US President Joe Biden declared the promotion of democracy worldwide to be a central component of his national security strategy in new guidelines released on Wednesday.
"Authoritarianism is on the global march," the president's Interim National Security Strategic Guidance said.
"We will strengthen and stand behind our allies, work with like-minded partners, and pool our collective strength to advance shared interests and deter common threats. We will lead with diplomacy," the 24-page document said.
Pandemics, the climate crisis, cyber threats and violent extremism were cited among the "biggest threats." The document stressed that many of these "respect no borders or walls, and must be met with collective action."
"We must also contend with the reality that the distribution of power across the world is changing, creating new threats," the document continued.
"China, in particular, has rapidly become more assertive. It is the only competitor potentially capable of combining its economic, diplomatic, military and technological power to mount a sustained challenge to a stable and open international system."
The paper also mentioned the threat posed by Russia, which "remains determined to enhance its global influence and play a disruptive role on the world stage.
The White House also stressed that Washington "will never hesitate to use force when required to defend our vital national interests," adding that diplomacy will be the first resort to advance the US' interests globally.
Biden, a Democrat, has started a radical departure from his Republican predecessor's 'America First' foreign policy approach since taking office in January.