Seizing the Moment
By Secretary of State Colin L. Powell
November 14, 2001
The mass murders that were committed on September 11 under the
direction of Osama bin Laden and his al-Qaida network have united
the world against international terrorism. Some 80 countries lost
citizens in the attacks. From our shared grief and shared resolve
can come new opportunities not only to defeat terrorism, but also
to work with other nations on a range of important issues of global
A host of countries and international organizations have answered
President Bush's call for a worldwide coalition to combat terrorism
-- among them NATO, the European Union, the Organization of American
States, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, the Organization
of African Unity, the Arab League, the Organization of the Islamic
Conference, and the U.N. General Assembly and Security Council.
Indeed, the Security Council unanimously adopted an historic resolution
obliging all 189 U.N. member states to stop terrorist travel,
money flows, planning and other support, and tocooperate in bringing
terrorists to justice.
International terrorism poses a multidimensional threat. Our
coalition must use every tool of statecraft to defeat it. Some
countries will take part in the military response against those
involved in the atrocities of September 11. Others, while not
participating directly in military action, will provide logistical
support or access to bases and staging areas or overflight rights.
And many will contribute to humanitarian efforts to help the millions
of innocent Afghans who have suffered under the Taliban regime
-- a regime which seems to care more about Osama bin Laden and
his terrorists than its own starving citizens. Coalition members
also will work to disrupt and destroy terrorist networks by sharing
intelligence and other critical information, cooperating in law
enforcement, and cutting off terrorists' financial lifelines.
This will be a long, hard campaign, measured in years and fought
on many fronts. For such an effort, our coalition will have the
flexibility to evolve.
And the very process of participating in this great global campaign
against terrorism may well open the door for us to strengthen
or reshape international relationships and expand or establish
areas of cooperation.
Already, our alliances in Europe, Asia and the Western Hemisphere
have been reinvigorated by invocations of the collective defense
provisions of the NATO, ANZUS and Rio Treaties.
Russian President Vladimir Putin's reaction to September 11 marked
the beginning of a new period in our bilateral relationship, one
in which a new spirit of cooperation on counterterrorism may also
make many of the tough issues on the agenda more resolvable. Indeed,
in the wake of 11 September, it has become clear that not only
is the Cold War over, but the post-Cold War period is also over.
China has also contributed meaningfully to this unprecedented
global effort. I am confident that as we advance our counterterrorism
cooperation with China we will be in a stronger position to sustain
meaningful consultations with the leadership in Beijing on other
subjects of importance to us.
We have also seized opportunities to improve our relations with
Pakistan and India. President Musharaff of Pakistan made the strategic
decision to end his government's support of the Taliban. As a
result of the actions taken by Pakistan in support of our campaign,
we can see the beginning of a strengthened relationship that will
grow and thrive in the years ahead.
Well before September 11, President Bush made it clear that putting
our relationship with India on a higher plane is one of his highest
priorities. With the strong support we have received from the
Indian government since September 11, we are seizing the opportunity
to accelerate the pace of change.
Our improved relations with these two South Asian rivals may
now present an opportunity for both countries to explore new ways
of thinking about stability on the Subcontinent.
The millions of our fellow Americans of the Islamic faith, and
the 10 Muslim nations who lost citizens in the September 11 attacks,
need no convincing that the killers and their accomplices pervert
Islam when they use it to justify their appalling crimes. Out
of a deep sense of shared humanity, and a chilling appreciation
of common vulnerability to terrorism, we see new scope to strengthen
our relations with the Islamic world.
In this global campaign, the United States welcomes the help
of any country or party that is genuinely prepared to work with
us, but we will not relax our standards and we will continue to
advance our fundamental interests in human rights, accountable
government, free markets, non-proliferation and conflict resolution,
for we believe that a world of democracy, opportunity, and stability
is a world in which terrorism cannot thrive.
Throughout the campaign against international terrorism, the
dedicated men and women of the State Department at our posts abroad
and here in Washington will be on the front lines just as surely
as those who wear the uniform.
We will not let terrorism hijack American foreign policy. The
President has urged the American people to get back to the business
of their daily lives. So too, the United States will continue
to pursue a full international agenda -- from promoting good governance
to cooperating with other countries to stem the HIV/AIDS pandemic,
establish a post-Cold War strategic framework, launch a new trade
round, and foster peace in the Middle East.
Terrorism has cast a shadow across the globe. But the global
resolve to defeat it has never been greater and the prospects
for international cooperation across a broad range of issues has
never been brighter. As President Bush said the other day when
he visited the State Department: "Out of this evil will come
good. Through our tears we see opportunities to make the world
better for generations to come. And we will seize them."