Note: Remarks as prepared for delivery
In nine days, I will end my tenure as National Security Advisor grateful for the opportunity President Clinton and the American people have given me to serve at this extraordinary moment in our history; grateful for the challenge of helping shape a new foreign policy for a new time. I appreciate this forum tonight to look back on these past eight years and, just as important, to look forward to the challenges ahead.
Let me begin with the year just ended. It has been an extraordinary one -- not just because of the prominence of Chad, a country I always thought was underestimated, but also because of the number and nature of international events of profound significance to the United States. In China, a communist leadership negotiated a far-reaching, market-oriented WTO agreement with us, opening doors to economic and potentially political change that will be hard to shut. In Russia, citizens stood in line for hours, not for bread as they did in 1992, but to carry out that nation's first democratic transition in more than 1,000 years. In Mexico, an opposition party candidate was elected president for the first time in more than 70 years, hastening a new era of multi-party democracy and vibrant partnership just south of our border.
In Ethiopia and Eritrea, the most deadly conflict in the world since the Iran-Iraq war ended with active American mediation. In Bosnia, five years after the peace we negotiated at Dayton, the process of reconstructing one nation, thought impossible by many, gained momentum -- with 63 percent more people returning to their homes across ethnic lines than a year before. Meanwhile, democracy captured every inch of the former Yugoslavia for the first time as Slobodan Milosevic fell like a 50-foot statue of Stalin, a victim of the accumulated outrage of his people and the cumulative pressure of the West. In Vietnam, 35 years after the most divisive war of the 20th century, crowds ten deep lined the streets to reach out to an American President. In India, after 50 years of icy estrangement, the visit of a President offering respectful partnership was transforming and 90 percent of Indians now say that a new day had dawned between us. And in Dundalk, Ireland, a border town that not long ago was a violent symbol of the Troubles, more than 50,000 Catholics and Protestants stood together with the President in their town square and sang "Danny Boy" with one resolute voice.
Of course, the year 2000 had its share of tragedies and disappointments as well. Sitting at the Norfolk Naval Base with survivors of the senseless attack against the USS Cole only reinforced the reality that America is in a deadly struggle with a new breed of anti-Western terrorists. And despite all the progress we have made in the Middle East, it will be sad indeed if the promise of this unusual moment of history slips into the abyss of violence. But I know this: sooner or later, hopefully before too much more bloodshed and tears, Israelis and Palestinians will have to return to the same questions they confront today, and, I believe, the same inescapable choices. They can postpone the moment of truth, but they cannot escape the reality that they must find a way to live side by side on the same soil, in the same land.
The scope of events over this past year reflects the range of challenges and opportunities for America that sometimes appears overwhelming. It is tempting to step back from robust engagement, to simplify our presence in a complex world, to limit our definition of what is important to America to what seems most easily achievable. That would be a profound mistake. For the threats to America's interests only will grow more dangerous if neglected. More important, this is a time of unprecedented opportunity for us, as we stand at the height of our power and prosperity. Tonight I want to talk about how we have used America's renewed strength and the challenges that lie ahead.
Any honest assessment must begin with an acknowledgment of what has changed since Bill Clinton was first elected. Consider the conventional wisdom about America in the fall of 1992: Time Magazine -- reflecting the widespread view -- asked: "is the U.S. in an irreversible decline as the world's premier power?" We had handled the Gulf War, the collapse of the Soviet Union and the reunification of Germany skillfully, but the premise that had defined our foreign policy for a half century -- what we opposed -- no longer illuminated our path. We were left in the early 90's to define America's role in terms of what was ending -- a "post-Cold War" policy. The Clinton Administration's task was to renew America's international leadership in terms of what we were building -- to shape an American foreign policy for a global age. Historians may debate the choices we made. But I believe there is no disputing their cumulative outcome.
As President Clinton leaves office, America is by any measure the world's unchallenged military, economic and political 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.
President Clinton understood before most the sweeping impact of globalization and the fundamental challenges it posed to how we think about the world. Let me describe just two. First, for a half century of Cold War struggle, we viewed the world largely through a zero-sum prism. We advance, they retreat. We retreat, they advance. But in an increasingly interdependent world, where all lives are shaped every day by forces in every corner of the world, zero-sum increasingly must give way to win-win. A stronger Europe does not necessarily mean a weaker U.S. Indeed, a stronger Russia and a stronger China -- if they develop in the right way -- could be a lesser threat than if they unravel from internal strains.
Second, while globalization is an inexorable fact, it is not an elixir for all the world's problems. It is not inherently good or bad. But what is important is that we can harness the desire of most nations to benefit from globalization in a way that advances our objectives of democracy, shared prosperity and peace.
Some of the most hopeful recent developments in the world have come about because of how we sought 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, is it simply meeting the demands of global markets? In part, yes. But it also has 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 concluded that this is the best way to join NATO and the EU -- an opportunity made possible by our expansion of NATO and more attractive by NATO's victory in Kosovo.
If the dividing line of the Cold War was the Berlin Wall, the dividing line of the global age is between those who seek to live within the international community of nations -- respecting its rules and norms -- and those who live outside of it, either by choice or circumstance. We must ensure those international systems, be they on non-proliferation or trade or human rights, are open to all who adhere to accepted standards. We must defend those standards when they are threatened. And we must isolate those who choose to live outside the system and disrupt it.
These are the foundations of a foreign policy for the global age. They are reflected in the principles that have guided us these last eight years and which hopefully will serve as a touchstone as our next president takes office.
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 in Asia, it was far from certain that we would maintain our military presence at the end of the Cold War, or that allies there would continue to see its legitimacy. In Europe, NATO's continued relevance was seriously questioned, ironically at the very same time that the security and the values it defends were threatened by an out-of-control war in Bosnia.
When we took office, we had no more urgent task than to adapt our alliances to a new era. So in Asia, we formally updated our strategic alliance with Japan. We stood with South Korea to meet nuclear and missile threats while we moved together to test new opportunities with North Korea. We dispatched naval forces to ease tensions in the Taiwan Straits, and helped our allies deploy an unprecedented coalition to East Timor.
In Europe, we revitalized NATO with new partners, new members and new missions. After agonizing differences with our allies over Bosnia, we came together to use force and diplomacy to end a ghastly war and later acted decisively to end the carnage in Kosovo. Today, we are closer than ever to building a Europe that is peaceful, democratic, and undivided for the first time in history.
So where do we go from here in Europe? Let me start with the unfinished business in the Balkans. Southeast Europe, which has been a flashpoint for European conflict throughout the 20th Century, now has the potential to become a full partner in a peaceful Europe -- if we don't snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. Our European allies already are carrying the overwhelming share of this burden, 85 percent of the peacekeeping troops and 80 percent of the funds. But we can't cut and run, or we will forfeit our leadership of NATO.
NATO's future, and that of Europe's new democracies, also depends on the answer to another question: will more of Europe's new democracies be invited to walk through NATO's open door at its next summit in 2002? To stop at Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic would defeat the very purpose of NATO enlargement -- which is to erase arbitrary dividing lines in Europe and to use the magnet of NATO membership to strengthen the forces of democracy in Europe.
Then there is the question of how we keep our partnership with traditional European allies strong through changing times. We should support Europe's efforts to assume greater security responsibilities -- so long as our European friends move forward in cooperation, not competition, with NATO. And, we must devise new mechanisms to deal with significant trade disputes like GMOs and FSC and subsidies in ways that do not jeopardize a $1.4 trillion per year economic relationship. A strong America and a stronger Europe is good for us and the world.
A second principle that guides our foreign policy in a global age is that peace and security for America depends on building principled, constructive relations with our former great power adversaries, Russia and China.
With Russia, it is tempting to focus on what this troubled country has failed to do in the last decade. It has not developed a full feathered democracy, or demonstrated consistent respect for the rule of law. It has not rooted out corruption, or learned that brute force cannot hold an ethnically diverse country together. But we should not forget what it has done. Defying the predictions of many, the Russian people have rejected a return to communism or a turn toward fascism; in five straight elections they have voted for a democratic society with a market economy that is part of the life of the modern world. And it is in large part for that reason that we have been able to work with Russia to reduce and safeguard its nuclear arsenal, to secure the exit of its troops from the Baltic States, and to cooperate in the Balkans.
What now? I believe that President Putin wants to build a modern Russia plugged into the global economy and that he realizes the only outlet lies to the West. What we don't know yet is whether he will do that while tolerating opposition, respecting the independence of his neighbors and conducting a foreign policy that does not revert to the Soviet era mentality.
What can we do? If Russia seeks to exert coercive pressure against neighboring states like Georgia or Ukraine, we must do all we can to strengthen their independence. If it continues to provide military technology to nations like Iran, we must use our leverage to change its behavior. But at the same time, when Russia seeks partnership with the international community and membership in international institutions, from the G-8 to the WTO, we should welcome it, insisting that Russia accept the rules as well as the benefits that go with integration. And when the Russian people work at home to build a free media, to start their own businesses, to protect their environment, we must continue to support that, not cut back programs to assist those efforts as the Congress has done in recent years. For little else will be possible in our relationship with Russia unless it builds a pluralistic, prosperous society inexorably linked to the West.
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 it into the World Trade Organization.
That deal and passage of PNTR represents the most constructive breakthrough in U.S.-China relations since normalization in 1979. For China, it is a declaration of interdependence, and a commitment to start dismantling the command and control economy through which the communist party exercises much of its power. It also means that China now faces imposing challenges. Already, roughly 100 million Chinese are out of work. As it opens its markets to competition, there inevitably will be more dislocation and urbanization, and greater pressures on the government to give people a say in decisions that affect their lives.
Can China manage this economic transition at a time of uncertain political transition? For a country seized by a history of intermittent disintegration, will China seek stability in greater control over its people, or in giving its people greater control? Only China can decide. But we can help it make the right choice -- by holding it to the commitments it made to join the WTO, and continuing to make clear that we believe China is more likely to succeed in this information age by unleashing the creative potential of its 1.2 billion people than by trying to suppress it.
A third principle that must guide American foreign policy is that local conflicts can have global consequences. I don't believe any previous President has devoted more of his presidency to peacemaking -- whether in the Middle East, the Balkans or Northern Ireland, between Turkey and Greece, Peru and Ecuador, India and Pakistan, or Ethiopia and Eritrea. We have never pretended we can solve every problem. But we have rejected the simplistic idea that because we can't do everything, we must, for the sake of consistency, do nothing.
Looking ahead, I believe it is more important than ever that America remain an energetic peacemaker -- not a meddler, but a force for reconciliation even, at times, where our interests are not directly involved.
Why? Because the challenge of foreign policy in any age is to defuse conflicts before, not after, they escalate and harm our vital interests. And this is even more true in this global age. Today, as we witness distant atrocities, we can choose not to act, but we can no longer choose not to know. And while we should never send troops into conflict where our national interests are not at stake, when our interests and values are challenged, the American people increasingly expect their government to do what we reasonably can. Those who ignore America's idealism are lacking in realism.
What's more, 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 has been doing in the Middle East, as he did in Belfast last month, or in Africa last August when he joined a fractious conference seeking peace in Burundi -- it defies preconceptions that an all-powerful America is a self-absorbed 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 expanded national security priorities. Indeed, I believe one of the biggest changes we have brought about in the way America relates to the world has been to expand what we consider important.
We intensified the battle against proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. 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 took little notice of Iraq's development of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons until after the Gulf War. Now we are diverting billions of dollars in Iraqi oil revenues from the purchase of weaponry to the provision of food and medicine.
Our work with Russia and its neighbors led to the complete denuclearization of Ukraine, Belarus and Kazakhstan; the elimination of hundreds of tons of nuclear materials; and tighter controls to prevent smuggling. We persuaded the Senate to ratify the Chemical Weapons Convention. I genuinely hope President Bush will work with the Senate to address the concerns many had with the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, as former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Shalikashvili has suggested.
Going forward, one of the most important decisions America must make is how to meet the future ballistic missile threat from hostile nations. That future threat is real and we must take it seriously. But National Missile Defense is an intensely complicated issue -- technically, internationally and strategically. I hope the new Administration will not be driven by artificial deadlines as it considers the best course. And it is inconceivable to me that we will not fully explore the initiative with North Korea and the potential of curbing the missile program that is at the leading edge of the threat driving the NMD timetable today.
A fifth principle that should continue to drive our foreign policy is that economic integration advances both our interests and our values, but also increases 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 conscious 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.
In the last two decades, more people have been lifted from poverty around the world than at any time in history. And yet, three billion people around the world still struggle to survive on less than $2 a day. Open markets alone will not close this gap when half the children in the poorest countries still are not in school. Investment flows alone will not reduce it when infectious diseases still cause one in every four deaths in the world. The Internet will not narrow it when half the world's people have yet to make a telephone call. The passage of time alone can only widen it, with the world's population expected to rise by 50 percent to 9 billion by 2050.
Globalization did not create the gap between the rich and poor nations. But there is a gap in globalization. And to dismiss global poverty and disease as "soft" issues is to ignore hard realities. Few nations can survive the onslaught of AIDS that already has hit southern Africa, where half of all 15 year olds are expected to die of the disease. And this epidemic has no natural boundaries -- its fastest rate of growth is now in Russia.
Working to bridge the global divide is not merely a matter of national empathy; it is a matter of national interest. The global system that creates prosperity for Americans is not sustainable in the long term if billions of people decide they have absolutely no stake in it. That is why we have lowered barriers to African and Caribbean imports, tripled funding for global AIDS prevention and care, and launched international initiatives to stimulate vaccine research and get children into school. That is why we have led the global effort to relieve the debts of poor countries that invest the savings in their people. But this is just a foundation to build upon.
Keeping these issues at the top of the global agenda will require Presidential leadership -- to close the gap between what the world spends and what the world needs to fight infectious diseases like AIDS; to mobilize global funding toward the ultimate goal of universal education; to help more countries qualify for debt relief. The alternative is a world that will be bitterly and violently divided a generation from now.
These are basic principles that I believe must define the contours of America's role in a global age. The overriding reality is that American leadership, in cooperation with our friends and allies is essential to a more secure, peaceful, and prosperous world.
Our extraordinary strength is a blessing. But it comes with a responsibility to carry our weight, instead of merely throwing it around. That means meeting our responsibilities to alliances like NATO and institutions like the UN. It means shaping treaties from the inside, as President Clinton recently did with the International Criminal Court, instead of packing up our marbles and going home, as the Senate did with the CTBT. Otherwise, we will find the world resisting our power instead of respecting it. When our friends call us a "hyperpower" we should not apologize. But to remain strong, we must be a hyperpower they 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.
In the last eight years, I believe President Clinton's most fundamental achievement is that he steered America into a new era of globalization in a way that enhanced not only our power but our authority in the world. I have been proud to be part of this journey. Now, a new Administration takes the reins. It begins with great challenges, but also with the great advantage of a country at the zenith of its power, with the wind at its back, and clear objectives to steer toward. I can promise you this: as the new Administration seizes this opportunity, nobody will work harder than its predecessors to turn common goals to reality.