U.S. National Security Strategy from Bush to Obama

Continuity and Change
  • Stuart J. Kaufman


Candidate Barack Obama expressed a view of international relations fundamentally different from that of the Bush administration, but after Obama’s first two years in office, U.S. national security policy had changed more in tone than in substance. The war in Afghanistan continued, no more multilaterally than before. The United States continued to pursue missile defense. In nonproliferation policy, it continued Bush administration efforts to impose economic sanctions against Iran, with no more success in influencing Iranian behavior, and continued attempts to pressure North Korea remained similarly ineffective. The United States continued to speak of the importance of Israeli—Palestinian peace, but still did not act strongly enough to generate progress. Even in rhetoric, the administration’s new national security strategy document reaffirmed the Bush assertion that the United States “reserve[s] the right to act unilaterally if necessary to defend our nation and our interests” (The White House 2010, 22). The prison at Guatanamo Bay in Cuba remained open despite campaign pledges to the contrary.


Gross Domestic Product United Nations Security Council Bush Administration North Atlantic Treaty Organization 
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Copyright information

© Bahram M. Rajaee and Mark J. Miller 2012

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  • Stuart J. Kaufman

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