Under the subtitle “A Challenging Global Security Environment,” the first pages discuss the success in killing Osama bin Laden and rendering al-Qaeda “far less capable,” then say that extremist groups in the Middle East, Africa and elsewhere “will continue to threaten U.S. interests, allies, partners and the homeland.”

The paper says, “For the foreseeable future, the United States will continue to take an active approach to countering these threats by monitoring the activities of non-state threats worldwide, working with allies and partners to establish control over ungoverned territories, and directly striking the most dangerous groups and individuals when necessary” — emphasis added.

The United States has a long history of launching major military interventions when national security interests appear to be at stake. But Bush’s adoption, after Sept. 11, 2001, of a policy of preemptive action took American intervention to a new, questionable level.