Condoleezza Rice, Assistant to the President for National Security
This is a wonderful opportunity to speak to such a distinguished group of thinkers -- and to be able to do so on the soil of one of America's oldest and truest allies is a special honor.
I feel a personal affinity for the International Institute for Strategic Studies, because -- like the Institute -- I got my start studying strategic weapons and arcane terminology like "throw weights" and "MIRVs". And, like you, I've subsequently branched out into other areas of strategic studies.
I was last in London when President Bush visited Prime Minister Blair in July of 2001 -- two years and what seems like a lifetime ago.
Since then the United States, the United Kingdom, and all civilized nations have been presented with unparalleled opportunities and tested by unprecedented challenges.
No less than Pearl Harbor, September 11 forever changed the lives of every American and the strategic perspective of the United States. September 11 produced an acute sense of our vulnerability to attacks that come with no warning. In the terrifying hours and days following the attacks, we resolved that the only true defense against a threat of this kind is to root it out at its source and address it at its fundamental and ideological core.
A great coalition of freedom loving nations works everyday in many different ways to detect and defeat this menace. As we have been reminded in recent days, victory comes at great sacrifice, as British and American soldiers gave their lives in defense of freedom.
With the help of our coalition partners, we have deposed two of the cruelest regimes of this or any time. The Al Qaeda network has been deprived of its chief sanctuary. Half its leadership has been captured or killed, and the rest is on the run -- permanently. Many nations are uniting around tougher measures to fight proliferation, and are determined to address the challenges posed by North Korea and Iran.
But these efforts will not succeed alone. To win the War on Terror, we must win also win a war of ideas by appealing to the decent hopes of people throughout the world . . . giving them cause to hope for a better life and brighter future . . . and reason to reject the false and destructive comforts of bitterness, grievance, and hate. Terror grows in the absence of progress and development. It thrives in the airless space where new ideas, new hopes and new aspirations are forbidden. Terror lives when freedom dies.
True peace will come only when the world is safer, better and freer. That is why we are helping Afghans and Iraqis build representative governments that will serve the decent aspirations of their people.
That is why we are committed to building a global trading system that is more and more free, to expand the circle of prosperity into the Americas, Africa, and the Middle East.
That is why President Bush has proposed a 50 percent increase in U.S. development assistance, with new funding going to countries that govern justly, invest in the health and education of their people, and encourage economic liberty.
That is why the President has announced -- and Congress has approved -- a $15 billion dollar commitment to fight AIDS, a disease that threatens whole societies and challenges our humanity.
And that is why the President has committed America's influence to alleviating -- and, where possible, ending -- destructive regional conflicts, from the Middle East, to Kashmir, to the Congo, and beyond.
Two years ago, President Bush told a European audience: "We share more than an alliance. We share a civilization. Its values are universal, and they pervade our history and our partnership in a unique way."
Increasingly, this civilization is shared by countries throughout the world. The bankruptcy of fascism, Nazism, and imperial communism has given way to a paradigm of progress, founded on political and economic liberty. The United States, our NATO allies, our neighbors in the Western Hemisphere, Japan, and our other friends and allies in Asia and Africa all share a broad commitment to democracy, the rule of law, a market-based economy, and open trade. And since September 11th, the world's great powers see themselves as falling on the same side of a profound divide between the forces of chaos and order.
This historic change is vividly reflected in the experience of Europe. We are rapidly closing the book on centuries of European conflict, and opening a new, more hopeful chapter in which Europe is whole, free, and at peace for the first time in its history. Next year, ten European nations will join the European Union; seven will join NATO. Russia is our partner. Lingering conflicts, such as those in the Balkans, are being put to rest.
This confluence of common interests and common values creates a historic opportunity to break the destructive pattern of great power rivalry that has bedeviled the world since rise of the nation state in the 17th century. This is, in fact, more than an opportunity. It is an obligation.
Instead of repeating the historic pattern in which great power rivalry exacerbates local conflicts, great power cooperation can now solve conflicts.
In recent months some have questioned whether this is possible -- or even desirable. Some argue that Europe and America are more divided by differing worldviews than we are united by common values. More troubling, some have spoken admiringly -- almost nostalgically -- of "multipolarity," as if it were a good thing, to be desired for its own sake.
The reality is that "multi-polarity" was never a unifying idea, or a vision. It was a necessary evil that sustained the absence of war but it did not promote the triumph of peace. Mulit-polarity is a theory of rivalry; of competing interests -- and at its worst -- competing values.
We have tried this before. It led to the Great War -- which cascaded into the Good War, which gave way to the Cold War. Today this theory of rivalry threatens to divert us from meeting the great tasks before us.
Why would anyone who shares the values of freedom seek to put a check on those values? Democratic institutions themselves are a check on the excesses of power. Why should we seek to divide our capacities for good, when they can be so much more effective united? Only the enemies of freedom would cheer this division.
Power in the service of freedom is to be welcomed, and powers that share a commitment to freedom can -- and must -- make common cause against freedom's enemies. This is not a description of a unipolar world. As the President's National Security Strategy states, "there is little lasting consequence that the United States can accomplish in the world without the sustained cooperation of allies and friends."
Today, it is the combined strength of Europe, the United States and other freedom-loving democracies that stands against the tyrants and the angry few seeking to impose their will on the many.
For more than half a century Europe worked hard to make intra-European conflict no more than a memory . . . and to channel Europe's vast resources and energies towards productive, life-affirming ends. The vision was to rid Europe of "poles" and to unite Europeans around shared goals and common values.
America has strongly supported the European project. We have paid dearly to support Europe's transformation and integration -- because it was in our interests and because it was so clearly consistent with our values. Through this transformation and in the defeat of communism, Europe and America proved our determination and ability to stay the course until the task is done.
We need that same spirit today. We need that spirit to deny the world's most dangerous weapons to the world's most dangerous regimes. We need it to prepare NATO to take on critical missions beyond Europe -- a project already well-begun. We need that spirit to embolden the great multi-lateral institutions -- particularly the United Nations -- to defeat the common enemies of civilization: terror, poverty, sickness, and oppression. We need that spirit to help people across the globe -- perhaps none more so than the people of the Middle East -- who are seeking a future of greater freedom, greater prosperity, democracy, and the rule of law.
We have learned, the hard way, that our values and our security cannot be separated. The people of Afghanistan, Iraq, and throughout the Middle East, deserve the same chance for a better life that we all enjoy.
Democracy is not easy. Its institutions are not the natural embodiment of human nature but its aspirations certainly are. Our own histories should remind us that the union of democratic principle and practice is always a work in progress. When the Founding Fathers said "We the People," they did not mean me. My ancestors were three-fifths of a man. But America has made enormous progress toward a multi-ethnic democracy.
Our long and continuing journey is a reason for humility, not hubris that leads one to say that there are those who are not ready for democracy and therefore not deserving of freedom's promise.
In Europe, reconciliation between formally hostile peoples -- Hungarians and Romanians, Poles and Ukrainians, French and Germans -- was achieved through the spread of democracy, security, and freedom. True peace between Israel and a future Palestine must be rooted in prosperity through economic freedom, and democracy founded upon the rule of law and respect for human rights, and the defeat of terror. Europe and the United States must turn to the Middle East with the same vision, determination, and patience that we exhibited in building a united transatlantic community after 1945.
If we and the people of the Middle East are not bold enough today, we face a future in which the freedom deficit continues to create ideologies of hatred that threaten civilization as we know it. Like other bold struggles before it, this is the work of a generation, continuing long after most of the governments currently in power have faded into memory.
We have important work to do . . . work that cannot be done by any of us alone . . . and cannot be done well if we are working at cross purposes.
Let us, then, lay aside the quest for new "poles" and turn our energies to creating what President Bush has called "a balance of power that favors freedom" -- where we defend freedom against its enemies and support those across the globe seeking to build freedom in their own societies.
As German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder said recently, "Surely we are all agreed that we only want one pole in global politics around which we orientate ourselves, the pole of freedom, peace and justice."
I, for one, could not agree more.
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