Mr. President, thank you. It's an honor to be here at such a great university. I know this particular law school must be the finest law school in America because my son applied here, was rejected and got accepted into a second rate university, Yale. And so I measure how important and how significant undergraduate and graduate institutions are based upon how they have rejected me or accepted my children.
I'm going to embarrass her but it's great to see my niece here who, for a brief shining moment was the deputy press secretary in the last administration and worked in the White House, and who is now attending law school across the way, my niece Missy. It's great to see you honey. So it almost doesn't matter how this speech goes today because I know one person in this room will love it, and I'm delighted you're here.
I was supposed to speak here two weeks ago and the city became paralyzed to the significant snow storm. I'm speaking here today and it may be the coldest day of the year. I hope you don't think I'm like that old, bad joke about the guy who is married for 65 years and is sitting on the porch with his wife and he goes through all the bad times in his life and how his wife was always there for him. And he turns to her and says, "You know what, you're bad luck." Well, I hope you don't think I'm bad luck by being invited here.
Two weeks ago we were waiting to see what Saddam would do. Would he meet the demands of U.N. resolutions, or not, particularly 1441? Would we go to war, or not? I happen to think we will, not should, but will. And I happen to think the military phase of this likely conflict will move relatively well, in the sense that we will be successful and will be relatively short. I happen to think the aftermath will be an incredible undertaking for which we have not prepared the American people, and for which we are not fully prepared.
Today, two weeks later, we're on the verge of war - a war that is justified, but make no mistake, one that is elective.
Colin Powell has been working hard at the U.N. to gain the broadest consensus possible to show the world as a united world against Saddam Hussein and his possession of weapons of mass destruction. That show of unity is the last best chance to avoid this war. Unfortunately, I don't think in light of other actions on the part of the administration we are likely to get the show of unity I believe we could have had.
Showing Saddam we mean business is the only hope to get him to comply with the U.N. resolutions that he has ignored. But before we go any further, I think it's important to look at the events that have taken us from the Cold War to this new Borderless War, to understand more fully where we are today. On August 14, 1961, East Berliners awoke to find their borders closed. It was a Saturday and East German troops had dug up the streets and had begun to install barbed wire fences.
The next day, troops brought in the first concrete blocks to wall-off the city. When the wall was finally built, it was eleven feet high in places, and stretched for 66 miles.
Twenty-eight years later, on November 9, 1989, after 5,000 people had risked their lives to cross it -- after 3,200 were arrested trying - and 192 died in desperate attempts to reach freedom - the Wall finally came down.
In those 28 years the threat we faced was clear and obvious to the whole world. It was the threat of communism and it was unmistakable. The political map of the world back then was one dimensional. On that map only one line mattered.
It was the line - sometimes advancing, sometimes receding - between East and West, between our way of life and theirs.
We were spending billions of dollars on an arms race, building fallout shelters and teaching our kids to duck and cover. We fought surrogate wars around the world and lost 36,940 in Korea, and 58,178 in Vietnam.
Back then, the containment of communism was the cornerstone of American foreign policy. The wild card was mutual assured destruction. Everything else was secondary to holding the line.
When the Wall came down we felt a boundless sense of what was possible -- that technology, ideas, and information would spread our values and help share our prosperity.
By the late 1990s, for the first time in history, more than half the world's people lived under governments of their own choosing.
In our own hemisphere, where just a few decades earlier a third of the countries lived under authoritarian rule, every country but Cuba was a democracy. But for all the promise, there were signs of peril.
Countries were not going to war with each other but with themselves in the Balkans, Haiti, and Rwanda.
Almost imperceptibly, America's place in the world was changing. People were looking to us for the leadership no one else could provide. We were viewed at that moment as a potentially healing positive force.
When we assumed our new role of unchallenged pre-eminence, we became the focal point for a broad range of powerful emotions: admiration and attraction, but also anger and resentment. Many identified with us, but many feared losing their identities to us.
Some began to see us as the ugly Americans, others saw us as their salvation. American music was playing on radio stations around the world. People were watching American television programs and movies, eating American food, and wearing American jeans.
We became a symbol of the status quo, and so, unfairly, we became the target for people everywhere who didn't like their lot in life.
At the same time, our justifiable international activism in places like Bosnia and Kosovo, threatened every thug, every despot who liked things just the way they were. And they got the message.
We had entered a new era, but had trouble defining it. We still have trouble finding the right words to describe it. We called it the post-Cold War era, defining it by the period that had just ended. This reflected our struggle to define our place in the world.
Then came, in this very city, not far from here, the events of September 11th. In many ways, it was the first morning in America no longer defined by the Cold War. Everything was fundamentally different. We suddenly realized old notions no longer applied. I n fact, the notion of war itself had suddenly changed. It was no longer 40 Russian divisions crossing the Fulda Gap, bearing down on the rest of Europe to tear down democracies and establish communist regimes, it was something much more sinister.
Armies that once were uniformed forces deployed by nation-states had become stateless criminals in the service of international terrorist organizations.
It was clear that the notion of national security had also changed. We could no longer define our security in old Cold War terms like mutual assured destruction, when thousands of missiles on both sides were aimed at millions of innocent civilians to assure neither would ever use those weapons.
That morning - a few blocks from here - we were hit by a new reality. Suddenly, there was a new line on the map. It was multi-dimensional, and very difficult to follow.
It divided not just one ideology or even one civilization from another. It divided the powerful forces of order and construction from the emerging forces of chaos and destruction.
Those forces of destruction make up a nexus of new threats with no respect for borders: religious fundamentalism, international terrorism, organized crime and drug trafficking, the spread of weapons of mass destruction, rogue nations, and failed states.
They will become even more lethal if we allow them to get together in an environment of economic dissolution, environmental degradation, or the spread of infectious disease. Failure to understand the environment in which these forces have joined together is to deal at our own peril, and will prove disastrous for us - not only for us, but for the security of the rest of the world.
Our new war is not a Cold War, but a Borderless War for which we must reorganize ourselves and our resources. And the fateful question is, how do we reorganize ourselves? What should be the elements of that reorganiztion?
It seems to me the first thing we have to realize is that we have, and the administration has, too narrow a definition of what constitutes security. We are still mired in Cold War thinking. We have yet to develop a comprehensive approach to national security that addresses the growing vulnerability people are feeling.
Yesterday's soccer moms have become today's security moms. And we have to do all we can to make them feel less vulnerable, but in fact to make us less vulnerable. And the answer does not lie in the formulas of the past.
It seems to me real security needs to be viewed as a Rubik's Cube, one thing closely tied to and affecting the other - national security, homeland security, economic security, energy security, security in our homes, our schools, our neighborhoods. They're all related. Until we retool and begin to see security in this new light, we will remain insecure and vulnerable.
We need a long-term strategy and none has been articulated so far. We need an offensive and defensive strategy, not an ad hoc reactive policy that relies on tired old notions or shortsighted ideas that deal with the urgent at the expense of the important. If we were in Washington the pundits would call it a "new paradigm." But what that really means is we have to do this right, and do it wisely.
The first question is: Do we have the right offensive strategy to deal with these new threats? Do we have the right offensive strategy?
Well, I don't think we have a strategy. The central focus of our offensive strategy, for the foreseeable future, must be to to deal with, in order of priority, what the most urgent and immediate threat is. When New York goes from code orange or yellow to red -- or whatever the hell these codes are these days -- it doesn't have a damn thing to do with anything that is happening in the nation states, including Iraq. It has to do with Al Qaeda. It has to do with loosely knit and large fabric international terrorist organizations which represent the most clear and present danger to our security.
Everyone, with the possible exception of the president or some of his advisors, understands that our number one enemy in the world at this moment is unbridled international terrorist organizations with the potential capacity to lay their hands on weapons of mass destruction at it's worst, and innovative means of using conventional weapons at it's least.
The sense of vulnerability shared by today's security moms is not because of Saddam, it's because of Osama and Al Qaeda.
And it will take a sustained effort to build new kinds of international cooperation that will be our most effective weapon in the war against terrorism so we share intelligence better, cooperate on law enforcement, on disrupting financial networks, on extraditions.
This should have been our number one priority after 9-11. We could have, should have, and should still rally our allies, the U.N., NATO, and others to build this cooperation.
Let me just give you one example of what I mean about lost opportunity. The whole world watched as we boarded, with the help of the Spanish, a vessel traveling in international waters that had embarked from North Korea that had missiles with the capacity to deliver lethal quantities of weapons of mass destruction long distances, in the hull of a ship buried beneath cement in an attempt to camouflage the existence of that cargo. But because there exists no international standard for stopping the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction or the means to deliver them, the whole world stood by as we uncovered this shipment and had to let it go, destined for God knows who, sent by an unstable dictator of the most isolated communist regime in the world, North Korea.
How did we get to that place? Why did we not spend the better part of the last year working out in conjunction with our allies in Europe and around the world an international regime that would benefit everyone of the single nation states despotic or other wise?
Immediately after 9-11 it became clear to everyone including the Chinese leadership, with whom I met, that, as was stated to me, that they could picture that second plane going into an 87 story tower in Shang Hai as well as they could into the World Trade Towers in New York City. It was the ultimate wake up call. And we had immediately after that action the world united in a way that it has not been for a century.
But what did we do? Did we move toward this cooperation? It seems to me we have to recognize that we cannot expect other countries to share our concerns if we show disdain for their concerns.
We made it clear to the rest of the world what we thought our priorities were, and when they told us, regionally and internationally what theirs were, we found little regard for their concern. We unilaterally announced our pulling out of the ABM treaty, we suggested we would not negociate any further on the international criminal court, we pulled out of the Kyoto agreement without any willingness to negociate any changes, and we sent a stark message to the rest of the world at the very moment that it was prepared. It was prepared at least in its rhetoric, to consider whether or not there would be new rules of the road.
In taking on failed states like Afghanistan that become a haven for borderless thugs like bin Laden, or outlaw states like Iraq that break their commitments to the world, and their peace agreements that they sign - my dilemma here is, I think this administration is so badly handling the situation in Iraq that it frustrates me because I think Iraq must be dealt with. I separate myself from those who think that Iraq is this feckless state that is of no concern and those who think it requires us to immediately invade it.
I find myself with choices that frustrate me, frustrate me beyond belief. But, what happened when we in fact moved on Afghanistan? We showed the ultimate resolve of the American people, but at the same time what did we do? We raised questions about not our military power but our staying power. In Afghanistan, our military did a terrific job ending the Taliban's regime. But Al Qaeda continues to be a dangerous threat in the region, but there are tens of thousands of Taliban alive and well and functioning in the region. And we now risk seizing defeat from the jaws of victory by relying on warlords to secure Afghanistan beyond Kabul.
There is a growing power vacuum, with Al Qaeda sneaking back in, not withstanding the significant arrest that took place in Afghanistan this past weekend. We run the risk of allowing fundamentalism and terrorism to take root again, outside nations to begin to influence the shape and policies of Afghanistan.
So let's be very clear: This Administration has not, in my view, done nearly enough in Afghanistan to win the peace, and if we go to war in Iraq, we can't afford to repeat that mistake. We'll have to stay until the country is secure, its weapons of mass destruction destroyed, and a stable, pluralistic - if not a democracy which I think would be almost impossible to guarantee -- but a pluralistic government in place of Saddam Hussein. For failure to do so, we'll not just be letting down the Iraqi people, we'll be jeopardizing our national interest in the extreme.
Winning the war but losing the peace in Iraq is not an option. We don't want to make that mistake again, but make no mistake, in order to avoid that mistake it will be timely and costly. Very, very costly. And that's all the more reason, I might note parenthetically, why we need more support than we have among the coalition of the willing.
In this Borderless War, perhaps the single most important element of an offensive strategy is to prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
It's not enough to preempt problems when they erupt. We have to prevent them from happening in the first place. And the single most important preventive action we can take is to help Russia secure and destroy stockpiled weapons, which Russia is seeking assistance to destroy. So that these very weapons do not fall into the hands of agents of chaos.
I find it fascinating we are so concerned about the possibility and the unlikely prospect of Saddam turning over weapons of mass destruction to Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups who would have him if not their first target, as at least their second target, and yet we seem so caviler about the weapons of mass destruction that exist in other parts of the world. Over the past decade, with Russian cooperation, we've spent millions of dollars paying U.S. scientists, paying U.S. contractors, not Russians, to go to Russia and destroy thousands of nuclear weapons in Russia. We've made major progress and in the process we've made everyone in America safer and in the world for that matter.
We've destroyed or deactivated 6,032 nuclear warheads, 491 ballistic missiles, and countless backfire bombers.
We are employing 22,000 scientists formerly employed in weapons of mass destruction programs, but there still are another 60,000 out there trying to raise families -- available to the highest bidder, and with no work at all in sight.
Unfortunately, this Administration came in predisposed against these programs and initially sought to cut their budgets when, in fact, we need a significant increase in the budgets for these so called threat reduction programs. So there is much more to be done.
We need to extend threat reduction programs beyond Russia to countries like India and Pakistan. Let me give you one example, there is a -- it looks like a Home Depot, about 40 to 60 kilometers South, I believe West, of Moscow. In that "Home Depot," and I say that because it has these large shelves that are lined up just like when you walk into a Home Depot, there are stacked 1,987,000, chemical tipped artillery shells. The smallest of which, if dropped on Giants stadium on game day, would kill every single solitary person in Giants stadium. But this administration, for almost two years, blocked the construction of a 200 million dollar facility that we were going to build with American money and American contractors, where we were going to take every single one of those shells, convey them to this destruction facility, drill two holes in the bottom of the shell, take out the offending material, dilute it, and crush the cannister.
The far right within this administration, and the administration is not all far right, there is a real split in this administration, the far right in this administration argued we should not do that because fungible money. If we were to spend the money to do that then the Russians wouldn't spend the money to do that and they'd take the money they didn't have to spend and do bad things with it. A little focus for you here, the entire Russian budget, for everything from highways to agriculture, to defense, is less than 40 billion dollars. A half a dozen states have budgets bigger than that. New York's budget is bigger than that, and I believe by a long shot. Their entire military budget is 9 billion dollars. Fungible money? Fungible money?
Once again, we cannot be reactive and shortsighted in dealing with weapons of mass destruction, especially nuclear weapons. The situation in North Korea may be the best and most immediate and striking example of the single most immediate danger we face. The situation has gone from bad to worse, with no apparent policy to deal with it. If you note there are no red lines drawn by this administration with regard to North Korea. There is no policy besides the fact that they want a multilateral discussion. Yet, the multilateral participants say they do not want to be part of the discussion and insist we should be discussing the future with North Korea.
North Korea is on the verge of producing enough plutonium to make more than an additional 6 warheads in a matter of months, or taking a portion of that plutonium, which is very difficult to detect, it is not in the minds of the average American radioactive that can be picked up a Geiger counter. It can be put in a tin and put in your suitcase and transported across borders, with very little capacity to be detected. It's the stuff of which small portions of which can be made part of what is fully in the realm of possibility, a home made nuclear device, a rifle device, that if you had small portions of this radioactive material that is about the same circumference as the bottom of this bottle of water and about a quarter of an inch thick, in the right configuration, smashed together rapidly can in fact produce a nuclear chain reaction that would have brought down the trade towers, I'm told by the scientists of Las Alamos, in three, t-h-r-e-e seconds and kill over 120,000, New Yorkers, New Jersey, or Connecticut residents depending on which way the wind is blowing.
We also need a much clearer and clear-eyed policy of dealing with Korea. North Korea is the world's worst proliferator. It is on the verge of becoming the plutonium factory of the world. Keep in mind their entire trade exchange is 200 million dollars. How much could they get in the open market for just small amounts of the plutonium? It would be very difficult to protect against moving. What do we do, how can we account for our security, if in fact they began a reprocessing facility, in taking these 8,000 spent rods which contain the plutonium now, and they have the capacity to take it out in weapons grade form? How do we account for it? What does that mean we have to plan for? How uncertain does that make our policy? For fear that it may show up in the hull a container ship coming up the Hudson River or the Delaware River.
North Korea may be to blame for the crisis. But two years of American policy incoherence has not helped matters. We've see-sawed between engagement and name calling. But in the end, there's no substitute for direct talks. It's the most effective way for North Korea to understand what it must do if it wants more normal relations with us and the rest of the world. For I know of no other alterative. When the president asked my view, I said what we should be doing is negotiating with South Korea and speaking to North Korea. For how can we go to war against the North if the South will not participate?
Our final offensive hurdle is to continue to adapt our armed forces to new demands and new missions. That means making them lighter and faster. It means downsizing our permanent presence in Europe and Asia in favor of rapid rotations and smaller deployments. It means fielding more unmanned aerial vehicles like the Predator. It means expanding and fully funding our Special Forces. And it means developing international security force gendarme, which I have been proposing for the last 12 years, that is a police force that has quasi military capability, that's international in scope and can move into those areas of the world where they must act to deal with despotism, whether it's Milosovic or whether it ends up being Saddam Hussein and take the place of warriors who are trained to fight wars not to maintain peace. There is much more to do that I will not bore you with, but we have to reshape the nature of our defense establishment.
There's a lot at stake, and getting this right won't be easy. It's not unreasonable to wonder how we're going to manage it all. It certainly won't get done "the right way" by sticking our heads in the sand when it comes to making the tough choices.
The president's budget doesn't suggest any choice we have to make that is tough. Think about this -- you students in here are obviously very bright or you wouldn't be here at this great university -- I challenge you to think of a single time in American history when an American president has called a nation to war, deployed a quarter million of its men and women, and said simultaneously that we are going to take care of your health care problems, we are going to give you a three quarter of a trillion dollar tax cut, and by the way, there is no sacrifice. None, don't worry, we can do al of this.
The point is, a strong offensive strategy doesn't come cost free. It doesn't come without setting priorities and making trade-offs. Some of you may have heard, if you're insomiacs or watch C-Span or other networks, what I say to my colleagues when I'm on those shows. To those who are most ready to move, I say: "I want you to look out there at the American people right now and tell them that when we make this commitment to go and to stay that you are prepared to vote against a tax cut to pay for those military forces to stay in place. Or you, who may have a different focus, are you prepared to delay voting for a prescription drug plan for a nation because you know you're going to have to spend the money to be in place for a significant portion of time?" For I challenge you to tell me how it is remotely possible to meet our economic needs, our domestic needs, and this foreign policy agenda, whether it's going to war or developing a way to deal with this new borderless enemy without making some sacrifices.
My dad and Missy's grandpa, who just died, used to say, "If everything is equally important to you Joey, nothing is important to you." We have to make some hard choices.
In my view, the American people should at least have a clear estimate of the cost ahead of time as well as a clear understanding of the trade-offs and there has been no national discussion about that. None. I've been a broken record nationally for the last 11 months that the one thing my generation, the Vietnam generation, no matter what our view was on that war, could agree on is that no foreign policy can be sustained, no matter how well informed it might be, without the informed consent of the American people ahead of time.
I believe our nation's single greatest responsibility, our federal governments single greatest responsibility, is to provide for the physical security for the people of the United States of America, and if that means we must forgo other things that we need then so be it. But we must tell the American people forthrightly, up front, ahead of time. And there has been no honest discussion about that at this stage of our debate.
The second part of a strategy for real security is a smart defense. That means retooling to make sure ports, airports, highways, trains, power plants, public buildings, and neighborhoods are as secure as we can make them.
Look, Osama bin Laden sat in a cave in Afghanistan with a laptop and communicated by satellite phone, through internet sites, and with e-mail to his minions around the world. So it'll take more than duct tape to defend ourselves.
What do we do? The President was right, in my view, to implement a Democratic idea: the Department of Homeland Security. But, as Cuba Gooding said in his movie, the movie that he won the Academy Award for: "Show me the money Remember that line? Well, follow the money. Follow the money in this new homeland defense initiative. Look at the new budget with a reckless 42 percent cut in state and local law enforcement and homeland security assistance. Ask your republican mayor, ask any mayor, ask any governor whether or not he or she has one additional police officer, one additional first responder, one additional piece of equipment, one additional program to deal with the threat that lives on our streets.
It's not going to be somebody wearing a camouflage uniform, night goggles, and trained as a special forces person that is going to run into the next Al Qaeda operative on a street in New York or Wilmington, Delaware. It's going to be a cop, it's going to be somebody on the street. It eliminates all direct support for police departments at a time when police are being asked to do more with less that we're going to have a 40 percent cut in the help to deal with local law enforcement.
We've got to have a defensive strategy that empowers those charged with defending us, and brings to bear the power of our technology. We need to give state and local police access to terrorist watch lists which they don't have now. We should expand the National Guard's role in homeland security, including disaster relief and emergency response.
We should ensure the security of 100 percent, not 2 percent of the 21,000 cargo containers that arrive in the U.S. every day, that our ports have secure entrances, sufficient inspectors, and state-of-the-art screening. And we should insist that countries at the point of origin keep the right records and bills of lading to be able to attest to what is in those containers before they are shipped. This is not rocket science.
First responders need radios that work, the proper gear to protect themselves, and the training to protect others. We have no public health service in this country. Frontline health workers must be trained to recognize the symptoms of biological and chemical attack and given modern tracking equipment to spot outbreaks in days, not weeks. For if we have this capacity, the thing that people live in fear of will be manageable.
We don't tell you all that if tomorrow a out in the square a dirty bomb goes off in an orderly fashion in the next 24 hours exit on the other side of the building, none of you would be harmed. The cancer rate is 1 in 20,000 right now your risk would increase from 1 in 20,000 to, if I remember correctly from the information I have been told, 1 in 19,975. But because no one explains that to anyone, more people would die stampeding out of this room and out of the city, than the few that would die from the blast.
If we have detection equipment to determine whether or not a pathogen has been released in the air, if you in fact are exposed to smallpox and we know within seven days, we have enough vaccine in the US to inoculate every single person in the United States. It's a matter of notification. It's a matter of coordinating the health departments in every city so they can spread online that there is an outbreak of smallpox in the city. We need not have serious loss of life even with a terrorist distribution of smallpox. So why aren't we doing this? Why aren't we taking the action, defensive in nature, fully within our capacity?
We have to improve security at our nuclear plants and toxic chemical facilities. Remember that little explosion in India of a chemical facility? Thousands of people died. Ask your Senators, who are working like hell to do all of this, ask your congressmen, Democrat or Republican, whether or not the chemical plant in your area is anymore secure today than it was on 9-11. Ask how many resources have been expended to be sure that it has significantly reduced the possibility of being sabotaged. We have 103 nuclear plants in the U.S. - 21 of which are within 5 miles of an airport.
Implementing a strong defensive strategy will take time, but government has to do everything possible to make homeland security a top priority. We are not going to stop someone from walking in here with an explosive device in their backpack and blow up a restaurant and or this room. But we can significantly increase the possibility that no one will do that at a nuclear power plant, which can in fact, have disastrous consequences for large number of people.
Finally, along with a strong offense and a good defense, we need a long-term strategy.
We have to ask ourselves: how do we shape the international environment to make us more secure? This may be the toughest question of all and the one in which I believe the administration is paying the least attention to.
The attack on America provided an opportunity to unite other nations. We have to remember that the world is not against us.
Remember, not long after September 11th the French newspaper, Le Monde ran a headline that said: "We are all Americans." NATO spontaneously invoked article five. Article five of the NATO treat says an attack on one is an attack on all and requires the common defense.
It was an extraordinary statement when both of those things happened. But then we began to dictate to the world and appeared to be the unilateralists the world feared we might be. We told NATO that we didn't need their troops in Afghanistan. We announced a new doctrine of preemption, that to this day no one can explain, and we said at the U.N., "No matter what you do we are going, it doesn't matter." These are not things that encourage people to cooperate with us. And we have never laid out a clear rationale as to why we must go in now but why we must stay and will we stay.
But let's not misunderstand. The world is not against us. A minority of fundamentalists are. Only a very small number of them are terrorists.
The cause of their hatred isn't poverty. Most of the 9-11 hijackers were middle class. And no grievance can justify their actions. They are beyond the reach of reason.
But a far larger number of people around the world are all too prepared to explain terrorism, to turn the other way, and even to provide sanctuary, support, and successors. These are the people we have to reach.
And we cannot reach them if we abdicate our role to help resolve regional conflicts that matter to them, to stand for democracy, and to stand with those trying to build better lives. Remember Saddam Hussein did not come into being because of us, he came into being because he thought the Saudi kingdom oppressive. And it wasn't until we placed troops in Saudi Arabia that we became his direct enemy, we were the thing in his view that stood between him and taking down that regime.
My grandfather and Missy's great grandfather, every Sunday we had dinner at my grandmom's house, supper at 3:00, and we always had this big pot roast. It was always cooked in a big old pressure cooker. I remember my grandmom used to make me get out the pressure cooker and it was heavy when I was 12 years old. And it had this great big lid on it with this valve on top. And I remember saying to my grandmom one day, "What's this for?" And she said, "Honey, it's to let the steam off. It's kind of like your grandpop." She said, "I have to let him let the steam off, if I don't this pot will blow off the top." If there is no quasi let alone democratic outlet in a country, the only place that dissent goes is underground and it becomes the fodder for terror.
It is very much in our interest that we push in the direction of progressive governments in that region of the world. In the Middle East it deserves our utmost attention. On its own terms the path in my view to security in the Middle East is through a peace agreement, not through Bagdad.
We're deeply invested in seeing an end to hostilities between Israel and all its neighbors. And when we were, we did not face this same dilemma. But progress would also pay dividends by securing Arab support on Iraq and the war on terrorism.
We have an opportunity to promote democratic change and good governance in the Arab/Muslim world, a region desperate for progressive reform.
As the world's most powerful country, we must be seen as determined leaders, in empowering people economically and politically.
Only then can we overcome the resentment of so many who see us as indifferent to their plight.
Let me tell you, in my thirty years as a Senator, I've never met a world leader who doesn't view the United States as the reason for all of his difficulty, and the solution to all of their problems. It is an unfair burden, but it is a reality.
The fact is: we are where we are. At this moment in history, at the same time we are at our most vulnerable, we are at our most unchallenged militarily, economically and ideologically. Some people don't like our power.
Others resent our progress, so we have to do a better job of explaining ourselves and use our power in a way that doesn't dissipate our influence - but enhances it.
In conclusion, we've obviously entered a period of increased vulnerability, of transforming shifts in the political landscape. Our security is no longer a one dimensional game played out in Washington or in capitals around the world. It's much more complicated, it demands cooperation, and it requires more profound leadership to build that cooperation. The decisions we make in the next several months are going to seal our fate for the next several decades.
In 1947, Harry Truman said something that should be said by a President today. He said:
"This is a critical period in our national life. The process of adapting ourselves to the new concept of our world responsibility is naturally a difficult and painful one. The cost is necessarily great. It's not our nature to shirk our obligations. We have a heritage that constitutes the greatest resources of this nation. I call it the spirit and character of the American people."
We have not called on that spirit. We have not, to date, reflected that character.
Where is that voice today? This too is a critical period in our national life. A time to accept our responsibilities and our obligations and understand and adapt to this new world. Most importantly, our most important weapon is if we share our values. And, without doubt, a time for that American spirit in a way that we have been silent thus far. Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for your indulgence and I will be happy to try to answer any questions you have.