Washington: The Obama Administration which in its first four years was focused on managing legacy issues inherited from its predecessor is hoping to move to a new chapter of peace in its second term, a top presidential advisor has said.
Drawing out a broad sketch of its foreign policy agenda in the second term beginning next January, Deputy National Security Adviser for Strategic Communication for the US President Ben Rhodes said besides continuing with its counter- terrorism effort and meeting its commitment of not letting Iran develop nuclear weapons, the Administration would focus on a host of key issues including nuclear non-proliferation, consolidating Arab spring, cyber security and climate change.
"One thing that we are looking to do is, as we move out of chapter of war and into hopefully a chapter of peace, the US is positioning itself to take advantage of opportunities around the world and is engaging the world in a way that shores up the cornerstone of our engagement, which is our alliances that builds up alliances with emerging powers," Rhodes said.
"We need to complete transition and end of war in Afghanistan and support a stable, durable framework for security in South Asia. We need to continue our efforts against al Qaeda, but also put those efforts in a sustainable framework for the long term - so, we can protect ourselves, our allies, but not necessarily have terrorism be the predominant focus of American foreign policy but rather something that we are capable of managing as a threat to US and global security," he said.
"We also have a commitment to Iran not developing a nuclear weapon but I`d put that in the broader context of our overall non-proliferation agenda, which involves strengthening a non-proliferation regime, continuing ways to reduce US nuclear stockpiles, continuing to do arms control with Russia, and continuing our efforts to secure nuclear materials," Rhodes said.
"We have a defense budget strategy that we are going to be implementing. We have a number of initiatives that are underway, including a Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement that we`d like to complete. We are focused on how we can continue to posture our forces, security-wise, effectively in the region. We want to continue to invest in our alliances there," he said.
The Obama Administration would like to see how the US can help consolidate a change in Arab Spring countries like Egypt, Tunisia, Libya and Yemen.
"We`re also focused very much on cyber security, both in terms of how are we securing the US cyber-infrastructure in particular, but also our dialogue with other countries around the world as cyber becomes a more predominant issue," he said.
"We see significant potential for the United States to
engage in Africa and Latin America in ways that support, again, positive development but also there is great economic opportunity in developing the Americas. We want to continue to build up our investment relationships there," Rhodes said.
"In Europe, we`ll want to continue our efforts to reform NATO. We`ll want to continue to support the Europeans as they manage their challenges in the Eurozone, but also look for ways to deepen our economic relationship with the Eurozone, which is of course a prominent trading partner with the United States," he said.
Addressing the issue of climate change would be another important priority for the US, he said.
"The US did do a good deal on international front in terms of moving toward a client framework in Copenhagen, Cancun, and Durban. We`re pleased that some progress has been made with the US joining an international effort to address climate change and that China and India and other countries have moved into that framework as well," he said.
Rhodes said that in its first term, the Obama Administration was much focused on managing legacy issues inherited from the previous administration.
"When he took office we had two ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, an ongoing war with Al Qaeda around the world, we had 180,000 troops deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan. And so naturally, a lot of work we did focused on dealing with those challenges," he said.
"As we look at where we are now, today, entering 2013 and a second term, we`ve completely ended a war in Iraq, begun a transition to wind down the war in Afghanistan, we`ve also degraded the core of al-Qaeda`s leadership significantly," he said.
Obama Administration in its first term also did a number of things that were clearly parts of its agenda.
Reducing our nuclear stockpiles along with Russia, securing loose nuclear material around the world, non-proliferation efforts vis-a-vis Iran and North Korea took up a significant amount of attention, he said.
"In the Asia-Pacific, we saw the President`s trip to Burma as a significant moment in US foreign policy, in terms of supporting democratic reforms that are there. On the development side, we supported global food security as a key priority, and of course we put a lot of focus on of course, shoring up our core alliances in Europe and Asia, but also having a broader pivot to the Asia-Pacific region as our economic engagement and also our broader security posture," Rhodes said.