For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
February 27, 2004
As Prepared for Delivery Remarks by National Security Advisor Dr. Condoleezza Rice to the Reagan Lecture
The Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum
Simi Valley, California
I am grateful to have been invited to deliver this lecture -?
first, because it gives me a chance to come home to California,
something I hardly ever get to do. But most importantly, I'm mindful
of the tremendous honor of delivering only the eighth Ronald Reagan
Lecture since this institution was founded. It is certainly humbling
to be asked to join a group that includes one Senator, two governors,
and a Supreme Court Justice.
Four years ago, when then-Governor George W. Bush sought a venue to
explain his foreign policy vision to America and the world, he came
here. It is fitting that I should come here to discuss the foreign
policy vision of President George W. Bush, in a world that has changed
dramatically since that day in 1999.
Clare Boothe Luce famously said that every President will be
remembered with a single sentence. My friend Peggy Noonan updated the
maxim, observing that Ronald Reagan was the one President who knew the
sentence he wanted going in -? and he got it. President Reagan lifted
America's spirits and led the Free World to victory in the Cold War.
Ronald Reagan was President during a pivotal period in the history
of our country, and of the world. But unlike most Presidents who face
great crises, Ronald Reagan chose his moment. He watched with alarm
the rise of Soviet aggression and adventurism in the 1970s and the
corresponding decline in American self-confidence and prestige. He saw
clearly that if those trends continued, not just America's future, but
the future of freedom itself, would be imperiled. Ronald Reagan had a
vision for overcoming and reversing both. He would rebuild America's
military strength, unleash the creativity of our economy, and tell the
truth about the Soviet Union.
That vision -? and the determination with which President Reagan
pursued it -? roiled world opinion at the time. It certainly roiled
the foreign policy establishment. I know that from firsthand
experience. As an arms control and Soviet specialist, I remember the
debates well. I participated in many of them.
I remember serving on a panel discussing the "Zero Option" -? the
complete elimination of all U.S. and Soviet intermediate-range
ballistic missiles. This was in San Francisco, in the early 1980s, at
the height of the "Nuclear Freeze" movement. I was a young academic,
just starting out. I like to think I was invited because of my rising
reputation. But it's entirely possible that I was the only person in
the entire San Francisco Bay Area that the sponsors could find to
defend the Reagan Administration's policy. I defended that position as
best I could, against an older gentleman who strenuously argued that
President Reagan and his belligerent rhetoric were the real problems.
Aggressive Soviet behavior was understandable, given the threat that
Moscow perceived from Reagan. President Reagan's proposed response -?
deploying American missiles to counter any increase in Soviet missiles
-? would only make things worse, etcetera. I like to think that I won
the debate. But I have my doubts. Afterward, several women in the
audience -? clearly Reagan opponents and Nuclear Freeze supporters -?
approached me and thanked me for "doing so much for peace" and for
"standing up to that awful Reagan." They looked at me and saw a young,
black female and just assumed that I had to be an opponent of President
Reagan. Clearly, they were unable to see past the surface of things.
But in truth, we arms controllers were having trouble seeing past
the surface as well. We were fixated on a host of details: megatons,
MIRVS, throw weights, and verification measures. We were absolutely
determined to get the best possible deal with the Soviets and, in
retrospect, we missed the larger picture that the President saw so
clearly from the beginning. He challenged the whole premise of arms
control and the whole premise of Soviet power. For him, arms control
was always a means, not an end. The ends he sought were nothing less
than the end of the Soviet Union, the liberation of Eastern Europe, and
the victory of liberty over tyranny. To achieve his ends, he had to
challenge most -? if not all -? of the received foreign policy wisdom
of the time. That is what great leaders do -? and what only they can
Today, America is again fortunate enough to have such a leader -?
and I am proud to serve him. President Bush's foreign policy is a bold
new vision that draws inspiration from the ideas that have guided
America foreign policy at its best: that the spread of democracy leads
to peace, that democracies must never lack the will or the means to
meet and defeat freedom's enemies, that America's power and purpose
must be used to defend freedom.
These are principles that great leaders have put into practice
during challenging times -? and these are challenging times. Thus, the
President calls on America to use our unparalleled strength and
influence to create a balance of power that favors freedom. His vision
stands on three pillars. First, we will defend the peace by opposing
and preventing violence by terrorists and outlaw regimes. Second, we
will preserve the peace by fostering an era of good relations among the
world's great powers. And third, we will extend the peace by seeking
to extend the benefits of freedom and prosperity across the globe.
Yet in the final analysis, President Bush's vision begins from a
single, simple premise: As the President recently said, "Human beings
are not made by the Almighty God to live in tyranny. When given a
choice, people everywhere, from all walks of life, from all religions,
prefer freedom to violence and terror."
This is a time when the defense of freedom has never been more
necessary, and it is a time when the opportunity for freedom's triumph
has never been greater.
The attacks of September 11th, 2001, were the greatest strategic
shock this country has suffered since Pearl Harbor. They crystallized
our vulnerability to plots hatched in distant lands, that come without
warning, bringing tragedy to our shores. They made clear that sweeping
threats under the rug is not an option.
President Bush saw the implications of this immediately. The very
day of the attacks -? as smoke still rose from the Pentagon, the rubble
of the Twin Towers, and that field in Pennsylvania -? he told his
advisors that the United States faced a new kind of war and that the
strategy of our government would be to take the fight directly to the
terrorists. That night, he announced to the world that the United
States would make no distinction between the terrorists and the states
that harbor them. President Bush promised that America's words would
be credible. And he has proved true to his word.
Since that day, over two-thirds of al-Qaida's known leadership have
been captured or killed. The rest are on the run -? permanently. And
we are working with governments around the world to bring to justice
al-Qaida's associates -- from Jemya Islamiya in Indonesia, to Abu Sayef
in the Philippines, to Ansar al-Islam in Iraq. Under President Bush's
leadership, the United States and our allies have ended terror regimes
in Afghanistan and Iraq. All regimes are on notice -- supporting
terror is not a viable strategy for the long term.
And of course, we must face our worst nightmare: the possibility
of a sudden, secret attack by chemical, biological, radiological, or
nuclear weapons and the coming together of the terrorist threat with
weapons of mass destruction. September 11th made clear our enemies'
goals and provided painful experience of how far they are willing to go
to achieve them. From the terrorist's own boasts, we know that they
would not hesitate to use the world's most terrible weapons. In fact,
they would welcome it.
We cannot afford to allow the spread of weapons of mass destruction
to continue. For so many years, the world pretended that important
treaties like the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty were keeping this
problem in check. For many years, the world marked time while the
proliferation threat gathered. For many years, the world refused to
live up to the many resolutions that it passed.
The United States is now confronting the threat posed by the spread
of weapons of mass destruction with aggressive new policies from which
we are already seeing results. President Bush has moved our Nation
beyond antiquated theories like "Mutual Assured Destruction" and moved
forward with the development and deployment of ballistic missile
defense. Deploying these defenses builds on the proud legacy of
President Reagan, who first set forth a vision to protect our Nation
from missile attack in a famous speech twenty-one years ago next
The decision to hold the Iraqi regime accountable after twelve
years of defiance restored the credibility of the international
community. The President decided to confront proliferation threats at
their sources. The former Iraqi regime was not only a state sponsor of
terror. It was also for many years one of the world's premier
WMD-producing states. For twelve years, Iraq's former dictator defied
the international community, refusing to disarm or to account for his
illegal weapons and programs. We know he had both because he used
chemical weapons against Iran and against his own people -- because,
long after those attacks, he admitted having stocks and programs to UN
inspectors. The world gave Saddam one last chance to disarm. He did
not and now he is out of power.
The President's strong policies are leading other regimes to turn
from the path of seeking weapons of mass murder. Diplomacy succeeded
in Libya -? in part because no one can now doubt the resolve and
purpose of the United States and our allies. The President's policy
gives regimes a clear choice -? they can choose to pursue dangerous
weapons at great peril or they can renounce such weapons and begin the
process of rejoining the international community.
Libya's leader made the right choice, and other regimes should
follow his example. We are working with the international community to
prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons. And with our four
partners in East Asia, we are insisting that North Korea completely,
verifiably, and irreversibly dismantle its nuclear programs.
As we advance a broad non-proliferation agenda, we also recognize
that determined proliferators cannot always be stopped by diplomacy
alone. But they can be stopped. Through the President's Proliferation
Security Initiative, the United States and a growing number of global
partners are searching ships carrying suspect cargo and, where
necessary, seizing dangerous materials. PSI has already proven its
worth by stopping a shipment of centrifuge parts bound for Libya last
fall. Earlier this month, the President also announced new proposals
to close a loophole that undermines the Nuclear Nonproliferation
Treaty, to strengthen anti-proliferation laws and norms, and tighten
enforcement. We must strengthen the world's ability to keep dangerous
weapons out of the hands of outlaw regimes.
We now know, however, that there are two paths to weapons of mass
destruction -- secretive and dangerous states that pursue them and
shadowy, private networks and individuals who also traffic in these
materials, motivated by greed or fanaticism or both. And often these
paths meet. The world recently learned of the network headed by AQ
Khan, the father of Pakistan's nuclear weapons program. For years,
Khan and his associates sold nuclear technology and know-how to some of
the world's most dangerous regimes, including North Korea and Iran.
Working with intelligence officials from the United Kingdom and other
nations, we unraveled the Khan network and are putting an end to its
criminal enterprise. Its key leaders -- including AQ Khan -- are no
longer in business, and we are working to dismantle the entire
network. Together, the civilized nations of the world will bring to
justice those who traffic in deadly weapons, shut down their labs,
seize their materials, and freeze their assets.
All of these efforts and many others require the close cooperation
of many nations. Across a range of issues, we are seeing exactly
that. I will not deny that there is a great deal of loud chatter out
there. But this noise is obscuring one of the most striking facts of
our time: the world's great powers have never had better relations
with one another. And there has never been a lower likelihood of great
power conflict -- with all the destruction and disaster that entails -?
since the birth of the nation state in the mid-17th Century.
In Europe, the threat of another catastrophic, continental war -?
omnipresent throughout most of the last century -? has all but
disappeared. The vision of a Europe whole, free, and at peace -? the
dream of centuries -- is closer to reality than at any time in
history. NATO and EU enlargement are erasing the last lines of the
Cold War and advancing freedom to all of Europe. In Russia, we are
seeing the path to democracy is uneven and the nation's success not yet
assured. Yet, we are working closer than ever with Russia on common
problems. And our transatlantic alliance is no longer preoccupied with
existential threats and massed armies poised to strike the Central
European plain. In fact, the Central and East European countries -?
once members of the Warsaw Pact -? have taken up their duties in the
defense of freedom in Iraq and Afghanistan.
For many years, it was thought that it was not possible to have
good relations with all of Asia's powers. It was thought that good
relations with China came at the expense of good relations with our
ally Japan -- good relations with India came at the expense of
constructive engagement with Pakistan. This President has changed this
paradigm. Our Asian alliances have never been stronger. Forces from
Australia, Japan, South Korea, Thailand, and the Philippines have made
important contributions in Iraq and Afghanistan. The United States has
negotiated free trade agreements with Singapore and Australia. We are
working the 21 nations of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum
on an ambitious agenda designed to bolster economic growth and increase
our common security. We are building a candid, cooperative, and
constructive relationship with China that embraces our common interests
but still recognizes our considerable differences about values.
And President Bush has brought a new approach to American policy
toward Africa and Latin America. He sees these regions not as problems
to be solved, but as opportunities to be embraced. The Millennium
Challenge Account is revolutionizing the way America provides aid to
developing countries by linking new assistance to good governance,
investment in people, and economic freedom. And the Emergency Plan for
AIDS Relief -? a five-year, $15 billion initiative -? will help to
prevent seven million new infections, treat at least two million people
with life-extending drugs, and provide care for ten million more people
affected by the disease.
This Administration's record of engagement with African leaders is
unprecedented for a first-term president. We are working with leaders
throughout the continent to fight terror, advance democracy, spread
prosperity, and solve regional conflicts. The President's leadership
in forging peace in Africa has brought hope to Liberians, Congolese,
and Sudanese for the first time in many decades.
In our own neighborhood, President Bush is committed to a vision of
a fully democratic Western hemisphere, bound by common values and free
trade. And his commitment has yielded results. We have re-energized
negotiations on the Free Trade of the Americas agreement, and have
completed Free Trade Agreements with Chile and five other Central
Yet, as we move forward with this ambitious agenda, we must never
lose site of a central truth: Lasting peace and long-term security are
only possible through the advance of liberty and justice. Military
power alone cannot protect us from the defining threats of this or any
time. The War on Terror, like the Cold War, is as much a conflict of
visions as a struggle of armed force. All of the early heroes of the
Cold War -? Truman, and Churchill, and Adenauer -? understood this.
Decades later, we seemed poised to forget it, viewing the Soviet Union
as just another state with interests, and its continued existence -?
even permanence -? as inevitable. Ronald Reagan peeled back the layers
of complacency surrounding detente and saw that underneath, the Soviet
Union had not changed, that the moral element of the early Cold War was
as important as ever. President Reagan re-infused the Cold War with
moral purpose. And that renewed sense of purpose allowed the free
world to prevail.
President Bush sees clearly that the terrorist ideology is the
direct heir to communism, and Nazism, and fascism, and all the
murderous ideologies of the 20th century. The struggle against terror
is fundamentally a struggle of visions and values. The terrorists
offer suicide, and death, and pseudo-religious tyranny. America and
our allies seek to advance the cause of liberty and defend the dignity
of every person. We seek, in President Bush's words, "the advance of
freedom, and the peace that freedom brings."
That means, above all, addressing what leading Arab Intellectuals
have called the "freedom deficit" in the Middle East. The stakes could
not be higher. If the Middle East is to leave behind stagnation, and
tyranny, and violence for export, then freedom must flourish in every
corner of the region.
That is why the United States is pursuing a forward strategy of
freedom for the Middle East. Freedom must be freely chosen -- and we
will seek out and work with those in the Middle East who believe in the
values, and habits, and institutions of liberty, and who desire to see
the rule of law, freedom of the press, religious liberty, respect for
women, limits on the power of the state, and economic opportunity
thrive in their own nations. We reject the cultural condescension
which alleges that Arabs or Muslims are somehow not interested in
freedom, or aren't ready for freedom's responsibilities. We will
refuse to excuse tyranny. We will insist on higher standards from our
friends in the region. And we will enlist support from our allies in
the region, and beyond.
Iraq and Afghanistan are vanguards of this effort. Fifty million
people have been liberated from two of the most brutal and dangerous
tyrannies of our time. With the help of over sixty nations, the Iraqi
and Afghan peoples are now struggling to build democracies, under
difficult conditions, in the rocky soil of the Middle East. In
January, Afghanistan approved a new and progressive constitution. And
later this year, the Afghan people will hold national elections. Every
day Iraqis take more responsibility for their nation's security -- from
guarding facilities, to policing their streets, to rebuilding the
infrastructure that Saddam Hussein neglected for decades. The Iraqi
people are making daily progress toward democracy. Our coalition is
working with the Iraqi Governing Council to draft a basic law, with a
bill of rights. And we are working with Iraqis and the United Nations
to prepare for a transition to full Iraqi sovereignty.
In Iraq, the work of building democracy is opposed by hold-outs
among their former oppressors and by foreign terrorists. These killers
seek to advance their ideology of murder by halting all progress toward
democracy and a better future. They are trying to shake the will of
our country and our friends. They are killing innocent Iraqis. They
are sowing a reign of terror. But we and the people of Iraq will never
be intimidated by thugs and assassins because America and her forces
will stay the course until the job is done.
The world is watching. The failure of democracy in Iraq and
Afghanistan would condemn millions to misery and embolden terrorists
around the world. The defeat of terror and the success of freedom in
those nations will serve the interests of our Nation because free
nations do not sponsor terror and do not breed the ideologies of
murder. And success will serve our ideals, as free and democratic
governments in Iraq and Afghanistan inspire hope and encourage reform
throughout the greater Middle East. We cannot falter and we will not
These principles of freedom must also apply to the conflict between
Palestinians and Israelis. President Bush is the first American
president to issue a clear call for a Palestinian state. And he is the
first to state plainly that there can be no peace for either side until
there is freedom for both sides. The nature of any Palestinian state
and the quality of its leadership and institutions matter at least as
much as its borders. Palestinian leaders must embrace democracy. They
must not tolerate corruption, and they must fight terrorism. For its
part, Israel must help create conditions for a Palestinian state to
emerge. It must do nothing to pre-judge the outcome of a final status
agreement. And, it must do more to improve the lives of the
Palestinian people, removing the daily humiliations that harden the
hearts of future generations.
The work of building democracy in these nations is hard, and
success will require the work of a generation. Winning the Cold War
was not easy, either -? and it took forty years -? but the free world's
alliance of strength and conviction prevailed because we never
abandoned our values or our responsibilities. As in the Cold War,
progress may at times seem halting and uneven. Times of the greatest
strategic importance can also be times of great turbulence. It is
always easier for Presidents, no less than citizens, to do the expected
thing -- to follow the accepted path. Boldness is always criticized,
change is always suspect, and Presidents from Teddy and Franklin
Roosevelt, to Harry Truman, to Ronald Reagan knew that history is the
final judge. And I can tell you, like those Presidents, this President
knows that his obligation is not to the daily headlines but to securing
the peace and that it is history that will be the final judge.
I remember serving on the National Security Council staff a dozen
years ago, when the Berlin Wall fell, the Warsaw Pact dissolved, and
the Soviet Union gave way to a free Russia. It was, of course,
exhilarating to be in government at such a time and part of me felt
some small measure of pride. But that pride quickly gave way to a
humble awe for the giants who faced the great challenges of the
post-World War Two moment -- the Trumans, the Marshals, the Achesons,
the Kennans -- and to those who reimagined and revitalized the
struggle: Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher, Helmut Kohl, and George
Herbert Walker Bush.
These men and women -? in the most uncertain of times, amidst often
noisy acrimony -? made decisions that would bear fruit only years, in
some cases decades, later. My colleagues and I were simply reaping the
harvest that they had sown.
That harvest -? a safer, freer, better world -? is no less our hope
for the decisions the United States and our allies and friends are
making today. Realizing this vision may take decades. It certainly
will not happen on my watch, or on this President's watch. It will
require a commitment of many years.
But the effort and the wait will be worth it.
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