20 February 2004
Powell: Fusion of WMD and Terrorists Must Be Prevented
Weapons proliferation will not be tolerated, the secretary said
The free people of the world, not terrorists or those engaged
in proliferation, will define the essence of the 21st century,
Secretary of State Colin Powell told an audience gathered February
20 to celebrate the 100th birthday of Cold War containment architect
As former Ambassador Kennan did during the rise of totalitarianism,
the United States "must acknowledge the power of ideas, and
champion the nobility of democratic ideals, in our own time," Powell
said during his keynote address at the Princeton University Kennan
"We struggle today with a different kind of adversary than
those of the 20th century, but one no less contemptuous of liberty
and freedom," he said.
The current challenge which "keeps repeating itself, in various
forms and in various places" is the threat that terrorists
might link up with those engaged in developing weapons of mass
destruction, the secretary explained.
"The war on terrorism isn't just about al-Qaeda, or about
preventing another disaster on the scale of 9/11," he said. "The
war on terrorism is even more about preventing the fusion of weapons
of mass destruction with terrorist groups. It's about preventing
a catastrophe on a scale much larger than 9/11."
The secretary said the biggest danger posed by former Iraqi leader
Saddam Hussein was creating a "laboratory where weapons of
mass destruction (WMD) and terrorism could mix."
"It was a regime that had used such weapons in the past ...
and would do so again in the future, if it could," Powell
said, noting the Iraqi dictator had also hosted and supported several
terrorist groups over the years.
The secretary went on to highlight Bush administration efforts
to halt further weapons proliferation, especially with respect
to Iran, Syria, and North Korea.
The secretary also listed the new initiatives announced by President
Bush last week to tighten controls on proliferators, including
seeking a new United Nations Security Council resolution strengthening
the international legal regime against proliferation, assisting
the verification abilities of the International Atomic Energy Agency,
expanding the Nunn-Lugar program of securing dangerous materials,
and enlarging the scope of the Proliferation Security Initiative
to seize illegally shipped WMD materials while in transit.
"We must continue to demonstrate that WMD proliferation doesn't
pay," Powell said. "We will not tolerate WMD proliferation.
We will not acquiesce to it. And we certainly will not reward it."
Powell said he shares the same optimism Ambassador Kennan exhibited
years ago, confident the enduring strength of U. S. ideals will
"We stand for liberty and the rights of man; for intellectual,
religious and economic freedom; for limited government and the
rule of law; for tolerance, equality of opportunity and human rights
for every man, woman and child on this earth," the secretary
"Those ideals aren't ours alone. They are born of the experience
of all mankind, and so they are the endowment of all mankind. These
ideals are cherished on each and every continent ... and this,
ultimately, is why we will prevail against terrorism."
Following is the transcript of Powell's remarks, as delivered:
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Office of the Spokesman
February 20, 2004
Remarks of Secretary of State Colin L. Powell
On the Occasion of George Kennan's Centenary Birthday
February 20, 2004
Princeton, New Jersey
(10:08 a.m. EST)
SECRETARY POWELL: Thank you, Dr. Tilghman, for that very, very
warm, generous and gracious introduction. Ladies and gentlemen,
it's a great pleasure to be with you here in Richardson Auditorium
in the famous Alexander Hall to kick off this conference. And a
special word of thanks for being here to Mrs. Kennan and the members
of the Kennan family who are present.
It's so great to see so many students, all of you up in the cheap
seats who got out of class. (Laughter.)
With the line-up of scholars you and your colleagues have put
together, I am sure that this program will meet the very high standards
that Princeton University and the Institute for Advanced Studies
have always insisted upon.
Speaking of high standards, before I go further, I'd like to deeply
express in the most heartfelt way my thanks to the Princeton ROTC
Color Guard for presenting the colors in such a splendid fashion.
As I was coming in, I saw them, and I told them I would be watching
-- (laughter) -- so that nobody is out of step, nobody blinks,
and it's done to the highest standards. And it was done to the
highest standards, and I congratulate them.
I can never fail to see an ROTC unit without remembering my own
time in ROTC. It was 50 years ago this year that I joined ROTC,
and for me it became my passport to life. And to each and every
one of you, I thank you for your willingness to serve your nation
in this way, and perhaps one day one of you will be Chairman of
the Joint Chiefs of Staff. (Applause.)
I am so honored to have been asked to share in this celebration
of George Kennan's centenary birthday. My admiration for Ambassador
Kennan more than professional; it's quite personal as well.
When I began my tenure as Secretary of State a little over three
years ago, I received a letter from Ambassador Kennan, a long and
wonderful and loving letter, where he offered me some unexpected,
unsolicited, but nevertheless excellent advice. He told me about
the job I was entering. He told me about the demands of the job.
He gave me some suggestions how to spend my time between traveling
around the world, how to use ambassadors that we have out around
the world, how to make sure I spent enough time in Washington advising
the President, which is my principal responsibility, of course.
But it was a wonderful letter.
And, of course, I took all the advice to heart, and I wrote Ambassador
Kennan back and I thanked him. And I said, "I hope you will
send me letters of advice on a regular basis." And a couple
of weeks later, I got a letter back from Ambassador Kennan that
said, "I'm 97 years old. I do not intend to write you letters
on a regular basis." (Laughter.)
And a few months later, I got another letter from Ambassador Kennan.
(Laughter.) What a remarkable man. And even in this age of astounding
medical advances, it's still really something for anyone to reach
100 years of age, which the Ambassador did just 4 days ago.
Now, as the students in this audience will certainly note, I am
no kid. (Laughter.) I will hit 67 years of age in a few weeks time.
I'm old enough not to be your father, but your grandfather for
most of the students here. I was born so long ago that Franklin
Delano Roosevelt was President -- for those young people who have
heard of his name. (Laughter.) But that's nothing compared to Ambassador
Kennan, who was born when Theodore Roosevelt was President of the
United States. (Laughter.)
That's nearly half-an-American-history ago!
Some are tempted to ask centenarians all the time how they've
managed the three-digit feat. What's the secret? Is it diet? Is
it exercise? Is it just being stubborn? What is it?
It's hard to say, but in Ambassador Kennan's case I wonder if
it just has anything to do with writing letters to people. (Laughter.)
However George Kennan has made it to 100 years, we are all so
glad today that he did, for he is truly an extraordinary man.
Some men achieve fame as witnesses to great events. Some men are
renowned because they have participated in seminal events. And
some men are venerated for their talent to interpret such events.
But George Kennan has been all three: witness to history, shaper
of history, and interpreter of history.
Above all, Ambassador Kennan has grasped the link between diplomacy
and human nature. And that's why his memoirs have been treasured
for so many decades by generations of foreign service officers.
It's not just because they teach diplomatic technique, or raise
respect for both history and happenstance. It's because his memoirs
show us how to get under the human skin of international politics,
allowing us to see deeper into its very essence.
Because George Kennan could see more deeply, he could foresee
When the Soviet Union came to an end in 1991, it did so exactly
as Ambassador Kennan predicted it would, a prediction he made some
45 years earlier.
I saw it with my own eyes as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
And it was a remarkable period of time for me to watch the union
come to an end, and I was always contrasting it as to the situation
that existed when I first entered public service as a young second
lieutenant of infantry. We didn't spend too much time -- in fact,
I don't recall spending any time at CCNY -- on the works of George
Kennan. I was just an infantry officer sent off to Fort Benning,
taught to be a good infantry lieutenant, taught something about
containment. And then they shipped me off to Germany, and in Germany
they took me to my battle position, which was at the Fulda Gap
along the Iron Curtain separating the East from the West. And my
captain put me in the field and he said, "Between that tree
and that tree is what you are supposed to do in the strategy of
"Well, what's my mission?"
"When the Russian army comes, stop it." (Laughter.)
Well, I can handle that. (Laughter.)
And for so much of those early years of my career as an infantry
officer, whether it was at the Fulda Gap, prepared to stop the
Russian army, or whether it was in Vietnam, prepared to stop Communist
aggression, or whether it was at the DMZ in Korea, deterring Communist
aggression, I knew what my role was. And I knew that there was
a certainty in our international strategy, a certainty that was
defined by George Kennan, as you describe the strategy of containment.
But then as I got more senior in the military and had other kinds
of assignments, and suddenly in 1987 I found myself as National
Security Advisor to President Ronald Reagan, and things were happening
of a nature that we had never seen before. A new Russian President
by the name of Gorbachev was saying things that were astonishing
to us: openness, glasnost, perestroika, restructuring, changing
the nature of the system because it wasn't working.
And in 1987 and 1988 as National Security Advisor, I spent time
with my Russian colleagues. I went with President Reagan to five
summit meetings. I saw all of this ferment taking place, and I
fully understood what Kennan knew all those years earlier.
Some of the Russian officials who were in office at that time
are here at your conference. Sasha Bessmertnykh especially, who
was Deputy Foreign Minister during my time, and then subsequently
became Foreign Minister of the Soviet Union in those final days.
Who could have imagined it would have happened exactly as predicted?
I'll never forget the moment in the Kremlin when we were having
another one of these many meetings with the Russian side, and I
was with the famous Princetonian graduate George Shultz, Secretary
of State. We sat across the table from President Gorbachev and
Sasha Bessmertnykh and others, and we were arguing about what all
this meant, where it was going.
And Gorbachev, getting a little bit frustrated trying to explain
it to us, and finally he looked across the table at me, and in
a way that he knew a soldier would understand, he simply said,
with a smile on his face, "General, I'm very, very sorry.
You will have to find a new enemy." (Laughter.)
This was very disturbing news at the time. (Laughter.)
He was absolutely right. And a few years later, when I had left
the White House, gone back to the Army, become Chairman of the
Joint Chiefs of Staff, I watched it all happen. And I was happy
to see it all happen. I was happy to see the Iron Curtain fall.
Happy to see Germany unified. Happy to see that a new world was
appearing before us.
When that happened, people said that perhaps Ambassador Kennan
was just the beneficiary of a lucky guess.
His prediction was no lucky guess, but a manifestation of genuine
Anyone immersed in the world of international politics, as a Secretary
of State is bound to be, knows that it's a world that offers up
fractured story lines and fleeting images and swirls of words.
Few people can wrestle down these story lines, images, and words
into anything coherent -- except maybe, if they're lucky, long
after the fact. But George Kennan was different. George Kennan
always had a remarkable gift for seeing the very weave of history
as it was being made before him.
That's what all of us are trying to do now: see the weave of history.
It's not easy to do.
Yes, we're well beyond the world of the Cold War; we've known
that for more than a dozen years. When a senior official travels
to Russia these days, it is as a friend and as a partner, as I
did a few weeks ago -- having frank, open discussions with President
Putin and with Foreign Minister Ivanov and Defense Minister Ivanov,
discussions with my colleagues as a friend, so that we could talk
about areas in which we have agreement and areas in which we don't
have agreement, where things rub a little bit. But it's all in
the spirit of moving the relationship forward.
Although the world, therefore, of the Cold War is gone, it hasn't
been easy to rename the world we are in. A competition arose to
do so, to find a memorable phrase that would organize our thinking
and capture the day.
Some argued for the "age of globalization", some for
a "clash of civilizations," others for the "age
of American unipolarity," still others for the "era of
democracy and free markets." There was merit in each of these
catchphrases, each and every one of these proposals.
The "globalization" label recognized important economic
changes in the world, driven by new technologies and by the disappearance
of those old political boundaries that kept us separated, those
boundaries that were constraints to free trade, constraints to
cooperation and the exchange of commerce. Now you can see a Starbucks
in Beijing, the same Starbucks in Berlin, the same Starbucks in
Moscow. The only thing different is the language on the menu and
the currency used to buy a $4 cup of coffee. (Laughter.) Those
old barriers that kept us separate are gone.
And the "clash of civilizations" theses recognized that
the world isn't culturally homogenized, and that cultural differences
The "American pre-eminence" label recognizes a basic
reality of power politics: the vast economic, military and political
strength of the United States of America, and especially the United
States of America working in concert with our friends and allies.
And the "democracy and free markets" label recognized
that, in the realm of political ideas, there's now no organized,
coherent alternative to the liberal triad of democracy, the rule
of law and market economics. Not because it is our triad, but because
it is a triad that works. People look at that triad and they see
it works, and that's why more and more nations are moving in that
But, you know, economics, culture, power politics and the realm
of ideas are always part of what defines any era. So no one label
could claim victory for this era.
And then, all of a sudden, 9/11 -- 9/11 -- splashing on our television
screens one morning, and, in the popular imagination at least,
the competition was over: We were now in an age of terrorism.
Or were we? Are we?
Terrorism is a reality. It is the pre-eminent danger of our age,
and that's why defeating terrorism is our number one priority.
Still, the changes in the global economic system are real, and
they haven't disappeared since 9/11.
Cultural differences remain, but those differences have positive
as well as negative implications.
American power hasn't withered since 9/11, and the attraction
of democracy and free markets hasn't diminished either.
If anything, that attraction is growing stronger day by day.
But the events of 9/11 superimposed a disturbing vulnerability
on top of other, mostly encouraging post-Cold War trends.
9/11 has not reversed or displaced the basic direction of change
that began after the end of the Cold War.
9/11 has, instead, accelerated our efforts to understand better,
and manage more effectively, the many changes intertwining before
So we don't have a simple, one-word name for the world's present
political condition. We just don't. I don't know if it's possible
to come up with such a name, or that if we had one it would do
us more good than harm.
What I do know is that we must, as George Kennan would tell us
to, search for the weave of history, try to connect the dots, as
best we can -- as he did so well.
When we do that, one aspect of the challenges before us keeps
repeating itself, in various forms and in various places.
And that's the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and
the possibility that proliferation might link up with terrorism.
We must not let that happen.
The tragedy of September 11, 2001 was terrible enough. But the
war on terrorism isn't just about al-Qaida, or just preventing
another disaster on the scale of 9/11.
The war on terrorism is even more about preventing the fusion
of weapons of mass destruction with terrorist groups trying to
acquire them. It's about preventing a catastrophe on a scale much
larger than what happened on 9/11.
The President said it very well in a speech that he gave last
week at the National Defense University. The President said:
"In the hands of terrorists, weapons of mass destruction
would be a first resort - the preferred means to further their
ideology of suicide and random murder. . . . Armed with a single.
. . nuclear weapon," the President reminded us, "small
groups of fanatics, or failing states, could gain the power to
threaten great nations, threaten the world's peace."
No serious person denies that we've got a problem of massive proportions.
We would be irresponsible to think otherwise after what's already
happened to us, with just "box cutters, mace and 19 airline
tickets," as the President put it.
After 9/11, the President saw the true scope of the problem and
he responded with boldness and determination.
He has led not just the United States, but the entire civilized
world, to understand the dangers before us, and to act, act now,
to confront those dangers.
He warned us from the outset that the war on global terrorism
would be a different kind of war, one that wouldn't be won quickly
or easily, or without sacrifices and setbacks.
We haven't won the war on terrorism yet, but we've made steady
and considerable progress in both the military and especially in
the critical, non-military aspects of the war. I see it every day
as we cooperate with our friends around the world, in the sharing
of intelligence about terrorist activity, in sharing of law enforcement
information, in going after terrorist finances, and in slowly but
surely rolling up these terrorist cells.
But there's still a lot more to do. And at the same time that
we are doing that, going after terrorists, we are ratcheting up
our ability to defeat proliferators, those who would put weapons
of mass destruction or make it possible for terrorists to acquire
weapons of mass destruction or put them in their hands. And last
week, at his speech at the National Defense University, the President
announced several new initiatives to make sure that that proliferation
job gets done.
We're working with others to tighten our grip on the nuclear fuel
cycle so that fissile material can't be diverted to military programs.
But at the same time we'll offer more reliable access to nuclear
fuel for those nations who wish to take advantage of nuclear power
for completely peaceful purposes.
We're also seeking a new UN Security Council resolution to strengthen
the international legal regime concerning proliferation.
We want to help the International Atomic Energy Agency do its
job more effectively, especially in the area of verification, knowing
what nations are doing with their nuclear programs.
We're expanding efforts, like the very successful Nunn-Lugar program,
to help countries secure and get rid of dangerous materials so
they won't be spread around the world or be a source of temptation
to terrorists trying to get their hands on this kind of material.
We're expanding the participation and scope of the Proliferation
Security Initiative, which brings more than a dozen nations together
to prevent the illicit transit of fissile material or other dangerous
material that could be diverted and put into the hands of terrorists.
I am totally confident that, in cooperation with our many partners,
these new tools, and others long put to good use, will get the
One reason to expect success is that, when you look at the world,
we haven't really done that badly with respect to going after proliferators
or persuading countries not to move in this direction. If you look
at the record of the past 15 or 20 years, you'll see that more
nations have given up nuclear weapons and nuclear weapons programs
than have broken through the proliferation threshold: South Africa,
Argentina, Brazil, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, and, most recently, and
most excitingly, Libya has decided to abandon this kind of effort.
And there are good reasons for nations moving in this direction,
a good reason for this record.
Building nuclear weapons is not easy, and the Non-Proliferation
Treaty and other international agreements have made it harder still
-- by restricting access to dangerous technologies and by stigmatizing
those who would proliferate.
But most important, U.S. policies over many administrations have
reassured friends and allies that they don't need to pursue their
own nuclear weapons, especially if they're in alliance with the
United States and we can make sure that they will be protected
against the threats that might be out there. We have been able
to persuade others that the potential costs of acquiring such weapons
would be outweighed by just the trouble they get themselves into.
There are no benefits to these weapons compared to the cost that
is paid to acquire them.
That's why the leaderships of most countries have come to see
that weapons of mass destruction won't make them safer, won't contribute
to their building a vibrant economy, and won't exactly help either
their international image either, or their relationship with the
United States of America.
And after all, nearly every government, every nation, wants good
relations with the United States. But not all. I wish it were all.
But not all.
For decades, Saddam Hussein played a strange but elaborate cat-and-mouse
game over his WMD programs, and he played it with the entire world.
He and his gang tried to blackmail others. They lied. They kept
waving the specter or nuclear, biological and chemical weapons
into the face of the civilized world.
Saddam also hosted and supported several terrorist groups over
And in so doing, so he created a laboratory where weapons of mass
destruction and terrorism could mix.
In that sense, Iraq was an even more dangerous place than Taliban-ruled
Afghanistan, and it would have been irresponsible for us not to
have taken that danger seriously.
There's much discussion lately about how dangerous Iraq really
was before the war. Much of that discussion concerns the lack of
evidence, so far, of large WMD stocks in Iraq.
We thought they were there. Our intelligence community spent a
great deal of time studying it over a long period of years, and
we thought the stocks were there. Our predecessors in government
and other governments around the world thought they were there.
Dr. David Kay, who was our chief investigator in this matter, also
thought they were there before he began his analytic work last
It was the considered judgment of the entire intelligence community,
not just of the United States, but most responsible intelligence
agencies around the world.
Dr. Kay now thinks there may be no significant stockpiles. We
will get to the bottom of this. Mr. Duelfer now leads our group.
There are many more documents to be examined, sites to be explored,
individuals to be interviewed. But as we do this, as we go about
answering this question once and for all, we have to keep in mind
that, in the larger scheme of things, the question of stockpiles
isn't the only or even the main question that we should focus on.
Iraq and Saddam Hussein clearly had the human and technical capabilities
to develop weapons of mass destruction. They had the programs in
place. They never lost the intention to have such weapons.
I've been to northern Iraq. I have visited a city called Halabja.
It was in 1988, on a Friday morning, that 5,000 people were murdered
in their homes by a chemical weapon, by gas that was delivered
by Saddam Hussein, delivered on his own people, and five thousand
I've been to their memorial. I've seen their graves. At that time
he had the intention, he had the programs, he had the delivery
means and he had the stockpile. Intention, programs, capability,
You can have intention, you can have programs, you can have capability
to deliver. He may not have the stockpile at the moment. But there
was no doubt in my mind, in the President's mind, or any of us
who have thought about this and examined this, that there was no
intention on his part not to have the intention for such weapons
He kept it intact. He hid it from the UN. He had 12 years to 'fess
up. He had resolution after resolution to answer. And I have no
doubt in my mind that if the international community had not acted
at this time, if sanctions had been withdrawn, the international
community went about its business and let Saddam Hussein ignore
the will of the international community, it was just a matter of
time before that intention, capability, delivery system, and all
the other wherewithal he had, would have produced the stockpile
that would have threatened his own people again, threatened the
region and threatened the world.
The President understood that. Prime Minister Blair understood
that. Prime Minister Aznar understood that. Prime Minister Howard
understood that. Prime Minister Berlusconi understood that. President
Kwasniewski of Poland understood that. So many other nations understood
We weighed all the consequences. The President acted. The other
leaders acted, decisively and appropriately.
Whatever you heard about Dr. Kay's work about the stockpile, this
is also what Dr. Kay has said. He found in Iraq a regime that,
in his words, "was in clear violation of UN Resolution 1441," that "maintained
WMD programs and activities," and that "clearly had the
intention to resume their programs."
And Dr. Kay connected some dots out of all of this, dots he connected
on his own: "we know that terrorists were passing through
Iraq. And we know now that there was little control over Iraq's
weapons capabilities. I think it shows," he said, "Iraq
was a dangerous place...I actually think this may be one of those
cases where it was even more dangerous than we thought."
His conclusion: "I personally believe the war was justified."
It was justified. It was fought skillfully and effectively by
American and allied forces, and we all owe those brave men and
women our gratitude. They have allowed us now to move ahead, to
work toward bringing stability, peace, prosperity and a new dignity
to the Iraqi people, and to the people of the entire region.
And that's what we are doing. By any measure it's going to be
difficult. It's going to be complicated. Creating a democracy in
a place and out of material where there's no experience with democracy
won't be easy. But Ambassador Bremer, working with the Iraqi Governing
Coalition1, working with the United Nations and working with our
coalition partners, will succeed.
Not only have coalition forces rid the world of a regime that
was simultaneously building palaces for its pampered and digging
mass graves for its innocents, the object lesson of the war has
led to some important successes in the non-proliferation area.
So don't let anybody be confused by the debates that are going
on. America did the right thing.
We now know a lot more about proliferation activity. We can see
now that the Iraq war and its aftermath was a contributing factor
in the decision of the Libyan leadership to forsake the path of
I can just see Colonel Qadhafi deciding what to do as he saw the
war start to approach and as he considered his own situation. He
had invested huge amounts of money in weapons of mass destruction.
And what was it getting for his people? Were they living a better
life? Was investment coming into his country? Was he trading with
other countries? No.
What was he getting from this investment? And now that he saw
that the world would not be scared of his weapons of mass destruction,
we would deal with them if we had to, but let's not deal with them
in anything but a peaceful way, and he made that choice. And now
we are working in a spirit of cooperation and openness with President
The Iranian Government, too, has finally admitted to some of its
WMD activities. After 18 years of trying to deceive the International
Atomic Energy Agency and the world, Iran is slowly -- still too
slowly -- coming forward with answers needed by the IAEA and by
the rest of the international community to make sure that they
are not violating their obligations.
It needs to pledge an end not just to suspension, to all of its
WMD programs, and it must follow those promises with action.
We hope other governments, too, like Syria, will realize that
chemical weapons and other WMD programs won't make their countries
safer, their people more prosperous, or their own hold on power
To the contrary. It goes in the other direction.
India and Pakistan, for example. Eighteen months ago, one of the
great concerns I had as Secretary of State was that a war might
break out between these two countries, a war that could possibly
go nuclear, since both have nuclear capability.
But over the last 18 months, we have seen all sides sobered by
that possibility of war, and instead they are moving in the other
President Musharraf of Pakistan has done the right thing now to
get firmer control over Pakistan's technological assets. The international
web of proliferation that Dr. A.Q. Khan used to traffic with Libya,
with Iran, with North Korea is being shut down even as I speak.
And the Pakistani and Indian leaderships both have now decided
let's talk to each other, let's move forward. We hope they have
now turned the corner and are moving down a road toward lasting
peace on the subcontinent.
The United States, acting in partnership with others, has played
a quiet but important role in this reconciliation between India
The political negotiations will begin well -- will begin soon,
and we hope they go well.
Political dialogue and genuine conciliation mark the way forward
in this new era.
Further weapons proliferation, recrimination and threats is the
sure way to calamity.
We are trying to get this point across in the six-party talks
on Korea that we have begun with Japan, Russia, China, and both
North and South Korea. The next round will convene on Wednesday.
In these talks we and our partners will communicate the basic truth
about proliferation to the government in Pyongyang.
Nuclear weapons won't make North Korea more secure.
Nuclear weapons won't make North Korea more prosperous.
To the contrary.
We need to find a diplomatic solution that will result in the
complete, verifiable and irreversible dismantling of North Korea's
dangerous nuclear weapons programs. We're certainly trying our
best, and I hope we will succeed.
We have told the North Koreans we have no intention of attacking
them. We want to work with their neighbors to demonstrate that
neither the United States or their neighbors have any hostile intent.
This is the time for North Korea to change its policies and strategy,
and work with those interested in working with it to bring a better
life to its people.
We must continue to demonstrate around the world that WMD proliferation
And to do so, we will continue to use a tough-minded diplomacy
that blends power and persuasion in proper measure, tailored to
the case at hand.
But our aim is the same in all cases, and we will not miss our
We will not tolerate WMD proliferation.
We will not acquiesce to it.
And we certainly will not reward it.
We will not put our people at risk as a result of this kind of
It is a matter of sad necessity that both proliferation and terrorism
hold a share of the definition of our age. But we must not let
these dangers dominate that definition, and here our best tutor,
our inspiration, is, once again, George Kennan.
The young George Kennan witnessed the birth of a monster at close
range, first from his posting in Riga, and then from his posting
He saw the will to power take its 20th Ccentury form in first
Communist, then Fascist, Totalitarianism.
He foresaw the great darkness totalitarian regimes would spread.
And he saw just as clearly, too, that many well-intentioned people
in the West did not understand the real character of that enemy.
Having undergone such an experience, a young person could have
been forgiven for entertaining a certain pessimism about the future.
But George Kennan was no pessimist.
If anyone has ever accused Ambassador Kennan of being excessively
sentimental in public, it's certainly escaped my attention.
He's been a practical and an analytically-minded man for all his
At the same time, as a re-reading of the justly famous long telegram
will show, he has never forgotten that ideas have power, nor has
he ever doubted that noble ideals guide us to victory in the end.
Now, this truth isn't something we have to shout from the rooftops
at every opportunity, and George Kennan hasn't gone in much for
public shouting or fist-pounding.
But it's a truth that must abide in our hearts.
It has abided in Ambassador Kennan's heart.
That's why he had confidence that the Allies would defeat Fascism
in World War II.
And that's why he could, and did, predict victory over Soviet
Communism in the Cold War that followed.
Few people ever find the right balance between the need to adopt
a coldly objective attitude toward the world's danger, and the
equally important need to allow oneself to embrace and to be guided
George Kennan found that balance, and so must we.
We must acknowledge the power of ideas, and champion the nobility
of democratic ideals, in our own times.
We struggle today with a different kind of adversary than those
of the 20th century, but one no less contemptuous of liberty and
freedom. As we triumphed before, so will we again - if our ideas
are serious ones, and if we are serious about our ideals.
We're not going to win the war on terrorism on the battlefield
alone - though it's sometimes necessary to take the field of battle.
Alliance relations, good alliance relations, trade policy, energy
policy, intelligence cooperation, public diplomacy, nation-building
-- all of these are part of our formula for victory.
Most important, however, as President Bush frequently points out,
are ideas and ideals.
So even in a difficult time I am optimistic, as George Kennan
was optimistic, because the ideals that guide our political life
remain our greatest strength.
We stand for liberty and the rights of man; for intellectual,
religious and economic freedom; for limited government and the
rule of law; for tolerance, equality of opportunity and human rights
for every man, woman and child on this earth.
These ideals aren't ours alone. They are born of the experience
of all mankind, and so they are the endowment of all mankind.
These ideals are cherished on each and every continent, and that's
why the United States of America has allies, allies of the heart,
on each and every continent.
These ideals are a blueprint for the brotherhood of man, and this,
ultimately, is why we will prevail against terrorism.
To prevail we must also take advantage of the many opportunities
before us to build a better world.
And we have high confidence of success in that endeavor because
we live in an age where all major powers are coming to understand
the sense of cooperating to solve common problems, and the senselessness
of the zero-sum thinking of the past.
So together we must fight disease, and we are. Not least through
the President's Emergency Plan to Defeat HIV/AIDS, which really
is the greatest weapon of mass destruction currently plaguing our
Three weeks ago Congress approved $15 billion for the President's
five-year plan, and after I leave you this morning I will be joining
the President in the Oval Office to go over the final details of
that plan, which we will be announcing publicly on Monday.
Together all nations, civilized nations working together, have
to do so in order to lift millions of people out of poverty, and
we are doing our share through our many aid programs, and now through
a new program launched by the President, called the Millennium
Challenge Account, that Congress established last month.
Once the MCA, as we call it, gets fully up and running, we'll
be devoting 5 billion new dollars every single year to help countries
that are moving down the path of democracy and economic reform
and respect for human rights and the rule of law. It will be the
largest boost in funding for development since George Marshall
announced the Marshall Plan so many years ago.
We must also work to end regional conflicts, because as long as
these regional conflicts take place, it's hard to do anything about
development, it's hard to fight disease.
In Africa we've been trying hard to bring the long and deeply
destructive war in the Sudan to an end. And we're close, getting
closer by the day.
We're making progress in West Africa, as well.
Last year -- last week, rather, I co-chaired a donors conference
to put Liberia back on its feet after a wrenching civil war.
Dozens of countries came to the conference in New York at the
UN, co-chaired by Kofi Annan and others, and we pledged $522 million
to support the Liberian people.
We realize, however, that the problems in West Africa are regional
in nature, and that money alone won't solve them.
We are therefore cooperating with our European and African allies
to assure the stabilization of Sierra Leone, Cote D'Ivoire and
other countries along with Liberia, working in partnership, not
unilaterally, working in partnership multilaterally with other
nations to achieve a common purpose.
We are crafting a partnership that's working on an integrated
We've also seen some significant improvement toward a settlement
of the crisis in Cyprus that has been going on for so long. This
comes about largely through the good works of UN Secretary General
Kofi Annan and the will of the leaders in the region to work with
him and to work with us.
At the same time, we have in no way given up on the roadmap between
Israel and the Palestinians, and the vision that President Bush
had for these two peoples to live side by side in peace in their
own state. And I'm very pleased that Prime Minister Sharon yesterday,
once again, reaffirmed his support for the President's vision and
In the Balkans, Northern Ireland, Haiti -- very much in our minds
today -- and elsewhere, too, we are sharing the labors of peace
and conciliation with our allies and others.
Diplomacy is difficult work, work that cannot always or easily
be forced against the grain of local realities. But we are as patient
as we are determined. We never give up, never stop looking for
opportunities to push forward, so that we, the free peoples of
the 21st century, will define our age, not the terrorists and proliferators
who assail us.
To do that we must build a better future even as we deal with
the security challenges before us.
That is how we will overcome the security challenges, because
it's not enough to fight against a negative, like terrorism.
We must focus on what inspires us, on what brings the good people
of the world together.
We've got to fight for the positive -- for liberty, for freedom,
That's what George Kennan has always tried to teach us, and if
we learn that lesson, and learn it well, there's no danger we can't
look squarely in the eye.
We, the free peoples of the 21st century, see the dangers before
We see them for what they are, plain and unvarnished.
And we don't blink.
Instead of blinking we are seizing the definition of our era by
transcending these challenges, confident in our ability to prevail
in the 21st century, just as Ambassador Kennan was confident in
our ability to prevail in the 20th.
We cherish the example he has given, the light he has brought.
We are doing our best to carry it forward.
Let me close simply by saying: Ambassador Kennan, George, thank
you for all you have taught us. Thank you for all you have done
to serve the nation, to serve the cause of peace, and to serve
Mr. Ambassador, we are forever in your debt.
Happy birthday, sir. We salute you.
MODERATOR: Secretary Powell, thank you for that moving tribute
to George Kennan and for giving us your compelling vision for a
world that is safe for democracy, that is safe for all the citizens
of the world.
I think it is fair to say that there is no public servant today
who is more highly regarded by both the American people and people
all over the world than you, sir. And your speech today -- (applause.)
All of us who had the privilege of hearing this speech today understand
why that is the case.
Secretary Powell has agreed to answer a few questions.
QUESTION: My name is Tafiq Rahim (ph). I'm a senior in the Woodrow
Secretary Powell, thank you for your speech. It has been an honor
for us at the University to host you today, and I have tremendous
respect for you as a statesman and an individual.
That being said, there are several trends in the Bush Administration
that I find truly troubling. In particular, I would like to address
the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
There is no question that Arab-backed terrorist groups such as
Hamas and Islamic Jihad need to halt their horrendous terrorist
attacks inside Israel that not only prove subversive to the peace
process but are grossly immoral and despicable.
However, while the United States seeks to serve as a beacon of
freedom to the world, as you said, criticizing nations such as
Syria, Iran and others for the lack of rights for their people,
and President Bush is highly prominent on the issue of democracy
in the Middle East, is it not a severe double standard that the
Palestinians have no rights as a people, remain under brutal occupation
and have no control over their water, land or even homes, which
can be demolished, and are, without redress?
And how can America maintain this higher moral ground and preach
its vision to the world when, under its watch, it tacitly approves
the building of new settlements, the maintenance of old ones in
the occupied territories, and allows the erection of an illegal
wall that undercuts Palestinian villages, creates even new refugees,
and serves as another humiliation to the Palestinian people among
the myriad of other injustices?
SECRETARY POWELL: The President has been engaged since the very
first day of his Administration trying to find a way forward and
to move out of this crisis situation between the Israelis and the
The President was the first President to go before the United
States General Assembly two years ago and call publicly for the
creation of a Palestinian state called Palestine. In his speech
on the 24th of June of 2002, he once again reaffirmed his commitment
to a two-state solution, two nations living side by side in peace
with each other, Palestine and the Jewish state of Israel.
He did more than that, though. He then laid down a marker that
said there is an obligation that each side has to contribute to
this process. We have to stop settlement activity. The President
has made that clear to the Israeli side. We've got to get rid of
the outposts. We have to make life better for the Palestinian people.
We've got to have openings that allow them to get to places of
work, places of education, hospitals, and so they have a thriving
But we also said to the Palestinian side it is difficult for us
to achieve this goal and to put this kind of pressure on the Israeli
side as long as terrorism is seen as a legitimate political act
on the part of Palestinians. It is not. It can't be. Not in this
And so we pressed the Palestinian side to abandon all support
of terrorist activities, and also to deal with those organizations
and individuals who continue to espouse terrorism as a way of solving
Last year the President took a large political step, with political
risk, when he put enough pressure on the Palestinian side for them
to come forward with somebody who could be seen as a peacemaker,
the new Prime Minister Abu Mazen. And we went to Aqaba. The President
stood there with the new Prime Minister, King Abdullah of Jordan
and with Prime Minister Sharon, and everybody committed to the
roadmap and the President's vision.
Unfortunately, it didn't work because the Palestinians were unable
-- and I put the blame squarely on Mr. Arafat -- Arafat was not
willing to provide authority to Abu Mazen to take control of the
security organizations and to go after terrorism and speak out
against terrorism -- not to start a civil war of the Palestinian
communities and the Palestinian Authority, but to start moving
And so Abu Mazen stepped down after a while, and now we have a
new Prime Minister, Abu Alaa. We're working with him, we're working
with the Israeli side, to get this moving again.
Three American emissaries just returned from the region: Deputy
National Security Advisor Steve Hadley, Special Assistant to the
President Eliot Abrams, and my Assistant Secretary for Middle East
Affairs Bill Burns. And they'll be reporting to me this afternoon
and to the President over the weekend on what the prospects are
We are anxious to see Prime Minister Sharon meet with Prime Minister
Abu Alaa to get this going. And as you heard from Prime Minister
Sharon yesterday, he knows we have to move forward, and the roadmap
is the way to move forward, and he is starting to take some steps;
for example, his proposal to take all of the settlements out of
Gaza. We have to learn more about that. How does it affect the
But the President has not lost his commitment to finding a solution,
has not stepped back from his vision, and has publicly spoken about
settlement activity that has to stop, a better life for the Palestinian
people, and we want a state for the Palestinian people.
And it is one of the most difficult accounts, if I can call it
that, that we have to work on, and I've been immersed in it since
my first day as Secretary of State. But it is an area that we need
to keep pressing on and keep working on in order to find a solution,
because it has such a effect, not only right there but throughout
the whole region, throughout the Arab world, throughout the Muslim
And so we will continue to work and the President will continue
to work toward the goal that he put before the United Nations and
the goal and the vision that he had in his 24 June speech, and
that is to create a Palestinian state, a sovereign state called
Palestine, living side by side in peace with the Jewish state of
Israel. That is the only possible solution to this crisis, and
we will continue to work for it.
QUESTION: I'm not a student. I'm old enough to be a father of
some of the students here.
I'd like to congratulate for the work, the immense work that you've
done as far as national security is concerned and I'm extremely
excited about what you have achieved in Iraq in the last several
months. I am also aware that, obviously, Usama is on the run, but
at the same time his network has been dismantled or is being dismantled
as we speak.
I am extremely also excited on behalf of my Indian (inaudible)
that you have put India on the map of the world where we have been
able to achieve a great deal of coherence with the wonderful world
that we live in, that we have been able to actually cause it to
become more productive and (inaudible) cohesive with our regional
Are there any dangers I -- that I may ask you, that -- there are
any way unforeseen or unseen so far that we are not aware of, besides
the other two that I've already named, and they exist in the world,
would you'd like to share with us?
SECRETARY POWELL: Other dangers? Is that the essence of the question?
I think terrorism, as I obviously said, lingers as number one.
The interesting thing about the age we are in is that I look at
it both as the chief diplomat and as a soldier. I cannot get rid
of 35 years of military experience. And it's the first era I've
lived in when the likelihood of major regional conflict between
large countries with large industrial capability and large populations
is not there.
One exception to that might have been a conflict between India
and Pakistan, which I think we are now moving in the other direction.
The success we've had with both countries is to let them know that
we treat them as two separate countries; we don't see things solely
as India-Pakistan. India, Pakistan, India-U.S., U.S.-Pakistan.
We'll lend our good offices to the work you're doing.
But other than that one, which is sort of, I think, there, have
been defused for the moment, you don't see a possibility of a major
regional war in Europe or in Asia. In fact, quite the contrary.
We are building our relations. The best relationship with China
that we've had in 30 years. The relationship with Russia, solid.
Our alliances are strong in Europe, even though we fuss with each
other quite a bit. Quite a bit. (Laughter.)
But I say, you know, we're family. I don't know about your family,
but we have some fusses in my family, and in our alliance family
we'll have fusses from time to time. We get over them.
And so my concern is these little regional crises that we have
not solved that could affect a small but important group of people
because they are our fellow citizens -- the Haitis of the world,
the Sierra Leones of the world, the Liberias of the world, the
Congos of the world, the Sudans of the world. These are the kinds
of conflicts that I see. The Ethiopia and Eritreas of the world.
And these are the ones that I spend so much of my time and the
time of my staff, and the President spends so much of his time,
trying to see if we can get them under control and solve them.
And then we can turn our attention to the really great threats
that are out there -- HIV/AIDS, poverty, starvation, improving
the human condition, working on free trade, more free trade agreements
with nations around the world, breaking down trade barriers. Why?
Just so we can sell stuff? No, so that we can give opportunity
to people in these nations to get into the economic game, get into
the economic world.
My time in my office is spent on these crises and challenges,
but the most exciting part of my day is when leaders come from
nations that a dozen or so years ago were enemies, the former nations
of the Soviet Empire, or from our own hemisphere where fifteen
years ago, when I was National Security Advisor, these nations
were being run by generals and coups and that kind of activity.
And most of those now have shifted over.
And to sit in my office and to kid with them -- I have fun. I
say, "You know, it's great to have you here. I want to talk
about things with you. You know, fifteen years ago you were on
my target list." (Laughter.) And they go, "Hmm." (Laughter.)
And I said, "Now you're on my target list again -- for Millennium
Challenge Account funding, for more trade, more assistance, for
helping you learn why the rule of law is so important."
It is these softer things that don't make headlines. Rule of law,
ending corruption, going after disease, clean water, food for people,
teaching your people the skills they need in the 21st century.
This is the essence of my work and my foreign policy, a commitment
to the President and to the American people. This is what will
make it a better world. We've got to solve these crises, hope new
ones are not generated, and I think more are on their way to solution
than are being generated, which is good.
But democracy and ending of a regional conflict doesn't mean anything
to people if they got no more food on their table, they're still
dying from disease, still don't have access to clean water, healthcare,
a better life for their children. If we don't do that, then people
will lose faith in all the wonderful things I talked about. Democracy,
freedom -- hey, that's great. Do I have more food? Do I have a
better life? If the answer is yes, give me some more democracy.
If the answer is no, I'll seek an alternative.
And so when I think about it, that's my greatest enemy -- ignorance,
a lack of law, poverty, disease, and a failure to believe in democracy.
We can preach it. People have to believe it. They'll only believe
it if they have a better life from it.
MODERATOR: All right, last question.
QUESTION: First of all, thanks for a wonderful speech.
My question concerns some of the U.S.'s actions regarding the
Cold War. We did some things that we are now not necessarily so
proud of, propping up and assisting regimes that weren't necessarily
the kindest people.
In hindsight, would it have been -- do you consider it worth it,
given that we resisted the Soviet Union and ultimately it fell
apart, and can you foresee something like this possibly happening
with the war on terror, where we support a regime with a dubious
human rights record that aggressively pursued terrorism?
SECRETARY POWELL: That's a terrific question. There's no question
that during the era of the Cold War, when we really thought our
national survival was at stake, and that Communism as a political
philosophy was in ascendancy in the minds of some, that we had
some strange bedfellows. And I was in government during many of
those years, and we worked with certain regimes that, in retrospect,
I would just as soon not have had to work with.
But that was history. That was the kind of history that we were
facing at that time, and we did what we thought was right.
We have never lost our commitment to human rights or to the rule
I think what's different now is that the threats we face are serious,
but not so serious that we have to sort of back off some of our
ideals and our values.
At the same time that we are bringing democracy to Iraq, and at
the same time we are running into some anti-American feelings in
that part of the world, the President also goes forward and talks
about the Greater Middle East Initiative that talks about democracy
for other nations in that part of the world, not as an imposition
by America but as, you know, you really ought to be moving in this
I do not fail in any of my discussions with friends and -- old
friends and new friends -- ignore or overlook human rights issues2.
President Putin and I, and Foreign Minister Ivanov and I, had very
direct conversations three weeks ago, sitting in the Kremlin, on
access to media and on how to hold elections in the correct manner
and how to make sure you don't have selective prosecutions. This
isn't always an easy conversation to have. But we have them. Just
a day before yesterday, when we had a foreign leader in and we
did not pull our punches, with respect to what would he believe
that a gentleman had to do and it was a good friend of ours, the
Tunisia and the United States have been friends for over 200 years.
Tunisia is doing some wonderful things. Fifty percent of the students
in their colleges are women. They're doing many things with respect
to their education system that is terrific and we applaud that.
But that did not keep us from saying to President Ben Ali, both
me to him and the President to him, that we have concerns about
free media, about a more open political system.
So we no longer have to pull back or shade our values in any way
because we're worried about thermonuclear war between blocs. And
we will not. Next week, I'll be putting out the new Annual Human
Rights Report. We have been in the forefront of fighting trafficking
in persons: slavery and child sex abuse and child soldiers. We
have an office that does nothing but that. I have a Human Rights
office, I have a Religious Freedom office, I have a Trafficking
in Persons office. We spend a lot of time ensuring that the new
Afghan Government and the new Iraq Government will have women in
principal positions, that we're educating women.
So one of the beauties of this new era is that the United States
will not be -- will not be throwing curveballs in this issue. They'll
be straight across the plate, shoulder high. And we will stick
up for the values that we believe in.