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Remarks by Secretary Condoleezza Rice at the Institut d'Etudes Politiques de Paris - Sciences Po

Paris, February 8, 2005



Thank you very, very much. Thank you for those warm and welcoming words. And let me also thank the people of France for being such perfect hosts. I've just arrived. I wish I could stay longer. But it's such a wonderful city; it's wonderful to be here. I look forward to my discussions here with President Chirac, with Foreign Minister Barnier and with others. And -- as a pianist -- tomorrow I look forward to visiting one of your fine music schools.

It is a real special pleasure for me to be here at Sciences Po. For more than 130 years, this fine institution has trained thinkers and leaders. As a political scientist myself, I appreciate very much the important work that you do.

The history of the United States and that of France are intertwined. Our history is a history of shared values, of shared sacrifice and of shared successes. So, too, will be our shared future.

I remember well my first visit to Paris -- here -- my visit to Paris here in 1989, when I had the honor of accompanying President George Herbert Walker Bush to the bicentennial celebration of the French Revolution and the Declaration of the Rights of Man. Americans celebrated our own bicentennial in that same year, the 200th anniversary of our nation's Constitution and our Bill of Rights.

Those shared celebrations were more than mere coincidence. The founders of both the French and American republics were inspired by the very same values, and by each other. They shared the universal values of freedom and democracy and human dignity that have inspired men and women across the globe for centuries.

Standing up for liberty is as old as our country. It was our very first Secretary of State, Thomas Jefferson, who said, "The God who gave us life, gave us liberty at the same time." Now the American founders realized that they, like all human beings, are flawed creatures, and that any government established by man would be imperfect. Even the great authors of our liberty sometimes fell short of liberty's promise even Jefferson, himself, a slave owner.

So we are fortunate that our founders established a democratic system of, by, and for the people that contained within it a way for citizens -- especially for impatient patriots -- to correct even its most serious flaws. Human imperfections do not discredit democratic ideals; they make them more precious, and they make impatient patriots of our own time work harder to achieve them.

Men and women, both great and humble, have shown us the power of human agency in this work. In my own experience, a black woman named Rosa Parks was just tired one day of being told to sit in the back of a bus, so she refused to move. And she touched off a revolution of freedom across the American South.

In Poland, Lech Walesa had had enough of the lies and the exploitation, so he climbed a wall and he joined a strike for his rights; and Poland was transformed.

In Afghanistan just a few months ago, men and women, once oppressed by the Taliban, walked miles, forded streams and stood hours in the snow just to cast a ballot for their first vote as a free people.

And just a few days ago in Iraq, millions of Iraqi men and women defied the terrorist threats and delivered a clarion call for freedom. Individual Iraqis risked their lives. One policeman threw his body on a suicide bomber to preserve the right of his fellow citizens to vote. They cast their free votes, and they began their nation's new history.

These examples demonstrate a basic truth -- the truth that human dignity is embodied in the free choice of individuals.

We witnessed the power of that truth in that remarkable year of 1989 when the Berlin Wall was brought down by ordinary men and women in East Germany. Yet, that day of freedom in November 1989 could never have happened without the full support of the free nations of the West.

Time and again in our shared history, Americans and Europeans have enjoyed our greatest successes, for ourselves and for others, when we refused to accept an unacceptable status quo -- but instead, put our values to work in the service of freedom.

And we have achieved much together. Today, a democratic Germany is unified within NATO, and tyranny no longer stalks the heart of Europe. NATO and the European Union have since welcomed Europe's newest democracies into our ranks; and we have used our growing strength for peace. And just a decade ago, Southeastern Europe was aflame. Today, we are working toward lasting reconciliation in the Balkans, and to fully integrate the Balkans into the European mainstream.

These achievements have only been possible because America and Europe have stood firm in the belief that the fundamental character of regimes cannot be separated from their external behavior. Borders between countries cannot be peaceful if tyrants destroy the peace of their societies from within. States where corruption, and chaos and cruelty reign invariably pose threats to their neighbors, threats to their regions, and potential threats to the entire international community.

Our work together has only begun. In our time we have an historic opportunity to shape a global balance of power that favors freedom -- and that will therefore deepen and extend the peace. And I use the word "power" broadly, because even more important than military and indeed economic power is the power of ideas, the power of compassion, and the power of hope.

I am here in Europe so that we can talk about how America and Europe can use the power of our partnership to advance our ideals worldwide. President Bush will continue our conversation when he arrives in Europe on February 21st. He is determined to strengthen transatlantic ties. As the President said in his recent Inaugural Address: "All that we seek to achieve in the world requires that America and Europe remain close partners."

I believe that our greatest achievements are yet to come. The challenges of a post-September-11 world are no less daunting than those challenges that we faced and that our forebears faced in the Cold War. The same bold vision, moral courage and determined leadership will be required if we are again to prevail over repression and intimidation and intolerance.

Our charge is clear: We on the right side of freedom's divide have an obligation to help those unlucky enough to have been born on the wrong side of that divide.

This obligation requires us to adapt to new circumstances -- and we are doing that. NATO has enlarged not only its membership, but its vision. The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe now operates not only on a continent whole, free and at peace, but beyond Europe, as well. The agenda of U.S.-EU cooperation is wider than ever, and still growing, along with the European Union itself.

We agree on the interwoven threats we face today: Terrorism, and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and regional conflicts, and failed states and organized crime.

We have not always seen eye to eye; however, on how to address these threats. We have had our disagreements. But it is time to turn away from the disagreements of the past. It is time to open a new chapter in our relationship, and a new chapter in our alliance.

America stands ready to work with Europe on our common agenda -- and Europe must stand ready to work with America. After all, history will surely judge us not by our old disagreements, but by our new achievements.

The key to our future success lies in getting beyond a partner based on common threats, and building an even stronger partnership based on common opportunities, even those beyond the transatlantic community.

We can be confident of our success in this because the fair wind of freedom is at our back. Freedom is spreading: From the villages of Afghanistan to the squares in Ukraine, from the streets in the Palestinian territories to the streets of Georgia, to the polling stations of Iraq.

Freedom defines our opportunity and our challenge. It is a challenge that we are determined to meet.

First, we are joining together to encourage political pluralism, economic openness and the growth of civil society through the broader Middle East initiative.

The flagship of that initiative is the Forum for the Future -- a partnership of progress between the democratic world and nearly two-dozen nations, extending from Morocco to Pakistan. The Forum's mission is to support and accelerate political, economic and educational reform. Its first meeting in Rabat last December was a great success.

Beyond this bold initiative for reform, in which America and European efforts are fused, we also work in parallel. The European Union has a decade-long experience with advancing modernization through the Barcelona Process.

Individual EU member-states have also been working for years to nurture the attitudes and institutions of liberal democracy in the Arab and Muslim worlds.

And it is not just our governments that are promoting freedom. American- and European-based non-governmental organizations devote huge efforts to the reform process.

Our people exemplify the values of free society as they work in their private capacities. Our societies, not just our governments, are advancing women's rights and minority rights.

Our societies, not just our governments, are making space for free media, for independent judiciaries, for the right of labor to organize. The full vitality of our free societies is infusing the process of reform, and that is a reason for optimism.

Just as our own democratic paths have not always been smooth, we realize that democratic reform in the Middle East will be difficult and uneven. Different societies will advance in their own way. Freedom, by its very nature, must be homegrown. It must be chosen. It cannot be given; and it certainly cannot be imposed. That is why, as the President has said, the spread of freedom is the work of generations. But spreading freedom in the Arab and Muslim worlds is also urgent work that cannot be deferred.

Second, we must build on recent successes by stabilizing and advancing democratic progress in Afghanistan and in Iraq. Last October, the people of Afghanistan voted to set their country on a democratic course. And just nine days ago, the people of Iraq voted not just for a government, but for a democratic future.

All of us were impressed by the high voter turnout in Iraq. Each ink-stained finger belonged to a man or a woman who defied suicide bombers, mortar attacks, and threats of beheading, to exercise a basic right as a citizen.

There comes a time in the life of every nation where its people refuse to accept a status quo that demeans their basic humanity. There comes a time when people take control of their own lives. For the Iraqi people, that time has come.

There is much more to do to create a democratic and unified Iraq; and the Iraqis themselves must lead the way. But we in the transatlantic partnership must rise to the challenge that the Iraqi people have set for us.

They have shown extraordinary bravery and determination. We must show them solidarity and generosity in equal measure.

We must support them as they form their political institutions. We must help them with economic reconstruction and development. And we must stay by their side to provide security until Iraqis themselves can take full ownership of that job.

Third, we are working to achieve new successes, particularly in the Arab-Israeli diplomacy. America and Europe both support a two-state solution: An independent and democratic Palestinian state living side by side in peace with the Jewish State of Israel.

And we all support the process of reform in the Palestinian Authority, because democratic reform will enlarge the basis for a genuine peace. That is why we were supportive of the Palestinian people in their historic election on January 9.

And Europe and America support the Israeli Government's determination to withdraw from Gaza and parts of the West Bank. We both see that withdrawal as an opportunity to move ahead -- first to the roadmap, and ultimately, to our own -- to our clear destination: a genuine and real peace.

We are acting to transform opportunity into achievement. I have just come from meetings with Prime Minister Sharon and President Abbas. I was impressed with the fact that they said the same thing: This is a time of opportunity and we must not lose it. I urged them to build on this momentum, to seize this chance. And today's meeting of the Palestinian and Egyptian Presidents, the Israeli Prime Minister, and Jordan's King was clearly an important step forward.

The United States and the parties have no illusions about the difficulties ahead. There are deep divisions to overcome. I emphasized to both sides the need to end terrorism; the need to build new and democratic Palestinian economic, political, and security institutions; the need for Israel to meet its own obligations and make the difficult choices before it; and, the need for all of us -- in America, in Europe, in the region -- to make clear to Iran and Syria that they must stop supporting the terrorists who would seek to destroy the peace that we seek.

Success is not assured, but America is resolute. This is the best chance for peace that we are likely to see for some years to come; and we are acting to help Israelis and Palestinians seize this chance. President Bush is committed. I am personally committed. We must all be committed to seizing this chance.

Next month in London, Prime Minister Tony Blair will convene an important conference to help the Palestinian people advance democratic reform and build their institutions. All of us support that effort.

And we will continue to share burdens that will one day soon, we hope, enable us to share in the blessings of peace between Israelis and Palestinians, between Israelis and all their Arab neighbors.

A G8-Arab League meeting will also convene in Cairo next month. This meeting has the potential to broaden the base of support for Middle East peace and democracy. The Tunis Declaration of this past May's Arab Summit declared the "firm resolve" of the Arab states to "keep pace with the accelerated world changes through the consolidation of democratic practice, the broadening of participation in political life and public life, and the reinforcement of all components of civil society."

If that resolve forms the basis of Arab participation in this meeting, only good can come from it.

Our efforts in Lebanon also show that the transatlantic partnership means what it says in supporting freedom. The United States and France, together, sponsored UN Security Council Resolution 1559. We have done this to accelerate international efforts to restore full sovereignty to the Lebanese people, and to make possible the complete return of what was once vibrant political life in that country.

The next step in that process should be the fourth free democratic election in the region -- fair and competitive parliamentary elections this spring, without foreign interference.

In Lebanon and in the Palestinian territories, in Afghanistan and in Iraq, and throughout all of the broader Middle East and North Africa, the nature of the political conversation is changing. Ordinary citizens are expressing thoughts and acting together in ways that they have not done before. These citizens want a future of tolerance, opportunity, and peace -- not of repression.

Wise leaders are opening their arms to embrace reform. And we must stand with them and their societies as they search for a democratic future.

Reformers and peacemakers will prevail in the Middle East for the same reason the West won the Cold War: Because liberty is ultimately stronger than repression and freedom is stronger than tyranny.

Today's radical Islamists are swimming against the tide of the human spirit. They grab the headlines with their ruthless brutality, and they can be brutal. But they are dwelling on the outer fringes of a great world religion; and they are radicals of a special sort. They are in revolt against the future. The face of terrorism in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, called democracy "an evil principle." To our enemies, Liberte, Egalite and Fraternite are also evil principles. They want to dominate others, not to liberate them. They demand conformity, not equality. They still regard difference as a license to kill.

But they are wrong. Human freedom will march ahead, and we must help smooth its way. We can do that by helping societies to find their own way to fulfill the promise of freedom.

We can help aspiring societies to reduce poverty and grow economically through sound development strategies and free trade. We must be aggressive and compassionate in fighting the HIV/AIDS pandemic and other infectious diseases that tear families apart, destroy individuals and make development of whole continents impossible.

Ultimately, we must learn how to put developing states on the path to self-sustained growth and stability. After all, it is one thing to fix a sanitation plant or to repair a schoolhouse; it is another to establish the essential components of a decent society: A free press, an independent judiciary, a sound financial system, political parties, and genuine representative government.

Development, transparency and democracy reinforce each other. That is why the spread of freedom under the rule of law is our best hope for progress. Freedom unlocks the creativity and drive that produces genuine wealth. Freedom is the key to incorruptible institutions. Freedom is the key to responsive governments.

Ladies and Gentlemen, this is a time of unprecedented opportunity for the transatlantic Alliance. If we make the pursuit of global freedom the organizing principle of the 21st century, we will achieve historic global advances for justice and prosperity, for liberty and for peace. But a global agenda requires a global partnership. So let us multiply our common effort.

That is why the United States, above all, welcomes the growing unity of Europe. America has everything to gain from having a stronger Europe as a partner in building a safer and better world. So let each of us bring to the table our ideas and our experience and our resources; and let us discuss and decide, together, how best to employ them for democratic change.

We know we have to deal with the world as it is. But, we do not have to accept the world as it is. Imagine where we would be today if the brave founders of French liberty or of American liberty had simply been content with the world as it was.

They knew that history does not just happen; it is made. History is made by men and women of conviction, of commitment and of courage, who will not let their dreams be denied.

Our transatlantic partnership will not just endure in this struggle; it will flourish because our ties are unbreakable. We care deeply about one another. We respect each other. We are strong, but we are strongest when we put our values to work for those whose aspirations of freedom and prosperity have yet to be met.

Great opportunities await us. Let us seize them, now, together, for freedom's sake.

Thank you for your attention.

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Updated: February 2005