|The White House
President George W. Bush
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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
April 29, 2002
Remarks by National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice on Terrorism and Foreign Policy
Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies
Johns Hopkins University, Kenney Auditorium
DR. RICE: Thank you very much. It's a great honor to be here at SAIS. I've been fortunate to count a lot of SAIS graduates and SAIS faculty among my friends, indeed, I see many friends and colleagues in the audience. Thanks for being here. This is a place that is synonymous with professionalism, with hard work and with influence on the important issues of foreign and defense policy around the world.
I've been told that this speech is also being broadcast live on the worldwide web, and so for those of you who are sitting in your offices or your home, or even at a classroom in Nanjing or in Bologna, welcome, and thanks for taking the time to tune in.
I'd like to thank Steve Szabo very much, the Interim Dean of SAIS, for the opportunity to be here. Jessica Einhorn, the Dean Designate and a good friend; congratulations on your recent appointment, Jessica. To Bill Brody, the President of Johns Hopkins, and his wife, Wendy, who leave this university so very, very well, thank you. To Dorothy Rostov and Gene Rostov, the widow and son of Charles Rostov, thank you for sponsoring this lecture. As a former provost, I know how important it is to have that kind of support.
To Paul Nitze and his wife, Leezee, it's an honor to have you here. Not only are you good friends, but Paul, your decades of service and your visionary work in containing the Soviet Union and giving America a vision that was transformative and that was realized 50 years later is something that George Shultz has perhaps put best, that "wise men come and wise men go, but one wise man goes on and on." And, Paul, we're very glad for that. (Applause.)
Zbig Brzezinski, also a former National Security Advisor -- we have a little club that we hold. (Laughter.) Zbig, it's nice to have you here. And to Cliff Wharton, who is a good friend and a graduate of SAIS, as well to the members of the Advisory Council, thank you very much for this opportunity.
As Steve said, I was originally scheduled to be here on September 11th, and I thought I would speaking. Instead, I ended up, after a few hours in a White House bunker, trying to deal with the effects of a huge terrorist attack on the United States. None of us will ever forget where we were when we heard the news that particular day.
I, myself, was standing at my desk in the White House, and I was waiting to go down to my senior staff meeting, when my executive assistant handed me a note that said that a plane had hit the World Trade Center. And my first thought was, what a terrible accident. And I called the President and he said essentially the same thing, he was in Florida, he said, what a terrible accident.
And, of course, first reports are always wrong. First we thought it was a twin engine plane, and then later we learned it was a commercial airliner. And I went down for my senior staff meeting and about three people into the staff meeting, as I was asking for reports, I got a note from my executive assistant that said a second plane has hit the World Trade Center. And I thought, my God, it's a terrorist attack.
And I walked into the Situation Room to try to gather together the national security principals for a session, a meeting, and I was trying to reach Don Rumsfeld and I couldn't. And I looked behind me, and a plane had hit the Pentagon. And there were reports that there were car bombs at the State Department and that airplanes were headed for the White House.
It is one of those events that foreign policy professionals spend their lives talking about and thinking about and studying -- and perhaps even exercising for, as I'm one who believes in teaching from decision simulations -- but you hope to God that you'll never actually face it.
Indeed, we did face it, as a country and as a world. In the hours and days that followed, the President set the broad outlines of a strategy to address what had happened to us. And, of course, as a part of that, he ordered the Pentagon to quickly develop a military strategy for Afghanistan, which was obviously the center, the home base from which this attack had taken place.
Now, that plan was truly outside the box for the simple reason that the American military did not have on the shelf a plan that said: your ground forces will be on horseback, but they'll be complemented by 21st century air power. It took a little, shall we say, adaptive planning to figure out exactly how to make that work. But we quickly did adapt to the new conditions that faced us. And the President, who wanted to use America's military forces deliberately but decisively, was able to do so.
The results speak for themselves: al Qaeda has been deprived of its home base; its leadership is on the run; many of its operatives have been captured or killed; the Taliban regime has been routed; Afghanistan has been transformed from a terrorist-sponsored state into a country led by people who are trying to create a better future.
There remains much work to be done on many fronts, from military operations to law enforcement to intelligence sharing to cutting off terrorist financing. The war on terrorism has many aspects, not just military aspects, and we are pursuing them all. Patient and focused leadership has brought us thus far, and we believe that it will carry us through to victory.
It's going to take years to understand the long-term effects of September 11th. But even now we are beginning to recognize that there are certain verities that September 11th reinforced and brought home to us in the most vivid way.
First, there has been an end to innocence about international politics and about our own vulnerability. We see that wars of consequence are not mere relics of a bygone era. We see that in years to come the primary energies of America's Armed Forces will be devoted to more than just managing civil conflict and humanitarian assistance.
As the world's most powerful nation, the United States has a special responsibility to help make the world more secure. And when we were attacked on September 11th, it reinforced one of the rediscovered truths about today's world: robust military power matters in international politics and in security.
Second, the events of September 11th underscored the idea that a sound foreign policy begins at home. We are now engaged in trying to harden the country. That means thinking about airport security, visa requirements, protection of nuclear power plants and other physical and cyber security infrastructure.
We also are working with the American Armed Forces to make certain that the role of America's Armed Forces, in defending our territory, our airspace, our land and our sea, is properly taken care of. And that is why Secretary Rumsfeld and Chairman Myers have proposed the creation of a U.S. Northern Command -- having America's Armed Forces cover for the first time the American continent, wholly consistent with American constitutional responsibilities and expectations, but with a new understanding that America's frontiers need to be safe.
In doing so, we recognize that we have to secure our own neighborhood, not just America's borders. And we are now cooperating with Mexico and Canada in unprecedented ways to construct smart and modern borders -- borders that protect us from those who would harm us, but facilitate the trade and human interchange that enrich us.
Since the earliest days of the campaign for President, President Bush has stated his determination to build a fully democratic western hemisphere that lives and trades in freedom and grows in prosperity. Strong, prosperous neighbors export their goods, not their problems -- like drugs and terror.
The third truth is that we can only do so much to protect ourselves at home, and so the best defense is a good offense. We have to take the fight to the terrorists. And that means that there can be no distinction between terrorists and those who harbor them. So in addition to pursuing al Qaeda, we have also pursued the Taliban and the government of Afghanistan, as we knew that they had shared responsibilities for the terrorist attacks.
Now with the Taliban out of power and al Qaeda damaged, we have moved into the second stage of our war on terror. But let's be very clear: much remains to be done in Afghanistan. Ultimately, Afghanistan will be secured by more democracy and more prosperity. This great project is not America's alone and it will require a broad range of tools. We need to help Afghanistan build up its political institutions, its economic institutions and its civil society. Building a nation is not an American military task -- it is a joint project, a long-term project between the Afghan people and the international community.
Beyond Afghanistan, we are engaged in a sustained campaign to deny sanctuary to terrorists, regardless of where they are from and where they commit their crimes. Our message to every leader on every continent is that terrorism can support no cause, it is never, never legitimate; it is, by its very nature, evil; terrorists have no positive agenda; terrorists are not for anything, they are against peace and freedom and life, itself.
Recent events in the Middle East illustrate the terrible damage, the terrible toll of terrorism. Innocent lives are being lost. People who could be living together in peace are being driven apart by death and destruction. And on April 4th, the President called on all parties -- Israel, the Palestinians and regional leaders among the Arab neighbors -- to accept their responsibilities to create an environment free from violence and terror.
A fourth truth that September 11th underscored was the need to deny terrorists and hostile states the opportunity to acquire weapons of mass destruction. The world's most dangerous people simply cannot be permitted to obtain the world's most dangerous weapons. And it is a stubborn and extremely troubling fact that the list of states that sponsor terror and the lists of states that are seeking to acquire weapons of mass destruction overlap substantially.
We do not see how these facts can be denied. And if these facts are admitted, they must be confronted. We must use every tool at our disposal to meet this grave global threat, including strengthened nonproliferation regimes and export controls, and moving ahead with missile defense to deny any benefit to those who would try and acquire weapons of mass destruction.
The United States and our coalition partners must act deliberately. But inaction is not an option. As the President has said, we must not and we will not wait on events while dangers gather.
Finally, the new challenges have underscored the critical importance of allies, partners and coalitions. Global terror demands a global solution. Right now there are 20 countries with forces operating in and around Afghanistan, one of the largest military coalitions assembled since the Gulf War. And there are many who are not a part of the military coalition who are providing important intelligence, law enforcement and efforts to cut off terrorist financing.
In this we have been tremendously helped by our allies around the world. And our NATO allies have particularly led the way, especially Britain, which heads the International Security Assistance Force for Afghanistan and has sent air and naval and special forces into the region. America will never forget that within 24 hours of the attacks, NATO, for the first time in its history, invoked Article V of its charter, stating that an attack on one is an attack on all.
We will continue to work closely with our friends and our allies as the war progresses and as we seek victory over the scourge of terrorism.
These enduring truths, made more vivid by September 11th, are very important to centering our foreign policy. But there is one other important truth from this period: an earthquake of the magnitude of 9/11 can shift the tectonic plates of international politics. The international system has been in flux since the collapse of Soviet power. Now it is possible -- indeed, probable -- that that transition is coming to an end.
If that is right, if the collapse of the Soviet Union and 9/11 bookend a major shift in international politics, then this is a period not just of grave danger, but of enormous opportunity. Before the clay is dry again, America and our friends and our allies must move decisively to take advantage of these new opportunities. This is, then, a period akin to 1945 to 1947, when American leadership expanded the number of free and democratic states -- Japan and Germany among the great powers -- to create a new balance of power that favored freedom.
It is, indeed, possible to see age-old problems in a new light. And, as an academic, may I suggest, to put aside age-old distinctions between realism and neoliberalism in thinking about the task ahead. Put more simply than any of its proponents would find acceptable, realists downplay the importance of values and the internal structures of states, emphasizing instead the balance of power as the key to stability and peace. Neoliberals emphasize the primacy of values, such as freedom and democracy and human rights and institutions in ensuring that a just political order is obtained.
As a professor, I recognize that these debates enliven our conferences and our classrooms. (Laughter.) I have participated in them, myself. In fact, most of us got tenure because we participated in them. (Laughter.) But as a policymaker, I can tell you that they obscure reality. Power matters. Great powers matter. Great powers matter because they can influence international stability for good or for ill due their size, influence and their will. Great powers never have, and never will, just mind their own business within their borders.
Thus, the Soviet Union's collapse was important both because it resolved a high-stakes struggle that profoundly affected world peace and security, but also because values and ideas, democracy, markets and freedom triumphed. The socialist alternative that had existed for 70-plus years, which kept so much of the world isolated from the international economy and deprived so many millions of the benefits of freedom, died alongside the hammer and the sickle.
Our goal today, then, is not just a favorable balance of power, but what President Bush has called a balance of power that favors freedom.
After the end of the Cold War, and still in the shadow of September 11th, we may well be on the cusp of an era in which the world will not be bedeviled by great power rivalry. There will be differences among the great powers. But if the scales tip toward shared interest, rather than interest in conflict between them, this will truly be an era unlike any other.
September 11th and its aftermath illuminated a fundamental divide between the forces of chaos and those of order. And all the world's great powers clearly see themselves as falling on the same side of this divide, and they are acting accordingly.
Europe and the United States see that our common and fundamental interests and values far outweigh our differences. When people are trying to kill you, and when they attack because they hate freedom, other disputes -- from Franken-food to bananas to even important issues like the environment -- suddenly look a bit different. They look like policy differences, not fundamental clashes of values.
Germany and Japan have begun to adopt new security roles that correspond with their identities as leading powers and democracies. Russia's democratic transition is by no means yet complete. Yet, September 11th has helped to clarify elements of a common security agenda with Russia. We have also worked cooperatively on a range of issues with India, an emerging democratic power, even as we work closely with Pakistan. And we are optimistic about the future of our relationship with China, a country in the midst of a fundamental and still uncertain transition. But the emergence of a China that embraces the rule of law, markets and, ultimately, democracy would have a profound and positive effect on world security and prosperity.
A balance of power that favors freedom is, at its core, a balance of power based on the ascendancy of shared values on every continent. That is why in places such as Russia and China, values matter. They matter in our relations and they matter to the outcome of the balance of power that favors freedom -- values like religious freedom, media freedom and a recognition of the aspirations of long suffering minority groups. It is not enough for the great powers to share an interest in order; we need to move to sharing an interest in an order that is based on common values.
America today possesses as much power and influence as any nation or entity in the world, and certainly in history. But in stark contrast to the leading powers of centuries past, our ambitions are not territorial. Our military and economic power are complemented by and multiplied by the values that underpin them: democracy, freedom, human rights, the rule of law, honest government, respect for women and children, private property, free speech, equal justice and religious tolerance.
That is why America seeks a great world beyond the victory over terror. We seek not merely to leave the world safer, but to leave it better; to leave it a world that makes it possible for all men and women to experience the exhilaration and the challenges of freedom. This mission to leave the world safer and better is more important than ever in the face of September 11th. That is why President Bush is strongly committed to free trade as a cornerstone of American policy -- trade that advances economic growth at home and abroad and advances the forces of freedom, as well.
That is why in Monterrey, Mexico last month the President put forth a new compact for global development defined by greater resources from wealthy nations and greater responsibility from developing nations. That fund will benefit poor countries, especially in Africa, but also in Latin America. The President pledged to seek a 50 percent increase in America's core development assistance, with new funds devoted to projects and nations that govern justly, invest in their people and encourage economic freedom.
There is also a new urgency to address our relations with Muslim societies around the world in a positive way. This war in which we are engaged is not a clash of civilizations; it cannot be a clash of civilizations. Extremism and progress are most assuredly enemies of one another. But you do not have to reject tradition and belief to reap the benefits of integration into modern society.
This was the central insight of Pakistan President Musharraf's speech on January 12th. And as President Bush recognized in his speech, the State of the Union, all fathers and mothers in all societies want their children to be educated and live free from poverty and violence. The United States will stand with people on every continent, in Muslim societies and in all societies that seek to claim a better future for their people.
Education will play a particularly important role in societies that are making this quest. A good education teaches an appreciation of practical skills for the global economy. But is also provides a forum in which one learns to live with difference and to respect the rights of others. It fuels new hopes, instead of old hatreds.
Americans have a deep understanding of the ability of education to open you up to the full range of possibilities. At Stanford, I was always heartened to stand before a class in which a fourth-generation Stanford legatee sat next to the son or daughter of a migrant farm worker. It reinforced that education is the great equalizer. Because after that experience, it would not matter where they came from, it would matter where they were going.
Here at SAIS, there are not only diverse students from a collection of American families, but also people from different backgrounds and from different countries -- some 70 nations. The common experience shared here by students, many of whom will go on to leadership roles here and in their own countries, will influence choices for a long, long time to come. And choices are important. Our continued success in the fight against terror, our success in making the world safer and better hinges on the choices made by the rest of the world.
America cannot impose its vision on the world -- yet, we will use our influence to favor freedom. There are right and wrong choices and right and wrong acts. And governments are making them every day for their own people and for the people of the world. We can never let the intricacies of cloistered debate -- with its many hues of gray and nuance -- obscure the need to speak and act with moral clarity. We must recognize that some states or leaders will choose wrongly. We must recognize that truly evil regimes will never be reformed. And we must recognize that such regimes must be confronted, not coddled.
Nations must decide which side they are on in the fault line that divides civilization from terror. They must decide whether to embrace the paradigm of progress: democracy and freedom and human rights, and clean limited government. Together, with others, we can help people and nations make positive choices as they seek a better future, and we can deter those who want to take away a better future for others.
September 11th reintroduced America to a part of itself that some had forgotten, or that some thought we no longer had. We have been reminded that defending freedom was not just the work of the greatest generation, it is the work of every generation. And we will carry this better part of ourselves out into the wider world.
Thank you very much. (Applause.)
MR. SZABO: Thank you so much for that superb lecture. I know the faculty really appreciated the use of theory in your lecture. (Laughter.) The students were grimacing, but I think they also -- (laughter.)
We're going to open the questions up to the SAIS community, and I have two questions that I will intersperse at some point that we have from Bologna, but let's open it to some students. We have one shy student in the front here who will ask the first one.
Q The Bush administration, in your speech you use a lot of moral dichotomies -- there's a fault line, there's the good, the evil. But it seems that the realities of foreign policy are much more complicated than that and America has to engage with some regimes that are either anti-democratic, like Saudi Arabia, or with dubious moral records, Israel. And I think the recent kind of silence regarding the coups in Venezuela shows that it's not always 100 percent for pro-democratic regimes as well.
I was wondering if you feel that this moral rhetoric, but combined with actions that obviously have to serve our self-interest, create a perception of hypocrisy and threaten America's credibility with our allies and internationally.
DR. RICE: Thank you. No, I don't. That won't surprise you. (Laughter.)
No, it's a very good question. Look, the truth of the matter is, though, unless you know where you're going, unless you're clear about where you're going, you will go nowhere. And what moral clarity gives you is a compass against which to measure everything else -- because you're right, it is a complex world, it's a hard world. The complexities bring you into different kinds of situations in which different tactics are important.
But if you ever lose sight of what you think is wrong and what is right, then you have nothing to guide you. And if you ever lose sight of the fact that there is wrong and right, you have nothing to guide you.
I would cite, for instance, the American struggle for which Paul Nitze is known against the Soviet Union. It is absolutely clear that we "engaged" the Soviet Union. We entered into large-scale arms control talks and treaties with the Soviet Union to keep from blowing each other up. But we knew the character of the Soviet Union and so we also made certain that we always made room to try and engage around the government of the Soviet Union to people in the Soviet Union.
One of the most interesting aspects of the end of the Cold War, the periods of between '88 and '91, was the degree to which a lot of people who had been a part of exchanges with the United States, scholarly exchanges and others, emerged from that to be the voice of a new liberalism in the Soviet Union when conditions permitted.
Now, we have to do the same thing now. The fact is that when you are engaging with a state that, shall we say, has not yet met the test democratically, you have to say so. I was recently in a meeting with the President, with a central Asian leader, with Karimov, in which he said to him, yes, I appreciate what you've done in the war on terrorism, this is terrific and we're glad that we were able to deal with the IMU; our relationship will get stronger as you reform economically and politically. And you can never leave those words out of any such conversation.
Let me just speak briefly to Venezuela because, in fact, the United States did speak out against anti-constitutional means both publicly and privately. We did make very clear that we believe that democratically elected governments could not be overthrown by extraconstitutional means. But the threat to democracy in Venezuela didn't begin with those people in the streets. We have to remember that Chavez also, in shutting down the press, for instance, was doing things to harm Venezuelan democracy long before that fateful outcome.
Now, we're all very hopeful that what he has said -- which is that he plans to be self-reflective and the nation needs to be self-reflective -- will lead him to recognize the importance of democratic values for real, not just claiming that because you're elected you are exercising democratic values. We cannot fall into that trap. When people are elected, they especially have a responsibility to follow democratic values and we have to call it for what we see. But we were very strong in this and, in fact, joined with countries in the region to talk about the importance of respecting democratic processes.
Q President Bush has said Iran is part of the axis of evil. However, in the last few years, countries like Italy and Germany have pursued a fruitful open-door policy in regard to Tehran. Do you think that a more flexible and realist policy by the U.S. towards Iran could be in the political and economic interests of the U.S., itself.
DR. RICE: Well, I think that the problem with Iran is that its policies unfortunately belie the notion that engagement with it has helped. It has been engaged -- I mean, Great Britain has relations with Iran. A number of our European allies have relations with Iran.
Our problem with Iran is in policies that are so destructive to international politics -- from the support of terrorism around the world to the support of terrorism in the Middle East and, frankly, the un-elected few in Iran who continue to frustrate the hopes of their own people, who repeatedly turn out and vote to throw off tyranny. There are an un-elected few who continue to frustrate the hopes of the people. And we're simply speaking the truth about the nature of Iran.
Now, the truth is we've had some useful interaction with Iran around Afghanistan. Iran is Afghanistan's neighbor. We expect Iran to have good relations with Afghanistan, but they need to be transparent relations, they should be relations that are state to state, not relations that try to play into the complex and difficult politics of Iran.
So I think that our view is that the behavior of Iran at this point would suggest that it is a state that while there may be some positive forces within it, those positive forces are not quite yet capable of changing the nature of Iran's behavior; Iran's behavior continues to be a major problem in international politics. And we watch the developments with great interest, but Iranian behavior puts it squarely in the axis of evil -- whether it is weapons of mass destruction or terrorism or any of those things. It's a complicated situation, but I think the behavior speaks for itself.
Q I have a question about democracy being a compass. I understand that the idea, the American foreign policy idea is to sort of influence the development of democracies. However, some nations, it seems to me, may not be either ready or on the verge of becoming democratic. And so if this is sort of pushed on them or imposed it could create instability and chaos. And is there -- my first question is, is there not a need to respect a pace at which democracy can actually be established in certain countries?
And, second of all, if we look at reform, for example, in the former Soviet Union, as well as China, and then we see that the fast pace at which reforms occurred in the Soviet Union led to chaos and a bit of anarchy -- and, of course, we see that in China, the progress is a lot slower -- do you think there's a need for shock therapy? Is it better, is it better for preserving stability?
DR. RICE: Thank you. It's a very good question. I would hate as a policymaker to have to make the choice of who's ready for democracy and who isn't. And I think that it is really not our responsibility to try and divide countries into, if you will, tiers with whom you push democracy because they're kind of ready and those that might not quite be ready because of chaos and instability.
First of all, whenever we've tried to do that, whenever we've tried to make judgments about who's ready and who's not, we've almost always been wrong. Because societies that -- particularly societies that are tyrannical are brittle very often inside, and are opaque to us.
And so I think our better response is to be clear about the importance of democratic development, to press the agenda on behalf of people whom from within these societies are trying to bring about democratic change, to offer a hand to those countries that are in transition and to provide tools that might help the democratic transition.
You mentioned China. While none of us believe that just because China joined the World Trade Organizations its democratic development is assured -- nobody believes that -- but we do recognize that some of the things that China will do as a part of its WTO membership -- whether it's rule of law or transparency or giving greater economic freedom to entrepreneurs -- will change the political landscape in China. So there are lots of different ways to go about this.
I do think we need to recognize, too, that just holding an election is not democracy. It is a first step, but democratic consolidation takes some time. And even mature democracies like our own take a long time to get all of the pieces right. I'm often fond of saying, you know, when the Founding Fathers said "we, the people" they didn't mean "me." (Laughter.) And it's taken us a little while to get that piece of it right.
So we should recognize that democracy is something that you build brick by brick, step by step. But unless you recognize that it is a universal aspiration of all people to be free, unless you recognize that given a choice between tyranny and freedom people will choose freedom, you will always be surprised by how much that is true. We just saw it again in Afghanistan. People said, well, is Afghanistan after 20 years of civil war and Taliban, maybe they're not quite ready. Yes, well, the democratic transition there is going to be hard. But if you have any doubt that these people wanted to be freed from the tyranny of the Taliban and that they want a chance at democratic development, you should just talk to the many people now who are trying to help them get there.
So I don't think we should make those choices. I think we have to be firm in our belief in the values, I think we have to press the values. And I think we have to provide opportunities for leaders to make the right choices. Right now we are fortunate in that many of the incentives are very powerful -- to give your people greater creativity and greater freedom. Because the truth of the matter is, economic development in the modern world is dependent on human potential. And human potential does not flourish in tyrannies. And so the incentives to freedom and to greater freedom are very strong. I think we have to press them.
As to China and Russia, I think I would read what happened in Russia a little bit differently. Yes, it was chaotic and it was scary sometimes. But I would never be one to say that the fact that political change preceded economic change was a bad thing for Russia. Indeed, it may well be that when economic change now begins to catch up that some of the political circumstances are stronger and more in place. They've still got a very long way to go, and this consolidation of democracy in Russia will take a very long time. But I have no doubt that the political changes that created a kind of pluralism were for the good, not for the bad.
Q I wanted to know, in your remarks today you said that regimes that coddled terrorists will, in your words, be confronted and not coddled. The Palestinian regime for the last several weeks has invited terrorists into their headquarters -- and these are known individuals who have participated in assassinations -- and has given them safe haven.
How far does a regime have to go before it will meet that criteria and be confronted and not coddled? Thank you very much.
DR. RICE: Well, we've been very clear with Chairman Arafat and with the Palestinian Authority that we expect, and the world expects them to live up to their responsibilities to rid themselves of any terrorist influences that may be close to or associated with the Palestinian Authority.
We have even given them ways to do it. One of the things that we're doing in our policy is to offer assistance to any leader who wishes to get rid of terrorism. We're doing it with Shevardnadze in Georgia, we're doing it with Salih in Yemen, and with the Palestinian Authority. That is essentially what the Tenet work plan is -- it is a way to deal with the security environment and to arrest and to bring to justice terrorists.
I don't think that there is any doubt in anyone's mind that we've not been fully happy with the response -- we've been disappointed in the response. But the context in the Middle East in which the war on terrorism cannot be fought solely by military means and in which you need the cooperation of the states in the region and you need the cooperation, indeed, of the Palestinian Authority to fight terrorists, we're willing to keep trying and we are trying.
Now, the arrangement that was made over the weekend in which these prisoners are being transferred and are going to be taken care of in a custodial fashion by British and American wardens is one way to help move this process forward. But let me be very clear. The President, when he made his speech on April 4th, was more clear, or was clearer than any American President has been in a very, very long time of what was expected of all the parties.
Peace in the Middle East is not easy. If it had been easy, we would have had it by now. And the reason that it's not easy is that everybody in the region has to do some difficult things in order to achieve it: Israel has to do difficult things to come into conformity with 242 and 338, and to create the conditions for a Palestinian state; the Arab neighbors of Israel have a lot of work to do to bring about the condition for normalization of relations with Israel and to make certain that terror is not incited from their own territories. It is simply not acceptable to have some of the incitement of terror that you've had in the Arab world, and we've made that very clear.
And, finally, the Palestinian Authority has a lot of work to do to actually meet lead its people in a way that does not incite and does not give way to people's concerns and people's hostilities but, rather, gives them another path toward economic development and prosperity. It's a hard road for everybody, but we believe that we've laid out a road map and we're going to pursue it step by step.
Q To follow up on the question on morality. Iraq's current regime clearly belongs to America's worst enemies. Its defense potential, however, might be strengthened by some foreign leaders who also claim to be friends with the United States. One of them, Ukrainian President Kuchma, had been allegedly taped while agreeing to sell to Iraq four advanced air defense systems capable of tracking stealth bombers. The tape with allegedly Kuchma's voice was authenticated by American forensic experts. And U.S. military intelligence also confirmed that Iraq, indeed, possesses such radar systems.
What measures is the United States government currently taking to investigate this allegation? What consequences might Kuchma face if the allegations are confirmed? And, more broadly, how should the United States deal with those regimes who support its war against terror on words, but help its enemies in deeds? Thank you.
DR. RICE: Sergei also was my research assistant at Stanford, so there's a little bit of a Stanford/SAIS connection here. (Laughter.) Hi, nice to see you. (Laughter.)
Let me start, Sergei, with the last part of the question, which is how to respond to regimes that are publicly or rhetorically supportive of the war on terrorism and perhaps doing things that are not so helpful. And there are a couple of things. First of all, we've been pretty clear with everybody that when we discover that there is that inconsistency, that we expect the inconsistency to be addressed, and that it would have very severe consequences for U.S.-fill-in-the-blank relations if, in fact, that inconsistency is not addressed.
In some cases, it has been a matter of saying to countries, all right, you may not have the capacity to address terrorism in your own midst; maybe that's what you're saying when you do nothing while saying you support the war on terrorism. We will help you in those circumstances, and to offer intelligence and the like.
I have to say that for the most part, the number of countries in that category is pretty small. We've been pretty impressed with the degree to which countries are not just rhetorically supportive of, but actually supportive of the war on terrorism. And I think there's a reason for that, which is that terrorism and its ugly face is actually a threat to a lot of regimes, not just to us. And so we've tended to get extremely good cooperation.
As to Ukraine, I don't want to comment on the specific example because there's a lot that's gone on there and I don't want to comment on what is really still an allegation. But I will say that we have talked very seriously to the Ukrainian regime about some of the issues of proliferation that we are concerned about with the Ukrainian regime.
We consider U.S.-Ukrainian relations to be potentially extremely important to stability, particularly in southern Europe. Ukraine is a huge country, 50 million people. It's a country that borders on extremely important countries like Russia, and it is a country that has a past of being able to cooperate with the West in other periods of time -- a people that have been able to cooperate with the West in other periods of time.
So we're seeking good relations. But we are -- we have let the Ukrainian government know that the proliferation issues are extremely important not just in the war on terrorism, but, for instance, in the Balkans, as well. We've been very clear about that, and U.S.-Ukrainian relations will progress more strongly when there's some action on some of those items.
Q I'm the Director of the Western Hemisphere Program at SAIS. Argentina is in a profound crisis. It raises a number of very important security and economic issues for the United States. Some would argue that if this were Turkey or Brazil or Mexico, aid would have been forthcoming by now. Is there some point at which we in Washington -- the "iffies" and the administration -- should really call time out, the social crisis is increasing; the political polarization is very deep, and provide economic support?
DR. RICE: Well, President Bush made very clear to President Duhalde not too long after he came to power that Argentina is extremely important to the United States and to the regional powers, and that we are going to be there for, and be supportive of Argentina. The fact is, though, Argentina has to do some difficult things. And Argentina is in very intense discussions with the IMF about how to move forward. It has now taken a hiatus to go home and to try to see if it can arrange politically to be able to do some of the things that it needs to be able to do.
It is not an unwillingness to have international assistance go to Argentina. It is an understanding that the conditions have to be right so that those resources actually make a difference. And some of the things that Argentina needs to do will improve confidence in Argentina just by doing them.
There was a huge disbursement of resources to Argentina, I believe $8 billion in August. It did not stem the crisis because the conditions were not right. And so it has to be a combination of willingness to provide resources, but also understanding that circumstances are not always right in which resources will make a difference.
Now, we are in constant contact with the Argentines. We fully believe that if they can just do the things that the IMF is requesting that they do, we believe that they can find a way back to sustainable growth. The President talks frequently to other leaders in the region, as well, because we recognize that this is not just U.S.-Argentina, this is about the whole hemisphere. But Argentina has, and should know that it has no better friend than the United States, and that it has a friend that will be willing to help and to advocate on its behalf for resources at the time at which they would make a difference toward sustainable growth. And that's where we are.
Q I'd like to go back to the Middle East again and ask you to comment on the Abdallah plan. What is it that keeps us from giving it a full endorsement as the beginning of a process to end Israeli terrorism and Palestinian terrorism?
DR. RICE: Thank you. The President had an opportunity this weekend, of course, to be with Crown Prince Abdallah over an extended period of time. They not only spent time in the kind of normal expanded -- well, it wasn't very expanded, it was a small group to begin with -- but they spent a good deal of time alone, talking about the future. And the President told the Crown Prince very strongly how important he thought his leadership was in stepping up with a plan.
Every element of it may not be workable. Some of it would have to be negotiated in terms of borders and the like. But we need to keep our eye on the big picture here, and the promise of deeper Saudi engagement in the peace process would be a tremendous breakthrough for the entire process.
The truth of the matter is that while we all focus very heavily on the Israeli-Palestinian piece of this, this, of course, takes place in a regional context. It takes place in the context in which Israel has to have security with its neighbors; it has to have normal relations with its neighbors, like it has with Egypt and Jordan. It needs to move to normal relations with the other Arab states. And the Arab states, who also have a stake in the way that the Israel-Palestinian issues are resolved, have to have a stake in the final outcome of those negotiations.
So we believe that what the Saudi initiative most represents is a new impetus to have Saudi engaged as Jordan and Egypt have been in bringing peace to the region as a whole. And so we have been extremely positive about it; we've embraced the concept in large parts of it. We understand that there are some things that really are matters of negotiation. But we think it's a tremendously powerful tool and extremely important step in this long-running conflict.
Thank you. (Applause.)
END 12:52 P.M. EDT