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Speech to the National Conference of the World Affairs Councils of America

Location: Unknown

Speech to the National Conference of the World Affairs Councils of America

By: U.S. Senator Chuck Hagel

Thank you, Jim, for inviting me to speak at the National Conference of the World Affairs Councils of America. I respect and appreciate your leadership and your organization's commitment to promoting greater understanding of global affairs.

You have heard from an outstanding group of foreign policy leaders, practitioners, and intellectuals over the last three days, including former Secretary of State Colin Powell. In my opinion, Secretary Powell ranks among America's finest Secretaries of State.

This week, the Senate confirmed Dr. Condoleezza Rice to be Secretary Powell's successor. I supported Dr. Rice's nomination, and I consider her to be well-qualified and prepared for her job.

The challenges for U.S. foreign policy over the next four years will be formidable. Our foreign policy needs to support our energy, economic, defense and domestic policies. It all falls within the arch of national interest. There will be windows of opportunity, but they will open and close quickly. We need to be ready to seize these opportunities. Foreign policy will require a strategic agility that, whenever possible, gets ahead of problems, strengthens U.S. security and alliances, and promotes American interests and credibility.

The title of your conference is "Tackling the World's Toughest Issues." Let me present a dozen of the most difficult issues that America will face in the coming decade.

First, our foreign policy will depend now more than ever on our relationships, alliances, and international organizations. Alliances and international organizations should be understood as opportunities for leadership and a means to expand our influence, not as constraints on our power. The 21st century will require a re-affirmation and re-definition of our alliances and international organizations. Change does not make our alliances less relevant. To the contrary. But change requires that institutions and alliances adapt to the ever shifting global strategic environment.

The U.S.-Europe-Japan alliance has been the foundation of our post-World War II global strategy and should remain so. America is both an Atlantic and a Pacific power. Our alliance with Europe and Japan functions as a bridge between East and West, Atlantic and Pacific, and is based on a shared commitment to democracy, free trade, and global leadership. Despite the end of the Cold War, our ties to Europe and Japan are the starting points for our engagement in Europe, Asia, the Middle East and around the world.

The United Nations has a critical role to play in promoting stability, security, democracy, human rights, and economic development. The UN is as relevant today as at any time in its history, but it needs reform. UN Secretary General Kofi Annan has said he is committed to reform, and he must follow through with serious and comprehensive reform initiatives. The U.S. should play a constructive, leadership role in that reform effort.

Second, the war on terrorism is not a foreign policy, but it is a major organizing principle for our foreign policy. Terrorism is a global threat, but the center of gravity is the Muslim world, especially the Middle East. The Muslim world will be the battleground between models of governance that are either rooted in radicalism and violence, or moderation and the rule of law. The outcome of this struggle will shape our global security interests for many years.

The war on terrorism depends on unprecedented intelligence, economic, humanitarian, diplomatic and security cooperation with our allies. Despite significant victories against Al-Qaeda's leadership and resources, the war against terrorism is far from over. Mapping the Global Future, the Report of the National Intelligence Council's 2020 Project, based on consultations with many international experts, predicts that "by 2020 al-Qa'ida will have been superceded by similarly inspired but more diffuse Islamic extremist groups."

We have entered a new and potentially more dangerous phase in the war on terrorism - a generational phase. The next generation of the Muslim world cannot be lost to the ideology of radical Islam. American policies in the war on terrorism must address the political and economic conditions that breed radicalism and violence. Poverty and underdevelopment do not necessarily lead to terrorism. But a lack of political freedom and economic opportunity undermine the prospects for stability and democracy in developing regions, and present easy targets for extremists.

U.S. foreign policy must be directed toward working with the peoples and governments of the Middle East and elsewhere to support political reform and more open economies. That is the long-term solution to terrorism. The Millennium Challenge Account (MCA) is a good example of a creative tool to support good governance and sustainable economic development in the developing world. This is the type of program that we need to expand in the Middle East and throughout the Islamic world.

A third and related issue is the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. The world's most notorious regimes and terrorist groups cannot be allowed to develop nuclear weapons programs. The break-up of the A.Q. Khan procurement network was a substantial victory for our counter-proliferation policies. We will need to expand the Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction (CTR) programs to eliminate existing stockpiles in the former Soviet Union and elsewhere. I
applaud the leadership of my colleague, Senator Dick Lugar (R-IN), Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, for his vision and determination to help build a safer world.

The clock is ticking with regard to nuclear weapons programs in North Korea and Iran. In North Korea, the six-party talks have provided a useful framework for dealing with Kim Jong Il's regime. The diplomacy of the EU-3 and the inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) have so far been the best options in dealing with Iran. But to succeed, the U.S. and our European allies must put the burden of decision on Iran, which has not yet made the strategic choice to give up its nuclear weapons program and stop its support for terrorism. Our efforts to change Iranian behavior will require a multilateral strategy of incentives and disincentives. Europe needs to get serious about penalties for Iranian non-compliance, including UN diplomatic censure and multi-lateral sanctions. The United States needs to consider economic and diplomatic incentives if Iran complies with its non-proliferation obligations and ends its support for terrorists. At this stage, no option should be taken off the table. The stakes are too high.

Fourth, U.S. global economic interests are critical to American prosperity and power. The economic implications of trade deficits, the current account balance,
and the value of the dollar are critical indicators of economic power. In 2003,
the overall U.S. merchandise trade deficit with the world stood at over $535 billion. The current account deficit now exceeds 5% of U.S. gross domestic product (GDP), placing downward pressure on the dollar. Although these numbers should be considered in the context of America's overall competitive position in the global economy, the strength of the dollar and the extent of our foreign debt cannot be disconnected from our foreign policy.

U.S. foreign policy must support open markets for U.S. products through expanded free trade. More open economies can lead to more open political systems in developing countries. The U.S. must set the example for future trade and economic development in the WTO and through our Doha Round trade commitments. Free trade agreements, such as the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) and the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA), and growth-oriented programs like the Millennium Challenge Account, can help developing countries achieve sustainable development and regional stability.

Free and fair trade is an opportunity, not a guarantee. Trade regimes are imperfect and need constant attention. One thing we know for certain is that protectionism does not work. Jobs and markets are neither gained nor protected. America is at the center of the global economy. We cannot pick and choose which parts of global trade we wish to support and discard those that we don't accept, if we expect other countries to abide by global trade regimes. This applies to China and all of our trading partners as well. We cannot allow a global trading system that has been so important to the world for more than 50 years to unravel. The emphasis for all nations should be on policies that support trade and growth and open economies.

Energy is also related to our economic and security priorities. The imbalance created by huge energy imports to the U.S. contributes to bilateral trade
deficits. U.S. reliance on oil and gas from overseas will not subside anytime soon. The reality, at least for the short term, is not energy independence, but energy interdependence. In order to achieve long-term energy security, the United States must diversify its energy sources and develop alternative fuel technologies and renewable fuels. U.S. foreign policy must promote regional security and political and economic reform initiatives in oil and gas producing regions such as the Persian Gulf, the Caspian Sea, the Gulf of Guinea, and Latin America.

International economic policy is sometimes overlooked or compartmentalized, but it cannot be considered in isolation of our foreign policy. In the 109th Congress, I plan to retain the Chairmanship of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on International Economic Policy, Export & Trade Promotion in order to work in Congress and with the Administration on international economic policy, energy, and trade policies.

Fifth, U.S. public diplomacy has lost its way and must get back to basics. It requires convincing the next generation of the world that America's purpose is not defined solely by our power. It is to work with our friends and allies to help build a better world for all people. A safer, more stable and prosperous world is in America's interest. That message has been lost. I am not sure how it happened,
nor do I believe that it was solely our fault. I do know that public diplomacy is not about packaging, marketing, or spin. It is about our policies and, most importantly, our actions. It is a long-term process of engagement, dialogue and enhancing present relationships and building new ones.

In her confirmation hearing last week, Secretary Rice told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that we need to expand our exchange programs. She is right. These programs are a bedrock of public diplomacy. I recognize the real security concerns for America after 9/11, but student and business exchange programs need to be expanded, not cut back. America is undermining its own interests by not expanding and enhancing these programs.

Sixth, we must think creatively about how to reorganize our foreign policy structure for stabilization and reconstruction missions, whether in post-conflict situations like Iraq and Afghanistan, or following natural disasters like the tsunami in Asia. America's inter-agency process and our military have done a tremendous job helping those people affected by the tsumani. We learn from experiences that test and exercise relationships within our own government. There is room for improvement. Bureaucratic reform is not exciting. It is hard, difficult work. But as the world changes, and new and different types of threats arise, our foreign
policy establishment must be organized to meet those threats.

Seventh, global climate policy represents an opportunity for American leadership.
On February 16, the Kyoto Protocol will enter into force, mandating emission reductions on the developed nations that ratified it. In 1997, months before the Protocol was negotiated, the Senate unanimously passed the Byrd-Hagel Resolution, SR-98, which established principles for the ratification of a climate change treaty. Kyoto does not meet those principles because it would harm our economy and is not global in scope or spirit.

Last month I discussed climate change with Prime Minister Blair in London. He understands the limitations of Kyoto and is receptive to a new U.S. approach to climate change. On Wednesday, at the World Economic Forum at Davos, Blair said that, "If America wants the rest of the world to be part of the agenda it has set, it must be part of their agenda, too."

Next month, I will introduce comprehensive climate change legislation. My legislation emphasizes technology, investment, knowledge creation and energy efficiency to help developed and developing countries achieve environmentally sound and sustainable economic development and growth through public-private partnerships.

Eighth, America's relationships with Russia, China and India will shape international politics, commerce, and security in the coming decades. These are powerful states undergoing dramatic and historic changes. Our bilateral relations with Russia, China and India will require a complex balance of security and commercial interests, as well as support for reform and human rights.

Ninth, the Western Hemisphere must be a high priority for U.S. foreign policy. This was a bipartisan theme during Dr. Rice's confirmation hearings. The U.S. relationship with Mexico is as important as any relationship we have. The
United States' cultural integration with the Western hemisphere is a fact of life - more than 50% of U.S. immigrants are from Latin America.

The Western Hemisphere is the front line for America's economic and security interests. Security cooperation on our borders is essential to controlling crime and drug trafficking. Our trade and energy interests are directly linked to stability and development in our hemisphere.

This leads me to a related issue - immigration reform. There are few more urgent challenges facing this country today than immigration reform. The United States and Mexico in particular must work together on immigration polices that further our shared interests in a more stable and prosperous Western Hemisphere. A new 21st century U.S. immigration policy must be developed and implemented. I look forward to working with the Bush Administration on immigration policy and plan to re-introduce my immigration reform bill in the coming weeks.

My tenth and eleventh points deal with the Middle East - the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and Iraq. The future of the Middle East is also the future of the Trans-Atlantic Alliance. America must recognize the opportunities presented by the
election of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) earlier this month, and the election of the Iraqi National Assembly, which will take place on Sunday.
The Israeli-Palestinian issue lies at the core of our strategic engagement with the Middle East and the Muslim world. The United States, its Quartet partners - the European Union, the United Nations, and Russia - and the Arab world must now actively engage in helping Israelis and Palestinians re-start the Peace Process. It
will not be easy. Israeli Prime Minster Sharon faces a political challenge from Israeli Settler groups and from those within his own Likud Party opposed to Israeli withdrawal from Gaza. Terrorists and extremists will continue to be a security threat to Israel and will seek to undermine Abu Mazen's government. I am encouraged that Israel and the Palestinian Authority are beginning to work together to crack down on terrorists. This is a good start. We must not allow terrorists to hold hostage Middle East peace and the future of a two-state solution.

U.S. re-engagement in a revived Middle East Peace Process will be the single best action we can take for our public diplomacy in the Muslim world. The President's supplemental spending request for Iraq and Afghanistan will include economic and humanitarian support for the Palestinians, and for bridging differences between Israel and the Palestinians.

The National Assembly elections in Iraq on Sunday represent a critical benchmark for Iraqi sovereignty and self-governance. Elections alone will not bring stability and security to Iraq. But they are an essential and historic step forward toward democracy.

America's exit strategy for Iraq is linked to the capabilities of the Iraqi government and the Iraqi security forces to take responsibility for their future. That has not yet happened. Iraq may be free, but it is not yet stable, secure, or governable. Since Iraq's liberation, American and coalition forces are what have held the country together. Despite the sacrifice and courage of our brave men and women fighting in Iraq, and the sacrifice and courage of many Iraqis, the Iraqi state cannot yet reliably deliver services or security to its people.

An exit strategy also requires a strategy for diplomatic partnerships and regional security with Iraq and its neighbors. The United Nations and our European and Arab allies should share the decisions and the burdens of assuring that Iraq does
not become a failed state.

Developments in Iraq will influence and constrain America's foreign policy initiatives as long as U.S. combat troops remain there. More than thirty years ago, the former Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, J. William Fulbright, held hearings on Vietnam that raised critical questions about U.S. policy. Fulbright received criticism for holding public hearings on Vietnam, especially with a President of his own party in office. Fulbright later wrote that he held those hearings, "in the hope of helping to shape a true consensus in the long run, even at the cost of dispelling the image of a false one in the short run."

Today we must not be party to a false consensus on Iraq or any other foreign policy issue. Hopefully, Iraq will someday be a democratic example for the Middle East. But Iraq could also become a failed state. We cannot let this happen.

My twelfth and final point is about finding the right balance between American power and purpose. Politics is the art of the possible. But it is also about ideas and values. As President Bush said in his inauguration speech, America has an obligation to support freedom and democracy throughout the world. But America's experience in Iraq should give us pause about the use of force as a means to establish democracy, especially in countries where democracy has limited institutional roots. The only thing we know with certainty is that however noble the purpose, war is dangerous, costly and unpredictable.

The burdens of American leadership over the next few years will give us no quarter. America is a country built on freedom, human rights, and the rule of law. These values give meaning to an American purpose beyond our power. But with the margins for error so small, our expectations must be anchored by our national interests and tempered by realism. America's foreign policy requires a principled realism that is true to our highest ideals and that seeks to work with our friends and allies to make a better world for all people. There is no alternative.

Thank you.

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