Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright
Statement before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee
Washington, DC, February 10, 1998
As released by the Office of the Spokesman
U.S. Department of State


As Submitted to the Committee

Mr. Chairman and Members of the Committee, a year ago, I came here to ask your help in creating a new foreign policy framework--adapted to the demands of a new century--to protect our citizens and friends; reinforce our values; and secure our future.

In the months since, we have worked together successfully as partners, not partisans, to advance American interests and sustain American leadership.

During that time, we have helped achieve progress towards a Europe whole and free, a Bosnia where peace is beginning to take hold, an Asia where security cooperation is on the rise, an Africa being transformed by new leaders and fresh thinking, and a Western Hemisphere blessed by an ever-deepening partnership of democracies.

We have also joined the Chemical Weapons Convention, intensified the war against international crime, taken an essential first step towards a global agreement to combat climate change and done much to re-establish a bipartisan consensus for U.S. leadership in world affairs.

These efforts are paying dividends both here at home and overseas. And this Committee has been a major contributor, forging a strong record on legislation, treaties, oversight and moving promptly and fairly on nominations.

Of course, important accomplishments lead to great expectations. And so, this morning, I am here again to ask for your help.

As we meet, America is prosperous and at peace in a world more democratic than ever before. But we cannot afford to rest. For experience warns us that the course of history is neither predictable nor smooth. And we know that, in our era, new perils may arise with 21st century speed.

Today, our citizens travel the world and we have major interests on every continent. We work in a global marketplace in which economies rise and recede together. We face dangers no nation can defeat alone--dangers as mobile as a renegade virus, as deadly as a terrorist’s bomb, as widespread as international crime and as pernicious as violence spawned by ethnic hate.

As always, the obligation we have is to our citizens, but that obligation comes now with the knowledge that, increasingly, what happens anywhere will matter everywhere.

If Americans are to be secure in such a world, we must seize the opportunity that history has presented to bring nations closer together around basic principles of democracy, free markets, respect for the law and a commitment to peace.

This is not an effort we undertake with a scorecard in hand. But every time a conflict is settled or a nuclear weapon dismantled; every time a country starts to observe global rules of trade; every time a drug kingpin is arrested or a war criminal prosecuted; the process of constructive integration moves forward and the ties that bind the international system are strengthened.

America’s place is at the center of this system. And our challenge is to see that the connections around the center--between regions and among the most prominent nations--are strong and dynamic, resilient and sure.

We must also help other nations find their way into the system as partners--by lending a hand to those struggling to build democracy, emerge from poverty or recover from conflict.

We must build new institutions and adapt old ones to master the demands of the world not as it has been, but as it is and will be.

We must summon the will to deter, the support to isolate, and the strength to defeat those who run roughshod over the rights of others.

And we must aspire not simply to maintain the status quo. Abroad, as here, we must strive for higher standards in the marketplace and workplace, the classroom and courtroom, so that the benefits of growth and the protections of law are shared not only by the lucky few, but by the hardworking many.

All this requires a lot of heavy lifting. We must--and we will--insist that others do their fair share. But do not doubt, if we want to protect our people, expand our economy, improve our lives and safeguard the freedoms we cherish, we must stamp this heretofore unnamed era with a clear identity--grounded in democracy, dedicated to justice and committed to peace.

I. UNFINISHED BUSINESS.

Mr. Chairman, the best way to begin this year’s work is to finish last year’s. And last year, at your initiative, we developed creative plans to restructure our foreign policy institutions and to encourage United Nations reform while paying our long overdue UN bills.

Unfortunately, a small group of House Members blocked final passage of those measures, along with needed financing for the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Those Members did not oppose our ideas, nor make credible arguments against them. They simply wanted to take valuable legislation hostage. And as the price for releasing the hostages, they insisted that the Administration agree to their unrelated position on international population programs.

The victims of this act of legislative blackmail are your constituents--the American people. For without reorganization, our effort to improve foreign policy effectiveness is slowed. And the failure to pay our UN bills has already cost us.

Last December, the General Assembly voted on a plan that could have cut our share of UN assessments by roughly $100 million every year. But because of that small group of Congressmen, we lost that opportunity--and our taxpayers lost those savings--and will continue to do so every year we fail to address this obligation.

But paying our UN bills is about more than money. It is also about principle--and honor--and our vital interests.

The United Nations is not--as some have seemed to suggest--an alien presence on U.S. soil. It was Made in America. Our predecessors brought the UN together, led the drafting of the UN Charter and helped write the UN’s rules. And we have used the UN to tell America’s side of the story during international showdowns from the Korean War, to the Cuban Missile Crisis, to the destruction of flight KAL-007, to Operation Desert Storm, to Castro’s shootdown of the Brothers to the Rescue two years ago this month.

Today, we still have important business to conduct at the UN, such as dealing with Saddam Hussein, punishing genocide, ensuring the safety of Americans traveling abroad and helping poor and hungry children to survive.

Mr. Chairman, this issue is not complicated; it is simple. The best America is a leader, not a debtor.

Let us act quickly to put our UN arrears behind us; restore America’s full influence within the UN system; move ahead with UN reform; and use the UN, as its founders intended, as an important tool to make the world safer, more prosperous and humane.

II. AMERICAN LEADERSHIP AND INTERESTS AROUND THE WORLD.

A. The Crossroads.

As we move to deal with old business, we must also think anew. Normally, when I review U.S. policies around the world, I begin with Europe and Asia. This morning, I want to break with tradition and begin with the crossroads linking those continents--the vast territory that stretches from the Suez and Bosporus in the west to the Caucasus and Caspian in the north to the Bay of Bengal in the southeast.

I do so because--as much as any region--the choices made here during the remaining months of this century will determine the shape of the next.

They will decide, for example: whether weapons of mass destruction cease to imperil the Gulf and South Asia; whether the oil and gas fields of the Caucasus and Central Asia become reliable sources of energy; whether the opium harvests of death in Burma and Afghanistan are shut down; whether the New Independent States become strong and successful democracies; whether Israel can find peace with security and Arabs prosperity through regional trade and integration; whether terrorists are denied the support they need to perpetrate their crimes; and whether the great religions of the world can work together to foster tolerance and understanding.

As Secretary of State, developing an integrated approach to this part of the world is a major challenge, not least because it includes countries covered by every regional bureau in the Department except Africa and Latin America. But despite the region’s diversity, we are able to approach it with a set of common principles.

First, we believe that the nations in and outside the region must work together to avoid a modern version of the so-called "Great Game," in which past struggles for resources and power led to war, repression and misery. Here, as elsewhere, each nation’s sovereignty must be respected; and the goal of each should be stability and prosperity that is widely shared.

Second, cooperation must extend to security. Nations must have the wisdom and the will to oppose the agents of terrorism, proliferation and crime.

Third, neighbors must live as neighbors. From the Middle East to Central and South Asia, long festering disputes remain unsettled. Those within the region must seek to protect vital interests, while settling differences fairly and peaceably. Those outside the region must refrain from exploiting divisions and support efforts to settle conflicts.

Fourth, the international community must nurture inter-ethnic tolerance and respect for human rights, including women’s rights. This responsibility is shared by all, for no culture or religion has a monopoly on virtue--nor is any fully free from extremist violence.

U.S. policy is to promote and practice these principles; to persuade all those with a stake in the region to rise above the zero-sum thinking of the past; and to embrace the reality that cooperation by all will yield for all a future of greater prosperity, dignity and peace.

That is certainly our message in the Middle East, where we continue to seek progress towards a just, lasting and comprehensive settlement, based on UN Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338, including the principle of land for peace.

The President sent me to the region to follow up on the ideas he presented to Chairman Arafat and Prime Minister Netanyahu. He presented our ideas as a way to break the stalemate, recognizing that the parties, given the level of their distrust, might respond to us even if they remain reluctant to respond to each other.

Frankly, the issue now is whether the leaders are prepared to make the kind of decisions that will make it possible to put the process back on track. Indeed, we have to ask: are they prepared to promote their common interests as partners? Or are they determined to compete and return to an era of zero sum relations?

The stakes are high. That’s why we have been involved in such an intense effort to protect the process from collapsing. U.S. credibility in the region and the interests of our Arab and Israeli friends depend upon it.

America’s interest in a stable and prosperous Middle East also depends on whether the nations there work together to reform their economies, attract investment and create opportunities for their people. Hopelessness is a great enemy of the region, for those with faith in the future are far more likely to build peace than those immobilized by despair.

Accordingly, I hope we will have the Committee’s support for our proposals to contribute to a Middle East and North Africa Development Bank, provide desperately-needed assistance to the Palestinian people and to development in Jordan, where King Hussein has been a consistent and courageous supporter of peace.

Mr. Chairman, if we are to have an international system based on law, we must have the spine to enforce the law. And that is where our policy towards Iraq begins. Saddam Hussein is an aggressor who has used weapons of mass destruction before and--if allowed--would surely use or threaten to use them again.

At the end of the Gulf War, the UN Security Council established a system to ensure that Saddam would not have this opportunity. Iraq was required to declare its weapons of mass destruction and delivery systems, destroy them and never build them again. The UN Special Commission, or UNSCOM, was to verify the declarations and the destruction, inspect to be sure of the truth and monitor to prevent the rebuilding of weapons.

But from the outset, Iraq did all it could to evade UNSCOM’s requirements. Iraqi officials lied, concealed information and harassed and bullied inspectors. UNSCOM nevertheless accomplished a great deal, destroying more weapons of mass destruction than were demolished in the entire Gulf War.

Then, in 1995, Saddam Hussein’s brother-in-law defected and provided new and chilling information especially about Iraq’s biological weapons program. This set in motion a high stakes game of poker between UNSCOM and Iraq.

As UNSCOM has learned more about Iraqi methods, it has become more creative in its inspection strategy--and increasingly threatening to Saddam. As UNSCOM has moved closer to discovering information that Iraq wants desperately to hide, Baghdad has grown more belligerent, repeatedly blocking inspection teams, challenging UNSCOM’s authority, and refusing access to dozens of suspect sites. Iraq now says it will eject UNSCOM altogether if UN sanctions are not soon lifted.

Clearly, if UNSCOM is to uncover the full truth about Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction programs, it must have unrestricted access to locations, people and documents that may be related to those programs. But as UNSCOM’s Chairman Richard Butler attests, Iraq is making it impossible for the Commission to do its job. We, in the international community, are left with a choice between allowing Saddam Hussein to dictate the terms of UN inspections--essentially folding our hand--or calling Saddam’s bluff.

In recent months, we have worked hard to find a diplomatic solution. The UN Security Council has insisted repeatedly and unanimously that Iraq cooperate fully with UNSCOM. Meanwhile, the UN inspectors have been kicked out, then allowed back in, then prevented from doing their work, then threatened again with expulsion. Saddam Hussein’s dream is the world’s nightmare--to gain the lifting of UN sanctions, without losing his capacity to build and use weapons of mass destruction. In pursuing this fantasy, Saddam has thwarted efforts to resolve the crisis diplomatically and made the use of military force more likely.

As President Clinton has made clear, the United States will not allow Iraq to get away with flagrantly violating its obligations. And I have been heartened, both during my travels and in other communications, by the support our position has received.

In virtually every part of the world, there is a determination that Iraq comply with the UN Security Council resolutions, and that it provide unfettered access to UN weapons inspectors. There is agreement that responsibility for the current impasse and its potential consequences rests with Iraq alone. And there is an understanding that, unless Iraq’s policies change, we will have no choice but to take strong measures--not pinpricks, but substantial strikes--that reduce Saddam’s capacity to re-constitute his weapons of mass destruction and diminish his ability to threaten Iraq’s neighbors and the world. Let no one miscalculate: we have the authority to do this, the responsibility to do this, the means and the will.

Before leaving this subject, I want briefly to dispose of Saddam’s argument that the UN and the United States are to blame for the suffering of the Iraqi people. The truth is that Saddam doesn’t care a fig about the Iraqi people, whom he has terrorized, tortured and brutalized for years.

I am told by Arab leaders I trust that there is great concern in the Arab world about the plight of Iraqi civilians. I am convinced that is true for this concern is fully shared by the United States and the American people. Saddam knows this, which is why he so bravely sends women and children to guard his palaces in time of crisis.

The United States has strongly supported efforts through the UN to see that foods and medicines are made available to the Iraqi people. UN Secretary General Kofi Annan has proposed to expand these efforts, and we are looking hard at how best to do that. Meanwhile, the blame for Iraqi suffering does not rest with the international community; it rests with Saddam Hussein.

Mr. Chairman, America is never stronger than when it is together. I have been deeply impressed and encouraged by the strong bipartisan backing we have received on this issue. We will look to Congress for continued support and counsel in the days ahead.

Across the border from Iraq in Iran, there are signs that popular support is building for a more open approach to the world. We welcome that. An Iran that accepts and adheres to global norms on terrorism, proliferation and human rights could contribute much to regional stability. Iran’s President Khatami called recently for a dialogue between our two peoples. There is merit in this, for we have much to learn from each other. But the issues that divide us are not those of respect between our two peoples, but matters of policy that must ultimately be addressed directly through government to government talks.

Further north, in the Caucasus, we are working hard with our Minsk process co-chairs to settle the dispute between Armenia and Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh. Although the cease-fire continues, progress towards a definitive solution has stalled. We have substantial interests here, but our leverage would increase if Congress lifted legal restrictions on nonmilitary assistance to Azerbaijan, while maintaining support for aid to Armenia--where we will be encouraging free and fair Presidential elections this spring.

Finally, President Clinton plans to visit South Asia later this year to explore possibilities for closer economic ties, press concerns about proliferation, and seek better mutual cooperation across the board. With India, we have begun a strategic dialogue between the world’s oldest democracy and the world’s largest. And with Pakistan, we are developing a broader partnership with our long time friend. These nations, and Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, with their large, diverse populations, are laboratories of democracy. We are committed to working with them in appropriate ways to strengthen institutions, facilitate growth, protect human rights and enhance the rule of law.

B. Europe.

Mr. Chairman, the strategies we are developing in places such as the Gulf, the Caucasus and Central Asia illustrate the breadth of change that has transformed the political map. They show, as well, that the regional categories into which we once divided the world no longer suffice.

But however old or new the challenges we face, there is still one relationship that more than any other will determine whether we meet them successfully, and that is our relationship with Europe.

This is not because we and our European friends always see eye to eye. We do not. The transatlantic partnership remains our strategic base--the drivewheel of progress on every world-scale issue when we agree, the brake when we do not.

Today, we have two strategic goals in Europe. The first is to work with our European Union partners to continue carrying out our New Transatlantic Agenda, and with all our friends on the continent to meet global challenges.

This means supporting peace initiatives from the Middle East to Central Africa. It means recognizing that halting the spread of weapons of mass destruction is a shared responsibility that cannot be balanced against competing political or commercial concerns. It means joining forces to fight international criminals and protect the global environment. And it means joint efforts to build a more open world economy with reduced barriers to cross-Atlantic investment and trade.

A second goal is to build a Europe that is itself for the first time whole, free, prosperous and at peace.

To this end, two years ago, the United States led the effort to stop the war in Bosnia. We knew that it did not serve our interests to see aggression undeterred and genocide unpunished in the heart of Europe, or NATO divided on how to respond. Now, we must finish what we started and maintain our support for implementing the Dayton Accords.

Shortly before Christmas, I went to Bosnia with the President, Senator Dole, and members of Congress to visit our troops and talk frankly with local leaders. We found a nation that remains deeply divided, but where multi-ethnic institutions are once again beginning to function. Economic growth is accelerating. Indicted war criminals are surrendering or being arrested. Refugees are slowly beginning to return. And a new Bosnian Serb government is acting on its pledge to implement Dayton.

More slowly than we foresaw, but as surely as we hoped, the infrastructure of Bosnian peace is taking shape and the psychology of reconciliation is taking hold. Day by day, town by town, the evidence is growing that, if we persevere, peace will be sustained.

But if we were to leave now, as some urge, the confidence we are building would erode, the democratic institutions would be embattled, and the purveyors of hate would be emboldened. The result could well be a return to genocide and war.

That would surrender the progress we and our partners have helped Bosnians achieve, and devalue the sacrifices our armed forces, diplomats and private citizens have made. It would abandon Bosnia’s democrats, who put their faith in the United States. It would hurt American leadership within NATO, which is vital to our national security. And it would undermine NATO itself, by raising doubts, even as we propose to enlarge it, about the willingness of the alliance to tackle hard problems.

Quitting is not the American way. In Bosnia, the mission should determine the timetable, not the other way around. And as the President made clear in December, "that mission must be achievable and tied to concrete benchmarks, not a deadline."

So Mr. Chairman, Members of the Committee, I ask your support. Let us continue to play an appropriate role in Bosnia as long as our help is needed, our allies and friends do their share, and the Bosnian people are striving to help themselves. That is the right thing to do. And it is the smart thing, for it is the only way to ensure that when our troops do leave Bosnia, they leave for good.

The effort to recover from war in Bosnia reminds us how important it is to prevent war. And how much we owe to those who designed and built NATO, which has been for a half century the world’s most powerful defender of freedom and deterrent to aggression.

Mr. Chairman, in two weeks, I am scheduled to be here with you again, together with Secretary Cohen and General Shelton, to seek the Committee’s support for making America among the first to ratify the admission of Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic to our alliance. I hope you will agree when the time comes for a vote--and I hope it will come early--that by welcoming these three nations, and holding the door open to others, we will make America safer, NATO stronger, and Europe more stable and united.

Building peace in Bosnia and beginning the enlargement of NATO are two key elements in our effort to build a peaceful, free and undivided Europe. But there are many others.

Last month, President Clinton joined the leaders of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania in signing the U.S.-Baltic Charter, to show our support for the freedom and security of these nations and for their efforts to join western institutions. We are pursuing our Northeast Europe Initiative to encourage integration among nations of the Nordic and Baltic region, and to strengthen their ties with us, the EU and their neighbors.

We strongly support the expansion of the EU into central and eastern Europe, and Turkey’s desire to be part of that process.

We are putting in place a new Southeast Europe strategy to help integrate countries in that region into western institutions.

We are leading the transformation of the OSCE into an organization that produces not just reports, but results.

President Clinton and I are backing efforts to achieve lasting reconciliation in Northern Ireland.

We are working hard to ease tensions in the Aegean and have put unprecedented effort into trying to achieve a Cyprus settlement.

We have cemented our strategic partnership with Ukraine, knowing that an independent, democratic, prosperous and stable Ukraine is a key to building a secure and undivided Europe. In 1998, we will continue to support Ukraine’s economic and political reforms, deepen our cooperation under the NATO-Ukraine Charter and insist on its adherence to nonproliferation norms.

We are also striving to build a relationship with Russia--and between Russia and NATO--that is steady and consistent--encouraging Russia toward greater openness at home and constructive behavior abroad. In coming weeks, we will be working with Russia to keep its economic reforms on track, urge START II ratification by the Duma, and take needed steps to prevent proliferation.

C. Asia.

The United States is a Pacific nation, just as we are an Atlantic and a Caribbean nation. We have allies and friends in every part of the continent. We are major buyers and sellers in Asia-Pacific markets. We are backers of Asian democracy which--as the recent election in the Republic of Korea indicates--is alive and well. And we have a vital stake in the security of Asia, where we have fought three wars during the past six decades.

Since becoming Secretary of State, I have traveled to East Asia three times and to the APEC Ministerial and Summit in Vancouver. This reflects the priority we have placed on improving ties throughout the region.

Our overarching objective is to continue building a new and inclusive Pacific community based on stability, shared interests and the rule of law.

To this end, we have fortified our core alliances, crafted new defense guidelines with Japan, maintained our forward deployment of troops, embarked on Four Party talks to create a basis for lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula, and continued to implement, with our partners, the Agreed Framework which is dismantling North Korea’s dangerous nuclear program.

In addition, we are working with ASEAN and other regional leaders to encourage a return to representative government in Cambodia, and a meaningful dialogue in Burma between the authorities there and the democratic opposition, led by Aung San Suu Kyi.

We have also intensified our dialogue with China, achieving progress on economic and security matters, while maintaining our principles on respect for Tibetan heritage and human rights. Let me stress here, Mr. Chairman, that engagement is not the same as endorsement. We continue to have sharp differences with China--but we also believe that the best way to narrow those differences is to encourage China to become a fully responsible participant in the international system.

Steps in the right direction include China’s commitment to strictly control nuclear exports, assurances on nuclear cooperation with Iran, security cooperation on the Korean peninsula, signing the CTBT, continued economic liberalization, the release of Wei Jingsheng and the invitation to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to visit.

But most urgently, Mr. Chairman, we have been working with the IMF and the world community to respond to the financial crisis in East Asia.

Many of your constituents may have asked why the United States should help Asian governments and businesses recover from their mistakes. It is a good question to which the facts provide a persuasive answer.

The crisis resulted from bad economic habits in the countries involved and on the part of those who did business with them. Rapid growth bred excess short-term borrowing, which was used to finance imprudent investments, which led to unsustainable levels of debt, which local authorities were slow to recognize and confront. Last summer, markets began responding to these weaknesses and a crisis of confidence grew.

Our approach is clear. To recover, a nation must reform its economy. And if it is willing seriously to do so, it will be in our interest to help.

The governments of Thailand, Indonesia and Korea have developed programs with the IMF that address the economic problems they face. These arrangements require market-opening measures, the restructuring of financial sectors, greater investment transparency and other reforms.

We are working with these governments, and with others such as Japan, Singapore and China, to prevent the crisis from spreading.

And we will be asking Congress to approve our 15% share of the additional IMF resources that are required.

We have adopted this approach for several reasons.

East Asia includes some of the best customers for U.S. products and services; more than one-third of our exports go there. Thousands of good jobs in Atlanta and St. Paul, Wilmington and Raleigh depend on economic vigor in places such as Bangkok and Seoul.

Second, the reforms the IMF is supporting are designed in part to promote better governance, by encouraging more openness and transparency in decisionmaking. This offers the greatest hope of progress towards more democratic and accountable political systems which should lead, in turn, to sounder and wiser economic management.

Third, East Asia includes some of our closest allies and friends. South Korea faces a large, hostile and well-armed military force across the DMZ. Democratic Thailand has taken courageous steps to put its fiscal house in order. Indonesia is the world’s fourth most populous country and one of its most diverse; its stability, and the efforts of its people to build a more open society, are central to the region’s future.

Finally, since the IMF functions as a sort of intergovernmental credit union, these so-called bailouts won’t cost our taxpayers a nickel--just as the President’s bold plan to rescue the Mexican economy three years ago proved cost-free.

Still, there are some who say we should disavow the IMF, abandon our friends and stand aside, letting the chips--or dominos--fall where they may.

It is possible that, if we were to take this course, the economies of East Asia might miraculously right themselves and we would not experience a sharp drop in exports or see our own markets even more inundated with cut-rate foreign goods.

It is possible that we would not see instability and civil violence create new security threats in this region where 100,000 American troops are deployed.

It is possible that the effects of a financial freefall in East Asia would not spread around the world, and that our decision to walk away would not be misunderstood, and a wave of anti-American sentiment not be unleashed, and potential progress towards the higher labor and environmental standards we advocate not be washed away.

All this is possible, but I would not want to bet American security or prosperity on that proposition. Nor would I want to risk the jobs of your constituents. For it would be a very, very bad bet.

The truth is that, even with full backing for the IMF, and diligent reforms in East Asia, the risks are substantial. Recovery will take time. And further tremors are possible.

The best way to minimize the depth and duration of the crisis is to back the reforms now being implemented and do all we can to keep the virus from spreading.

But we must also take strong steps to prevent this kind of crisis from recurring.

To this end, we are continuing efforts to improve the international financial community’s ability to anticipate and respond to problems. Reforms achieved since the G-7 Halifax Summit in 1995, such as the IMF’s Emergency Funding Mechanism, have helped us respond to the Asian crisis. In all of the Asian programs, we have pressed hard to increase transparency, and have succeeded in getting the specifics of the IMF programs published.

More needs to be done. At the President’s initiative, Secretary Rubin will convene a meeting later this spring with finance ministers and central bank governors from around the world to build a consensus on ways to strengthen the global financial system. They will focus on four objectives: improving transparency and disclosure; strengthening the role of the international financial institutions; improving regulation of financial institutions; and developing the role of the private sector in bearing an appropriate share of the burden in time of crisis.

D. The Americas.

Mr. Chairman, closer to home, we meet today at a time of heightened emphasis in our policy towards the Americas. In recent months, President Clinton has visited Canada and Mexico, with whom we enjoy relationships of extraordinary warmth despite occasional disagreements. He also traveled to Central and South America and the Caribbean. In April, he will go to Chile for the second hemispheric Summit.

This attention is warranted not only by proximity of geography, but by proximity of values. For today, with one lonely exception, every government in the hemisphere is freely-elected. Every major economy has liberalized its system for investment and trade. With war in Guatemala ended, Central America is without conflict for the first time in decades. And, as recent progress toward settling the Ecuador-Peru border dispute reflects, nations are determined to live in security and peace from pole to pole.

Despite this, the region still faces serious challenges. Growing populations make it harder to translate macroeconomic growth into higher standards of living. For many, the dividends of economic reform are not yet visible, while the costs of the accompanying austerity measures are. The building of democracy remains in all countries a work in progress, with stronger, more independent legal systems an urgent need in most.

In Haiti, the challenge of creating a democratic culture and market economy--where neither has ever existed--is especially daunting. For the past nine months, Haiti has been mired in what is both a political standoff and a separation of powers dispute. Other young democracies have taken years and endured much violence to sort out such issues. Haitians are trying to resolve their differences through dialogue and debate, not guns. But it will take time to find the way forward.

Meanwhile, the pace of restructuring an economy still badly damaged by decades of dictatorial rule has lagged. For millions of impoverished Haitians, democracy has not yet delivered on the hope of prosperity.

We cannot turn our backs at this critical stage. To do so would risk Haiti’s mirroring its past: an undemocratic Haiti that serves as a safe haven for criminals and drug traffickers and from which thousands of would-be migrants are driven to seek refuge on our shores.

Our economic and food aid to Haiti is directed at basic human needs and at laying the foundation for sustained economic growth. I ask your support for continuing and increasing this assistance to strengthen civil society and help expand microenterprise, health, education and family planning efforts. It will also be used to assist secondary cities to attract private investment and create jobs.

In Cuba, Christmas had special meaning this year because of the Pope’s visit. But we will not rest until another day--Election Day--has meaning there, as well. The people of Cuba deserve the same right as their counterparts from Argentina to Alaska to select their own leaders and shape their own lives. The Cuban regime was right to allow the Pope’s visit. It should act now in the spirit of free expression that His Holiness espoused. Meanwhile, the United States will continue working with friends in Europe and throughout the hemisphere to heighten the pressure--which is building--for democratic change.

This spring, the hemisphere’s democratic leaders will gather in Santiago for the second Summit of the Americas. Their purpose will be to set an agenda to take us into the 21st century, an agenda that will include education, trade, economic integration, fighting poverty, strengthening the rule of law, judicial reform, the environment and human rights.

The United States is looking forward to participating in the summit, and to achieving an outcome notable not only for its goals, but also for concrete plans to achieve them.

E. Africa.

In the past, U.S. relations with Africa have been distorted by the prisms of east-west and north-south divisions. We have a rare chance now to establish more mature relationships, characterized by cooperation and dedicated to solving problems.

During my recent visit, I was impressed by how rapidly Africa is departing from the shopworn stereotypes, even as it continues to grapple with chronic problems of poverty and strife. Today, many old conflicts are being settled. Countries are modernizing. Centralized economies are giving way to open markets. And civil society is beginning to blossom.

As a result, the opportunity is there to help integrate Africa into the world economy; build democracy; and gain valuable allies in the fight against terror, narcotics trafficking and other global threats.

As we prepare for the President’s upcoming visit, we want to express our support for countries such as South Africa, Botswana and Benin where the commitment to democracy is strongest, while paying heed, as well, to the trouble spots that remain.

In the strategic, strife-torn Great Lakes region, for example, countries face long odds. Rwanda is still recovering from genocide; Burundi remains without a stable political order; and the vast, resource-rich Democratic Republic of Congo must rebuild and democratize after decades of misrule.

I urge the Committee’s support for the President’s initiative to promote justice and development in the Great Lakes, so that we may help the people there to prevent further outbreaks of violence and to plant the seeds of democratic progress and social renewal. I urge your support for our request for funds for education, debt relief and development. And I hope Congress will act quickly to approve the proposed Africa Growth and Opportunity Act. This is a Capitol Hill initiative, supported by the Administration, designed to frame a new American approach to the new Africa.

We believe that the African countries that most deserve our help are those that are doing the most to help themselves. And that the most useful help we can provide is the kind that will enable economies to stand on their own feet--through open markets, greater investment, increased trade and the development among their peoples of 21st century skills.

III. GLOBAL OPPORTUNITIES AND THREATS.

Mr. Chairman, to protect the security and prosperity of our citizens, we are engaged in every region on every continent. Many of our initiatives and concerns are directed, as I have discussed, at particular countries or parts of the world. Others are more encompassing and can best be considered in global terms.

A. Reducing the Threat Posed by Deadly Arms.

For example, it is a core purpose of American foreign policy to halt the spread and possible use of weapons of mass destruction, which remain--years after the Cold War’s end--the most serious threat to the security of our people.

The new world map has created for our diplomats a twin imperative: achieving further progress in our difficult nuclear build-down with Russia; and maintaining a global full-court press to keep biological, chemical and nuclear weapons, and the missiles that deliver them, from falling into the wrong hands.

These demands require a wide of range of approaches old and new, from traditional negotiations, to international law-enforcement and counter-terrorism efforts, to cooperative threat reduction programs, such as those pioneered by the Nunn-Lugar legislation.

And with President Clinton’s leadership, we have made real progress. The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty is now permanent; its safeguards are stronger; and only five countries remain outside its framework. Some 150 nations, including the nuclear powers, have signed the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT). Russia has followed us in joining the Chemical Weapons Convention, and China is undertaking important new nonproliferation commitments.

This year, Mr. Chairman, I hope we can work together to build on the record we have forged, for we have a unique opportunity to ensure that the American people never again face the costs and dangers of a nuclear arms race.

Much depends on whether the Russian Duma ratifies START II. This treaty will slice apart Russia’s heavy MIRVed SS-18 missiles--the deadliest weapons ever pointed our way. And it would set the stage for START III, and cuts in strategic arsenals to 80 percent below Cold War peaks.

This past September, we completed the ABM Treaty Demarcation and Succession agreements. Mr. Chairman, we agree that the Senate deserves every opportunity to examine them closely, and I look forward to testifying before you at the appropriate time.

But to encourage the Russians to act on START II, we have told them firmly that we will neither begin negotiating START III, nor submit the ABM agreements and the START II Extension Protocol to this Committee until the Duma acts. We should not retreat from that stand.

Meanwhile, the Demarcation agreements allow us to continue developing robust theater defenses. And we know that for Russian reductions to continue, the ABM Treaty must remain viable.

An essential part of our strategy to reduce the nuclear danger is the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty now pending before the Senate. By ending testing, we can hinder both the development and spread of new and more dangerous weapons.

The CTBT has been a goal of U.S. Presidents since Dwight Eisenhower and John Kennedy. It has the support of 70 percent of the American people. It has been endorsed by four former chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff: Generals John Shalikashvili, Colin Powell and David Jones, and Admiral William Crowe. And it holds the promise of a world forever free of nuclear explosions.

But if we are to fulfill this promise, America must lead the way this year in ratifying the Treaty, just as we did in negotiating and signing it. Mr. Chairman, I respectfully seek an early opportunity to testify before this Committee on a treaty that our citizens want and our interests demand.

Last year, thanks to the Senate’s bipartisan support, the United States joined the Chemical Weapons Convention as an original party. This year, we will continue working with Congress to enact domestic implementing legislation, to make it harder for terrorists to concoct, conceal, or conspire to use poison gas in our own country.

Our experience with Saddam Hussein in Iraq underscores how tempting biological weapons remain to the very worst regimes. This year, with the President’s leadership, we are determined to strengthen the Biological Weapons Convention through an international inspection system to help detect and deter cheating.

Finally, the United States is determined to contribute mightily to the worldwide effort to protect civilians from anti-personnel landmines.

We lead the world in humanitarian demining. And we are substantially increasing our own commitment, while asking other countries to increase theirs. Our goal is to free civilians everywhere from the threat of landmines by the year 2010.

Meanwhile, we have embarked on an aggressive search for alternatives to anti-personnel landmines, with the hope that we can fulfill the President’s goal of ridding the world of these terrible weapons.

B. Promoting Prosperity.

A second overarching goal of our foreign policy is to promote a healthy world economy in which American genius and productivity receive their due.

Through bipartisan efforts, we have put our fiscal house in order and our economy is stronger than it has been in decades. I am pleased that American diplomacy has contributed much to this record.

Since President Clinton took office, we have negotiated more than 240 trade agreements, including the Uruguay Round and agreements on information technology, basic telecommunications services and--most recently--financial services. These agreements remove barriers to U.S. products and services, thereby creating good American jobs. To help level the playing field for American business, we concluded an OECD Convention last year that commits more than 30 other nations to join us in criminalizing foreign commercial bribery.

We have also been striving to ensure that agreements made are agreements kept. Our diplomats know that one of their principal jobs is to see that American companies and workers get a fair shake. To that end, our trade negotiators are making full use of every available enforcement tool, including a strengthened WTO.

All this matters to Americans because trade is responsible for one-third of the sustained economic growth we have enjoyed these past five years. Today, some twelve million U.S. jobs are supported by exports and these are good jobs, paying--on average--15% more than non-trade related positions.

To stay on this upward road, we are using our diplomatic tools to forge an increasingly open system of global investment and trade that is fair to investors, businesspeople, farmers and workers alike.

At last November’s APEC summit, Pacific governments agreed to begin negotiation on a sectoral liberalization package covering more than $700 million in trade. We are continuing to explore new opportunities for expanded commerce with the EU. We have an opportunity in the OECD to conclude a major treaty on the rules of international investment. In April, at the hemispheric summit in Santiago, we will seek to launch negotiations for a Free Trade Agreement of the Americas. And this summer, at the International Labor Conference in Geneva, we will be striving for a strong declaration on core labor standards.

We will be working with Congress this year to ensure that the President has the fast-track trade negotiating authority he needs to reach agreements that benefit our economy and advance our overall trade liberalization, environmental and worker rights objectives.

We will also be asking you to support our economic and humanitarian assistance programs and the Peace Corps. Many of our fastest-growing markets are in developing countries where the transition to an open economic system is incomplete. By helping these countries overcome problems, we contribute to our own prosperity while strengthening the international system, in which we have the largest stake.

For example, our programs assist developing nations in stabilizing population growth rates, thereby allowing them to devote more of their scarce resources to meet the basic needs of their citizens. Moreover, the family planning programs we support are voluntary. They do not fund abortions; on the contrary, they contribute to our goal of reducing the incidence of abortions.

An open, growing world economy is vital to our prosperity--and a foreign policy imperative. For when we make progress on the international economic front, we make progress on all fronts. A world that is busy growing will be less prone to conflict. Nations that have embraced economic reform are more likely to embrace political reform. And as history informs us, prosperity is a parent to peace.

C. Fighting International Crime and Narcotics.

Mr. Chairman, a third global objective of our foreign policy is to fight and win the struggle against international crime. In our era, the drug trade, arms smuggling, money laundering, corruption and trafficking in human beings have become overlapping and reinforcing threats. They undermine our effort to build a more stable, prosperous and democratic international system. And they threaten us whether we are traveling abroad or walking down the very streets on which we live.

Here at home, we have found that community policing and a strong judicial system can cut crime. Our parallel strategy overseas is reducing crime before it reaches our shores. The Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs is leading an aggressive effort to strengthen foreign judicial systems, break up international criminal cartels, eliminate offshore havens for hot money, increase extraditions, and block the illicit smuggling of narcotics, guns, stolen cars and illegal aliens.

All this requires more than increasing police on our borders or Coast Guard ships at sea. It involves virtually every aspect of our diplomacy, from building viable judicial and law enforcement institutions; to eradicating coca and opium poppies; to forging bilateral law enforcement agreements; to speaking frankly with foreign leaders about the need to close ranks.

There is no silver bullet in the fight against international crime, but--as our increased budget request for this year reflects--we are pushing ahead hard. Our purpose, ultimately, is to create a kind of global "Neighborhood Watch", with governments and law abiding citizens everywhere coming together to plug the legal and law enforcement gaps that give criminals the space they need to operate and without which they could not survive.

D. Environment.

The United States also has a major foreign policy interest in ensuring for future generations a healthy and abundant global environment and in working to prevent environmental problems that could lead to conflict or contribute to humanitarian disasters.

The wise stewardship of natural resources is about far more than esthetics--about whether one responds more warmly to butterflies than bulldozers. Misuse of resources can produce shortages that breed famine, fear, flight and fighting. And as societies grow and industrialize, the absorptive capacities of the Earth will be severely tested.

We can respond to this reality with complacency, assuring ourselves that the full costs of our neglect will not come due until after we have passed from the scene. Or we can meet our responsibility to future generations by striving to identify meaningful, cost-effective ways to anticipate and mitigate environmental and resource-related dangers.

We are choosing the latter course.

That is why we have incorporated environmental goals into the mainstream of our foreign policy, and why we have established and are pursuing specific environmental objectives in every part of the world.

It is why we are seeking an international agreement to regulate the production and use of persistent chemical toxins that have global impacts.

It is why we will be focusing new attention on what may be one of the most explosive international issues of the 21st century--access to secure supplies of fresh water.

And it is why we will be asking Congress to work with us as we seek to ensure that the promise of the Kyoto Protocol is realized. In Kyoto, the world’s leading industrialized nations committed themselves for the first time to significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and adopted, in key respects, the U.S. market-based approach to achieving those reductions. Kyoto also made a significant downpayment on securing the meaningful participation of developing countries in the needed global response, but clearly more must be done to meet our requirements.

E. Human Rights, Democracy and the Rule of Law.

Finally, U.S. policy is to promote democracy, the rule of law, religious tolerance and human rights. These goals reflect a single premise: the health of the community depends on the freedom of the individual.

A half century ago, the nations of the world affirmed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that "the foundation of freedom, justice and peace" resides in the "inherent dignity and...equal...rights of all members of the human family."

Today, there are those who argue that the Declaration reflects western values alone. But that is nonsense.

Consider, for example, the first Afro-Asian Solidarity Conference held in Indonesia more than four decades ago. There, the representatives of 29 nations from China to Libya and from Sudan to Iraq cited the Universal Declaration as "a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations."

And less than five years ago, countries on every continent reaffirmed their commitment to the Declaration at the Vienna Conference on Human Rights.

Unfortunately, as our recent human rights report indicated, the face of the world remains scarred by widespread abuses, many the byproduct of ethnic and religious intolerance, others perpetrated willfully by authoritarian regimes. These violations are an offense to humanity and an anchor retarding human progress. For only when people are free to express their identities, publish their thoughts and pursue their dreams can a society fulfill its potential.

In recent months, some have criticized America for, in their words, trying to "impose" democracy overseas. They suggest it is hopeless and sometimes damaging to encourage elections in countries that are not yet developed. They appear to assume that our efforts are limited to the promotion of elections, and that we are indifferent to the history, culture, politics and personalities of the countries involved.

In truth, we understand well that democracy, by definition, cannot be imposed. It must emerge from the desire of individuals to participate in the decisions that shape their lives. But this desire is present in all countries. America’s aim is to assist democratic forces, where and when we can, to assemble the nuts and bolts of a free society. That requires far more than elections. Depending on the country and the situation, we employ a wide variety of means from vigorous diplomacy to training judges to providing technical advice on everything from drafting a commercial code to the rules of Parliamentary procedure.

To term our support for democracy an imposition is to get the logic upside down. For democracy is the only form of government that allows people to choose their own path. There could be no better way for us to show respect for the uniqueness and autonomy of others than to support their right to shape their own destinies and select their own leaders.

So let us be clear. American policy proceeds from this truth: in any language, on any continent, for any culture, dictatorship is an imposition; democracy is a choice.

Accordingly, the United States will continue to support democratic ideals and institutions however and wherever we can effectively do so.

We will continue to advocate increased respect for human rights, vigorously promote religious freedom and firmly back the international war crimes tribunals.

As the President pledged in his State of the Union Address, we will send legislation forward to address the intolerable practice of abusive child labor.

We will renew our request that the Committee approve--at long last--the Convention to Eliminate All Forms of Discrimination Against Women.

And because of our commitment to the rule of law, and to the economic, security and scientific interests of the United States, we are pleased to join the Department of Defense in urging your support for the revised International Convention on the Law of the Sea.

IV. WORLD-CLASS DIPLOMACY

The efforts we make to advance our security, prosperity and values are both right and smart for America and for our future. But we cannot lead without tools.

It costs money to track the development of weapons of mass destruction around the world; to dismantle and dispose of nuclear materials safely from the former Soviet Union; to protect American jobs by representing American interests in Tokyo and Brussels, Ottawa and Buenos Aires; and to help our partners build societies based on peace, democracy and law.

But these costs do not begin to compare to the costs we would incur if we did not act; if we stood aside while conflicts raged, terrorists struck, newfound freedoms were lost and chemical, nuclear and biological weapons spread willy-nilly around the globe.

American leadership is built on American ideals, supported by our economic and military might, and tested every day in the arena of international diplomacy. To thrive in the new century, America will need first-class factories and farms; first-class students and scientists; and first-class soldiers and sailors. We will also need world-class diplomacy.

World-class diplomacy depends on having the right number of people, in the right places, with the right level of skills, modern communications systems and buildings that are secure.

Unfortunately, despite strong support from many in both parties in Congress, we have lost ground during this decade. In real terms, funding has declined sharply. Since 1993, we have closed 32 embassies and consulates. We’ve been forced to cut back on the life’s blood of any organization, which is training. We face critical infrastructure needs in key capitals such as Berlin and Beijing. We must modernize our information systems or we will enter the 21st century with computers that do not work. And we have seen the percentage of our nation’s wealth that is used to support democracy and prosperity around the globe shrink steadily, so that among industrialized nations we are now dead last.

So I urge the Committee to support the President’s budget request, remembering as you do so, that although international affairs amounts to only about one percent of the Federal budget, it may well account for fifty percent of the history that is written about our era, and it affects the lives of one hundred percent of the American people.

Finally, Mr. Chairman, as Secretary of State, I can tell you that you can be proud of the people--foreign service officers, civil service and foreign service nationals--who work every day, often under very difficult conditions, to protect our interests around the world. I have never been associated with a more talented, professional or dedicated group of people. And I hope I can work with the Committee this year to see that our personnel receive the support and respect they deserve; and to maintain the highest standards of diplomatic representation for America.

V. CONCLUSION

As always, Mr. Chairman, I come before you with my mind focused on the present and future, but conscious, also, of past events that have shaped our lives and that of our nation.

A half century ago, this month, a Communist coup in my native Czechoslovakia altered forever the course of my life and prompted, as well, an urgent reappraisal by the west of what would be required to defend freedom in Europe.

In that testing year, a Democratic President and a Republican Congress approved the Marshall Plan, laid the groundwork for NATO, helped create the Organization of American States, established the Voice of America, recognized the infant state of Israel, airlifted life-sustaining aid to a blockaded Berlin and helped an embattled Turkey and Greece remain on freedom’s side of the Iron Curtain.

Secretary of State George Marshall called this record "a brilliant demonstration of the ability of the American people to meet the great responsibilities of their new world position."

There are those who say that Americans have changed and that we are now too inward-looking and complacent to shoulder comparable responsibilities. In 1998, we have the opportunity to prove the cynics wrong. And Mr. Chairman and members of the Committee, I believe we will.

From the streets of Sarajevo to the Arabian and Korean peninsulas to classrooms in Africa, boardrooms in Asia and courtrooms at The Hague, the influence of American leadership is as beneficial and as deeply felt in the world today as it has ever been.

That is not the result of some foreign policy theory. It is a reflection of American character.

We Americans have an enormous advantage over many other countries because we know who we are and what we believe. We have a purpose. And like the farmer’s faith that seeds and rain will cause crops to grow; it is our faith that if we are true to our principles, we will succeed.

Let us, then, do honor to that faith. In this year of decision, let us reject the temptation of complacency and assume, not with complaint, but welcome, the leader’s role established by our forebears.

And by living up to the heritage of our past, let us together fulfill the promise of our future--and enter the new century free and respected, prosperous and at peace.

Mr. Chairman, Members of the Committee, thank you very much. And now, I would be pleased to respond to your questions.

[End of Document]


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