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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release October 19, 2000
                      REMARKS BY SAMUEL R. BERGER,
                        As Prepared for Delivery

              Intercultural Center, Georgetown University
                            Washington, D.C.

Director Yost, Dean Gallucci, Ambassador Kampelman: I am honored that you asked me to deliver this year's Iden lecture. Your invitation is well timed in one very important respect. No one can look at the world this week and say: because America is prosperous and at peace, we can afford to pay less attention to events beyond our shores.

Over the last two weeks, we have seen a terrible confrontation between Israelis and Palestinians, in a region where a larger conflict would have profound consequences for the world. To Israelis, it seemed incomprehensible that in the wake of far reaching initiatives for peace, they would see violent demonstrations, rock-throwing, gun-fire, and hate. To Palestinians, it seemed that years of peacemaking had produced virtually no change in their daily lives and they have suffered immensely in the recent violence. What is so tragic is that peaceful dialogue had brought both sides closer than ever before to realizing their historic aspirations.

Is there a future for a negotiated peace in the Middle East after such bitterness and confrontation? Well, first things first; both sides must rigorously implement the immediate steps they pledged at the summit to end the violence. That is by no means an easy task or a foregone conclusion. Tensions remain high and we're not out of the woods. But if the violence is brought under control, there ultimately must be a return to negotiations. The nature and timing of such negotiations must follow the timetable of the parties. Only they can determine the pace and content, as they have from the start. But sooner or later, whether it be weeks, or months, or years, I believe the process will resume. Why? Because both sides have seen the future without a negotiated peace. It is playing out before their eyes. It is gruesome. And it is unsustainable. I do not believe a viable Palestinian state can be created out of the barrel of a gun. And I do not believe that Israel can gain real security at an acceptable cost without a negotiated peace with the Palestinians.

I hope that happens sooner rather than later. For as time goes on, the parties must come back to confront the same set of issues, the same geography, the same demographics. In the meantime more people will die and the mountain of grievances will grow even higher.

It would be easy to be paralyzed by the complexity of the problems we confront in the world -- in the Middle East, in the Balkans, in the former Soviet Union, in Africa, in the global economy. But over the past eight years, we have tried not to allow a sense of realism about the world turn into defeatism -- or to let the dangers of a new era blind us to its opportunities. Today, I want to put America's role during this historic period in some perspective, to speak with you about the direction in which we have been traveling, the principles that have guided our path, and the actions we have taken..

Any honest assessment must begin with the fact that Bill Clinton was elected at a moment not only of triumph but of uncertainty for America in the world. Consider the conventional wisdom about America in the fall of 1992: Time magazine asked: "Is the U.S. in an irreversible decline as the world's premier power?" US News concluded that our victory in the Gulf War merely "postponed moves to fill the vacuum created by America's retrenchment and the collapse of the Soviet Union." In France, "Le Monde" published a 12 part series on America in eclipse. We were widely seen as unlikely to sustain its global engagement. We were fading competitively. We had barely come to grips with the new challenges of a globalizing world.

For 50 years during the Cold War, America confidently defined its leadership in terms of what we were against. After the victory over communism, we defined our policy in terms of what was ending -- a "post-Cold War" policy. The Clinton Administration's task was to renew our leadership in terms of what we were building, while restoring the domestic vitality that enables us to lead. Historians may debate the choices we made. But there is no disputing their cumulative outcome.

America today is by any measure the world's unchallenged military and economic power. The world counts on us to be a catalyst of coalitions, a broker of peace, a guarantor of global financial stability. We are widely seen as the country best placed to benefit from globalization. Indeed, our success is so apparent to others that one of our biggest challenges now is to manage the resentment it sometimes generates. This we must do with care -- but also with perspective: After all, the same countries complaining today that America is a "hyperpower" were contemplating America's decline eight years ago. That, in my mind, is progress.

The question we have repeatedly faced is how to use our strength in a rapidly changing world? President Clinton understood before most that the most pervasive force in our world is globalization. He also understood that while globalization is inexorable, its benefits are not. The challenge is to harness globalization to advance our enduring objectives of democracy, shared prosperity and peace -- to build a foreign policy for the global age. Some of the most hopeful recent developments in the world have come about because of how we chose to do that, not because globalization preordained them.

For example, if China has begun to dismantle its command and control economy despite the huge risk to its one-party state, is it simply meeting the demands of global markets? In part, yes. But it has also decided to fulfill the terms we negotiated for its entry into the WTO. If people from Croatia to Macedonia are rejecting hard line nationalists and embracing democracy, is it because they've reached the end of history? No -- but they have reached the conclusion that this is the way to join NATO and the EU -- an opportunity made possible by our expansion of NATO and made even more attractive by NATO's victory in Kosovo. If the people of Mexico have built a multi-party system, is it because democracy is unstoppable in a "" world? No, it is partly because NAFTA empowered Mexico's reformers to open up their system, and because America's support for Mexico during its financial crisis gave reforms time to prevail. It is not enough for us simply to open our markets, hook up the world to MTV and hope people beat their swords into shares on the NASDAQ. To advance our objectives, we must actively work with others to build an international system of strong alliances and institutions. We must ensure it is open to all who adhere to clearly defined standards. And we must defend those standards when they are threatened. Those are the outlines of a foreign policy for the global age. They can't be summed up on a bumper sticker. But they are reflected in the principles that have guided our foreign policy these last eight years and that should guide the next president.

The first principle is that our alliances with Europe and Asia are still the cornerstone of our national security, but they must be constantly adapted to meet emerging challenges.

Eight years ago, the survival of our most important alliances around the world was very much in doubt. In Asia, for example, it was far from certain that we would maintain our military presence, or that allies and friends there would continue to see its legitimacy. In Europe, the Berlin Wall had fallen, yet NATO looked exactly as it did during the Cold War; it seemed we would be allied with old democracies like France and Germany forever, but with new democracies like Poland and Hungary never. Meanwhile, Europe's security and the values NATO defends were threatened by an out-of-control war in Bosnia. Our European allies tried with good intentions to help the victims, but ended up shielding the victimizers. Shamefully, for the first time in 50 years, America claimed we had "no dog" in Europe's fight.

When President Clinton took office, we had no more urgent task than to adapt our alliances to a new era and to prove we would stand by them. So we made clear we would keep our troops in both Europe and Asia. We formally updated our strategic alliance with Japan; we revitalized NATO from a static Cold War alliance to a magnet for new democracies. Most important, we backed our commitments with actions -- actions that have saved our alliances from irrelevance.

In Asia, we demonstrated our staying power by our decision to send carriers near the Taiwan Strait in 1996, by our solidarity with South Korea in diminishing the North Korean nuclear threat, and by our efforts with our Asian and Pacific allies to mobilize an unprecedented coalition to intervene in East Timor.

In Europe -- later than we would have liked -- we led NATO in its first ever military engagement, which stopped the killing in Bosnia, and then negotiated the peace in Dayton. In Kosovo, we did what America should have done in Bosnia in 1992: we acted in time to return the victims of ethnic cleansing to their homes and protect southeast Europe from wider catastrophe. Remember what was happening in the former Yugoslavia eight years ago: Refugees were fleeing genocide; a wider war seemed imminent; Slobodan Milosevic was winning. People said there was nothing America could do: that's just the way those people in the Balkans are, they said. Now, Milosevic is deposed. Democracy has conquered every piece of ground he lost -- because America, our allies, and ultimately the Serbian people did stand up and act. And now, instead of defeating something evil, we can finish building something good: a Europe that is peaceful, democratic and undivided for the first time in history. We should be very proud our country has done that.

To realize that vision, we need to support the new democratic government in Serbia. That doesn't mean forgetting the demands of memory and justice -- it's in Serbia's own interest to come to terms with the past. It simply means giving the Serbian people a chance to build a better future, now that they finally have their country back. We must also resist calls to pull our relatively small number of troops prematurely out of the Balkans. And we must keep NATO's promise to continue expanding eastward, to keep alive the hope among new democracies that they have a place in the community of democracies.

In Asia, the coming challenges are harder to predict. They could come in the form of a crisis in Korea or in the Taiwan Strait that will test our will. Or they could come in the form of success that will test our wisdom. If tensions ease in Asia's hotspots, we will need to be wise enough to maintain our military presence and diplomatic engagement there, because our purpose is not just to respond to danger, but to be a balance wheel for stability that prevents danger from arising.

A second principle guiding our foreign policy is that peace and security for America depends on building principled, constructive relations with our former great power adversaries, Russia and China. To do so, we must remain vigilant against threats to the peace, whether it is a Russian move against former Soviet states or China using force against Taiwan. But the way these countries manage their challenges at home is just as important to us as the way they relate to the world. No event in the last half century has done more to advance our security than Russia's democratic revolution. If both Russia and China become stable, pluralistic and prosperous societies, the world would be safer still. Moreover, the potential threat we face from them today lies as much in internal weakness or retrogression as external strength.

An effective way to minimize both external and internal dangers is to seize on the desire of both countries to participate in the global economy and global institutions, insisting they accept the obligations as well as the benefits of integration.

Russia's interest in deeper integration helped us negotiate the exit of its troops from the Baltics, to bring its troops into NATO missions in the Balkans, and to win its active support for a just end to the Kosovo war. We pressed successfully for Russian ratification of START II and worked to help destroy and safeguard the old Soviet nuclear arsenal.

At the same time, Russia has seen continued poverty, corruption, two cruel wars in Chechnya, and backsliding on protection of a free press. But there has not been a nationalist or communist resurgence, as many predicted in 1993 -- in fact, the Russian people have repeatedly voted to keep pressing ahead. The privatization of the Russian economy, though deeply flawed, shattered the Soviet bureaucracy's hold on daily life. And outside support bought Russia time, helping it conquer the agonizing bread lines, empty food shelves and hyperinflation of 1993, and endure the hard transition from communism. Some wonder if President Putin is tempted to rebuild an all-powerful state, but if he does, he will face a country with 65,000 non-governmental organizations, in which the state now controls 30% of the economy (compared to 70% in 1993). No one can say what the future will bring. But a generation from now, I doubt anyone will be saying we were wrong to support these changes in Russia.

With China, our challenge has been to steer between the extremes of uncritical engagement and untenable confrontation. That balance has helped maintain peace in the Taiwan Straits, secured China's help in maintaining stability on the Korean Peninsula, and allowed us to negotiate an historic agreement to bring China into the World Trade Organization.

That deal and passage of Permanent Normal Trade Relations represents the most constructive breakthrough in US-China relations since normalization in 1979. For China, it is a declaration of interdependence -- an act of recognition by its leaders that China cannot meet its challenges without opening its economy and participating in an global economic system of rules and responsibilities. The consequences can be profound, because to enter the WTO, China must speed the dismantling of the command economy through which its Communist Party wields much of its power and it must ultimately face hard choices about political reform. To encourage it to make the right choice, we must keep insisting, as President Clinton has, that resistance to change puts China "on the wrong side of history." But we must also continue to bring China into the global economy and hold it to the terms of the WTO agreement. Just as NAFTA membership eroded the economic base of one-party rule in Mexico, WTO membership, accompanied by external validation of the human rights struggle, can help do the same in China.

A third principle that has guided the Clinton foreign policy is that local conflicts can have global consequences. We have worked for peace because we believe that the challenge of foreign policy in any age is to defuse conflicts before, not after, they escalate and harm our vital interests. It is with that in mind that we have worked for peace in the Middle East, in the Balkans, and in Northern Ireland. We have helped Turkey and Greece move further from confrontation. We helped pull nuclear-armed India and Pakistan from the brink of what might have been a catastrophic war in 1999. We have never pretended we can solve all the world's problems. But we have rejected the idea that because we can't do everything, we must, for the sake of consistency, do nothing.

We also have worked for peace for reasons unique to our global age. First, regions mired in conflict are increasingly likely to become breeding grounds for extremism and terror -- especially in regions on fault lines of ethnicity and faith, like the Middle East and the Balkans.

Second, just as globalization has raised the strategic cost of indifference to conflict, it has also raised the moral cost. Today, as we witness distant atrocities, we can choose not to act, but we can no longer choose not to know. I do not believe the United States should send troops into conflict where our national interests are not at stake. And the reality is that we have not. But when our interests and values are challenged, the American people expect their government to do what we reasonably can. And those who ignore their idealism are lacking in realism.

Finally, the disproportionate power America enjoys today is more likely to be accepted by other nations if we use it for something more than self-protection. When our president goes the extra mile for peace -- as he did this week in Egypt, as he did in August when he joined a fractious conference in Africa seeking peace in Burundi, a tiny country where we have no strategic interests -- it demolishes perceptions that an all-powerful America is an arrogant America. It earns us influence that raw power alone cannot purchase. It is profoundly in our interest.

A fourth principle is that, while old threats have not all disappeared, new dangers, accentuated by technological advances and the permeability of borders, require new national security priorities. Indeed, one of the biggest changes we have brought about in the way America relates to the world has been the change in what we consider important.

For 50 years, we faced vertical proliferation: two nations piling their nuclear arsenals higher and higher. Today, we face horizontal proliferation -- with arsenals at a lower level, but spread more pervasively around the world. For some nations, weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missiles have become as much a source of legitimacy as having a national airline.

The sustained attention we have brought to this problem is a break from the past. Information about North Korea's nuclear weapons program, for example, had been available since the late 80's. But it was not until 1994 that we negotiated the Agreed Framework, which has frozen the production of plutonium for nuclear weapons in North Korea. America also took little notice of Iraq's development of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons until after the Gulf War. How many weapons would Saddam have been allowed to build had he not invaded Kuwait?

Unrelenting American engagement has also persuaded China to join the Chemical Weapons Convention, the Biological Weapons Convention, and the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty and to comply with each. Our work with Russia and its neighbors led to the complete denuclearization of Ukraine, Belarus and Kazakhstan; the elimination hundreds of tons of nuclear materials; and tighter controls to prevent smuggling. We also have worked to strengthen global rules that limit the spread of nuclear weapons, with Senate ratification of the Chemical Weapons Convention and renewing the Non-Proliferation Treaty. The next President must work with the Senate to find a way to do the same with the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.

Reflecting the new security agenda, we have mobilized greater internal and international resources against terrorism -- an effort that regrettably is becoming more and more urgent. We have tripled the budget for fighting terrorism, and brought those resources to bear to capture those responsible for acts like the World Trade Center bombing and the killings outside CIA headquarters, and to foil attacks like those that were planned against celebrations of the new Millennium. And we will bring them to bear to determine the perpetrators of the cowardly attack against the USS Cole in Yemen and secure justice. I was with the President yesterday when we met with the families of the sailors who died on the Cole, and those who were wounded. To them, the attack seems so utterly senseless. But we should remember: it did have a purpose. It was an attack on America, designed to deter America from our mission of peace and security in the Middle East. The best answer we can give as we seek justice is to carry on with that mission.

The new security agenda also recognizes this: National security is about more than defense against bitter enemies and deadly weapons. For example: How can we say we are defending America's shores if sometime in this century climate change submerges our shorelines under rising oceans? And how can we say we are protecting our people if we fail to stop the spread of diseases like AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis, which account for 25% of all deaths in the world?

Flat earth proponents may not see disease as a national security priority. But a problem that kills massively, crosses borders, and threatens to destabilize whole regions is to me the very definition of a national security threat. So we have exponentially increased funding to help bridge the global health divide and to stimulate the development and delivery of drugs and vaccines for which there is no market in rich countries. This challenge will call for even greater resources and attention. To dismiss it as a "soft" issue is to be blind to hard realities.

A fifth principle is that economic integration advances both our interests and our values, but also accentuates the need to alleviate economic disparity. During the last eight years, America has led the greatest expansion in world trade in history with the completion of the Uruguay Round, the creation of the WTO, and the approval of NAFTA and Permanent Normal Trade Relations with China. Our decision to keep our markets open during the Asian financial crisis, despite inevitably increasing trade deficits as a result, in no small measure is responsible for the recovery of the Asian economy, which again is fueling global growth.

Our general success in opening trade has coincided with growing fears about trade, motivated by legitimate concerns about labor and environmental standards in the developing world. We have the most basic obligation not to be complicit in inhuman practices such as slave and child labor. But we must also guard against the arrogance of privilege. 1.2 billion people in the world live on a dollar a day. One thing that keeps them poor are trade barriers in wealthy countries. That is why we fought to enact trade bills for the Caribbean and Africa. We must not close the draw bridge to world trade to those who need it to escape grinding poverty.

At the same time, no nation can compete in the global economy if it is crippled by disease or inadequate education -- and no nation should have to choose between caring for its children and paying interest on debt. So we have successfully pushed the wealthiest nations to reduce the debts of the poorest countries by 70 percent, to start tackling the AIDS crisis and to invest more in basic education. It now appears the Congress has agreed to approve, on a bipartisan basis, all the funds the President sought this year for debt relief. We need to build on that. Unless we recognize that an amount of money that is small change for America can make a sea change in the rest of the world, a generation from now humanity will be bitterly and violently divided.

These are, I believe, the basic principles of an American foreign policy for the global age. They have stood the test of the last eight years. Of course, the next Administration will have to apply them to a different set of challenges. Some will self-evident extensions of the challenges I've discussed today. A few are less obvious and merit special mention.

For example, will the roots of democracy's expansion after the collapse of communism deepen, or wither under the smothering impact of corruption, inequity and poor governance? Even in 1999, more people around the world won the right to choose their leaders than in 1989, when the Berlin Wall fell. But if new democracies don't deliver in countries like Nigeria, Indonesia and Ukraine, and old democracies fail in countries like Colombia, the pendulum that swung toward freedom could swing back. We have to win democracy's post-election contests, too, and that requires America full attention and support.

A second question is how to promote change in those nations that have been most hostile to the United States over the last decade, and how to manage change when it comes? That question applies to Iran and to Cuba. It applies to Iraq.

It also applies to North Korea, where Secretary Albright will be the most senior American official ever to visit next week, and which, thanks to the U.S.-South Korean policy of deterrence and diplomacy, may be rethinking its policy of confrontation. Hopefully, North Korea gradually will open up till the massive task of reunification becomes manageable. Realistically, as with Germany, history will unfold in ways leaders find hard to manage. The policy we have pursued with South Korean President Kim Dae Jung -- for which he just won the Nobel Peace Prize -- offers the best way forward. But we must still be ready for potential crises down the road.

A third question is how to deal with both super-national and sub-national threats to our security. One super-national threat is the international network of terror groups active from South and Central Asia to southern Russia to the Middle East and Africa. Coordination among these groups makes them a particularly pernicious threat. But because they are loosely connected, the threat cannot be extinguished with one stroke. The solution is to reduce the economic disparities on which they breed; to resolve the Middle East conflict on which they feed; and to strengthen counter-terrorism cooperation even further, without assaulting civil liberties in the process.

The sub-national threat is the challenge to the nation state from the potential disintegration of ethnically diverse societies, whether Nigeria or Indonesia today, or Russia and China tomorrow. How do we balance legitimate demands for self-determination against the danger of unleashing a spasm of map redrawing that creates new grievances? In part, the solution must be found in regional integration among ethnically diverse countries, so boundaries are less onerous and therefore less of a source of contention -- as happened in western Europe after World War II, and as we are doing, with some initial success, in the Balkans. In the short run, we need better international tools for maintaining peace in divided societies.

That leads to a fourth question: How do we reconcile the growing need for global collective action with the inadequacies of our principal instrument of collective action -- the United Nations? UN reform has made progress these last few years, but more is needed. And our administration has had to struggle simply to convince Congress to pay our dues to the organization. We must recognize that for every American serving in a UN peacekeeping mission, today there are 805 from other countries. That's leverage. That's burden sharing. The next Administration will have to keep making the case that an effective United Nations gives us options between acting alone to put out global fires and doing nothing at all.

A fifth question is how should we adapt our military to meet new challenges? The issue is not whether we must maintain the best trained, best equipped, most ready military in the world. America has and America will. It is not whether our military is overextended -- of our 2.2 million active duty personnel, only 30,000, less than 2%, are deployed in ongoing operations, containing Saddam Hussein and preserving peace in the Balkans. And even those who say we are in too many places are hard pressed to name one place from which they would pull back. The real challenge is to match the capabilities of our armed forces to the potential missions of today and tomorrow. It is to ensure our forces are simultaneously prepared both for high intensity conflicts and smaller scale peace operations that require special skills and new ways of doing things.

The most fundamental question of all for our future in the world is whether we will continue to sustain America's leadership? We must not only answer that "yes" in the abstract, but in the resources we commit to the task.

America cannot be a first-rate power on a third class budget. Yet today, our engagement in the world is supported by less than one percent the federal budget, 50% less than a decade ago. This undercuts our ability to lead. It is hard to explain to Japan, for example, why we can't fund our $35 million share to help denuclearize North Korea (to which they have contributed $1 billion). And it is hard to argue we spend too much on international assistance when you consider this: We are the world's only superpower at the zenith of our influence, yet our entire international budget for everything from diminishing the nuclear threat, to preventing conflict, to fighting AIDS to advancing democracy, is about the same as the cost of constructing 8 miles of highway tunnel for Interstate 93 in Boston.

Finally, we must squarely confront the misconception that we can maintain our position either by diminishing our role in the world or imposing our will upon it. What threatens to alienate our friends is not that we are wealthy and powerful, but that despite our wealth and power we do not meet our obligations to the UN, or devote more of our GDP to the reduction of global poverty, or ratify treaties we urge others to adopt. It is not that we consider initiatives to defend our soil from missile threats or terrorism, but that we sometimes seem to suggest they are the sum total of our approach to the world -- that we'd rather fence ourselves off from a dangerous world than work with others to improve it. We should not apologize for being a "hyperpower." But to remain strong, we must be a hyperpower our friends and allies can depend on.

We must remember that there is a difference between power and authority. Power is the ability to compel by force and sanctions and there are times we must use it, for there will always be interests and values worth fighting for. Authority is the ability to lead, and we depend on it for almost everything we try to achieve. Our authority is built on qualities very different from our power: on the attractiveness of our values, on the force of our example, on the credibility of our commitments, and on our willingness to listen to and stand by others. There may be no real threat to our power today. But if we use power in a way that antagonizes our friends and dishonors our commitments, we will lose our authority -- and our power will mean very little.

In the last eight years, the United States has revitalized our alliances, begun to integrate our former adversaries, brought peace to regions critical to our security, adapted its global strategy to meet new challenges and built the most open, dynamic world economy in history. But I believe President Clinton's most fundamental achievement is that he steered America from the Cold War era to the era of globalization in a way that enhanced not only our power but our authority. That is the foundation on which we must advance our interests in a global age.