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The Shared Values and Interests
of the U.S. and its Allies

By Condoleezza Rice

October 16, 2002



(Condoleezza Rice is Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs)

There is an old argument between the so-called "realistic" school of foreign affairs and the "idealistic" school. To oversimplify, realists downplay the importance of values while emphasizing the balance of power as the key to stability and peace. Idealists emphasize the primacy of values and the character of societies as crucial to states' behavior toward other nations.

While this may make for interesting academic debate, in real life, power and values are inextricably linked. Great powers can influence millions of lives and change history. And the values of great powers matter. If the Soviet Union had won the Cold War, the world would be a very different place today.

The United States and our allies around the world all share many common values -- a broad commitment to democracy, the rule of law, a market-based economy, and open trade. In addition, since September 11th, the world's great powers are increasingly allied against the forces of terror and chaos. We believe, moreover, that time is on the side of these values.

This confluence of common values and common interests creates a moment of enormous opportunity. Instead of repeating the historic pattern of destructive great power rivalry, we can seek to marshal great power cooperation to move forward on problems that require multilateral solutions -- from terror to the environment.

Security must rest also on military strength, but not on that alone. To continue to build what President Bush calls a balance of power that favors freedom, we must extend as broadly as possible the benefits of liberty and prosperity that we in the developed world enjoy. We have a responsibility to build a world that is not only safer, but better.

The United States will, with our international partners, fight poverty, disease, and oppression because it is the right thing -- and the smart thing -- to do. We have seen how poor states can become weak or even failed states, vulnerable to hijacking by terrorist networks -- with potentially catastrophic consequences.

We will lead efforts to build a global trading system that is growing and more free. Expanding trade is essential to the development efforts of poor nations and to the economic health of all nations.

We will continue to lead the world in efforts to combat HIV/AIDS -- a pandemic which challenges our humanity and threatens whole societies.

We will seek to bring every nation into an expanding circle of development. Earlier this year President Bush proposed a 50 percent increase in U.S. development assistance. But he also made clear that new money means new terms. The new resources will only be available to countries that work to govern justly, invest in the health and education of their people, and encourage economic liberty.

At the core of our common efforts must be a resolve to stand on the side of men and women in every nation who stand for what President Bush has called the "non-negotiable demands of human dignity" -- free speech, equal justice, respect for women, religious tolerance, and limits on the power of the state.

In our development aid, our diplomacy, our international broadcasting, and in our educational assistance, the freedom-loving nations of the world must promote moderation, tolerance, and human rights.

We must reject the condescending view that freedom will not grow in the soil of the Middle East -- or that Muslims somehow do not share in the desire to be free. The celebrations we saw on the streets of Kabul last year proved otherwise. And in a recent UN report, a panel of 30 Arab intellectuals recognized that for their nations to join, fully, in the progress of our times will require greater political and economic freedom, the empowerment of women, and better, more modern education.

We do not seek to impose democracy on others, we seek only to help create conditions in which people can claim a freer future for themselves. We recognize as well that there is no "one size fits all" answer. Germany, Indonesia, Japan, the Philippines, South Africa, South Korea, Poland, Taiwan, and Turkey show that freedom manifests itself differently around the globe -- and that new liberties can find an honored place amidst ancient traditions.

In countries such as Bahrain, Jordan, Morocco, and Qatar, reform is under way, taking shape according to different local circumstances. And in Afghanistan this year, a traditional Loya Jirga assembly was the vehicle for creating the most broadly representative government in Afghan history.

Because of our own history, the United States knows we must be patient -- and humble. Change -- even if it is for the better -- is often difficult. And progress is sometimes slow. America has not always lived up to our own high standards. Two hundred twenty six years after winning our own freedom, we are still practicing each day to get it right.

Together, the freedom-loving nations of the world have the ability to forge a 21st century that lives up to our hopes and not down to our fears -- but only if we are persistent and patient in exercising our influence in the service of our ideals, and not just ourselves.


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