National Interest Alignment: Universal Values Versus Stability

  • Lieutenant Colonel Marcus A. Jones

The U.S. National Interests presented by each Presidential Administration are codified in the National Security Strategy and serve as the foundation for U.S. policy formulation and implementation. The 2015 National Security outlines four National Interests – U.S. Security, U.S. Economic Prosperity, A Rules-based International Order, and Respect for Universal Values. Each of the National Interests evokes a different level of relative interest intensity. When compared with the other National Interests, and analyzed against ongoing foreign policy activities, Universal Values promotion is not aligned with other elements of the National Security Strategy. This inconsistency negatively effects U.S. credibility in the international community. In view of this interest conflict, the U.S. should revise the National Interests to remove Universal Values and replace it with Stability. This revision better articulates current policy actions and enhances U.S. credibility.