The world stands today at the dawn of a decisive decade — a moment of consequence and peril, of profound pain and extraordinary possibility. Perhaps now more than ever, we have seen how the most urgent challenges of our time do not define themselves within national borders. A global pandemic that has claimed more than six million lives. A climate crisis that threatens the future of every continent. An emboldening of autocrats who believe that democracy and multilateralism cannot deliver in the 21st century. These tests, and more, are among the sternest that the world has ever faced.
It is against this backdrop — at this inflection point in history — that America must lead. We know all too well that today’s most pressing challenges — their root causes as well as their impacts — are global in nature. We know that America’s security and success hinge in no small measure on the peace and stability of the world beyond our borders. We know that beneath the global crises we face lie breathtaking opportunities for our Nation and the world — if we can summon the will to seize them.
This document — a prologue to the US Strategy to Prevent Conflict and Promote Stability — represents an assertion of American leadership to take on the defining global challenges of our time. Driven in large part by the tireless commitment of humanitarian advocates and civil society organizations working on the front lines of conflict, this Strategy is the product of a bipartisan vision, manifested by the passage of the Global Fragility Act in December 2019 with overwhelming bipartisan majorities. It provides a roadmap: a 10-year effort to strengthen the security and prosperity of people everywhere by helping to fortify the footing of parts of the world that continue to grapple with challenges that can lead to destabilizing conflict and violence. It is, in short, an investment in global peace and security — one which will deliver critical returns not only in the nations with whom we’ll be working, but, most of all, here in the United States.
The heartbreaking images we are seeing in Ukraine — the result of a vicious and unprovoked attack by Vladimir Putin — are only the latest reminder of the tragic consequences of global conflict and the need to avert violence before it erupts. We know that working broadly, strategically, and cooperatively to prevent conflict and instability is the greatest investment we can make in America’s future, and in the future of the entire world. In Ukraine, as in Ethiopia, Syria, Yemen, and elsewhere around the world, the incalculable toll of lives lost, families separated, economies destroyed, and social fabrics torn threatens to spiral whole regions into cycles of violence and loss that can linger for generations . Doing all that we can to assist communities around the world in their conflict prevention efforts is more than just the right thing to do. It saves lives, safeguards Americans’ own security and prosperity, and establishes the United States as a trusted partner — a force for peace and stability in the world, and a nation that can be counted on to work and learn productively alongside the nations of every region to tackle common challenges and strengthen our shared future.
This Strategy lays out a whole-of-government approach to advancing America’s national interests on the world stage. This means tapping into the expansive expertise and resources that reside across our Government, sharpening and updating those tools where needed, humbly applying the costly and painful lessons from the past, and transforming the way we work with each other. Our diplomats, officers, and experts in the State Department, the United States Agency for International Development, the Department of Defense, the Department of the Treasury, and others across Government, as well as members of the Foreign Service and Armed Forces, will work in close cooperation with multilateral organizations and a wide variety of local partners in each nation where these efforts will be pursued — including civil society organizations, community leaders, businesses, and government officials. Those who are closest and most vulnerable to these challenges know best where the opportunities for peace and stability lie — they represent the strongest source of promise and immunity from destabilizing forces, and we must support their strength and resilience. From strengthening social institutions and state-society relations, to mitigating the spread of extremist ideologies, to confronting the corrosive impact of gender inequality, to cultivating greater trust between security forces and citizens, to guarding against the destabilizing threat of climate change — we will help foster locally led, locally owned solutions grounded in mutual trust and long-term accountability.
Prevention is hard work — measured not in days and weeks, but in years and generations. Its successes are never as evident as its failures, and it requires us to remain focused on lasting peace and stability over the allure of easier, more temporary gains that may not strengthen our position in the long term. But, with this Strategy, we are committing ourselves to the effort. As we implement this Strategy, my administration looks forward to working closely with the Congress on a bipartisan basis, and in close consultation with civil society institutions and stakeholders at every level. United in our vision, America can and must lead this essential new effort to interrupt potential pathways to conflict, alleviate threats before they escalate and arrive on our shores, and help safeguard the economy, health, and security of our Nation for generations to come.
Joseph R. Biden, Jr.