PANEL I OF A HEARING OF THE SENATE FOREIGN RELATIONS COMMITTEE
SUBJECT: ENGAGING WITH MUSLIM COMMUNITIES AROUND THE WORLD
WITNESSES: FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE MADELEINE ALBRIGHT; ADMIRAL WILLIAM FALLON, FORMER COMMANDER, U.S. CENTRAL COMMAND
CHAIRED BY: SENATOR JOHN KERRY (D-MA)
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SEN. KERRY: Good afternoon. This hearing of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee will come to order.
I apologize for the delay in starting. We just had two votes and we're still on the back end of one of those votes, so I'm confident that colleagues will be on their way, and we look forward to their participation.
I'm excited about this hearing, and I'm glad that we're having it. I'm excited about the witnesses that we're going to have here today as we really explore what, for too many people in too many parts of the world, is an unknown or misunderstood. And I think it's important for all of us to do our utmost to try to understand each other better before we start making global decisions that implicate the actions of nations and young men and women and our treasury for years and years to come.
As the president made clear in his speech on Tuesday night, America has started a new chapter in our history. And part of this must be a new chapter in our relations with the Muslim world. I've just returned from a trip to Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, the West Bank and Gaza. At every turn, I heard a newfound willingness -- I actually heard a thirst, saw a thirst, felt a thirst, felt an incredible hunger throughout the world for a new dialogue and for new direction. And I found a willingness by people and governments alike to take a fresh look at America.
Frankly, this moment won't last forever, if even for long. And so we need to seize it. Let me acknowledge up front that even speaking of a single Muslim world, as we often hear people do, is a misnomer. We must recognize the spectacular diversity of a religion that encompasses a fifth of humanity, many Sunni and Shi'a denominations, democracies and dictatorships, hundreds of languages, and uncountable thousands of tribes and ethnic groups.
Most Muslims live far outside of the Middle East, from the fishing villages of Senegal and the rice paddies of Java, from the suburbs of Paris to the streets of Dearborn, Michigan. For all of these differences, today we must send a simple message to all Muslims. We share your aspirations for freedom, dignity, justice and security. We're ready to listen, to learn, and to honor the president's commitment to approach the Muslim world with a spirit of mutual respect.
We have a great deal of work to do, my friends. An alarming number of Muslims today believe that our goal is not to end terrorism but to dominate or diminish Islam itself. And their mistrust is reciprocated by many westerners, who now wonder whether the gaps between us are unbridgeable, whether higher walls or fewer visas can substitute for difficult tasks of coexistence.
These perceptions are harmful to America. Each undercuts our efforts in what I see as the larger struggle, not a cooked-up clash of civilizations between Islam and the West but a struggle within Islam between the overwhelming majority who share our basic values and a small sliver who seek to pervert the Koran to justify bloodshed or move their societies backwards.
Nobody thinks that national security policy should be a popularity contest. But what should be equally clear is that our legitimacy matters. Not only do we need it to dissuade those vulnerable to an extremist message from taking up arms against us. We also need the active support and cooperation of their governments and communities.
Part of restoring trust will be broadening relations with Muslim nations beyond the few lightning-rod topics that have defined them since 9/11, to include combating poverty, climate change, investing in human development, and creating knowledgeable societies. Breaking people out of poverty is perhaps one of the most singularly important of those challenges.
Among our most effective steps to counteract extremism, for instance, was providing the humanitarian aid to Pakistan and Indonesia in the wake of natural disasters. I was in Pakistan, in the mountains, at a time when we were delivering earthquake assistance, and I remember how America's perceptions in the whole country changed during that period of time and people saw us differently. I also saw children who came out of the mountains and were attending schools in tented camps, for the first time in their life in a school.
So among our most effective steps to counteract extremism is that kind of intervention, engagement in the lives and cultures of countries. What mattered wasn't merely the assistance. It was the sight of American troops working actively to save Muslim lives.
At the same time, unless we take a different approach to addressing them, a handful of symbolically charged issues have the potential to poison the well and reduce all our efforts to nonstarters or to after-thoughts in the minds of those that we seek to influence.
That's one reason why I'm so pleased that the president reiterated his commitment on Tuesday night that, quote, "without exception or equivocation, the United States does not torture." No public relations effort can erase the sting of Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib. And while strong words are helpful, the world will ultimately judge us by our actions.
Restoring our moral authority also inescapably demands that America return to our traditional role as an honest, fair, firm broker in the Middle East peace process. In Gaza, I visited a village called Izbet Abed Rabbo, and I saw little Palestinian girls playing in the rubble where, three months ago, buildings stood. It was searing.
I said publicly in Gaza, as I said in the southern Israeli town of Sderot just earlier that day, standing with Tzipi Livni, that if Quincy, Massachusetts were lobbing rockets into Boston, I would have to put a stop to it. But the reality is that people on both sides deserve better, and we know what it's going to take to get them there -- two states, side by side, in peace and security.
I'm not going to delve deeply into Israeli-Palestine issues in this forum, but suffice it to say that without a demonstrated commitment to peacemaking as an honest broker, this will remain a millstone around any effort to reach out to Muslims anywhere in the world. And as we work to empower partners from Morocco to North-West Pakistan, we can't afford policies that make it unsustainable for locals to be seen as pro-American. We can't afford to be politically radioactive.
If we truly want to empower Muslim moderates, we must also stop tolerating the casual Islamo-phobia that has seeped into our political discourse since 9/11. As we gather here today, a Senate colleague of mine is reportedly hosting a screening, in the Capitol building itself, of a short film called "Fitna" that defames a faith practiced by 1.3 billion people. The movie's director has not only compared the Koran to Hitler's "Mein Kampf." This director, a supposed champion of free speech, has suggested that his own Dutch government ban the Koran outright. So I'm glad you're here, rather than there.
Let me also take a moment to recognize the important role of America's Muslim communities. Your patriotism is a source of security for all of us, and your freedom to worship is a powerful counter- argument against those who say our values are incompatible with Islam.
In some ways, our task should be easy. Most Muslims are far closer to Americans in their love of life, family, freedom and prosperity than they are to the core values of al Qaeda. The data shows that the more Muslims know about al Qaeda, the less they like al Qaeda.
We should build on these trends, these beliefs, by seeking out and restoring the partnerships in education, science, technology, arts and culture for which decades sustained good U.S.-Muslim relations. We should expand educational exchanges and seriously invest in foreign language capabilities. We also need smart public diplomacy that is embedded in our political and military decision-making.
It is also encouraging that both sides increasingly see the need to deepen and improve our dialogue. From the "Common Word" -- quotes, "Common Word" -- letter from Islamic religious leaders to King Abdullah's interfaith conference in Madrid to President Obama's appearance on al Arabiya to the U.S.-Islamic World Forum in Doha, Qatar which our first two panelists recently attended, we have these opportunities.
And I might just comment, last summer I had the privilege of speaking as one of the speakers with former Prime Minister Tony Blair at a Yale Divinity School-sponsored conference at which there were about 70 mullahs, imams, clerics, ayatollahs from around the world, together with some 70 evangelicals from the United States, including some very well-known ones like Dr. Robert Schuller.
And there was really an unbelievable sense of common ground at that gathering of the commonality of our Abrahamic roots, each of us, those who share those particular roots. But there is no reason that Jews and Christians and Muslims shouldn't be finding much more to talk about that we agree on rather than disagree about.
We're very honored to have with us today some really special voices, experienced voices in these arenas, respected voices, in order to speak to this issue. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright has been a leader on these issues through the U.S.-Muslim Engagement Project. Admiral William Fallon, former CENTCOM and PACOM chief, has unique insights into how our military actions and political goals can suffer without the active cooperation of local communities.
And then on our second panel, we're going to hear from three experts who will help us better understand how do we move forward to effectively engage with the broader Muslim world? Dalia Mogahed is the co-author of "Who Speaks for Islam?" and leads Gallup's opinion survey of over 1 billion Muslims worldwide.
Dr. Eboo Patel is the founder of the Interfaith Youth Core, now active on some 50 American campuses, and he focuses on cultivating religious pluralism amongst young people; and was recently appointed to the President's Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships.
And Zeyno Baran is an expert on Eurasia and currently sits at the Hudson Institute, and she will offer her perspective on the spread of radical ideology in Europe.
I welcome all of you. Thank you for lending your expertise to this crucial topic in what we will hope could be remembered, as the beginning of our efforts here, as a pivotal moment in our relations with the Muslim world.
This is not going to be a one-time, free-standing event. This committee is going to be committed to engaging actively in ways to try to bridge this gap as part of America's public diplomacy, and we look forward to an exciting and important dialogue.
SEN. RICHARD LUGAR (R-IN): Well, I thank you, Senator Kerry, for holding this very important hearing on Muslim communities. And I join you in welcoming Secretary Albright, Admiral Fallon, and our other distinguished witnesses.
In 2006 the committee held two hearings closely related to this topic. We heard from the administration counterterrorism and intelligence officials, scholars and authors, on how we could improve engagement with the Muslim world. We also examined how we could best respond to radicalization that induces individuals to become terrorists and create support for terrorist organizations among Muslim populations. This hearing continues that oversight and provides a chance to explore new opportunities that have been created by the global interest in President Obama.
A poll released just yesterday by WorldPublicOpinion.org demonstrates the complexities of this issue. The report found that strong majorities in several focus Muslim countries disapproved of terrorist attacks on American civilians. But a majority of respondents simultaneously endorsed al-Qaeda's goal of forcing the United States out of the Middle East, and its military bases.
Furthermore, large majorities in several Muslim countries expressed approval of attacks on U.S. troops stationed on Muslim soil. President Obama's actions in the first weeks of his presidency indicate he is determined to provide leadership in reaching out to Muslims. Through his interview with an Arab television network, his appointment of Senator George Mitchell as a special envoy to the Middle East, he attempted to strike a more positive tone.
These steps have created some momentum toward productive engagement, but President Obama's popularity alone will not guarantee success in the absence of a consistent and compelling American narrative that is closely synchronized with our policies. This narrative must be embraced and implemented throughout our government, and it must be echoes by diplomats, development experts, contractors and military professionals alike.
We must continue to support exchanges that bring people from other nations into contact with talented Americans capable of explaining and representing our country. And we must also improve recruitment of Muslim-Americans, and those who have expertise in Muslim cultures, into diplomatic and military service. A linchpin in the development and leadership change, and the primary management of outreach programs to the Muslim world has been the under secretary of State for public diplomacy.
Since this post was created in 1999, some very talented people have occupied it. Unfortunately, no one has occupied it very long. During the last 10 years the post has been vacant more than a third of the time, and the longest tenure of any under secretary was a little more than two years. This circumstance has really hampered attempts to implement a public diplomacy strategy and it's contributed to others in our government inventing their own narratives.
President Obama and Secretary Clinton must remedy this shortcoming by ensuring continuity in focus and message during their tenure. This committee stands ready to support the under secretary of State for public diplomacy. We want the under secretary to have the power, the funding, the political backing required to do the job. Funds for public diplomacy will have to be spent efficiently and creatively if we are to explain the views of the United States, display the humanity and generosity of our citizens, and expand opportunities for interaction between Americans and foreign peoples.
Our rivals in the marketplace of ideas are playing "hard ball." Al-Qaeda has an astonishing web presence, including such features as multiple-angle videos of suicide bombings. The Iranian government not only materially backs Hamas and Hezbollah, it maintains an outreach program in 47 predominantly Muslim African and Asian countries. And among other means, this program employs Iranian cultural centers that offer Persian language classes and extensive library resources.
This is one of the reasons why I recently introduced Senate Resolution 49, which calls for reassessment of whether we can safely reestablish American centers in major foreign cities. These centers offer libraries, outreach programs, unfiltered internet access, film series, lectures and English classes that enable foreigners to meet and interact with Americans of all walks of life.
In past decades, American centers attracted young people, as well as community leaders, journalists and policy experts. But with the end of the Cold War and the onset of more active terrorism concerns, most American centers were either phased out or downsized and moved behind protective embassy walls. After taking into account security considerations, we should determine whether American centers can be reestablished in some key locations.
Despite challenges, the United States has advantages that can be brought to bear on the problem. Our country is still admired for its democracy and freedom of political expression. Our disaster relief efforts in Pakistan and Indonesia in recent years produced measurable improvements in public attitudes toward the United States.
Under a broad recognition in many Muslim countries of the importance of the United States in addressing global challenges like climate change, hunger and technology development, I look forward to hearing the perspectives of our witnesses on how the United States can construct a coherent program of engagement that builds on our nation's strengths, takes advantage of the opening created by the new administration.
I thank you, Mr. Chairman.
SEN. KERRY: I thank you, Senator Lugar. It's a pleasure to join with you in hosting this hearing, and I'm glad we can do it.
Secretary Albright, thank you again for being here with us. We really appreciate it -- Admiral Fallon. And if, Secretary, you'd lead off, we look forward to your testimony.
MS. ALBRIGHT: Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. And, Chairman Lugar, it's a pleasure to be with you and members of the committee. I'm very pleased to be here with my colleague, Admiral Fallon, and to address the question of engaging the Muslim communities around the world.
I recently did participate in a study on this subject which recommended the following: Vigorous use of diplomacy to resolve conflicts, support for improved governance in Muslim-majority states, efforts to enlarge economic opportunity, and steps based on dialogue to enhance mutual understanding. And each of these approaches has value and each should be explored during our session today, but I would like to use my time, at the outset, to make some additional observations:
First, as the subject of this hearing reflects, there are numerous Muslim communities around the world, including the United States. And these communities, as Chairman Kerry said, are diverse and cannot be portrayed accurately with a broad brush.
Second, successful engagement between any two groups involves certain rules. Each side has a duty to scrutinize its own actions, state clearly its expectations of the other, and listen with an open mind to opposing views.
These principles are easier to recite than to fulfill, which is why disputes so often arise around the question of double standards. For example, the United States is frequently accused of applying one set of standards to its own action, and another to that of Arabs and Iran. For our part, we fault Arab states for rationalizing violence, suppressing political rights, perpetuating harmful myths, and refusing to accept responsibility for bad decisions.
As a result, instead of dialogue we tend to have opposing monologues. And this creates a climate in which advocates of compromise are routinely accused of betrayal. The way out is through leaders brave enough to admit that each side has faults, and smart enough to translate shared frustration into a motive for common action. Such leaders do not arise often but they are needed now.
Third, the West's interest in Muslim communities spiked after 9/11, and that is understandable, but awkward. A dialogue driven by such a traumatic event is sure to evoke accusations on one side and defensiveness on the other. And this means that, if we're serious, we should separate our engagement as much as possible from the context of terrorism. The West has many more reasons than al-Qaeda to improve relations with the Muslim world.
My fourth point is related. Western media are full of references to Islamic terrorism. But what does that mean? We do not portray the Oklahoma City bombing as Christian terrorism even though Timothy McVeigh thought of himself as a Christian. McVeigh was guilty of mass murder and there was nothing Christian about it. The same principle applies with Islam. When Muslims commit terrorist acts they are not practicing their faith, they are betraying it.
Fifth, as any experienced diplomat can testify, engagement comes in many flavors -- from tea to vitriol. Often, the stronger the brew, the more useful the encounter. Thus, American policy should be to talk to anyone if, by so doing, we can advance our interests. An example of the kind of hard-headed engagement I have in mind is that between the U.S. military and Iraq's "Anbar Awakening," which turned former enemies into tactical allies.
As this precedent suggests, conversation is not the same as negotiations and smart engagement is not appeasement. Looking ahead, our secretary of State and our special envoy should have all the flexibility they require.
Sixth, we need to repair our relationship with Pakistan. The world appears different from Islamabad than it does from Washington and we cannot expect Pakistani leaders to place their interests beneath ours. At the same time, no country has suffered more from violent extremism. Pakistan's primary challenge is governance. Nothing improves the climate for extremism more than the failure of official institutions to fill such basic needs as security, education and health care.
In trying to help, we should bear in mind the distinction between the different and the dangerous. In Pakistan's northwest, people ordinarily worship, dress and think in ways unfamiliar to us. This does not make them a threat, for their political horizons tend to be local. That changes, however, when we hurt the wrong people. A family whose loved ones are accidentally killed by an American bomb will no longer have a local mindset. So we have a very difficult line to walk.
Military operations against hardcore elements are still essential, but we will never win if through our actions we inadvertently create more terrorists than we defeat.
Seventh, our engagement with Muslim communities should include explicit support for democracy. This preference need not be heavy handed, but neither should it be so timid as to be inaudible. It is true that the democratic brand has been called into question, but for every question there is an answer.
Armed groups such as Hamas have no place in an election, but democracy is why women have led governments in four of the five most populous Muslim majority states. Recently, provincial balloting in Iraq has helped to unify the country, while parliamentary debate has been useful in channeling anger. Upcoming votes in Iran and Afghanistan will no doubt influence the course of those nations.
Democracy's advantage is that it contains the means for its own corrections through public accountability and discussion. It also offers a nonviolent alternative for the forces of change, whether those forces are progressive or conservative.
And finally -- religion matters. I know there are some who would like to engage with Muslim communities without bringing religion into the conversation. But to them I say, good luck! As Archbishop Tutu has pointed out, religion is like a knife. It may be used to slice bread or to stab your neighbor in the back, but it cannot be ignored.
Both the Bible and the Koran include rhetorical ammunition to start a war and enough moral uplift to engender permanent peace. The determining factor is less what the words say than the message we choose to hear.
Accordingly, I would like to close with a quotation: "If Muslims and Christians are not at peace, the world cannot be at peace. With the terrible weaponry of the modern world, with Christians and Muslims intertwined as never before, no side can unilaterally win a conflict. Thus, our common future is at stake. So let our differences not cause hatred and strife. Let us vie with each other only in righteousness and good works." Unquote.
Now, this is a citation from a document entitled, "A Common Word Between Us and You" signed by a diverse group of more than 300 Muslim scholars. It based on the shared commitment to monotheism and love of neighbor that is central to the Koran, Hebrew Bible and the New Testament.
Mr. Chairman, and members of the committee, the bridges to be built to engagement with Muslim communities are not political, religious, intellectual, cultural or economic. They are all of these at once. And this means that we each have a responsibility and a role. Our purpose cannot be to erase differences, but to manage them so that they enrich rather than endanger our lives.
Thank you very much.
SEN. KERRY: Admiral Fallon.
ADM. FALLON: Mr. Chairman, Senator Lugar, distinguished members of the committee, it's a great pleasure and an honor to be here in your presence and in the presence of my distinguished colleague -- if I could be so bold as to, at least for today, try to rise to that occasion. Madame Secretary, a pleasure to see you again.
As you know, I've had some recent experience dealing in countries that contained significant Muslim populations in most of the world. And I think that this subject of the hearing today is really very appropriate and it's an area that we've got to figure out how to move forward in, because the potential on the upside is terrific and the other course of action on the downside is not where we need to be continuing.
I think that the business of engagement with the Muslim world is extremely important for our country for a host of reasons. And that these factors are -- certainly first and foremost among them would be large number of people that are involved here. As Senator Kerry indicated in his opening statement, we're talking about almost a quarter of the population of the world and there are just a host of other economic, demographic, political, security and other reasons why this subject is so important to us.
There are a lot of historical factors that I believe are at play in this current state of relations. And as I would point out, we can't do much about the past, but we can certainly do something about today and the future and I think that's where we ought to really focus. And so there are things that have gone on in history that have kind of set the stage for the current state of affairs.
Certainly, the aftermath of the events of 9/11 played a major role in the situation and the ongoing conflicts in the Middle East adding more fuel. So the result is a significant image issue, as you're well aware and the purpose of this hearing.
But I think today we have some new opportunities for a number of reasons. First and foremost, with the new administration, my sense, as I travel around the world, is a tremendous amount of enthusiasm and very high expectations for just something different and for goodness to occur. And I think it's really a great opportunity for us to try to leverage that goodwill.
Another fact of life is that the situation in Iraq has been dramatically improved over the last year and a half and that this offers us, again, some great opportunities.
And another one that might not at first glance appear to be position, I think in the aftermath of the financial and economic crises that's reverberating around the world, we've got a great opportunity here, because if we're going to solve these problems, we're going to have to work closely together. And I think by now, people all over the world have a sense that this isn't just going to be confined to a certain country or certain part of the world, that everybody's going to feel it. They are feeling it right now. And this fact alone ought to motivate some behavioral change that will put us in good stead.
The benefits and the necessity: We have a problem that has been certainly very uppermost in the minds of people in this country and around the world since 9/11 and that's the terrorist threat. It existed before that, but it reached new heights. And it's been my experience that if we're going to continue to work to try resolve and minimize the impact of this challenge, it's going to require very, very close cooperation. And the more help that we can get from more people in different parts of the world, the better off we're going to be and the more likely we're going to be to succeed in this challenge.
We can leverage goodwill. There have been events in recent years that have demonstrated that the U.S. -- and particularly, really, it's the people of this country -- care about their fellow man. We have devoted enormous sums of money, a tremendous amount of effort and goodwill to help people in hardship.
There are a couple of events that occurred in parts of the world that were in my responsibility. There was the disastrous tsunami of late 2004 and the aftermath of that. The cleanup that was required changed dramatically opinion in the most populous Muslim country in the world: Indonesia.
I arrived just as the cleanup was really getting under way. And the difference in tone, the difference in a willingness to work with us was just remarkable over a relatively short period of time. And I know a similar set of events occurred in the wake of another disaster in Pakistan.
One of the reasons why I highlight the current fiscal and financial economic crisis is because from these challenges, typically, there are great opportunities. Our ability to react in a positive manner to these things is really important. And we have to do a lot of things, I believe, to set the stage, but the opportunities are certainly there.
I've always found that actions speak louder than words. And we will need to demonstrate, as we are doing, by our actions that we really care. And that's really the message and that's what people look for.
And so as we contemplate, and as you've asked for input on ways and means of things that people might do, I think doing the right things to try to build confidence, to build trust between people is the real deal here.
And how do you do it? You've got to engage. You have got to be with people. They have to see and they have to feel you and they have to have a sense -- in my experience -- that you really care and you're interested.
So treating people as we would like to be treated and respecting them as individuals is really the bottom line.
And I think we're well within our capabilities to do that and to change the negative image that seems to persist in many parts of the world, to turn this around and to make it mutually beneficial to these millions of folks around the world, as well as ourselves.
So I'm delighted to be here and'd be happy to answer your questions. I would ask that you take my few pages of written testimony and enter it into the record for your reference. And I'll be happy to take your questions, should you have any.
Thank you very much.
SEN. KERRY: Thank you, Admiral. Without objection, all the testimonies will be placed in the record as if read in full.
Thank you both for your testimonies. It's almost hard to know where to start because it is such a vast and complicated topic.
But let me just ask at the outset, if I could, you just said, Admiral, that how to do it is sort of the critical question here for all of us, and that we have to engage.
I assume you would both agree that the policies we choose to pursue are going to be critical in shaping how people see us. If we, for instance, pretty much everywhere I've gone in the region, whether I'm in Afghanistan, Pakistan, the Middle East elsewhere -- or elsewhere in the world, we hear a tremendous kickback on America's involvement in Iraq and the policy choices we made there.
We started out in Afghanistan with 100 percent support for what we were doing. Just 100 percent, 100 percent support for the Karzai government, 100 percent support for us.
Now we've seen a rapid turnaround with increased support for the Taliban, which al Qaeda and other entities take advantage of, but which has come about because of the absence of what Secretary Albright talked about, which is good governance and the delivery to the people.
So the question is sort of -- is there sort of an order of priority of the things that we can pay attention to that will make a difference, i.e., getting our policy right in Afghanistan and Pakistan, getting our policy right in these areas?
Or is it, notwithstanding the policy, that if we did more on the humanitarian front and more on the education front and so forth that it'll negate that, or it won't matter?
MS. ALBRIGHT: Well, I do think it's very important to get the policy right. I think that not everything that has gone wrong is due to American actions, but I do think that the direction of our policy clearly has an effect.
And it's kind of like an umbrella under which some of the other points that you raise have to take place, and one does not exclude the other, frankly. But I do think that we have to figure out what our objectives are in wherever we are.
I think the problem with the war in Iraq is that it was unclear what exactly it was about. And in Afghanistan, we lost our way. So I do think there needs to be a sense about the direction that we want to go in.
I do think, though, that you cannot move forward -- it's a combination. You have to have security in order to move forward on some of the governance issues, and then the governance is also important in order to make sure that the people can get benefits out of everything that's put in. If you have corrupt leaders in any country, the benefits never get there.
So what I would like to see is a concerted effort obviously in redefining policy, but also having a vibrant program on governance issues -- not the imposition of American institutions, but the assistance and support for those who want to develop their local institutions.
But I find it very hard to decide we would only do policy and not do the education and various issues that you and Senator Lugar were talking about.
SEN. KERRY: Well -- where would you say that the Taliban fit in to the description that you've given us of, sort of, this challenge? They're reacting to the lack of security, they're reacting obviously to their interpretation of their faith and their desire for Shari'a in its fullest interpretation, which many people within Islam would disagree with as to whether or not it is a legitimate full interpretation.
I was just in Syria. One high-level official told me how his -- he has a photograph of his mother 20 years ago or so visiting the Omayyad Mosque wearing a long skirt, not below the knee, and no cover.
Because she wasn't going there to pray. She was going there to visit with somebody, to show it to them. And under the requirements as interpreted, if you're not there to pray, you don't have to cover. Today, people are covered everywhere; in fact, increasing numbers.
So these interpretations tend to become, to some degree, part of an entire sort of cultural and quasi-political movement, if you will, to challenge the orthodoxy of other entities or people or even religions, in some case. And you see that with the extremes of the Taliban and in other parts of the world.
Whose responsibility is it to try to draw those distinctions, or to try to create the tolerance that might exist? Because our legitimacy in trying to do that, it seems to me, is almost nil. And there's no central authority otherwise within the religion that does that, so it's subject to that kind of exploitation.
And I wonder how do we address that, and particularly with respect to something like what's happening now in Afghanistan with the Taliban?
MS. ALBRIGHT: Well, you ask a very difficult question and a very basic one on this.
Clearly, when we were -- when I was in office, we had very serious problems with Taliban because they had -- were making women be voiceless and disappear and generally made life impossible.
I went to visit refugee camps where the women told horrendous stories -- and I won't go through that. So there's -- I have -- I think the Taliban have done dreadful things to the population of Afghanistan.
But a point that I think came out in our last Doha Summit that I think is worth mentioning here because it fits, Anwar Ibrahim, who was the deputy prime minister of Malaysia and now is a leading opposition leader, said something that I think is vital.
And that is that many of the changes and the weeding out of extremists has to be done by the Muslim communities themselves; that when we tell people who's good and bad, it creates -- either we like somebody and that's kind of a kiss of death, or we make somebody evil and that gives them greater stature. And so I do think we need to look for members of the Muslim community that can help.
We've had problems even with the vocabulary. We talk about moderate Muslims. The bottom line is that moderate Muslims do not believe moderately; they believe passionately about moderation.
And so we need to somehow engage them to help us in that particular problem.
SEN. KERRY: Well said. That's very well said.
I'm almost -- my time is up, so Senator Lugar, and then we'll do another round.
SEN. LUGAR: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Secretary Albright, I mentioned in my opening comments the American centers that used to be around the globe. And it is obviously easy for an outsider to advise the secretary of State and our State Department to open such centers.
But let me just ask, from your experience, what is the practical effect of this? We've been through the security operations of moving our embassies, in some cases, far out of the capitals, out of touch with the coffee houses and the ambiance that used to be a part of that, because of the reasons that we felt our employees and others might be bombed and lose their lives.
But at the same time, there at least is a resurgent effort now, or at least thought that perhaps these centers might be opened in some places, that this is an opportunity for our message to come through with people who earnestly would like to read, study, be a part of that.
Do you have any overall comment and first reflections?
MS. ALBRIGHT: Senator, I have your resolution here, and I was looking at it with great interest. And I must say I feel this one very personally.
I am the secretary of State who brought public diplomacy into the State Department. I think it was the right thing to do. It does have the problem of tenure, as you were pointing out. But it was very important to get public diplomacy and policy together.
And I also was the secretary of State -- as all of you who know me, I loved being secretary of State, except on August 7th, 1998, which was when our embassies in Kenya and Tanzania were blown up. And I went to get the bodies, and brought people home and dealt with the families.
And the issue was about security. And I think it was the hardest thing to think about, and what to do.
Our embassies are supposed to be the eyes and ears of our country in foreign countries, to be open and welcoming. And yet we have had to move them out, put them behind walls. And obviously the information systems were also a part of that.
I love your resolution. I love all the whereases.
I have a problem because you raise it at the end, the security. That's a very big issue. And so I hope that we can do what you're talking about. I think that it's very -- the best of America is in our openness and our capability of explaining our story. And during, for instance, the period of Communism, it was always amazing to go to one of the American centers. And when I was in Prague I went to something called the jazz section where their proudest document was the Rolling Stones.
So, I think we have so much to offer but the security part of this I hope that as you propose this that the whereas's really are used and that the security people look at this. But I think it's great to think about this, absolutely.
SEN. LUGAR: Well thank you for that very important encouragement.
Let me ask, during your tenure, and you describe this in your book Memo to the President, you twice offered to sit down with Iranians without conditions to discuss all issues. And, as you describe it, both times in various ways you were rebuked. Now, this hearing is about engagement. And once again that word is being used with regard to Iran and suggestions are being made, perhaps that Dennis Ross or others may think through formulas as to how we approach this indirectly or maybe more directly. What counsel would you give at this time to our secretary of State or to our president with regard to engagement with Iran?
MS. ALBRIGHT: I do believe that it is very important to have engagement with Iran. And this fall five former secretaries of State, three Republican; Kissinger, Baker, Powell and Warren Christopher, and I, all agreed that we should have dialog with Iran without preconditions. And I think that we can't learn about what it is they are thinking, nor can they learn about what we are thinking without that engagement. That doesn't mean it's easy because as you point out we tried, they missed the signals. I think in many ways Khatami did not know exactly how to respond and some of his people and who is really in charge. Iran is an incredibly complex society but we will know nothing if we do not have engagement at a variety of levels. And so I hope very much that the administration is able to go forward on this with your support.
SEN. LUGAR: Admiral Fallon currently, maybe even as we meet here, there are important officials including the foreign minister, the defense ministers, those involved in intelligence operations in Pakistan and Afghanistan meeting with our secretary of State and our secretary of Defense and others.
It's a remarkable coming together of three countries in Washington at this time. And I salute Dick Holbrooke as well as Secretary Clinton and Secretary Gates for the contacts in Verkunde and various other places and made this possible. And Senator Kerry and I had the privilege to visit last night with the participants, many of them, and they do seem to have, as you've expressed, a sense that security for each of them with regard to terrorists, however one wants to characterize them, is an existential problem in Pakistan and Afghanistan. And it's not doing us a favor by trying to clear up a few people who might once again attack New York and Washington.
But from your experience, how deeply is this felt and how likely is it that there can be a confluence of interest in which we all feel a problem of security and, therefore, as opposed to doing favors to one another are able to work on the same wavelength?
ADM. FALLON: We all need things -- pardon me -- we all need things and everybody in the world would like to have some things and so there are always opportunities to get together and make trades. But I think I'd like to answer this by circling back to a couple of questions that the chairman asked and weave that in to your question as well.
The business of engagement -- you know, we talk about it all the time and who understands what it is. To me, it's a long term commitment to actually working with people. And it seems to me that we get worked up about engagement. We get pretty exercised about trying to solve problems in the wake of untoward events. Pretty easy to see how that happens.
But related to policies and related to long term behaviors, which I think are, again, it's what people see and observe that really makes a difference.
We could be helping ourselves, I believe, by relatively modest investments in time, treasure, and people for the long haul that would preclude us getting into a lot of these deep holes that we now find ourselves trying to dig out from.
And so engagement to me is actually being in the world, as our forward deployed folks are, certainly our diplomatic people in the various embassies but increasingly today the many thousands of military people that represent us around the world that actually are out there, on the oceans, in the skies, and on land in various countries.
And I think equipping these people with the tools that would make them effective in engagement, convincing to people that we really care is greatly important. And frankly, from the policy standpoint, the resources that I found available to do these things were pretty minimal.
And I think it's pretty obvious now that people see this across the board. You've got a secretary of defense, Mr. Gates, who has publically stated a couple times the benefit of having more of an investment and working closer with our department of State and other AID and other people. So I think this is really important.
The downside of policies and the effects of near term swings, I'd like to highlight two examples; Indonesia and Pakistan, two countries that are in the forefront of interest today for different reasons. Certainly Pakistan with the conflicts and the origins of the terrorist activities and the difficulty in fixing things in Afghanistan without addressing the complications and so forth.
We went for about 10 years with no relationship, military to military, with leaders in that country because of policies. I understand the motivations and a lot of the history but the downside was we lost the confidence of many people in that country. And more importantly we lost the ability to influence behaviors in training and background. And so it's difficult to recover from that.
Indonesia, again, different circumstances but similar kinds of challenges and were it not for the very, very tragic tsunami I'm not sure that we'd be too much further along today than we were back in 2004.
And these are things that I found as I came and appeared before you and your colleagues and those that went before you. Difficult sells, frankly, to get out and look at these policies in a maybe different light than the viewpoint that originated them. And to try to get by in to the long term investment up front in those things that would be so helpful as Secretary enumerated here that would really help us.
The other thing is that -- how do you -- how does all this come together? And what goes first? And what really makes a difference.
Without stability and security all of the other desired engagements with education and politics and commercial things and so forth, are very, very difficult to do.
In an atmosphere where people are just concerned about surviving day to day and the security dangers, as we've just seen in, certainly, in Iraq and Afghanistan and other places, it's very difficult to get effective programs going in any of these other areas.
So the element of security and stability uniquely aided by our military people, again, working these things in advance pays huge dividends. And so, again, we're not going to undo what's been done in the past except by our actions now and in the future. And I think focusing on those for the long term would be very, very helpful.
SEN. KERRY: Thanks Senator Lugar. Senator Shaheen.
SEN. JEANNE SHAHEEN (D-NH): Thank you. Thank you Secretary Albright and Admiral Fallon for being with us this afternoon.
I want to pick up a little bit, Admiral Fallon, on what you were just saying about better equipping the military to be the face of the U.S. What kinds of resources, what kinds of assistance could we provide to our servicemen and women in Muslim countries so that they could better represent the United States?
ADM. FALLON: Thank you. The list of unique things is probably pretty short. The best thing we can do it train and equip in a general way our people to go about their business professionally in the world.
Their example in the way that they carry out their normal military duties is usually important. The image that they carry with them based on their day to day performance is really very, very critical.
But we have all kinds of capabilities that can be brought to bear as we do from time to time in addition to the standard professional military expectations.
Certainly hospital shifts. We were able to very, very effectively employ those in Southeast Asia and recently in other theaters, Europe and Latin America.
Now, we can actually put military people in areas that would be considered high-risk by other civilian organizations and by our military presence in some of these places, doing humanitarian things. We can supplement our presence with civilians who would not likely go unless they had that security and stability blanket that goes along with them.
And I think there are other things that are really helpful. It's been my experience that the thing that really makes a difference is people being confident that their own governments can take care of them, and the issue of governance and how problematic that is in so many areas is an issue. What we've tried to do in the military is to train the local security forces to be able to take care of business on their own. They're the faces that really ought to be on the streets. It's great for us to come in from time to time and help out and do humanitarian things, as well as our regular security business, but a major effort is training and equipping those people. Some of this is policy and the resources and clearances that are necessary for our people to do that in different countries, and then having our people available to do out and actually do the engagement.
So there's a long list of things, but there's not many that are specifically unique to Muslim countries. These are just things that would be helpful in general. Thank you.
SEN. LUGAR: Thank you.
Secretary Albright, you talked about women in the Muslim world and some of the women that you encountered. Should the U.S. do more to promote women's rights in Muslim countries, and if so, what kinds of activities -- efforts should we undertake to do that?
MS. ALBRIGHT: (Off mike.) I think that we do need to be true to ourselves and be able to explain why we believe that having women politically and economically empowered helps to strengthen societies. But I also think we need to work with the women in a particular country and get a better understanding of it. And I have found that as I travel, that, for instance, Saudi women want to be heard. Not all of them want to drive, but they do want to be heard, and we need to work with them, take some guidance from them in terms of the things that they would like us to help on.
I do think, also, that we should do everything we can to encourage women to be involved in political activities. I have read with great pleasure that King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia has in fact now named a woman to be a deputy minister. That is step forward. And in other Muslim countries there are women that are active, but I don't think that we should give up, but we should not do it in a way that is counter productive to the women in the country themselves. So we have to work with them, and I do think we make a better society if we do help women be politically and economically empowered.
SEN. LUGAR: Thank you.
SEN. KERRY: Thank you, Senator. Senator Wicker.
SEN. ROGER WICKER (R-MS): Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and thank you both. This question is for both of you, but I will begin by quoting from Secretary Albright's testimony.
Thank you for emphatically stating that our engagement in Muslim communities should include explicit support for democracy. I've recently returned, with the Cardin Delegation, from Ramallah, Jerusalem, Damascus and other locations. We had an opportunity in our delegation to meet with one of the chief negotiators for the Palestinian Authority. And I don't know that I'm quoting him precisely, but the essence of one of the statements that he made was, anyone who says democracy is not appropriate in the Middle East is a racist. I'd like to ask both of you to respond to that statement.
And also, Secretary Albright, you mentioned that armed groups such as Hamas have no place in an election, and yet they won the parliamentary election, regrettably. That allows someone like President Assad in Damascus to respond to us that he's comfortable hosting a leading Hamas faction in Damascus because they are part of a popularly elected political party. So the second part of the question is, was there some failure in American foreign policy that allowed this Hamas success to occur in the parliamentary election, which has resulted in a divided government for the Palestinian Authority?
MS. ALBRIGHT: Thank you very much, Senator. I am chairman of the board of the National Democratic Institute, and have been spending a lot of time on democracy issues forever, but certainly since -- as my chairmanship I was the original vice chair, and we've talked a lot about this. And I do believe in democracy and I do think that there is no part of the world that isn't ready for democracy. So I think we can't just decide that some group of people are not ready to make decisions about their own lives. It doesn't necessarily have to be an American-style democracy, but I have thought that everyone is ready for some form of it.
As NDI, we now have 30 programs in countries -- in Muslim countries and then in addition in Gaza and the West Bank. So this is something that I feel very strongly about and I do think that what has been unfortunate is that the war in Iraq has given democracy a bad name. You can't impose democracy; you have to support it. And I've worked very hard on that.
On the issue of Hamas, it is a very complicated aspect of this because I think what happened is that, I believe -- and I speak only for myself -- is that the U.S. pushed for those elections at a time when it was unclear as to whether Hamas was going to give up its violent approach in terms of participating in a democratic process. I'm very glad that Senator Mitchell is the negotiator because he understood what happened in Ireland where the IRA split in a way that there was a political arm, Sinn Fein, that could be dealt with that allowed it to be part of the political process, and that hasn't happened with Hamas. So I think there should be an entry fee for entering into a democratic election, and Hamas did not -- was not asked to pay that entry fee.
But there's another part to this, and that is that --
SEN. WICKER: May I interject? Should they have been prevented from offering candidates to the public?
MS. ALBRIGHT: Well, I think there was a real question about the timing of the election, frankly, that would have been -- but they could have maybe offered candidates that -- I mean, I still think that part of the issue here is how to divide some of the Hamas in terms of those who are willing to undertake the requirements of recognizing Israel and living up to former -- giving up violence and then living up to former agreements. But what I think is important and why Hamas actually did as well as it did, is people need to vote and eat. Democracy has to deliver. And so Hamas and Hezbollah and other organizations sometimes are providing that to the people, and therefore part of what has to happen -- and it goes to your point earlier, Senator Lugar -- is there has to be economic work and education and a way that people see some benefit to democracy, and that there really is an overall program. And Hamas did not win by that much in each of the districts, but it was primarily I think because they were delivering and Fatah wasn't.
SEN. WICKER: Admiral?
ADM. FALLON: Well, certainly the secretary is the expert in the political dimensions here, but I'll tell you that from my experience, people around the world like choices. They don't like to be told they have to do things. And getting back to an earlier comment about the Taliban in Afghanistan, the people don't like the Taliban. They've had a good taste of this. And I recall back in Iraq a year or so ago the governor of Anbar telling me, you know, we've had al Qaeda; we don't like them. And so -- but people have to have some confidence that there's an alternative, and I think trying to set the conditions that allow opportunities so that people do have choices is really important.
SEN. WICKER: Thank you. And having been to the Middle East, I can tell you that Secretary Mitchell is universally well received as an envoy from the United States.
Madame Secretary, I'm glad that former Secretary Kissinger is part of a group that spoke with a unified voice on this issue. You say religion matters and you ask the question, what is Islamic terrorism? I think we'll agree there is such a thing as Islamic terrorism. Secretary Kissinger said publicly, with respect, that one of the things that is needed is for an Islamic reformation. Would you respond to Secretary Kissinger's statement? Do you agree with that?
MS. ALBRIGHT: I do think that -- and it's something that I answered partially to Chairman Kerry, is that some of the changes have to come from within Islam, that they have a process whereby there is discussion and debate within the Muslim community, and I do think that it would be -- it's nothing that we can tell them to do.
I don't think it's possible for us to tell them, "Have a reformation." But I do think that there are those -- and I have met many Muslims who see that there needs to be some approach that allows them to have greater debate. But it is not up to us to tell them to do that.
SEN. WICKER: Thank you, ma'am.
SEN. KERRY: Senator Wicker, in our next panel, I think we're going to have a couple of experts who can sort of help address some of the specifics of that. And it really is an interesting question.
I might just comment also quickly that when Secretary Albright says that there wasn't a sort of entry fee, if you will, to be paid, and the opponents were unable to deliver services and Hamas could, I think it really underscores one of the great missed opportunities, frankly, for the West with respect to this entire process.
I know that at the time the Palestinians did not want to have the elections. They wanted them delayed because they foresaw the difficulties. The Israelis likewise foresaw the difficulties. And frankly, we are the ones who insisted on the election taking place, and then we're surprised with the results of the democracy that we had insisted on. So it's really part of the convoluted history of bad vision and policy. It's the question I asked about the policies and what their implications are.
I would also add that I remember visiting with President Abbas the day he got elected in 2005, and he explained to me that he knew very well what the challenge was that he faced, but he didn't know how he was supposed to meet it because he didn't have the resources. And frankly, for about four successive years, we, the West as a whole, and some neighbors in the vicinity, ignored his needs, and they never had the ability to deliver and develop the governance that we've always demanded of them.
So in many ways, we all sort of share some of the responsibility for where we find ourselves now, and it's an interesting part of the history of this. But I do think the next panel can get more specific on some of this, which we look forward to.
SEN. EDWARD KAUFMANN (D-DE): Mr. Chairman, I want to thank you for holding this hearing, and I'm pleased also that you're -- which I totally agree with; this is just the first step. This is clearly one of the most important questions we're going to be dealing with in this Congress, and I think Congresses to come, unfortunately.
Secretary Albright, what of the tools of public diplomacy -- I mean, a lot of this is about public diplomacy. As you said, you brought public diplomacy in the State Department. What tools of public diplomacy do you think are most useful in engaging with the Muslim world?
MS. ALBRIGHT: Senator, I think that there are a number of them. First of all, you know, when we think of public diplomacy, most people think it's us talking at them. For me, I think one of the most important parts of it is listening and getting a dialogue going. So whatever aspects can have exchanges, whether they are of students or intellectuals or opinion leaders or legislative leaders, I think that is a very important part.
I also think that we need to be more attuned to modern technology. I mean, that is partially, if we are trying to compete -- I don't like the hearts and minds thing just as a statement, but if we are trying to compete, they know how to use a lot of new technology. And I think we should be able, as innovators, to really be able to use every aspect. And I hope that as the new people get into place, the Board of International Broadcasting basically can look at a variety of those tools.
And then we also ought to use their tools. I don't think it hurts if we go on al Jazeera in order to explain ourselves. And so President Obama did al Arabiyah. I think it is very important for us to tell our message, but also to listen. So the tools, I think, should be those that allow exchanges, visas, all those various aspects that bring us into contact with a number of different levels.
SEN. KAUFMANN: I'd really like you to think about those American (centers ?), you know, and how we deal with this. It isn't just the Cold War. I was in Johannesburg, where our library -- USIA used to have the library there. And Mandela and Mbeki, all the leaders of the ANC, came into that library in order to learn about democracy. And when we talk about democracy and -- (inaudible) -- of democracy, I think giving people an opportunity to kind of read history and see history is really an extraordinary thing. And I also understand the incredible security problems we have.
MS. ALBRIGHT: I think it would be wonderful to do them. And I think the security issue -- I just know how awful we felt --
SEN. KAUFMANN: Yeah.
MS. ALBRIGHT: -- when we had to close down a lot of it, and it's very difficult. And I remember as a professor traveling around and visiting the places and having opportunities to give lectures and various things. So I agree, and I hope we can figure it out.
SEN. KAUFMANN: Admiral, I can't think of better words than "Actions speak louder than words." And I think you're absolutely right. What are some of the actions that you think we should take that would send a message to the Muslim world?
MR. FALLON: If I could follow up on the questions you asked the secretary --
SEN. KAUFMANN: Sure, absolutely. Thank you.
MR. FALLON: -- to answer this question, because I think you're right on.
Things that would be impactful immediately -- in Central Asia, which is a majority Muslim population, just about every country, there's virtually no impact, zero, of U.S. media. People hear what they have traditionally heard in that area, and that's Russian language broadcast, because it used to be the former USSR. And if you would ask any of our ambassadors, they would, I expect, concur.
This would be extremely useful, and not easy, but certainly not grossly expensive. And it's something I think would have an impact, because it would give people an opportunity to hear something else and give them -- we don't have to aim it to them. We can just let them have an access into things, the way we run our business and so forth. I think it could be immensely useful.
Al Jazeera -- the president did al Arabiyah. I did an al Jazeera interview last year; actually the year before last now. It hadn't been done before. I did it on the Arabic channel. And I thought it was a tremendous opportunity to answer some tough questions, but to let people see that we weren't intimidated. We weren't afraid. We'd go out and do that. I think things like that are really important. For a lot of reasons we shy away from those things.
I share your conviction that the small outreach centers, the libraries and information stations in other countries, are of immense value, practically. This comes down to a willingness to take risk and making judgments about risk every day. It's relatively, however, difficult in implementing; relatively easy to give blanket guidance regarding risk. So we've got a terrorist threat here; can't do that, can't do that. And so people immediately go to ground and we put policies in place that prevent us from doing it. Walls go up and you can't get there.
I think that you need to consider a local situation, empower our leaders on the scene to be able to make choices and make decisions and to (flex ?) as they see things. But until and unless we can actually get these places open so people can come to them, the tremendous impact of our troops in Iraq, for example, getting out and among the population from behind the walls was phenomenal in helping us to recover that security situation; in a more peaceful environment, in these other countries, even more leverage, because there's less intimidation at the front end.
So you can't easily edict these kinds of things from a policy standpoint, but I think we can try to build in the flexibility and encourage our people on-scene to make decisions. Certainly there's risk entailed everyday. But, then again, crossing the street around here is a challenge sometimes.
SEN. KAUFMANN: Right.
MR. FALLON: Thank you.
SEN. KAUFMANN: Thank you.
Mr. Chairman, I've got to make one comment, and that is, with the discussion of al Jazeera and al Arabiyah, we have a station called al Hurra that 27 million Arabs listen to every week and a radio station called Sawa which 17 million listen to. So we have good communications.
I think the more we develop those -- al Jazeera has a budget of over $300 million. Al Hurra has $100 million. The most powerful economic-political machine in the history of the world, the United States, is spending one-third on satellite television than al Jazeera is spending on theirs. So I think an opportunity -- we have an opportunity to do these things, and I think you're absolutely right in terms of what we should be doing and how broad our public diplomacy reach should be.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
SEN. KERRY: Thank you very much, Senator Kaufmann.
We have a vote on. We're in the back end of the vote. Senator Gillibrand, you should have time to be able to get through your round, and then there's a grace period and I'll tell them that you're on your way, to cover you. Meanwhile, Senator Feingold is on his way back here to continue the round of questioning and I'm going to go and come back immediately. So Senator Feingold did want to ask this panel if he has a chance, and I know he's on his way, and then we'll keep rolling through. Thanks.
SEN. KIRSTEN GILLIBRAND (D-NY): Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Thank you for holding this hearing. Thank you to our esteemed guests.
Ambassador -- sorry -- Secretary Albright, I'd like to ask you a little bit about Pakistan. In your testimony you said that we need to repair our relationship with Pakistan, and the primary challenge is governance. I want to talk a little bit about and ask your opinion on what types of investments and what type of work can we do with the Pakistani leadership that will be helpful?
And in particular, I want to ask about -- certainly there's a very large refugee population in the FATA region. And should we or should we not be investing in education, health care, economic development, types of microlending that could create futures for families and people that live there so that we don't have the ease with which the Taliban or al Qaeda can recruit now in areas where there's extreme poverty and a lot of hopelessness?
I'd like your views on which kind of investments America should look at and what kind of strategy in particular should we be engaged with in Pakistan to help with the issue that you bring our attention to, which is governance?
MS. ALBRIGHT: It's so nice to see you, Senator.
I think that Pakistan provides more problems, I think, than any other country. I've often said it has everything that gives you an international migraine. It has nuclear weapons, poverty, extremism, corruption and is in a very difficult location -- and a weak government.
I do think that we would be better in terms of providing assistance that would work on economic issues, education, health and various issues -- which is what has been suggested by previously- Senator Biden and Senator Lugar. And I do think that the question is how to decide what the amount is, and then to whom to give it, and whether it should be distributed through nongovernmental organizations or some way that it doesn't get caught up in part of the problems with the system.
The problem with it -- and I frankly believe in this very strongly -- is that it will be hard to show you immediate results. And that the taxpayers of the United States, who are being asked to do many things at the moment, will want to know what are you getting for that dollar. But I think it is very well invested.
Education, for instance, because part of the problem is that the madrassas are educating some of the young people in ways that are not helpful in all of this. So I think that money into those particular programs, well directed through maybe nongovernmental organizations -- and then some aspects governance -- to help governments and institution building is very important.
SEN. GILLIBRAND: And do you have any thought about processes that we can put in place for oversight and accountability?
When I visited Pakistan, one of the generals that I spoke to, his largest concern was that there is no way with the billions of dollars that are given to the government that we've ever had to establish some level of accountability so that investments are going in the places where they're intended.
Do you have any thoughts about -- and maybe Admiral Fallon, this is an area where you have expertise -- on if we do continue investment, and we want to do investments in certain areas, to have a long-term intended result of combating terrorism. What would your recommendations be for how we not only deliver the funds, but how do we keep accountability so that the American taxpayer knows that these investments are to keep their children safe?
ADM. FALLON: This is a complex issue for a lot of reasons. We provide assistance to foreign countries and many are very grateful for that assistance, but they're sensitive to the fact that the package comes with lots of strings and it's something that we have to really, really be careful of.
There are some things that we can do on our own where we can maintain the accountability for such things. And in the business of security assistance, we have a number of these procedures that are pretty well inscribed in policy. And I think taking the appropriate steps to ensure that we abide by the regulations and that we don't create more for ourselves.
But I think we have to be sensitive to the fact that people are proud -- particularly in this country. There are a lot of things that the Paks are accused of, but my experience is they're proud of their achievements and there's a significant well-educated hardworking middleclass in this country and they would like to be recognized as such. So I think we need to be sensitive to that.
But if I could piggyback on something the secretary said -- there's some expectation, or there always seems to be, that we're going to have instant results. You know, we're going to make an appropriation and next year, suddenly, the seeds will sprout and everything will be wonderful. It just doesn't work that way.
It requires long-term investment. And again, we have -- for a lot of reasons that this committee or the gray beards here on the committee would certainly know a lot about -- we enacted policies in past decades that have now come home to roost, in many respects, because we just had no -- no way to leverage, no way to get inside and actually have influence on either the way money was spent or in the priority of things.
So as we -- as you consider the policy implications of various laws, just a recommendation: try to take the long view whenever possible, because it isn't going to be solved overnight. It's going to take a long time.
SEN. GILLIBRAND: Thank you both. I would love to have this conversation last for many, many more minutes, but I do have to go vote. So I'll come back. If you're still -- I'll ask more questions.
SEN. : (Off mike.)
SEN. GILLIBRAND: We're going to put this hearing in recess until the chairman returns. We can continue the panel.
SEN. KERRY: (Sounds gavel.) Folks, thank you for coming back to order. I apologize, but as is often the case, the floor schedule is clashing with the hearing schedule, and that happens around here a lot.
The result is we actually have a couple of votes coming, so it's just going to truncate the process. So we're going to have to wrap up this panel and try and get started with the next panel and just be little bit flexible.
If I could just ask you both sort of a quick question, as we -- it struck me, in the last trip that I took, that more than ever there's been a transformation, to some degree, in the entire arena of South Asia and Middle East.
And what we viewed previously almost exclusively as sort of Arab, Israeli and the Palestinian issue is transforming now into moderates versus extremists. And that secular governments, secular moderate governments, Arab governments, are increasingly concerned about this radicalization that's taking place.
Sort of the last question on the table, we've talked about the public diplomacy, we've talked about the policies themselves, we've talked about things. But is there any major step or initiative that, in your judgments, could have the greatest impact -- or is there some outreach to a particular entity or group of people whose engagement might make the greatest difference in pulling us back from this precipice?
MS. ALBRIGHT: Well, I believe -- and I think it's the new modus operandi of the Obama administration, as well as for you, Mr. Chairman, because your trip that you just took I think was exceptionally important in terms of the countries and the timing -- looking for partners among the Arab or Muslim governments, that they can help in this if they are seen as part of helping us in it. So, in that regard.
I also do believe that there is no incompatibility between democracy and Islam and, therefore, working on governance issues.
And then, if I might, and it's the basis of my book about the role of God and religion, I do think that religious leaders can help, that they can play a very important role in terms of bringing various groups together in conflict prevention and get ahead of the issue. I wouldn't have religious leaders negotiating, but I would have them there.
And also young people. I really do think -- and you're going to hear from Eboo Patel -- in terms of, I think, the next generation is the one that really has to be worked on.
SEN. KERRY: (Inaudible.)
MS. ALBRIGHT: May I say, Mr. Chairman, I think this is an extremely important set of hearings. And to the extent that I can be helpful in a continuing way on this, I would be very pleased to do so.
SEN. KERRY: Well, you've been enormously helpful to be here today. And I really want to look to you for advice and counsel and help as we go forward, and we will go forward.
And I just commend everybody that we're not in the job of selling books on the Committee, but The Mighty and the Almighty -- I feel like a talk show host or something, but -- (laughter) -- introduction by President Clinton. But it's a terrific piece, and it does confront a lot of these issues. In the next panel we have the Who Speaks for Islam?
These are important books, and it's important for all of us to try to understand this better.
So, Admiral, do you want to add a last word?
ADM. FALLON: Just a couple.
There's no magic here. It requires a long-term commitment to try to let people have choices. In this struggle between the extremists and so-called moderates, I think that giving encouragement to the majority who want stability, they want security, and they want to be able to live their lives in some semblance of normalcy.
Removing some of the obvious distracters, things that are pointed to constantly as well, if only that were solved. We're not going to solve the Palestinian-Israeli problem. They're going to have to solve it, the people there on the scene.
But we can help. We can provide encouragement. We can try to remove, to the best of our ability, these -- I call them distracters -- that are often put up as the reason why.
And people are people, human nature, always looking for ways to either have somebody else take the hit or to avoid, often, responsibility for our own actions.
SEN. KERRY: Right.
ADM. FALLON: So, encouraging responsible leaders to actually take charge, to step up and take the initiative, with some sense that they're not just going to walk the plank -- that if they're going to operate in an arena of some risk and some insecurity, that we'll be there to help them as best we can.
And I think that pursuing those kinds of policies long-term gives us our best chance.
SEN. KERRY: Well, we thank you.
We all have to remember that the concept of diversity, pluralism, and tolerance didn't even come easily here.
And the history of my state is written partially by people who escaped from a place called Salem, wandered through the woods for a winter and found a place that they named Providence, which is now the capital of Rhode Island, as well as people who fled to what is now Connecticut because they were seeking refuge from religious extremism. And that was indeed the original purpose of a whole bunch of folks coming to Massachusetts and to this country.
So we've been through this. You can go to Europe in the 1600s, 30 years of a war between Catholics and Protestants and opportunists who took advantage of their struggle. And an awful lot of people have died in the name of someone's sense of their rectitude about the good scriptures of any religion.
So, as Madeleine Albright said today, the Bible and the Koran are filled with a choice of which rhetoric you want to choose to employ, and you can make war or you can make peace.
That's our struggle, and we are going to continue to explore it in greater detail and uninterruptedly, I hope, on occasion. But I thank you so much for being here today.
And we'd love to bring our second panel to the table, if we could, as fast as possible. Thank you very much. Thank you, Secretary. Thank you, Admiral.