powers” such as China.
In my inaugural address, I committed to engage with the world once again, not to meet
yesterday’s challenges, but today’s and tomorrow’s.
Our world is at an inflection point. Global dynamics have shifted. New crises demand our
attention. And in this moment of accelerating global challenges — from the pandemic to the
climate crisis to nuclear proliferation to the fourth industrial revolution — one thing is certain:
we will only succeed in advancing American interests and upholding our universal values
by working in common cause with our closest allies and partners, and by renewing our own
enduring sources of national strength.
That begins with the revitalization of our most fundamental advantage: our democracy. I
believe we are in the midst of an historic and fundamental debate about the future direction
of our world. There are those who argue that, given all the challenges we face, autocracy is the
best way forward. And there are those who understand that democracy is essential to meeting
all the challenges of our changing world.
I firmly believe that democracy holds the key to freedom, prosperity, peace, and dignity. We
must now demonstrate — with a clarity that dispels any doubt — that democracy can still
deliver for our people and for people around the world. We must prove that our model isn’t
a relic of history; it’s the single best way to realize the promise of our future. And, if we work
together with our democratic partners, with strength and confidence, we will meet every
challenge and outpace every challenger.
Achieving these goals rests on a core strategic proposition: The United States must renew its
enduring advantages so that we can meet today’s challenges from a position of strength. We
will build back better our economic foundations; reclaim our place in international institutions;
lift up our values at home and speak out to defend them around the world; modernize our
military capabilities, while leading first with diplomacy; and revitalize America’s unmatched
network of alliances and partnerships.
And as we do this work, we must also demonstrate clearly to the American people that leading
the world isn’t an investment we make to feel good about ourselves. It’s how we ensure the
American people are able to live in peace, security, and prosperity. It’s in our undeniable
When we strengthen our alliances, we amplify our power and our ability to disrupt threats
before they can reach our shores. When we invest in the economic development of countries,
we create new markets for our products and reduce the likelihood of instability, violence, and
mass migrations. When we strengthen health systems around the world, we reduce the risk of
future pandemics that can threaten our people and our economy. When we defend equal rights
of all people — of women and girls, LGBTQI individuals, indigenous communities, people with
disabilities, and people of every ethnic background and religion — we help ensure that those
rights are protected for our own children here in America.
Today, I am issuing this interim guidance to convey my vision for how America will engage
with the world. I direct departments and agencies to align their actions with this guidance,
even as we begin work on a National Security Strategy. We have no time to waste. The simple
truth is, America cannot afford to be absent any longer on the world stage. And under the
Biden-Harris Administration, America is back. Diplomacy is back. Alliances are back. But we
are not looking back. We are looking irrevocably toward the future and all that we can achieve for the American people — together.
Let’s get to work.
President Joseph R. Biden, Jr.