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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 do.
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 month.
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 American democracies.
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 fail.
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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