CHAPTER ONE INTRODUCTION
1.1 Research Background
National security is commonly defined as a nation being in a state free from danger andthreat. The modern usage of this notion is first introduced in American political commentatorWalter Lippmann’s (1943, p. 49) masterpiece U.S. Foreign Policy: Shield of the Republic.Today, national security is in the spotlight worldwide because people in general are just notfree from danger or threat.
Being two most influential countries in the world, China and the U.S. play cruciallyimportant roles in the field of national and international security, of which the security strategyis a vital component. Historically speaking, national security strategy dynamically evolvedwith the waves of globalization. Correspondingly, the basic notion of national security is nothistorically fixed as well. National security strategy contributes to safeguarding the interests ofthe state, while national security concept provides a comprehensive knowledge of nationalsecurity issues. In other words, national security concept, which may not be clearly shown onthe table but need to identify from discourse, actually directs the main strategy. Accordingly,security strategy mirrors its security concept.
National security concept is not only fluid through time but also largely different indiverse cultures. That is to say, every country defines its national security concept on the basisof specific values and periods. With regards to the U.S., National Security Strategy of theUnited States of America (NSS for short) is the most authoritative document, showing nationalsecurity interests as well as basic values. Worth to note, that the “China threat” theory appearedfor the first time at the beginnings of the 1990s, when China’s economy and comprehensivenational power has undergone astounding rapid growth (Aghavni, 2016, p. 223). These years,the western countries are questioning the opacity of China’s military since China has neverreleased one document on its national security strategies. Whether China should issue one is amatter of question that need to be dealt with. Before answering the question, it is necessary tounderstand the national security concept of the U.S. as well as its discursive construction bymaking an analysis of the NSS document.
1.2 Research Goals, Questions and Significance
This dissertation aims to attain a thorough understanding of national security concept ofthe U.S. by conducting a cultural discourse analysis of the 2017 NSS document. The discursiveconstruction, a cultural and historical comparison as well as the purposes and reasons behindwill be interpreted and explained. Meanwhile, discourse should be regarded as acommunicative event including many organic parts rather than the written texts only. In this sense, the central research question is “what is America’s concept of national security like?”Concentrating on this, five detailed questions are elaborated as follows:
(1) How is America’s national security concept discursively constructed?
(2) What are the rhetorical functions of the constructions concerned?
(3) How is America’s concept of national security compared with that of China?
(4) How has it evolved in time through different Administrations of the U.S.?
(5) What are the possible factors that might have helped shape the current concept ofAmerica’s national security?
The significance lies in three respects. Firstly, being one of the world’s most powerfulcountries, America’s national security strategy is vital to other countries especially to China.Understanding its national security concept concealed in the document, which is the core of allthe national security issues, contributes to a better interpretation of the strategy. Secondly,exploring America’s national security concept may offer some suggestions on whether Chinashould release this document and how to co