WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Bush served notice on Friday that the U.S. will shift its military strategy away from the deterrence that characterized the Cold War and toward pre-emptive action against terrorists seeking weapons of mass destruction.
"The United States can no longer solely rely on a reactive posture as we have in the past," Bush wrote. "We cannot let our enemies strike first."
That means taking action against hostile forces like Iraq, he said, even when multinational groups like the United Nations balk.
"As a matter of common sense and self-defense, American will act against such emerging threats before they are fully formed," he wrote in "The National Military Strategy for the United States of America."
"While the United States will constantly strive to enlist the support of the international community, we will not hesitate to act alone, if necessary, to exercise our right of self-defense by acting preemptively against such terrorists," he added, "to prevent them from doing harm against our people and our country."
Presidents are required by law to submit the document to Congress, but Bush's doctrine amounted to the official declaration of the death of Cold War strategy that pushed the superpowers to stockpile nuclear weapons as a way of ensuring peace.
Still, he made clear that the military will be broadly reformed in part to ensure that U.S. interests are never again threatened the way they were in the Cold War.
"Our forces will be strong enough to dissuade potential adversaries from pursuing a military build-up in hopes of surpassing or equaling the power of the United States," Bush wrote.
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