Council on Foreign Relations
New York, NY
Thank you very much. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you very much. Pete, I'm delighted to be here with you, because you're a better policy work than I am. You could not have given me an introduction that would have pleased me more. Now that I am the epitome of has-been-ness, I spend more time than I used to reading articles in the press. And I got an article the other day about this seminar that was held on my presidency, at the University of Arkansas. And one of the alleged academics said I really wasn't very interested in anything, I just sort of shifted with the winds. And my number one goal was to make sure everybody loved me. And I thought, well, my god, if that's true; I was an abject failure as president.
Sure enough, I did bust out completely. I am delighted to be here. At a time when more and more people in our country are thinking, many of them for the first time, seriously about foreign affairs. About the relationship between what happens around the world and what happens here in America. I am deeply indebted to the council for doing this on a continuing basis for quite a long time now. And I hope you are reassured by the fact that many of our fellow citizens are finally taking this to heart. I think I should say at the outset that what I intend to say today is entirely my own opinion and no one else's. And when I was president, I used to get speeches like this that were all typed out for me…. And every now and then I would make a minor change. This is what my speech looks like today. In other words, last night, waiting for the U.S. Open to end, I decided to write this myself and tell you what I thought.
When I was running for president in 1992, it occurred to me that the line between foreign and domestic policy was becoming increasingly irrelevant. September 11th brought that home to the United States with a vengeance. It seems to me it made clear the central fact of globalization. The explosion of information technology opened borders, free and easy travel. The enormous increases in trade and immigration. We had access to information and technology, have given us a world that is truly interdependent, but far from integrated. All of these elements, after all, were used by the Al Qaeda terrorists with different interests and values than most of us share, to kill 3,100 people from 80 countries in the United States on September the 11th.
I think it's important to begin by saying that this interdependence brought the United States and the entire world a very great deal of good in the 1990s. After the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of the Cold War. It brought great prosperity to the developed world, in the developing world, more people moved out of poverty than in any comparable time period in history.
And contrary to the anti-globalization protesters, in poor countries, the countries which chose to grow through openness to trade and investment grew at an average of five percent a year. The countries that chose to remain closed to the outside world grew at only one percent a year.
Even in the developing world, life expectancy was up and infant mortality was down. For the first time in all history, over half the people of the world lived under governments they voted in. The European Union got itself together and obviously is still in the process of becoming with - what I consider to be a very hopeful and strategically important event, made a decision which I strongly supported - to continue to increase its membership and to include Turkey for future membership.
We have constructive relationships today between the major adversaries of the Cold War: Russia, China, Europe and the United States. China has come into the World Trade Organization. NATO is expanding, making a partnership with Russia and the Ukraine. Ethnic cleansing was ended in the Balkans. Peace was brought to Northern Ireland. There were over seven years of progress toward peace in the Middle East, until the current violence began in September of 2000.
It seems to me that the great struggle of this era will occur within and among nations. Between the forces of integration and cooperation on the one hand, and those of disintegration and chaos on the other, manifested in terror, the threat of weapons of mass destruction, organized crime, and narco-trafficking. Widespread inequalities in education, health, in income. Environmental destruction and conflicts rooted in differences of religion, race, ethnicity and tribe.
How should we in the United States respond to that? Well, first there has to be a security strategy. What you might call protect, prevent, and punish. Now, I have been interested in this for quite a long time. In the last five years of my presidency, we had dramatic increases in budgets to fight terrorism, established the first White House coordinator on terrorism, in an attempt to improve the coordination that seemed, apparently, lacking. We actually put senior members of the FBI and the CIA in each other's agencies, and often had daily working meetings through the White House coordinator when the threat alert was high. This is an important, challenging, complicated matter.
Among other things, I believe the following should be done. First, I support the president in leading our troops and their allies in Afghanistan until we are certain we have captured or eliminated Mr. bin Laden and his senior operatives. Secondly, I support spending much more and doing much more to try to contain the production and the spread of weapons of mass destruction. We had dramatic increases in the so-called Nunn-Lugar program when I was president. It began in the last year of President Bush's service as a bipartisan initiative, directed primarily at Russia and the other states that formed the Soviet Union. There were some years when I was in office when we employed virtually half the scientific force in Russia dedicated previously to weapons of mass destruction. I wish we had done more.
On the way out of office, my last budget proposal, a big increase, which was at first not supported, has now, I think, even been bettered by the recommendations that the White House has made, and I support them. It is important to extend the concept of Nunn-Lugar to more countries. And to emphasize biological and chemical stocks, especially biological ones, as well as nuclear. We need a global coalition against the prospect of catastrophic terror, which should include the United States, Russia, China, Europe, India and Pakistan, and any other countries with research facilitates that have any amount of weapons grade plutonium. This is very, very important.
And this is really where the question of Iraq comes in. There's a lot of debate about what should we do with Iraq, and when. And you may want to ask further questions, but I will just make one observation. Saddam Hussein presents no conventional military threat to us, and a much smaller one to his allies than he did before the Gulf War. His military strength, it is commonly conceded, is about 40 percent of what it was before the Gulf War. He did try to assassinate former President Bush in 1993 with the most clumsy terrorist operation I ever saw. The car bombs that we uncovered practically said, "made by the operatives of Saddam Hussein in Baghdad." But after we bombed his intelligence building, as far as we know, he never took another serious terrorist act himself. And the Bush administration has said that Iraq was not involved in September the 11th.
The problem he presents to the world is that he has laboratories working to produce chemical and biological weapons. And they would be working to produce nuclear weapons if they had any weapons grade plutonium. We know that from the people who have defected, we know that from what he's done in the past. We launched a military operation in 1998, after he threw the inspectors out in an attempt to destroy as many of those facilitates as possible. So would it be a good idea if he weren't there? And were replaced by someone committed to a responsible course with regard to weapons of mass destruction? Yes. Would it be a good idea if the people of Iraq weren't siding with him, since he's a murderer and a thug? Yes. Should we unilaterally attack him? Well, that depends. And you may want to ask me more about that, and I'll try to weave that into my remarks later on.
Beyond Afghanistan and Al Qaeda and the weapons of mass destruction, I think it is imperative that we move as quickly as possible to end North Korea's missile program. Senator Nunn said that it is a lot easier to prevent a missile being built in the first place than to wait eight or ten years and hope we can knock it out of the air when it's already underway over here. And I completely agree with that. And I can only say we were very close to ending the North Korean missile program in the year 2000. I believe if I had been willing to go there, we would have ended it. And I did not do so, because I thought we were going to finish the Middle East peace agreement, which I thought would do even more to enhance the security of the United States over the long run. And I couldn't afford to take 12 days out of the last month I was president. Because you can't just drop into North Korea, you have to go to South Korea and China and Japan. And so we didn't do it. And I'm encouraged by what I have seen in the press in the last few weeks about this, coming out of the administration. And I hope they will do that.
The fourth thing I think we have to do is to increase the capabilities of our allies to fight terror in their own neighborhoods. The most important issue, for me, is Colombia. The speaker of the house, Mr. Hastert and I, jointly sponsored the plan Colombia in 2000, which provided funds to the Colombians to try to fight the narco-traffickers. The president has asked the Congress to change the law to make exclusive the ability of the Colombians to use that money against terror as well. I strongly support that request, and I hope the leaders of my party will do so as well. FARC has long since given up any legitimate political agenda. It is another smaller guerilla group in Colombia that nominally is more leftist, but interestingly has been engaged in serious peace talks with the Colombian government, and Cuba. FARC will not do that. President Postrana has approved it. And that's because they're basically on the take to the narco traffickers.
And you had one of the nightmares of the 21st century unfolding in Colombia. The oldest democracy in Latin America, with over a third of the land in the hands of these people, under the guise of running a political movement. They basically are providing protection for 500 million to $1 billion a year for drug people, and using terrorism to do it. We cannot afford to let Colombia go down, and I think we should continue to help them.
I feel the same way about increasing the capacity of our friends in the Philippines. And I think that we shouldn't forget that Africa has its problems, too. Even though they may not worry about weapons of mass destruction. We can never forget the 700,000 people who were killed in 100 days in Rwanda, largely with machetes. We launched something called the Africa Crisis Response Initiative to try to use our military to train African militaries to prevent atrocities and to contain civil conflict in Africa. And I hope that will be continued by the present administration, and I think we should increase our support there.
Finally, on this point, I think that it is important that we support President Megawati in Indonesia, as she attempts to navigate the perilous waters in which she finds herself. I saw, when the White House asked me to represent the United States at Independence Day for East Timor. And I learned something very important about President Megawati that day. It could not have been convenient or comfortable for her, and was doubtless controversial at home, but she went to Independence Day for East Timor. And usually when a politician has to go do something that he or she would just as soon not do, that is unpopular at home and you just do it because you know it's the right thing to do, but you just hate it, you try to sit on the back row, hunch your shoulders and if at all photographed, you try to make sure your people see you looking as if you had just been sucking on a lemon. (Laughter) Not Megawati. She did the right thing. When she understood that the important thing for a leader is to be strong. So, having made the decision to go to Indonesia, she waited until all the rest of us were seated, and then she walked out on the arm of the President of East Timor, Shadana Susamo, almost as if they'd had a date for the prom that night. And the effect was devastatingly positive.
But she's having a tough time. And a third of her parliament, it's more or less sympathetic to people who engage in violent tactics. And I think that we have to do what we can to be supportive. That may require some reexamination of the restrictions in the Leahy Amendment. And I understand what their purpose was.
I actually supported the purposes of the amendment when Senator Leahy was advancing them. But I think there's a way to protect our values there and support the government of Indonesia, which is something that I think is important to do. There are, after all, 1,700 islands in the Indonesian chain. It provides a virtually endless opportunity for terrorist havens, should we lose the capacity of the government there to effectively govern in an appropriate way.
Finally, what about homeland defense? Should there be a department? Probably. It probably will do some good and won't do much harm. And we have been building toward this for some years when we began to have specific set aside counter-terrorism budgets in the mid-nineties for the affected agencies. For the federal emergency management agencies, for the health and human services people who work on vaccines, for example, and drugs. And for various elements of the Department of Justice. So I think we probably should. I think that one thing I have learned is that in Washington, presidents and administrations come and go, and a lot of people hang on forever. And just because you ask somebody to do something doesn't mean they're going to do it. So there needs to be somebody at cabinet level rank who has some swat. And I think there's something to be said to that.
What should the focus be? I think the focus should be on, first, keeping catastrophic things from happening, like 911. Focus on the big bad things that can occur, and figure out first what you have to do to deal with that. And the other thing I would say is the president's proposal, and as I understand it, the proposal on which it is modeled by Senator Lieberman and others, a big bipartisan proposal, do not deal with the FBI and the CIA. And they probably shouldn't, I understand that. But if not, then the director of homeland security must be given the legal authority to have access at any time of the day or night to any intelligence on terrorism with potential impacts within the continental borders of the United States. And should have the authority to compel cooperation if it is not otherwise occurring.
And you don't have to give people bodies to do that. You don't have to transfer whole sections. But, based on what at least we read in the press, that is one of the problems, which we've been presented with. And one that, frankly, I thought had been corrected when we put senior members of each agency in the other counter-terrorism units back in the mid-nineties. And then when we had these meetings at moments of high alert, regular, often, even daily meetings with all the agencies. But it's clear to me, just based on what I've read, that somebody has to have the legal authority to compel this. And this new director might be better off with that legal authority than all the tens of thousands of people we can give him in a government reorganization.
So those are my observations about the security issue. Now, the second point I'd like to make is that no one I know seriously believes that we can build the world we want with a security-only strategy. With a strategy devoted only to prevent and punish. We need to build a world with more partners and fewer terrorists. I grew up in the world that Harry Truman and George Marshall made.
And at the end of World War II, under circumstances of even more grievous suffering by a large stretch, General Marshall said, "You know, we ought to take a little of this money and make a world with fewer enemies and more friends." And MacArthur, in Japan, agreed.
And I can only imagine what would have happened if the voices who would play on the emotions of the American people had prevailed. Are you kidding me? Spend money on the Germans after what they did in the camps? Spend money on the Japanese after the POW operations? Are you out of your mind? Even the British and the French, they're nice people and they were our allies, but they're old, rich, sophisticated societies, they'll be just fine. Come home. Because we didn't, I am the oldest of the baby boomers. I grew up in a world where there never was a third world war; there never was another nuclear exchange. We built an America, the great middle class. We lived peacefully through the civil rights revolution, the women's rights revolution, and the environmental movement. And ultimately we saw victory in the Cold War for free markets and freedom. Because the people who were putting the world together in America made the decision that they wanted to build a world that had more cooperation, more friends and fewer enemies.
The other thing they did that we shouldn't minimize was support the creation of the United Nations, the international financial institutions, and all the other institutions of cooperation. It changed everything. It enabled me and the people in my generation and everybody who came behind a chance to have the life of their dreams in peace. For all the problems of the Cold War and all the conflicts which it engendered. And I don't think you can possibly minimize the importance of doing that now.
It's not just about aid, but I want to say a little more about that. It's partly about aid. The president went to Mexico, to Monterrey, to the Conference on Poor Nations, and said we ought to increase our direct assistance from $10-15 billion a year, by 2006. That's a very good start. But you should know when you do that, when it's all done, assuming it gets done, and assuming we actually spend the money, we will be spending 20 percent less of our GDP than we were spending in 1995 on direct foreign assistance.
Now, here's a place where you can have an impact. I talked about this 'til I was blue in the face as president. And I learned, once again, that even if you're president, just because you're talking doesn't mean anybody else is listening. If you took a poll among the American people and you asked them what percentage of the budget do we spend on foreign assistance, and what percent should we spend, there's been research on this for 10 years, it never changes. The biggest block always say we spend between two to 15 percent of the budget, and that is too much, we should spend between three and five percent. Now, I actually agree with them. Of course we spend less than one percent, and we're dead last among all the advanced economies of the world in what we spend on foreign assistance.
So it's difficult for people in a democracy to make good sensible decisions if they believe things that aren't true. The second thing is that most people believe we don't know how to do foreign assistance. And that most of the money is wasted. That is also untrue. It may have been true at one time.
And it may have been true at one time that we didn't even care whether some of the money is wasted, because it was designed to advance our interests in the Cold War. But it is simply not true that we don't know how to spend this money well. And I'll talk more about that.
The third thing that Americans believe that isn't right is that most people around the world who hate America resent the economic success that Americans have had, and the place they occupy on the world stage that we do. But all the surveys show that what people really resent is they think we don't know enough, care enough or do enough about people who aren't right in front of us. So our lack of knowledge about what we actually spend on assistance and how well it works and how people really view us is very costly to us. And since I believe people are willing to listen to this kind of argument more than ever before because of what we've been through and the trauma it's engendered, I think that you, this Council, are in a position to have a bigger impact on what the American people know and how they think about this, more than perhaps at any time in the last several decades. So I hope every one of you, individually and collectively, will do what you can to make sure people do know what we spend and how it works.
And let me just give you a couple of examples. First of all, we need an economic strategy that includes trade, but more. Debt relief, aid, and assistance in good government. The biggest is the debt relief. In 2000, we gave debt relief now to 25 countries that qualified. Eventually 32 will, if they meet the conditions, and I think they will. In the first year after Uganda got its savings, in one year they doubled primary school enrollment and lowered class size. Because they had to spend all the money on education and health care development. In one year, Honduras went from six to nine years of mandatory schooling, a 50 percent increase. And keep in mind, in the developing world; every single year of education is worth, on average, 10 to 15 percent to annual income to people in poor countries.
Do we know how to do aid, economic aid? Absolutely. When I was president, we funded two million micro enterprise loans a year. And we know they work. I've been in villages in Africa, in East Asia, in Latin America, which have been transformed by giving credit to poor people and creating an economy. And on the question of governance, let me say one of the problems we have is a lot of these countries are held back from growing economically because of their own governmental incapacity. The best project, I think, dealing with that today, is the work being done around the world by the great Peruvian economist, Hernando DeSoto, who discovered when he was the finance minister of Peru in the early Fujimori years, before Mr. Fujimori's unfortunate turn away from good sense and good policy, that a lot of Peruvian businesses and homes were not in the legal sector. Not because people wished to avoid taxes, but because they didn't have the time or money to wait to legalize their businesses. That there was this mountain of regulation and hurdles to doing that. So they slashed the time and money it took to legalize businesses. And sure enough, people legalized them. They simplified a way of proving ownership of homes, and sure enough, people began to register their homes. And all of a sudden they had more tax money at lower rates.
But the most important thing was, for the first time, most of the people who were working for a living had collateral upon which they could get loans. It is the single most significant systematic thing, I think, going on in the world today, economically. I've seen DeSoto's map of Cairo, where 85 percent of the business on the extra legal sector. And if Pete and I wanted to go to Cairo tomorrow and open Peterson and Clinton Bakery, it would take us 700 days to legalize our bakery. Now, we could afford to wait. (Laughter) But most people can't. And so they don't. And so they slip the taxman a little money and they go on with their business. Not because they wish to be illegal, but because it is the only way to function for people.
This is a huge deal. And I want to say a little more about it in a minute. But a modest amount of money in these areas will have big returns. Same thing is true in the social area. In education and health care. A hundred and thirty million kids who aren't in school. And you know how to get them there. The Bosa Escola Program in Brazil has 98 percent of the kids in school, about 97 percent of the primary age kids in school. By paying mothers in the 30 percent of the poorest families if their kids go to school 85 percent of the time. Mexico's doing the same thing. We've got $300 million in my last year as president to offer a good meal in school. Under the program that was basically championed by Senator Dole and Senator McGovern. And we gave the money out to poor countries, and we said your kids can get a good meal, but only if they come to school to get it. That's enough to feed six million kids. You can just do the math and see how cheap it would be to cover 130 million.
Now, we've been treated to a lot of dismal stories about the over 30,000 madrassas in Pakistan since September the 11th. But it's important to note that less than 20 years ago, there were only 3,000 of them. They grew because the government of Pakistan became unable to support its public school system. They started charging people to send their kids to school. Something, which many families could not afford, especially if their kids, once they graduated, didn't have jobs there. And we continued to reward our Cold War ally, Pakistan, with good military equipment, but we never gave them any money to keep their schools open. Had we done so, it might have made a big, big difference.
Same thing is true about these health care issues. Ten million kids are going to die this year of preventable childhood diseases. One in four of all the deaths this year will be from AIDS, TB, malaria, and infections related to diarrhea. And the AIDS epidemic is going to go from 4 to 100 million, with the fastest-growing rates in the former Soviet Union, on Europe's back door, in the Caribbean on our front door. Hillary represents 600,000 Dominicans in New York alone. Third fastest growing rate is India, the world's biggest democracy, where the potential for nightmare is largest. A third of the people in Bombay, after all, are homeless. So it's not just an African problem. And if we permit this to go to from 40 to 100 million, we'll have terrible political destabilization and a lot of angry young men that would be only too happy to be terrorists or mercenaries. And mark my words; a lot of these new democracies will fall if we had 100 million instead of 40 million AIDS cases.
And it's the most maddening problem of all, because A, it's 100 percent preventable. And B, there's medicine available that turns it from a deadly disease into a chronic illness. And prevents mother to child transmission. And C, we got a court case in South Africa last year that said the drug companies would negotiate lower prices with countries. And if they couldn't afford it, they could go get generics. And the United Nations has even certified some generic drugs, and it is still not happening. This is madness. And whatever it costs, it's cheaper than the consequences.
So I believe there has to be more partners than terrorists then that involves aid and trade and another round of debt relief. Where I would include more countries with higher AIDS rates if they put all the savings. Even if their incomes look too high, if they have big AIDS rates, they put the savings into dealing with that problem, I would include them in a second round of initiatives.
Now, there are two other things that I think are important in building a world with more partners and fewer terrorists. First I think we have to support further institutional integration of the nation states. We should be for cooperation. In general I think that even if things aren't perfect, anything that aids integration and resists disintegration is a positive thing. Therefore, I am, as everybody knows, at odds with the position of the current administration on the comprehensive test ban treaty, the Kyoto treaty, the International Criminal Court. I think we should make our full contribution to the fund that the Secretary General has set up to fight AIDS and other childhood diseases, infectious diseases. And I think it's important that we make the WTO work, which means that we have to set a good example.
I favor giving the president fast track authority. But I am very disturbed by the House bill that passed. I don't know what the final bill will look like. Because in order to get the last vote to pass it, the White House agreed to actually cut off access of many Caribbean countries, to the American market. And to undermine the Africa Caribbean basin initiative trade opening we had in 2000. It's apparently the only way they could get the votes to pass the bill. But let me remind you, when I was president, we negotiated 287 trade agreements, including bringing China into the WTO. And most of those trade agreements were negotiated without fast track authority. Including Vietnam, Jordan, and the Africa Caribbean based initiative, a lot of them. I think you should have this. I'm for the free trade area of the Americas. I think there should be a free trade area in the Asia Pacific region. I'm for this. But we have to continue to realize that the most important thing we can do is to open our markets to poor countries. And we should invest in retraining any Americans that are dislocated as a result of this. But in one year, our imports from some African countries increased 1000 percent after we passed the Africa Caribbean basin initiative. And I just think it's a real mistake even to get fast track, to have to turn it back. So I'm hoping that when the final bill that comes up to the Congress it won't have this provision in it.
And the final thing we have to do on risk strategy is to get back in the peace business. And I'm very encouraged that the president has sent Secretary Powell back to the Middle East. I will only mention two areas. One is the most dangerous in the short run, because they both have nuclear weapons - the conflict between India and Pakistan. The conflict over Kashmir is quite old, as old as the two countries themselves.
It is now complicated by two things. One is the fact that Pakistan has cooperated with the United States and our allies in the fight against Al Qaeda. Which puts even more pressure on the Musharraf government from Iraq, to do something to let the pressure off. Which makes the temptation of allowing people to operate more in a violent form in the Kashmir region almost irresistible. And the second is that within India there are internal conflicts. The awful things, which have occurred in Gujarat, the state where I do a lot of work with my foundation. Where all those people were burned to death in a train. People, Muslims and Hindus that were working together, after that earthquake, hand in hand. Now doing hand-to-hand combat because of the medieval mosque from least the 16th century mosque that was burned down 10 years ago. We're on the same side in all the things that are coming up. It's very, very important.
I don't know what the ultimate solution to Kashmir is. But I think, since the Indians are unwilling to give it up, because they think it would be the beginning of a potential breakup of the country. India's like Russia. Their diversity is in discrete sections. America's diversity, thank god, is all blended in everywhere. It's a great blessing to us. I went, with Mayor Dinkins, to one of their schools that was closed after September 11th, they were meeting in temporary facilities in another school. There were kids there from 80 different national ethnic groups in one school. And I thought, if you're going to be a great, diverse society, mix them in. Don't be a diverse society with all the people in their separate groups on the edges. So India, like Russia, worries about that.
But I think that two models that might have some application, as amended, are the way the Irish peace process worked. Where you had majority rule, minority rights, shared decision making, shared benefits, special relations with the parent country, in this case India. But also special organized, institutionalized relations with the other country, in this case Pakistan. So I think there's a model there. The other thing that might work is some version of the British devolution, what they're doing in Scotland and Wales. But we need to come up with some ideas here to try to give people something to think about, instead of killing each other.
You know, it's interesting that India's a country with a per capita income of $500; Pakistan's a country with a per capita income of $450. India had a 22 percent increase in defense spending in 2000, the last year I've kept up to deal with this. This is crazy. And yet, India and Pakistanis both rank in the top ten in per capita income in the United States, of all of our ethnic groups. So I think it's important. In the Middle East, it seems to me, first it's a good thing that the president sent Secretary Powell back, and he should keep going. Even if we don't solve anything, the physical presence of America in the Middle East narrows the scope of the structure. It always will. And we should look like we care and that we want both the Palestinian state and security for the Israelis. And normal relationships with their neighbors.
Now, seems to me there are three options. Option one is to wait for the end of Arafat. That seems to be the preferred option of the Israeli government. It might be good, it might be a disaster. And a lot of people are going to die between now and then. That's my take on that. Option two, we should try to get a comprehensive settlement led by the United States and Europe, the major Arab states and Russia, that does everything. Resolves all the issues, creates a Palestinian state, gives Israel security and normal relations with its neighbors, splits Jerusalem, has a plan for the relocation of the refugees and the development of the Palestinian economy. I think it's going to be difficult and that will require the introduction of international forces, including the United States.
I think it's going to be almost impossible to do that right now. Because of the low level of trust between the two parties, and all the death and destruction that has occurred. Option three would be a 2002 version of what we did at Wye River in 1997, the last time we had a Likud government meeting with the Palestinians. We made an accord at Wye River which both parties kept, and which brought us three years of peace, until the current intifada began in September of 2000. And there's been a lot of talk about that, and there was stories a couple of days ago where Secretary Powell said they might recommend some sort of conditional Palestinian state. That was the proposal that Simon Peres and Abdullah had last spring. And it was, I think, acceptable to the Palestinians, but not to the Israeli government, because part of the deal was we'll set up our state, here's a schedule to resolve all other issues. Security comes first, but in the end, the territory and the other issues will be resolved on the basis of the U.N. resolutions with agreed upon modifications. And that the Sharon government didn't want to agree to that last phrase, because he was elected promising only 45 percent of the West Bank.
But I think there may be a way around that now. This has some promise, but let me just say that, too, may require some troops. And the Israelis won't trust the troop contingent unless we're part of it. But it creates special problems for them because after what happened here on September 11th and the continued estrangement in the Middle East, we would become an independent target as well. So this would be an issue not free of difficulty for the president if it comes up. I personally think if it brings peace, we ought to do it. Shoulder the risk and figure out how to minimize it. And I will support the president if he wants to do that. But I do want you to understand, it's a different kettle of fish than it would have been if he'd of signed that bill… in 2000, which he should have done, in January of 2000. And just sent in troops.
It also might be necessary, before this is over, for the United States and NATO to give certain security guarantees to all the parties. And if that's necessary, I'd do that, too. Because we've got to do something about this. And then we've got to have some economic growth for the Palestinians. Some real progress.
Well, those are the main points I want to make. And I'd just like to close with one final objective that I think we ought to have. We ought to have a security strategy, a 'more partners and fewer terrorists' strategy. We also need a commitment to explicitly winning the battle of ideas. We basically are seeing all over the world today a contest between people who are obsessed with yesterday and people who are obsessed with tomorrow. People who want a separate future and people who want a shared future. People who have an exclusive notion of community, where the members of the community have the truth, and you can only be in it if you think alike and act alike.
And an inclusive notion of community where people are proud of their religious, their ethnic, their racial, their political convictions. But they're more than happy to be part of ever-larger communities of people, to nonviolent resolution with disputes, and this proposition that everybody counts, so we do better when we work together. Now, we have to explicitly engage this. You need to get into this debate. And we need to support the moderates in the Muslim world who are part of this debate. We need to challenge what's in the textbooks and go after the incitement as well as the terrorism. We need to publicize what's in these textbooks, including in some schools in the United States. And ask people if they really wish to defend statements like this one that was in a textbook in an American school. "Oh, servant of god, here is a Jew hiding from me. Come here and kill him." Now, if somebody wants to defend that, they can. If they don't, they ought to change it.
Let me just close by saying this. I just got back; I delivered the commencement address a few days ago at the American University of Dubai, the fastest growing place in the Middle East. A Muslim country. There were several devout, orthodox Muslim women in the graduating class, who did not shake hands with me or the crown prince. They took their diploma with two hands and bowed to both of us. They have a separate banking system to deal with the Islamic prohibition against interest. But there were kids from 60 countries in that school. Eighty percent of the people living there now came from somewhere else. I went to an Internet city, which had restaurants from seven different countries. The average age of the employees was 26, there was nobody there three years ago, and there are over 30,000 people there today. They're building high rises for 100,000 people, and they'll be full in three years. Why? Different leadership, different values, same religion, same culture.
That's the last thing I want to say. This is a leadership question. Bill Berkeley wrote a book about African slaughter and genocide in the last 20 years, called The Graves Are Not Yet Full. In which he says you can say whatever you want to about all these ancient hatreds. These ancient hatreds do not turn into slaughter unless there is leadership. People seeking political advantage from pitting people against one another and teaching them to kill. So I say, support the good leaders and oppose the ones who are negative. This is really hard. I mean, Gandhi was killed by a Hindu because he tried to get along with the Muslims and the Sikhs, and the Buddhists. The Christians and the Jews.
Sadat was killed, my friend Rabin was killed. This is hard. But you should be of good cheer, because for most of history, people have behaved as if the meaning of their lives came from positive association within their group, and negative reference to those who are outside of it. We didn't even have a U.N. until 1945; we didn't even have a chance to build a global community until 1989. I think we're doing pretty well. Since civilization is over 6,000 years old and people have been around for 50 or 100,000 years, depending on how you read the evidence. But those of us that are wealthy and prosperous, we have to bear the burden of instigating most of these changes, and then challenging people to make an appropriate response. I think we can do it.
But we have to understand what it is we have to do. And then we can't play games with it and pretend we don't have to do our part in the United States. Thank you very much.
Moderator: Thank you, Mr. President. To show you how instantly we respond to your ideas, I want you to know that tomorrow, a group of us from the Council who has been working on public diplomacy are meeting with Karen Hughes.
So I just want you to know what impact your suggestions have on us. (Laughter) Mr. President, I think I'll exercise the chairman's privilege and ask a question I think many people would like the answer to. You were modest enough to suggest you're an eminent has-been. I introduced you as the eminent public policy work. But you're clearly somebody who does more than study things. You do things that matter. Why don't you give us a few words about your foundation and what you're attempting to achieve there?
WJC: Well, basically I think former presidents have a heavy responsibility to continue public service. After all, the American people gave us a chance of a lifetime and a unique set of experiences. So when you leave the White House, if you can breathe and walk around, I think you should serve. And I spend already more than half my time working on various public service activities. And I hope within five years of my leaving the office, I'll be doing it 100 percent of the time. And I tried to set up a foundation that recognizes what I think you see in the work of President Carter and the Carter Foundation. When you're president, you have a huge amount of power, but you're not so much in control of your time. And you very often winding up doing things for months at a time that you didn't imagine you would when you ran. But you have the power.
When you leave office, you have to trade the power for influence. The only way you can do that is if you concentrate your efforts in areas where A, you care a lot. And B, it makes a difference. So I decided that I would build this foundation around three things that had meant a great deal to me when I was president, and three things that I thought I could make a difference in. One, the economic empowerment of poor people in poor communities. And I'll give you just two examples of things we're doing. After the Gujarat earthquake, Prime Minister Vajpayee asked me to organize the American Indian community to help rebuild hundreds of villages. And I said I would do it if he would give me permission to try to come up with a model of development that would leave those villages better off than they were before the earthquake, and it could be replicated throughout India.
So we set up this America India Foundation. We've raised about 10 million bucks, and that's a pretty good amount of money in a country with a per capita income of $500 per person. And we're busily at work there. We also are working in Harlem with Booz-Allen Hamilton and Reggie . . . he's here today . . . who runs the office, to help small businesses basically deal with the challenges they're facing in the renovation and the upgrading of Harlem, which will require us to make some dramatic changes.
We're going to keep that small business economy up there. And those are just two things I'm doing.
We do work on racial and religious reconciliation. And I had a conference earlier this year that a couple of you here in this audience participated in, with NYU and the Georgetown Center for Christian and Muslim understanding. On Islam and the West. And I have done quite a bit of work that I'd prefer to get no publicity for, in other troubled places in the world in the last couple of years. And I think that's important.
And then the third thing we work on is essentially helping people to solve their own problems through citizen service and good governance. I spent two days ... I'll give you a failed part of my mission (Laughs) ... I spent two days last summer in Argentina and Brazil, trying to get the governments of Argentina and Brazil to come up with a common proposal where we could …to the international financial institutions and to the administration to try to head off the disaster that has befallen Argentina. And we did agree, but we couldn't persuade anybody to buy it. So what happened, happened? But those are the kinds of things that I do that I think I should continue to do. And on the side, after September the 11th, I agreed with Andy McKelvie of monster.com and Senator Dole, who's become a great friend of mine ... says he's going to beat me for president of the Senate Spouse's Club next year, but I don't ... (Laughter) ... we are (Laughter) ... since Mrs. Dole is running against Erskin Bowles, I hope he doesn't get the chance to run.
But anyway, what we tried to do is to raise enough money to guarantee a college education to the spouses and children of all the people killed or disabled on September the 11th. We commissioned an expert group study; they said we needed $100 million. We've raised over $90 million since October of last year. So we're almost there, and I feel really good about that. So I'm trying to stay reasonably busy.
Moderator: Okay, questions, please, from the audience. Please identify yourself. Yes, sir?
[Audience]: I had the privilege of serving your administration in the State and Energy Departments. My question concerns energy. Our dependence on foreign oil is a big factor in our Middle East policy, and I wonder, if you were president on September 11th, would you have used that tragedy to direct a transformation in our energy policy? And if so, how?
WJC: Well, you know I would have, because I tried for three years and failed to do it when I was in office. I think it's a good thing that we are multiplying the sources of oil. I signed an agreement with a lot of these Central Asian states on developing the Caspian oil, and President Bush has been working with President Putin in that. That's a good thing. And I think it's a good thing that the oil and gas in the Timor Gulf, between East Timor and Australia, would be developed. But I think it overlooks the fact that we have an unsustainable situation with regard to climate change, which is aggravating the pollution of the oceans, which produces most of our oxygen. And contributing to the fact that there is already a water shortage, so that about one in four people in the world don't have access to clean water. And it's a major source of death among children every year.
So, yeah, furthermore, there's a $1 trillion market out there today for alternative energy and energy conservation technologies that already exist, never mind the ones that are just over the horizon. Here is the fundamental problem. The old energy economy is centralized. It has access to money, organization, and political power. The new energy future is inherently less centralized. So somebody's going to have to take the lead and basically push us into it, which is ... I mean, we could do it with market-based mechanisms like make tax incentives to produce and purchase the appropriate technology. And fuels. But I think we should do it. I went to Jedda, to the economic summit in Saudi Arabia in January. And I told the assembled crowd . . . I think they thought I was a little loony, but it didn't matter since I wasn't in anymore . . . that I thought they were trying to keep on being the oil center of the world. And I thought that was a mistake, they should become the energy center of the world. And that if I were in their position, I would buy half the solar capacity on earth, and I would retrofit every village in the Middle East, in North Africa, and I would follow right around the equator and change the whole future of the world. And I said, it's not like you don't have your wells already drilled. Your cost of extraction is the cheapest on earth. All we can do is make the oil last longer. And it'll make you rich doing the right thing, and the rest of us will be immensely grateful to you. But I think the fundamental problem is that in the United States, in China and India, primarily, even though India's done a lot of interesting things with wind energy, there is still the prevailing view that the only way for a country to get rich, stay rich and get richer, is to put more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. And that has not been true for some years now. But that's what people think. So we could help the Chinese and the Indians skip a whole stage of energy development and pollution if we could convince them that that is true. But in order for us to convince them that that's true, we have to set a good example. And I think this is one of the most important issues in the world today. I promise you, if the world warms in the next 50 years at the rate of the last 10, we'll lose 50 feet of Manhattan Island, whole island nations in the Pacific. And more to the point, you'll have massive disruption of agricultural production, creating tens of millions of food refugees and a whole lot more terrorists. This is a very, very serious issue. And the maddening thing is, it's like the AIDS deal. It's more an organization problem than a substance problem. We have the energy future out there before us, but it is decentralized. Whereas our present and past is highly centralized. And somehow we have to break the logjams to get to the future.
[Audience]: President Clinton, you said you might amplify your views on preemptive action in Iraq. Would you do that?
WJC: Well, remember when Vice President Cheney went over to the Middle East to tell everybody we wanted to bomb Iraq, or go to war with them, or do whatever it was he was telling them we wanted to do? (Laughs) And the Arab League had a meeting and they said, "Please don't take any action against Saddam Hussein." And even Kuwait, the country we saved, voted for it? You all remember that. Now, it's very important to realize that these people do not . . . they didn't do that because they love Saddam Hussein. They can't stand Saddam Hussein. Most of them would be perfectly happy if he disappeared. There are two things going on. One is the historic aversion in the Arab world to the invasion of one country by another, particularly if the country invading is an outsider.
Partly on principle and partly because people would feel insecure, wonder if they'll be next. But the other, and far more important factor behind that vote, is that they thought the United States was, like, on another planet coming to them to talk about attacking Saddam Hussein when we were not involved in the Middle East peace process at the time and had no operative peace process going. They thought our priorities were not in order. So here's what I have to say about it. First of all, there are all kinds of logistical problems with a full-scale military invasion if that's what we want to do. And there were major articles in the press in the last month or so about the senior advisers at the Pentagon counseling against such a thing. But it clearly could be done, and it wouldn't be that much problem if you could take the resources away from other things and you want to spend a fortune, you could do that. I just believe, looking down the road, the most important thing is to get our priorities in order. I don't have any use for Saddam Hussein. And I've already told you; I think he's got the labs up and going. And he kicked the inspectors out. So he's in violation of U.N. rules. And they are actually doing bad things there; I'm convinced of it. But I think what you have to ask yourself is, in what order do we have to deal with this? He has no missiles to put warheads on that would reach us. The only missile he's ever used on his neighbors . . . and he used mustard gas on his own people . . . but he fired some scuds into Israel after he was attacked in the Gulf War. So what I think is, A, let's put all of our . . . make the most intense possible efforts to build a legitimate peace process and have diminishing of the violence in the Middle East between the Arabs, the Palestinians and the Israelis. B, is look at what our options are, and try to find a way to do whatever we do with as much of a coalition as possible, and not unilaterally. Without giving up the right to take unilateral action if the intelligence indicates it's the right thing to do. That's basically what I think we ought to do. But the most important thing I have to say is hear the right message coming out of the Arab summit, show them that we heard them, emphasize getting a peace process in the Middle East first. They weren't telling us they love Saddam Hussein.
PP: Thank you. Yes, sir?
[Audience]: Mr. President, when I interviewed Colin Powell, the Secretary of State, last week, and he spoke of a provisional state, he was very much saying this was transitional. And he spoke of a final settlement. Right now in your presentation, you seem to be suggesting let's revive the Wye Accords and buy time. Is that not a very dangerous thing that you are suggesting, particularly if you are saying that we really must go ahead and do something about that peace process?
WJC: I'm sorry . . . I'm glad you asked me the question, because if that's what I said, I didn't mean to. The only thing I meant was, in the Wye Accords, we had the peace agreement that was signed in '93. The Wye Accord basically said, "Okay, here's where we are, here's a final resolution of all the issues. This is as far as we can go. But if we go this far, we can live with this for a couple of years." The only thing I'm saying is a contemporary version of that would actually involve a final solution, but it would do so in reverse order, if you will. You'd have the Palestinian state first, the recognition of Israel and its right to normal relations with its neighbors by not only the new state of Palestine, but the other Arab neighbors. And then you would have a timetable out into the future for the resolution of these other issues. With the clear understanding that the first thing's dependent upon the good faith efforts by everybody else, to keep on the timetable. That's all I meant by the interim thing. I meant if they agree to all the details, we almost agreed to all the details…in December of 2000 and January of 2001. What I'm suggesting is I don't think there's enough trust for the two parties to agree on all the details, but they might agree on the framework. Statehood now, economic aid now, acceptance of Israel now, all ... but to continue all these good things, we have to keep on the timetable. That's the only thing. So we, in a way, flip it. Have sort of the end benefits here to both countries, and then fill in the blanks over a specified period of time. I just think it's going to be hard to do more than that, because of the lack of trust and the political differences among the parties. But I think they're scared enough, after all these people have died, that they might be willing to do that.
PP: Yes . . .
WJC: I didn't mean scared, cowardice. I meant alarmed. Genuinely alarmed.
[Audience]: Julie . . . American University. You said that a lot of it, Mr. President, boils down to leadership. And I was wondering how you would characterize your leadership on human rights versus that of the current administration?
WJC: I wouldn't. (Laughter) I wouldn't. I think if there are . . . there are some things that I think it's appropriate for me to express my opinion on, when I have a clear record and they changed it. So I don't think there's . . . it shouldn't come as a surprise to anybody that I don't agree with America's decision to withdraw from the comprehensive test ban treaty or Kyoto or the international criminal court. But I think ... and I have opinions about economic policy and all that sort of stuff . . . but I think that it doesn't really serve the public debate or advance the cause of human rights for me to get into the comparison business. That's something the rest of you can do. So I just shouldn't do that.
PP: Thank you. Something from this side. Back here, please?
[Audience]: Mr. President, at every globalization conference, there has been violent protests by human rights activists and environmental activists. What would the major thing that you would do to reconcile those differences?
WJC: Well, first of all, I think it ought to be acknowledged that those who are there in good faith are onto something. But their analysis of what caused what they're worried about is wrong. That is, that they're saying that the globalization of the economy, the increase in trade, is the sort of . . . which has made corporations and individuals vastly wealthier than they ever were before, and more powerful across national lines, is the cause of the world's misery. They're saying, "Look at this, it doesn't even work for half the world's people. Half the people live on less than $2 a day, a billion on less than $1 a day. A billion people go to bed hungry every night." All those health and education stats I cited. What I would say to them is you can't have a global economy without a global social policy, a global education policy, and a global environmental policy. Economics alone don't work within a nation. Economics wouldn't work in the world. If we're going to have an interdependent world, we have to have a more integrated global community. And so I hear your complaints, but saying that the market mechanism caused it is wrong. What you should be saying is, markets alone will not solve the problems of the world. It cannot be an excuse for abandonment of political responsibility by the countries that are benefiting the most from market economics. Now, I say that, because when I say those that are in good faith, some of them are there because they want to be more protectionist. And some of them are there because they want to be less; they want us to open our markets. And they're marching together with directly conflicting views. But those who really deeply believe that the global economy caused these problems, I think we should engage them. And show them that economy didn't cause it. But just as America learned in the Great Depression, and before that, in the progressive era of Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson, you can get a heck of a lot of benefits out of economic policy, and it can still leave an awful social cost in its wake unless it's accompanied by an appropriate political response to build a just society. That is now true on a global basis.
PP: Thank you. There's one on the aisle.
[Audience]: Beverly Lindsay, Penn State. When you began your presentation today, you stated that the line between the domestic and the foreign is becoming more irrelevant. And when you were president, you had the racial commission, the problems in East Timor; you mentioned one of the factors in your new foundation. Could you elaborate on some of your examples, particularly on some of the issues in terms of race and ethnic politics that are present throughout the world, but have generic features?
WJC: Well, I think, first of all, we did what we did in East Timor and Haiti and where it was more of a political problem. In Northern Ireland, the Balkans, in the Middle East, and we went at President Mandela's request to Tanzania to work on the Burundi peace process, to try to avoid another Rwanda. Among the work that I'm doing in Africa now, and in addition to this international AIDS trust work that I do with President Mandela, we are starting our version of Americorps in South Africa. To give black and white South African young people the opportunity to do community service and actually live and work together for a year or two in their communities, the way we do it here. And he's quite excited about it. And we've already brought the first group over to train. And we think we can make something relevant. I think among the things that should be done, if we can get an agreement in the Middle East, is I would like to see us bring more scholars here. After the Y River agreement, we started bringing young Palestinians to America to study on fellowships. I think that what I'd like to see is to see us do more in the region with Israeli and Palestinian young people. I'd like to see and do . . . there is a great program, Seeds of Peace, which works in the summertime, and then the kids e-mail each other all year long. But I'd like to see a sort of sustained working partnership, if we could get another agreement here, that had immediate economic benefits, I'd like to see part of it devoted to putting young people to work at rebuilding the damaged parts of Israel and the Palestinian territories, which would then become the Palestinian state. And building a common future together. I think that that's the kind of thing that I think's quite important.
PP: I have a question for you, back there, please? Thank you.
WJC: I know we've been here a long time; I won't be offended if you have to go. (Laughter) But there seem to be a lot of questions. Go ahead.
[Audience]: Mr. President, my name is Jeff Laurenti, with the United Nations Association. And I thought you gave a dazzling tour d'horizon on the international dimensions of policy and politics. I just wanted to raise the question, how does the political practitioner in the United States who seeks to be reelected and to be able to continue to do things on these, devote time and attention and convey these messages? In your speech today, in your remarks you've, for example, mentioned five times the United Nations. Naturally, our particular cause. And in any single state of the union message of your term, you were able to make one mention, because you have to allocate X amount of seconds or minutes of presidential time to issues.
So I wonder if you could tell us how these themes of international cooperation and such, can be imparted to the American public, given the stultifying nature of the beltway debate, and what American politicians have freedom to do?
WJC: Well, first of all, let's just talk about the naked politics of this. And with all respect, your real problem is not that people are opposed to the U.N. or opposed to us paying our fair share, opposed to us contributing what we ought to contribute to the Secretary General's health fund. Your problem is that there's no penalty for not doing it, and there's always other competing claims on the dollar. That's very different. Now, for example, in America, in a lot of congressional districts, if you stand up for gun control, there's a penalty for doing it. And even though, you can live in a district where two to one, the people are for gun control, and you still lose votes for being for it. Why? Because all the people who agree with you are sort of nice people who are interested in a lot of things, and they will vote for people (Laughter) ... they won't vote for you because you risked your life for gun control. They'll go and they'll vote for somebody else who's against you. But 100 percent of the people who are against you on gun control will vote against you. So there are issues like that. That's not with this is. There are not more than a handful of congressional districts in the entire country where a member of either party would be defeated for standing up and saying, "We live in an interdependent world, and we have to make it more integrated. I want to see us pay our fair share to the United Nations." They won't be defeated for doing it, but A; they won't be defeated for not doing it. And B, they won't get any benefits for doing it. You see what I mean? It's like a neutral thing. And the reason it's neutral is, people . . . you look at all these polls, 70 percent of the people are always in favor of our paying our U.N. bills, when the Congress was stopping me from doing it all those years. But if it had been 90 percent, it would have been irrelevant, because it wasn't a voting issue for them. And what I'm trying to . . .the political point I was trying to make here earlier today is, a free people cannot make good decisions unless they have good information. People are listening as they have not listened in my lifetime, except during the Vietnam War, to arguments about international relations. They are listening. They want to know. They understand, somehow, intuitively, that there's a lot of different things they need to put in a package in their head, to understand the world. That's why what you do now is more important than ever. I think you could create a constituency in America where you would benefit from leading the United States to support a lot of specific U.N. actions, and where you would actually suffer if you were against it. And that has not been the case in my adult lifetime until right now.
PP: Okay, final question from the rear. From the back there, on the left hand side, on the other side.
[Audience]: Thank you, Mr. President. Heather Higgins, the Randolph Foundation.
WJC: Either that or they're more isolationist than I thought. (Laughter)
[Audience]: It's been alleged that the Sudanese made an offer to turn over Osama Bin-Laden, and I wondered, first, if that was correct. And if it were correct, what the reasons were for declining the offer.
WJC: First of all, the Sudanese met with us a couple of times about cooperation, and I believe that our people had four or five meetings with them, trying to talk about other kinds of terrorist cooperation after Bin-Laden was released. We did want them to stop providing sanctuary to Bin-Laden, but as far as I was told, we didn't have any basis to get him and arrest him in 1995 and 1996, and did not have the opportunity to do so. After that, they kept saying, "Well, we want to make nice and we want to work ..." and we had meeting after meeting after meeting where they promised us before the meeting they would give us various kinds of cooperation. And that never happened either. It just didn't happen. So they talked a good game in general, but when it came to the specifics, they weren't there. And on the earlier case with Bin-Laden, there was some intelligence that I don't think is quite right for me to discuss. But I never had an effective opportunity to get him and jail him. If I had, I would have taken him and jailed him.
Thank you very much. I must say that ... (Applause) Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
Let me ask you; first remind you of one thing. This meeting is on the record, so all of the great insights you've got today you can leak any way you wish. (Laughter) Without getting into trouble. And I wonder if we could do the president the courtesy of letting him walk out first?