Samuel R. Berger
Assistant to the President for National Security
"A Foreign Policy Agenda for the Second Term"
Center for Strategic and International Studies
MARCH 27, 1997
As Prepared for Delivery
Last month, in the first State of the Union address of his second term,
President Clinton issued a challenge to the American people. "Fifty years ago,"
he said, "a farsighted America led in creating the institutions that secured
victory in the Cold War and built a growing world economy... Now, we stand at
another moment of change and choice -- another time to be farsighted and to
bring America another fifty years of security and prosperity."
To meet that challenge, we must first understand the nature of the
change that surrounds us. It's been eleven years since glasnost, eight
years since the Berlin Wall fell, six since Germany's reunification and
five years since the Soviet Union's dissolution. But because the Cold War
ended with a crumble, not a conference to mark the moment... and because the
transition to democracy among Europe's newly freed countries, while
revolutionary in its consequences, is evolutionary in its timetable... the
dialogue of foreign policy has, for too long, been frozen in the rhetoric of
"the Post-Cold War Era."
I have come here today not only to praise the "Post Cold War Era" but
to bury it. That phrase describes what has ended, not what is beginning... what
has been dismantled, not what we are building. Today, closer to the start of
the 21st century than to the end of the Cold War, we are embarked on a period
of construction, based on new realities but enduring values and interests. The
blocs and barriers that divided the world for fifty years largely are gone.
Now, our challenge is to build up new institutions and understandings, and
adapt old ones, that strengthen our security and prosperity for the next fifty
years and beyond.
For the past fifty years, with containment as the guiding principle of
our foreign policy, we saw a world map with advancing and receding lines
dividing red from blue... separating those living under the brutal hand of
communism from those who weren't -- the latter running the range from
democracies to more or less authoritarian regimes bound together by their
Because we stood firm for half a century, that guiding principle is now
obsolete. Instead, this new time increasingly is shaped by the forces of
integration. They create unprecedented opportunities for progress. But we
should have no illusions: they do not eliminate all the dangers and despots of
this world. And they can help fuel new threats to the security, peace and
prosperity we seek to build.
If we could look down at the earth from a distant planet, one of the
most powerful phenomena we would observe are the effects of economic
integration -- reinforced by a communications and technological revolution that
telescopes time and distance. With a tap on a computer keyboard and a $50
modem, ideas and information span the planet in a nano-second. Traders, buyers
and investors move a trillion dollars around the world every hour.
I will never forget arriving late one night in my hotel room in
Islamabad, half a world away, turning on CNN and seeing George Stephanopoulos
and Bob Reich debating who wrote "Primary Colors." Men and women of good faith
can debate whether that's progress. But the fact of it is transforming the
way we work, live and interact. Or consider the famous images of the ancient Li
River portrayed in Chinese wall hangings. If you looked at a photograph today,
you would see that the houses that line the river have satellite dishes in
The forces of integration also spread values -- and the ideas
increasingly if not universally being embraced today are the central ideas that
define America: democracy, liberty, free enterprise. For the first time in
history, more than half the world's people live under governments of their
own choosing. In this hemisphere, where just three decades ago almost one-third
of the countries were under authoritarian rule, every country but one today is
a democracy. From the Philippines to Chile, South Africa to Estonia, Korea to
Guatemala, people who little more than a decade ago lived under repression are
building their democracies. We can see with more clarity today than ever before
that freedom is not only an American birthright or a Western ideal -- but the
aspiration of human beings everywhere.
These forces of integration -- economic... technological... political
-- find practical if imperfect expression in international rules of the road
that are becoming the true Berlin Wall between countries: those that opt into
the community of nations -- and those that remain outliers. These norms --
alliances of like-minded countries... adherence to the rule of law... open and
competitive trade rules... major regimes to control dangerous weapons -- are
important in and of themselves. But they're also important because, brick
by brick, they form a structure for security and prosperity for all those who
choose to live within them, and they define the terms of isolation of those
that stay outside. As the world grows closer, the cost of exclusion from the
community of nations will grow higher.
But we must also understand that the powerful movement toward
integration is not without downsides and dangers. As borders become as easy to
breach as lines in the sand, nations become more vulnerable to transnational
tidal waves -- witness the Peso crisis, which threatened not only Mexico's
economy, but jobs in America and the stability of developing economies around
The forces of integration also lubricate the counterforces of
disintegration: terrorists, organized criminals, drug traffickers who form
international networks of corruption and destruction. They too benefit from
technological change and the free flow of goods and information. And they often
are supported by rogue states like Iran, Iraq, Libya and Sudan which remain
outside the community of nations -- and seek to destabilize it.
Further, integration can exacerbate disparities among and within
countries. More than half the world's people are two days walk from a
telephone -- literally disconnected from the present and the future. In many
developing and developed countries, the gap between rich and poor has grown
wider, even as overall wealth has increased dramatically.
In short, integration is not inherently good or inherently bad. But it
is, I believe, inherently a fact of modern life. And it will take place with or
without us. The fundamental question we must answer is this: will we use our
unique position as not only the world's most powerful country, but also
the world's most powerful idea, to continue to lead the struggle for a
more peaceful, prosperous and secure future -- or be left behind. As President
Clinton has put it, "the enemy of our time is inaction."
The challenge this President has undertaken is to encourage to the
extent possible the positive forces of integration -- while preventing the
forces of disintegration from dominating the future.
His vision is driven by six key strategic objectives: working for an
undivided, democratic peaceful Europe for the first time in history... forging
a strong, stable Asia Pacific community... embracing our role -- prudently but
not fearfully -- as a decisive force for peace in the world... building the
bulwarks against transnational security challenges... creating jobs and growth
through a more open and competitive trading system... and maintaining a strong
military and fully funded diplomacy to get these jobs done. These ambitious but
achievable objectives -- not the lift of a driving cliché -- provide
America's road map in the world. Let me describe each briefly.
The first strategic goal is working for an undivided, peaceful,
democratic Europe. Twice in this century, war in Europe has drawn Americans
into deadly conflict. Now, we have an opportunity to create a durable European
peace by replacing the divisions that have plagued the continent in the past
with ties of partnership to shape a common future.
With our allies, we are helping Europe's new democracies grow
strong; encouraging their integration with the West; forging a productive
partnership with a democratic Russia; and, critically, adapting NATO to take on
America has taken the lead in opening NATO's doors to new members
-- rather than either abandoning the anchor of our engagement in Europe or
freezing the alliance within the amber of the Cold War. NATO can do for
Europe's East what it did for Europe's West: strengthen the forces of
peace and stability.
The process of NATO enlargement will take a leap forward in Madrid this
July, when NATO invites the first potential members to start accession talks.
There are three key challenges ahead. The first is deciding which countries to
admit. Naturally, we'll start with those best prepared to shoulder the
burdens of membership -- but the door will not close behind them. So our second
challenge is bolstering the security and confidence of countries not in the
first wave -- which we will do by expanding the role of the Partnership for
Peace and giving every partner a voice in coordinating joint activities.
The third challenge is the most hotly debated: How do we heal the scars
of Europe's past without creating new wounds? Some fear that the process
of NATO enlargement will shut Russia out from a rightful place in Europe -- and
undercut Russia's nascent democracy. Others worry that Russia's
cooperation will come at the expense of Central and Eastern Europe and the
Alliance's ability to shape its own destiny. Navigating this Scylla and
Charybdis of NATO enlargement is the most crucial test of our commitment to
forge stability across the Atlantic.
Last week in Helsinki, President Clinton and President Yeltsin took an
important step forward. They agreed to disagree about enlargement -- Russia
objects, but it will proceed. But they also agreed that the vital relationship
between the United States and Russia and the benefits to all of cooperation
between NATO and Russia are too important to be jeopardized.
NATO and Russia will move forward as quickly as possible to try to
complete negotiations on a charter for NATO-Russia cooperation. Russia will
have a voice, not a veto. At the same time, the two Presidents made important
advances in arms control and economic cooperation. Helsinki was a turning
point: it demonstrated that the goals we share -- building a secure future for
Europe, reducing even more the nuclear danger, increasing ties of trade and
investment -- outweigh our differences.
Our second strategic objective is building a strong, stable,
integrated Asia-Pacific community. Little more than a decade ago, the
conventional wisdom saw Asia, North America and Europe emerging as three rival
blocs competing head-to-head. President Clinton had a different vision, based
on America's enduring place as a Pacific power. Soon after he became
President, he convened the first-ever Asia Pacific summit meeting, where
leaders from China to Indonesia to Australia agreed to a common goal: to define
our futures not just in Asian or American terms, but increasingly in
It's an evolutionary process. More open trade. Continuing American
security engagement in the region. An appreciation that, in an environment
where regional rivalries are still dangerous, we provide a balance wheel for
stability that helps all of us grow.
To succeed, we must meet three immediate challenges. First, we must
deepen our partnership with Japan -- the cornerstone of America's
engagement in Asia -- by strengthening even more our security alliance,
enhancing our diplomatic cooperation and continuing market opening initiatives
that have helped create a 41% surge in our exports since 1993.
Second, we must continue to work closely with our ally South Korea to
reduce tensions on the Cold War's last frontier. Vigilance against the
vagaries of a North Korea in distress. Pursuing a more stable peace on the
Peninsula through the four-party peace talks. Ensuring the dismantlement of
North Korea's now frozen nuclear program.
Third, we must deepen our strategic dialogue with China. A China that
evolves as a power that is stable, more open politically and economically and
non-aggressive militarily -- in short, moving toward, not away, from a secure
international order -- is profoundly in our interest. Ultimately, China will
define its own destiny. But one way or the other, we will help shape its
Our strategy of engagement with China is not a reward for good
behavior. It is a vehicle for expanding areas where we can cooperate to advance
our strategic interests -- such as on the comprehensive test ban and stability
on the Korean Peninsula -- and where we can deal directly with our fundamental
differences -- such as human rights, market access and some of China's
There is no guaranty that engagement will succeed in pulling China in
the direction of the international community, away from a more nationalistic,
self-absorbed course. But seeking to isolate China... or to isolate us from
China... almost certainly will push China in the wrong direction and undercut
the stability that America, China and the entire Asia Pacific region need for
the future to be secure and prosperous.
Our third strategic goal is to neither shrink from -- nor become
enthralled by -- the inescapable reality that America can often be the decisive
force for peace in the world. America's greatness flows not only from
our size and strength, but also from the wealth of our diversity and the power
of our ideals. We have a unique ability to stand with others around the world
who seek to bridge their divides -- and build a stronger foundation for peace,
security and cooperation.
When, where and how to make a stand for peace has no "one size fits
all" answer, as Secretary Albright has said. While we have been freed from the
compulsions of containment, we have inherited a more demanding task,
particularly in a world where conflict instantly is thrust upon a global stage.
We must balance interest and risk, achievability and cost, clarity of mission
and support from others in what ultimately is an exercise in prudent judgment.
We can't be everywhere and we shouldn't do everything. But we must be
prepared to engage when important interests and values are at stake and we can
make a difference.
Often, our engagement is diplomatic -- remaining an unrelenting force
for peace from the Middle East to Northern Ireland to Central Africa.
Sometimes, with caution and care, our diplomacy must be backed with
force. In Bosnia, our use of air power through NATO, combined with determined
diplomacy, stopped a war that threatened Europe's stability. Now, our
continuing presence through SFOR is giving Bosnia's fragile peace a chance
to take hold. In Haiti, where a brutal dictatorship forced tens of thousands to
flee for our shores, we caused the dictators to step down peacefully and gave
democracy a new lease of life.
There are other places where our engagement is more important than
ever. Let me cite just three. South Asia remains not only a flashpoint for
conflict but an enormous opportunity for cooperation. The great resource
potential and strategic location of the Caucasus and Central Asia gives us a
strong stake in working with others to strengthen their stability and build up
our ties to the region. And it is profoundly in our interest to help Turkey, at
a strategic and cultural crossroads, remain anchored in the West, committed to
democracy and working to resolve its differences peacefully with our Greek
Our fourth strategic goal is to deal with the new transnational
security threats I mentioned earlier -- terrorists, international criminals,
drug traffickers -- and stand against the enduring danger of rogue regimes.
There are times when we must and we will act alone. To get others to
follow, sometimes we must lead by example. And there is behavior so egregious
that we must act even where others won't. But our fight against these
forces that often cut across nations compels us to seek the advantages of
collective action. Whether it is the threat of terrorism or the scourge of
drugs, we must intensify our efforts to achieve a broader sense of urgency
about the dangers and a willingness to launch collective defense to thwart
That is why we are working to build international coalitions to take on
these new challenges -- arms control agreements that ban chemical weapons,
greater international law enforcement cooperation against drug traffickers and
criminal cartels, intelligence sharing to root out corruption, and a more
concerted strategy against terror. Some see cooperation as at best an elusive
goal, at worst a sign of weakness. Against threats that have contempt for
borders, it is a source of strength.
America's fifth strategic goal is to build a new, open trading
system for the 21st century. Our nation's economic well-being is tied
to the rest of the world. Eleven million Americans depend on exports for their
jobs. We should not fear the challenge of the global economy. Our workers and
businesses can compete just fine so long as the contest is open, the field
competitive and the rules fair and enforced.
Historians will look back at this period and see the most far-reaching
changes in the global trading system since the days of Harry Truman. We
completed the most sweeping round of the GATT; forged a comprehensive trade
agreement with our two neighbors; tore down barriers in high-tech sectors where
America leads the world; and launched a process for more open and competitive
trade in our hemisphere and the Asia Pacific.
These efforts have paid off for our people. The global economy is not a
zero sum game -- we are creating good jobs at home by nurturing new markets
abroad. The President is determined to pursue this course, navigating the false
choice between protectionism and unbridled free trade.
Protectionism simply isn't an option in today's global
economic arena. If we walk away, the process of integration won't stop; it
simply will continue without us. Others in Europe and Asia will benefit.
Turning inward would mean turning our back on 95 percent of the world's
consumers and forfeiting our stake in the markets of the future.
But while protectionism is not an option, neither is ungoverned free
trade. Competition causes dislocation -- especially among those without
adequate training and skills to compete in the global economy. We cannot walk
away from them -- we have an obligation to enforce the agreements we make and
to make change work for all with education and training... so that the benefits
of progress are not enjoyed by some while its burdens are carried by others.
To sustain our strong momentum, we need the authority to conclude
smart, new market-opening trade agreements. In Latin America alone, our exports
in 1995 were greater than our sales to Japan and Germany combined. We need to
complete the job we have begun -- to open markets in this hemisphere and
globally, to share in that growth, not turn our backs on it.
Finally, we cannot harness the forces of integration without the
strength and resources to get the job done -- and without sharing the burdens
with other like-minded nations.
We have the finest military in the world. It is the steel that makes
American leadership credible and, if necessary, our freedom secure. This
President is determined to maintain our ability to dominate any battlefield of
the future. That is an indispensable investment in our peace and security.
It also means fulfilling our commitment to fully fund America's
diplomacy. Our foreign affairs budget for the current fiscal year is 50% lower,
in real terms, than it was a decade ago. This is simply foolish. We must make
the investments to advance America's interests for the next 50 years as in
President Clinton's budget request reverses the dangerous downward
spiral in international affairs funding. Our request -- about one cent out of
every federal dollar -- brings benefits to every taxpayer: strengthening our
ability to promote peace, fight drugs, track down terrorists, combat nuclear
proliferation, boost exports, and meet our obligations to the community of
We must also resist the false choice between going it alone or not at
all. It's simply common sense to spread the costs and risks of leadership
by working with others, like the World Bank and the UN. Now is the time to push
for progress -- promoting tough reform, paying our bills, and putting the UN
and the multilateral development banks back on sound financial footing
* * *
Ladies and gentlemen, a child born today will grow up not just in a new
century but in a new world -- one in which people can be united more by their
hopes than their fears. America's new foreign policy agenda -- ambitious
but within our reach -- reflects the promise of this time... a sober awareness
of its perils... and the conviction that America must lead if we are to shape
change to our benefit. This is a pivotal moment -- let us make the most of it,
confident that our cause is right, our course is sound and the future is ours
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