11 September 2002
Armitage: U.S. Must Stay Engaged With World in Terror Fight
(Deputy secretary of state speaks to CSIS luncheon) (4130)
The United States must stay engaged with the world and avoid
unilateralism even as it bends its efforts toward winning the war
against terrorism, Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage says.
Engagement on matters where "great issues are at stake" is vital "if
we don't want to find ourselves fighting this war over and over
again," Armitage said September 10 at a luncheon sponsored by the
Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington-based
public policy research organization.
Declaring that the United States has more power and prestige than any
predecessor on the world stage, Armitage told the group, "We can
either use these tools or these gifts wisely and well, or we can use
them foolishly and badly. We can walk off the playing field or act
simply unilaterally. We can be as irresponsible as indiscriminate
intervention when our important equities are at stake."
Armitage cited a range of examples to show that, in the current
campaign, "cooperation with other nations has allowed us to stop many
acts of terrorism over the past year, including terrorism here in the
United States." He talked of joint operations in military action in
Afghanistan and elsewhere, sharing of intelligence information, and
Again, he stressed his view that "winning the war on terrorism
requires effective multilateral cooperation." And he focused at some
length on particular cooperation with countries including Russia,
China, India and Pakistan.
Indeed, Armitage said, cooperative efforts against terrorism with the
successor states to the former Soviet Union are "building a baseline
for a broader engagement on a cross-section of issues, from economic
development to human rights."
With respect to China, Armitage termed that nation "a key and
unheralded player in the war against terrorism." He noted China's
political support for the anti-terror coalition, diplomatic efforts
directed at Pakistan and other nations, and joint efforts to stop the
money flow to terrorist groups.
The deputy secretary cited Pakistan's "extensive commitments, both
military and humanitarian," and lauded India for its role,
"particularly in patrolling key sea lanes."
He said that on recent visits to the two nations he had discussed with
their leaders "the overall direction for our emerging strategic and
"And with India in particular, I think it's fair to say that the
issues on which we agree eclipse those on which we do not," Armitage
Progress in building some of those relationships in the wake of the
terrorist attacks suggests that "today we have a rare opportunity to
turn a vulnerability into a strength," he said.
During a brief question and answer period, Armitage deflected a query
as to U.S. policy on Iraq, indicating he did not wish to telegraph the
thrust of a scheduled speech by President Bush September 11 that he
said would be "quite dramatic and quite direct" on the subject.
In brief remarks at the same luncheon, Zbigniew Brzezinski, once
national security adviser to President Jimmy Carter, urged the
administration to subject Iraq policy to serious public discussion
rather than to adopt a unilateral and perhaps simplistic approach.
Brzezinski made his comments in introducing Brent Scowcroft, national
security advisor to former Presidents Ford and Bush, who, in turn,
He lauded Scowcroft for opening up, in recent comments on Iraq policy,
"a very much needed national discussion about our goals, about our
policies, about our response to a very complicated and difficult
By so doing, Brzezinski said, Scowcroft "has generated a serious
examination of a problem that we all confront, and to which a
simplistic, one-dimensional or knee-jerk reaction would be most
"A public debate on this issue contributes to greater national
understanding of the dimensions of the problem, of the genuine need to
respond to it and of the imperative requirement to do so in a manner
that consolidates America's position in the world and strengthens the
international system," he said.
Following is the text of Armitage's speech and a portion of the
question and answer session:
Remarks At Center for Strategic and International Studies 40th
Anniversary & Advisory Board Conference
Richard L. Armitage, Deputy Secretary of State
Ronald Reagan Building
September 10, 2002
(11:45 a.m. EDT)
DEPUTY SECRETARY ARMITAGE: Ladies and gentlemen, Brent [Brent
Scowcroft, President of the Scowcroft Group], first of all, thank you
so much. You've got a reputation for being gracious, but I think you
exceeded even your own high standards, and I'm very much in your debt.
To Dr. Hamre [John Hamre, President of the Center for Strategic and
International Studies], I want to say that you're kind of like E.F.
Hutton for me; when you call, I listen. And you said to come, and here
I am. Dr. Brzezinski, nice to be with you and all the other
distinguished guests here today.
The other day I was speaking at a luncheon at which a friend just
indicated he also attended. I was sporting some war wounds from a
basketball game. When asked why I'm playing basketball at this age,
it's quite simple: You see, I'm carrying the weight for someone who's
about 6'8", and when I get my growth spurt I'm going to be ready for
the NBA. (Laughter.) Which I guess shows you that hope springs eternal
Now, you all are aware that last week was a bad week in Afghanistan.
There were bombings in Kabul and renewed fighting, although it was
generally confined to Khowst, and a failed assassination attempt on
President Karzai. To some extent, such spasms of violence are to be
expected given the anniversaries of Ahmad Massoud's murder, the
devastating attacks in this country. And we are taking precautions --
in Afghanistan, but also with a warning to our missions around the
world. And that's why several of our missions -- Kuala Lumpur,
Jakarta, Hanoi, Phnom Penh, Manama -- are closed in these days and we
may close a few more in the next several hours.
These actions serve as a reminder that we have much unfinished
business in this war in which we're engaged, and it will take time,
patience, hard work and courage to achieve success in the struggle.
But remember too that what we saw last week were indeed brutalities,
but they don't change the fact that Afghanistan is not the same
country today that it was a year ago. We are making steady, sometimes
slow, progress in this war. Consider that a year ago, al-Qaida and the
Taliban held terrible and total sway over 23 million souls. That is no
longer the case.
With our progress in this war, we're seeing a gradual return to normal
life in Afghanistan. After all, the markets in Kabul at the time of
even those attacks to which I referred, last week, were crowded with
shoppers. People are coming back home from hiding places across the
region in record numbers, which astound even the UNHCR [United Nations
High Commissioner for Refugees]. They're planting crops and women are
back at work and children, 3 million children, are going back to
Of course, we also have returned to our normal lives in this country,
as our children just went back to school. And yet this nation is not
quite the same that it was a year ago. Last year when this young
generation of schoolchildren, born into a mild season of peace and
unprecedented prosperity, sat down at their desks, they had no way of
knowing how much their world was about to change. They had no way of
knowing that they'd started a year of war.
But we all learned a new lesson last September. We learned a lesson in
a visceral way that a failed state in Central Asia or a curriculum in
an obscure school in Pakistan or political repression and poverty half
a world away can have a direct and a devastating effect on the
security of this nation.
Now, two imperatives have come out of this lesson. The first obviously
is going to be let's continue to fight and win the war against
terrorism. And the second is that we must be engaged with the world.
We don't want to find ourselves fighting this war over again and
again. We have to stay engaged on matters where great issues are at
We've got power, we've got prestige, we've got influence and clout
beyond that known in the history of the world. We can either use these
tools or these gifts wisely and well, or we can use them foolishly and
badly. We can walk off the playing field or act simply unilaterally.
We can be as irresponsible as indiscriminate intervention when our
important equities are at stake.
So today I want to talk to you about how we are waging our battles
against terrorism, because if we go about these battles the right way,
with the right blend of American leadership and multilateral
participation, we will both collaborate on this mutual challenge and
establish patterns of cooperation that will help us with all of our
other challenges, including some where there is perhaps less common
After all, our focus on terrorism today does not absolve us for
dealing with other tough issues such as: how to stop the spread of
weapons of mass destruction; how to calm the violence in the Middle
East; how to deal with transnational problems from HIV/AIDS to
trafficking in human beings; and of course to make sure that nations
see the benefits of a globalized economy. And I believe we have a rare
opportunity because in meeting the immediate and the overwhelming
threat of terrorism, we can put this nation in a far better position
to meet all of these other threats to our security that we will face
as we move forward in this 21st century.
We've seen that winning the war against the global reach of terrorism
will take American leadership. Indeed, no other nation on the face of
the earth could have gone from no war plan on the shelf to such a full
spectrum of operations in the short space of weeks. Last fall, we
moved thousands of combat forces into the region and a vast array of
equipment, everything from carrier battle groups to modern field
Now, I recognize, ladies and gentlemen, that hearing about battles
fought and won is both satisfying and reassuring. Given the nature of
terrorism, we are in a far less satisfying position of measuring some
of our success by what has not happened, never mind whether we're
defeating them or not. I can tell you that our cooperation with other
nations has allowed us to stop many acts of terrorism over the past
year, including terrorism here in the United States. Closing our
embassies in several locations in Southeast Asia and further on may
not sound like much of a victory to you, but the fact that we're able
to obtain and assess credible information about the threat to those
facilities may well save the lives of our brothers and sisters.
I can also tell you that U.S. forces and forces of two dozen other
nations remain actively engaged in military operations throughout
Afghanistan and along the Pakistan border and in other nations. And
indeed, brave men and brave women continue to root out and capture or
kill al-Qaida and its supporters on a daily basis.
Last fall, we also mobilized and continue to utilize assets other than
the military in this fight. We're using diplomatic strength. We're
working with our allies to sustain a worldwide antiterrorism
coalition. That has included negotiating dozens of access rights
agreements with nations such as Uzbekistan, where we had very little
track record for reaching any sort of agreement at all. And we're
using our financial clout to work with other nations to locate and to
freeze money trails for some 50 terrorist groups and organizations.
We're using intelligence and investigative powers. We're leading a
global dragnet. More than 2,400 individuals have been arrested in some
90 countries. In Singapore, for example, officials arrested 13
individuals, 8 of whom were trained in Afghanistan, before they could
carry out their planned attack in Singapore on US and other embassies,
as well as US business and military interests in the area. Today,
we're also using our economic might. We continue to work with partners
in the public and the private sectors to provide shelter and emergency
supplies to people long starved by war and thirsty from drought.
And what we see in Afghanistan has been even with such a difficult
situation, with such difficult solutions, confident, clear-eyed
leadership from the United States is one prerequisite for progress.
And leadership is not synonymous with unilateralism. In every case I
just mentioned, from military operations to humanitarian relief, we've
worked with other nations. There is no question that winning the war
against terrorism requires effective multilateral cooperation. In
fact, our national tragedy had from the outset international
implications, when you consider the fact that al-Qaida networks were
active or had cells active in the dark corners of some 60 nations and
that the citizens of more than 90 countries perished on September
It is fitting then that we immediately saw an international agenda for
countering terrorism. Days after the attacks, the UN Security Council
adopted Resolution 1373, the most comprehensive antiterrorism measure
ever passed by the United Nations. In the months since, regional
organizations from the OAS to ASEAN have adopted similar conventions
with similar measures.
But nations have also put their military might and their money behind
their rhetoric. Most nations of the world are contributing something
to this war, consistent with their capabilities, and many are
receiving some kind of assistance, according to their needs. There are
180 nations in this coalition; 122 of them have offered military
support; today, 25 are actively engaged in military operations,
including Operation Enduring Freedom and the International Security
Assistance Force in Afghanistan. At the same time, hundreds of nations
have either acted to cut off financing for terrorism or have
contributed some other concrete assistance, ranging from humanitarian
supplies to the use of airspace to landing rights.
Now, granted, I've been throwing a lot of numbers at you, but what
they add up to in total is a loose, informal, global alliance against
a common threat. And I would define this threat in the broadest
possible sense. It is not just the individuals who hijack the planes
or carry out car or truck bombings; it is also the underlying
conditions that produce instability and conflict -- poverty, disease,
repression, lack of basic human rights, lack of political
participation, lack of economic opportunity. Too often, those are the
conditions which create opportunities for terrorists, both in terms of
new recruits and safe havens in which to hide.
And so in its broadest sense, terrorism and the conditions that
sustain it are not just a threat to American interests, but to the
interests of any nation with an investment in the rule of law. Now,
this commonality of purpose has produced what I believe Kurt Campbell
[Vice President, Center for Strategic and International Studies] and
Michele Flourney [Senior Advisor, Center for Strategic and
International Studies] call the "coalition of coalitions." And while
we may all be focusing, with a little help from some of our friends in
the press, on short-term disagreements over how to bring about change
in Iraq, every day this coalition of coalitions is working. And it is
an unprecedented engagement, in scope and in scale, and it is
improving our ability to work with other nations -- not just in
counterterrorism, but to confront other interests and issues and
challenges where we may not always have so much in common.
President Bush has said that "in this moment of opportunity, common
danger is erasing old rivalries." And that is especially true with the
states of the former Soviet Union. In Central Asia, for example, where
base rights, base access rights in nations such as Uzbekistan have
been absolutely critical to the conduct of this war. But we're also
building a baseline for a broader engagement on a cross-section of
issues, from economic development to human rights.
Of course, the Russians smoothed the way to some extent in Central
Asia, a proposition that would have, of course, been unthinkable a
decade ago. And I'm sure most of you are aware President Putin was the
first foreign leader to call President Bush after the attacks on the
World Trade Center and the Pentagon. The Russians have also offered
direct military and humanitarian assistance, ranging from overflight
rights to search-and-rescue operations and the sharing of
The goodwill we have generated in this cooperation is carrying through
to a broader agenda. This is even literally the case in the working
group I chair with my Russian counterpart - it was the US-Russia
Working Group on Afghanistan before 9/11. Now it's the Working Group
on Counterterrorism. Our previous narrow focus has widened to include
Central Asia, the Caucasus, counternarcotics , law enforcement,
intelligence-sharing, counterterrorism efforts across the region, as
well as proliferation issues.
Next week, Secretary Powell and Secretary Rumsfeld will meet with
their Russian counterparts here to discuss the strategic implications
of many of these same issues, to include, of course, the implications
of Russian assistance to the Iranian nuclear program and, of course,
the fact that Iraq thumbs her nose at the United Nations, and
particularly the United Nations Security Council.
The new spirit of our bilateral relationship has infused other areas
as well, including economic. We have formal dialogues now both on
business development and energy issues. That is not to say that areas
of significant difference don't still exist, particularly Russian
conduct in Chechnya and Georgia. We were hardly able to discuss these
subjects before, and now we have a healthy dialogue, which I hope and
I trust and I believe will lead to mutually acceptable approaches.
We're seeing this kind of ripple effect across relationships in other
areas, as well. As Brent Scowcroft mentioned, I've just returned from
a trip to South Asia and Asia during which I met with China's foreign
policy leadership to prepare for the upcoming summit in Crawford,
China has been a key and unheralded player in the war against
terrorism. Political support for the coalition has been critical. I
would note that their vote for Resolution 1373 marked the first time
that the People's Republic of China has voted in favor of a Chapter
VII action. They've also contributed their considerable diplomatic
influence with nations such as Pakistan. We're working together to
stop the money flow to these terrorist groups, including the East
Turkestan Islamic Movement, which we both recognize as a terrorist
We're also sharing intelligence and law enforcement information, which
the People's Republic of China facilitated by allowing the FBI to open
an office in Beijing, which is in our relative world, in relative
terms a historic first. Moreover, China has agreed to contribute $150
million in direct bilateral assistance to the government of President
As I said, these are significant contributions, but the discussions in
Beijing went considerably beyond these efforts to include frank
exchanges on topics that we have not always been able to engage in.
We've always been able to talk about them, but not to engage in so
frankly -- such as approaches to regional issues, from our presence in
Central Asia to Russia to Taiwan. And the views, our views
particularly, of human rights and religious freedom, which was
particularly important to discuss in light of the designation of the
East Turkestan Islamic Movement as a terrorist organization and the
absolute need for China to treat the Uighur minority with respect and
We talked about proliferation issues. In fact, immediately before I
arrived, the Chinese Government announced new missile-related export
controls. That's a long promised and promising step forward on our
The tragedy of September 11th has reminded both our nations that we do
share important interests and share some aspirations. That reminder
has not only helped advance our cooperation, but we believe it has
opened the door to a more constructive discussion of our differences.
I also visited India and Pakistan, which was the second visit of this
summer. We not only discussed the direction for ongoing operations in
Afghanistan, and while I'm sure all of you are aware of Pakistan's
extensive commitments, both military and humanitarian, to this fight,
we also discussed with India the key material contribution that India
has been making, particularly in patrolling key sea lanes.
And in each capital we also talked about the overall direction for our
emerging strategic and economic relationships. And with India in
particular, I think it's fair to say that the issues on which we agree
eclipse those on which we do not. Our improved ability to work with
these two nations has also helped us to dampen down the temperature,
defuse to some extent the tension between them, as, of course, have
the good offices of so many partners, such as Great Britain. And also
others that haven't always been so inclined to work in concert with us
in South Asia, such as Russia, and to some extent, China.
Now, last fall, President Bush said, "In our grief and in our sadness,
I see an opportunity to make the world a better place for generations
to come." Today in this post-September 11th world we are fighting to
protect the security of our homeland. At the same time, we are also
building relationships and on-the-ground realities. Now, that will
mean we don't have to fight these same fights ad seriatum. That will
leave us in a stronger position to face future challenges toward
security. In that sense, today we have a rare opportunity to turn a
vulnerability into a strength.
So perhaps in a strange way, we've all gained something from the
tragedy of September 11th. Those schoolchildren in Afghanistan, some 3
million of them we have now, as I mentioned -- twice as many as we
were expecting at this point -- have regained hope for the future.
This generation of American schoolchildren has perhaps regained a
sense of purpose and a sense of vision, of affection for the things
that really matter to us all: our families, our values and our faith
in a democratic system. So in winning this war, perhaps we have the
opportunity to create not just a more secure nation for these children
today, but hopefully a better world for all the children of the 21st
Thank you all very much. (Applause.)
MODERATOR: The Secretary has to go, but he has time for about maybe
Come on. In this learned group? You are overpowering again.
DEPUTY SECRETARY ARMITAGE: That's the way I like it. (Laughter.)
QUESTION: Thank you very much. I'm Alton Frye (Secretary Powell) from
the Council on Foreign Relations. Mr. Secretary, Dr. Brzezinski
referred this morning to the important interviews that President
Chirac gave the last few days which contemplates a two-step sequence
in UN consideration of the Iraqi problem. One, to set a short, two or
three week deadline for the return of inspectors, reserving for later
action the question of whether failing that, force would be used or
some enforcement mechanism approved. Is that two-step sequence
compatible with thinking within the administration?
DEPUTY SECRETARY ARMITAGE: Thank you, Dr. Frye. You know, I've got a
great instinct for self-survival. (Laughter.) It's served me well in
war and peace. And first of all, I'm going to dodge and don't answer
The President's going to speak to this Thursday evening, as we all
know. I've seen what he intends to say. I think it will be quite
dramatic and quite direct, as you'd expect from our President. And we
noted again, and I spoke privately to Dr. Brzezinski about the Chirac
interview, which seemed to us to indicate a rather dramatic change in
French thinking on the whole question of Iraq. And we haven't in a
major way, yet, started to make the case. The President will start
making the case on Thursday evening.
But one thing we don't want to go without answering directly whether a
one or two-step process is acceptable is into a situation where the
burden is entirely on us or on the Security Council, and not on the
Iraqis on which it properly rests. And if a two-step or any number
step process was one that gave Saddam Hussein and his regime ways and
methods to fiddle with us, then it would not be a good thing.
So whichever direction the President decides to go, I'm quite sure
it'll be direct, it'll be straightforward, it will be reasonable and
DEPUTY SECRETARY ARMITAGE: That's self-survival, Dr. Frye.
(Distributed by the Office of International Information Programs, U.S.
Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)
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