United States National Interests: An Analysis

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1. What three United States national interests do you think will be at great risk over the next five years? Describe those interests and identify which instruments of national power can be leveraged to protect or advance those national interests and how those instruments can be used. As President Obama stated in his addresses to Congress in February 2009, the most important problem that the country faced was the economy, which was in the worst recession since the 1930s. This affected both domestic and foreign policy, since the country would probably have to reduce military spending and its commitments overseas as it did during the Great Depression, so for the Obama administration economic recovery was the primary goal. He did promise that "the weight of this crisis will not determine the destiny of this nation" (Obama Address, 2009, p. 1). In foreign policy, Obama promised to be more transparent about the costs of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and to wind down the nation building operation in Iraq in his first term, which was done. There would also be a new strategy in Afghanistan and Pakistan to defeat Al Qaeda, and the president promised that he would not "allow terrorists to plot against the American people from safe havens half a world away" (Obama Address, p. 6). Over the past three years, the use of aerial drones to attack Taliban and Al Qaeda leaders has increased, along with unconventional warfare against terrorist groups, such as the SEAL team that killed
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