Mr. NUNN. Mr. President, I rise today to call the attention of the Senate and the American people to the remarks recently made by our colleague Seantor David Boren to the National Press Club.
Senator Boren's wise leadership as chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence has given him a unique, valuable perspective from which to analyze the threats to our national security interests, which he ably did in his Press Club speech. Senator Boren's conclusion, which I find very persuasive, is that--
The gravest threat to the future security of this country is our failure to adjust our thinking to all the changes in the world around us.
Mr. President, I'm sure we all recall the words of Czechoslovak President Havel before a joint session of Congress last February, when he noted that changes in Eastern Europe have been so rapid that `we literally have not time even to be astonished.' Senator Boren points out that we must overcome our future shock and adjust to an emerging new global setting. He then suggests a number of creative ways in which we might do this--in the Nation at large, in our foreign policy, in the intelligence community, and in the Congress.
I have been privileged to serve on the Intelligence Committee under Senator Boren's leadership and to benefit from the experience and judgment he brings to this important post. These qualities are reflected in his speech to the National Press Club, which I commend enthusiastically to my colleagues and to the American people.
I ask unanimous consent that a copy of Senator Boren's speech be printed in the Record at this point.
There being no objection, the remarks were ordered to be printed in the Record, as follows:
There is no time to waste. We urgently need to put into perspective the changes that are going on in the world around us--what those changes mean for us and what they mean about the need to repair our political institutions.
I'm often asked, as Chairman of the Intelligence Committee, to name the greatest threat to our national security interests. I suppose that most people would expect me to talk about terrorism; to talk about military imbalances; to talk about the fact that there is still the possibility of a major attack by strategic nuclear weapons against the United States; to talk about the proliferation of nuclear and biological and chemical weapons; or those things because they all constitute a very real threat to the United States which cannot be ignored.
But if I were to focus on what I think is the greatest single challenge facing us today, I truly wouldn't name one of those. I would say that the gravest threat to the future security of this country is our failure to adjust our thinking to all the changes in the world around us.
Einstein, soon after the atomic bomb was detonated for the first time, was asked for a comment. He said, `Everything in the world has changed except our way of thinking.' Our thinking had simply not been able to keep up with the pace of change in the world. All of us are struggling, whether we're on the policy side or on the journalism side, to sort through what all of the changes in the world around us mean--what they mean for the United States, what they mean for our future international role and what assets we will need to survive in this new world environment.
All of this came home to me just before Christmas when I had to grapple very quickly with the meaning of this change. In a weak moment during the Panama situation I had agreed to an interview on The CBS Evening News with Bob Schieffer, who was off in New York. They put me in a tiny little room in Washington with no windows, no ventilation and no one in the room with me--just the camera and a digital clock.
I was sitting there watching the digital clock, knowing we were about to go on the air. It was down to one minute and thirty seconds and, all of a sudden, a lady came bounding through the door and handed me a sheet of paper. She said, `Senator, this just came off the wire. You'd better read it right now. You might be asked about it on the air.' So I started to read. It said that the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Hungary had just completed its meetings and they had voted to abolish the Communist Party, change its name to he Socialist Party, call for free elections, and allow a multi-party system.
As I got through reading the paper, I looked at the digital clock. It said that there were forty-seven seconds before air time. Then a voice came through my ear-piece from New York saying, `Senator, did you just read that wire copy?' And I said `Yes, I just glanced at it.' The voice replied, `Good. When we go on the air, Mr. Schieffer is going to ask you about the historical significance of this development.'
I remember thinking to myself that forty-seven seconds was probably a little longer than most of us in Washington take to reflect upon these changes in the world before pontificating about their importance.
But it demonstrates how fast the changes are coming, and how they are affecting us without our being able to sort through what they mean. We need to pause and consider what they mean to the United States and to our role in the world and we need to do it immediately. We need to come to an understanding of where we're headed.
In one way, we've had a strange and symbiotic relationship with the Soviet Union. It may sound like an odd thing to say, but I don't think that we fully understand the implications of the decline of the Soviet Union for ourselves: their decline could very well lead to the decline of the United States as well.
Why would I say that? Well, when you think about it, the European countries, Japan, and others have been willing to follow the lead of the United States over the past few decades. Why? Because they needed us. As long as there was an external Soviet threat, as long as there was a threat from the Warsaw Pact, as long as we were providing the shield of military protection for them--and paying for that shield--they needed the United States. So they were willing to follow our lead.
But what about now, in these changed circumstances? Are they going to need us as much as they once did? They're economically strong: the GNP of the European Community is larger than ours; the per capita income of Japan is higher than ours and last year they invested twice as much for every new job created as we did in the United States. Will they be as willing, in this new environment, to follow the lead of the United States as they were just a few short months ago? I don't think so. This feeling came home to me in a chilling way as I was listening to testimony in the Intelligence Committee two or three weeks ago when we were speaking with some of those who are responsible for our intelligence programs around the world.
As I was talking with them, one of them said, `You know, Senator, we have some real problems.' And I said, `What do you mean? He said, `Well down at the operational level--not at the highest government levels, but down at the operational level--people are already looking at us and saying, `Why are you still here?' People we've been involved with during joint operations in the past. `Why are you still here? We don't need you anymore. When are you going home?' So already--even at the operational level--there is a change of attitude, a change in the willingness to follow the United States.
What does this mean? It means that our influence in the next century is going to be determined by very, very different assets than it was in the twentieth century. It means that our influence is going to rest upon other factors--such as economic strength--in a way that it has not for the last three or four decades when it has rested primarily upon our military strength. Our influence is also going to rest upon our moral leadership: the model we present for other nations to follow in terms of our political system.
If that is the case, where do we stand? Where do we stand in terms of the economic strength of this country? We're in a very different position from where we stood in 1950, at the beginning of the Cold War. Then we had nine of the ten largest banks in the world; now we have none of the top twenty. Then we had a seventy percent share of world assets and world markets; now we are down to the eighteen and nineteen percent range. It follows that we have an urgent need to restore the economic strength of this country if we're going to play a leadership role in the next century--if we are to have as great an impact on the world as we did in this century.
If you doubt that the world is shifting from primarily military to primarily economic competition, look at the targets for foreign intelligence operations. It's very interesting that as the arms race is winding down, the spy race is heating up. Where is the growth area in espionage activity? It's against private commercial targets in the United States--carried out not by foreign companies, but by foreign governments. More and more the aim of espionage is to steal private commercial secrets for the sake of national economic purposes--rather than to steal military secrets for building military strengths in the spying countries.
So we have shifted, and we have to change our thinking to adjust to the changed circumstances in which we are living. But what should we do? Are we simply so far behind--is our economic strength eroded to such a degree--that we should just throw up our hands and say, `Well, I guess that's all we can do. I guess we just have to give up. I guess the United States, which has led the world, is going to become a bit player in the next century'? I don't think so. There are things we can do. There are opportunities that we have, opportunities for shifting resources, for building the kinds of assets and the kinds of strengths which will take us into a leadership position in the next century.
But it's a critical time. If we let this decade go by without understanding what we need to do to get ready for a new environment, we do so at our own peril.
What should we do? In the first place, we're going to have to make some solid decisions in the domestic realm to improve our ability to conduct foreign policy. We have to make sound economic decisions here at home. That means changes in tax policy, for example. How in the world do we think that we can write a tax policy for this country in a vacuum without considering how that policy affects our ability to compete in the world marketplace? Every governor of every state in this country understands that when you change the tax law in a state, you affect the ability of that state to grow and develop economically since you're in competition with other states. Why can't we understand that as a nation?
Why don't we understand that if we want to get our savings rate up, the investment rate up, and the cost of capital down to encourage exploitation of technologies to create new jobs and to maintain those jobs, we're going to have to look at what the competition is doing to encourage investment with their tax policy.
Why don't we realize that we urgently need to enter into negotiations about an environmental clean-up and about bearing the costs of that clean-up worldwide? We're debating the Clean Air Act right now. We realize that if we're going to make the improvements that we need to make, other countries are going to have to follow suit or the United States will be disadvantaged in world competition with higher costs of production. There has to be international negotiation and international environmental policy. The United States cannot do it alone any more than we can write our tax policy alone.
We have to think about how we shift a primarily military economy--or one where we view military expenditure as paramount--to a civilian-oriented economy. Who is thinking about that? Who's helping us to decide how to ease that transition? Are we going to help defense contractors apply the research and development investments they have made towards non-military fields through some kind of tax credit? Are we going to take those troops that will be coming home from Europe sooner or later and put them to work rebuilding the infrastructure of this country, the water systems, the transportation systems, the environmental infrastructure that is so badly in need of repair? We have to think about the domestic decisions that we need to make in light of conducting foreign policy and strengthening our world position in the future.
What about foreign policy itself? And intelligence policy? What kind of changes are we going to have to make in our approach as the world around us is changing if we're to continue to play a leading role? What should we do?
Most important, I think, is the need to reevaluate how this country gives foreign aid. We need to make a revolutionary change in the way that aid is given. We're approaching a time when the United States is being asked to do more and more. How in the world are we going to meet all of the requests that are before us and still maintain our traditional commitments to countries that we've helped in the past?
The developments in Eastern Europe, the developments in Panama will be debated on the floor of the Senate in the next few days. How do we persuade the American people to do more in terms of foreign aid when, according to the latest poll, opposition among the American public to foreign aid is at the highest it has ever been? Eighty percent of the American people strongly oppose an increase in foreign assistance. What are we going to do?
I think we have to shift. I think we have to move towards what I would call a `Buy America' program. Look at what's happened, for instance, to aid given to Poland and Hungary by West Germany and Japan. We gave $800 million. How did we give it? Mainly cash: about eighty percent of it had no strings attached. How did they give the $2.1 billion they gave? They gave it with strings attached. Ninety-four percent of it was credits that could only be used to buy goods produced in their own countries. Now we have to think about that. I believe if we are to continue to play a role we have to switch to a `Buy American' approach. Offer American goods when they're rebuilding their infrastructure, when they`re building their transportation system, building new plants. It should be American equipment that goes into those plants, American equipment that goes into the transportation system, American equipment that goes into the telecommunication systems.
If we adopt such a program, then in the future, when those countries need spare parts, they will be American spare parts produced with American labor. They will be American service contracts when repairs need to be made. This is a way for us to play a role and for the taxpayers to see some return on their investment in terms of creating more jobs here at home. We have to realize that when we talk about burden-sharing with others--when we say to others, principally the West Germans and the Japanese, `Come in and help us bear a large share of the burden; we only want to be a small player in helping Eastern Europe or Central and Latin America,' that burden-sharing is also influence sharing.
If we want to mantain a share of influence, if we want to take this opportunity while encouraging others to develop markets for our products in the future, then we have to be prepared to play a larger role. And I think the only way we're going to be able to play a larger role is to shift the way we give foreign aid to a `Buy American' approach to create jobs and income here in
this country and to develop economic relationships abroad. So we need to shift to a `Buy American' approach.
Second, we also have to shift the way the foreign policy establishment of this country views its role--particularly those who are serving us in the foreign service overseas, both in diplomatic and intelligence fields. We must begin to regard our embassies not only as outposts for American political influence but we must begin to regard them as outposts for American economic influence as well.
It is extremely important that we begin to bring people into the foreign service who have abilities in the field of economics--who have degrees in business; who have experience in business; who understand the importance of using our embassies to develop economic opportunities and economic relationships for our country in the future. That's extremely important.
I see Ambassador Perkins here today, the Director-General of the Foreign Service. He's a visionary man; we're very fortunate to have him in his position at this time. He realizes we have to change the attitude of our embassies. We can no longer regard the commercial section as something that ought to be in the basement or preferably in an annex--something that really shouldn't be in the embassy at all. A commercial section must become part and parcel of the total operation and commercial skills are essential in our diplomatic missions around the world if we're going to spread American influence and keep that influence in the future.
Third, I think we need a massive increase in student exchange programs in the United States, and I'm working with Senator Pell and others to achieve this. It becomes a matter of exerting America's influence and leadership in the world. Why do I say that? Why do I believe that we should begin by adding at least 10,000 more exchange students at the undergraduate level going in both directions, between the United States and the Soviet Union, Eastern Europe and, in particular, Central America? First of all, it creates bonds between the future leaders of those parts of the world, bonds of friendship and understanding of our system and our values and ourselves.
We want to make the changes that are occurring in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union irreversible. The best way to do that is to bring the future leaders from those countries here to study. Expose them to American values, expose them to American institutions--it is so important. I'll never forget being in El Salvador a couple of years ago, where we're spending $800 million a year in military and economic aid, and having our ambassador call me aside. He said, `I need your help with something.' I thought he was probably going to say, `Well, we need some more military aid. We need an additional package.' He said, `Could you help me find forty student exchange slots to bring forty student leaders in El Salvador to the United States to study? The other side is taking 800 identifiable student leaders off to Cuba and elsewhere to study and is changing their outlook.'
We need to bring them into the United States in order to have an opportunity to educate them here. But it's a two-way benefit. It isn't just the need to bring those leaders who, for example, will be playing a role in a united Germany and parts of Eastern Europe. It's also the need to get American students overseas. One of the greatest needs we have in this country, as we enter a new world environment, is to internationalize the thinking of the next generation of Americans.
How in the world are we going to go out and compete economically, how are we going to be politically involved if we don't speak the languages of the world, if we don't understand the cultures of the world? If you just look at the statistics about the number of exchange students coming into this country--and about seventy percent of them are from the Orient--and the number of American students who are venturing out--or not venturing out--to the rest of the world, it's really astounding.
Last year 356,000 students from other countries came to study in the United States. Now, in contrast, how many American students do you think went to other countries to learn other languages and be exposed to other cultures? While 356,000 students came here, only 24,000 American students ventured out into the rest of the world to live, to study, and to have that kind of learning experience in another culture. The number of Americans studying abroad is less than the 25,000 students who came from Maylasia alone, a country of 14 million people, to study in the United States.
Look at what's happening in our study of foreign languages. By the year 2000, the European Community has set as a goal that every single sixteen-year-old will be able to speak two languages in addition of their own. We are now struggling to get thirty percent of the college and high school students in this country to study at least one foreign language.
Last year, of the students that graduated from high school in Japan, one hundred percent of them were fluent in English. They had to take six years of English to graduate from high school in Japan. In contrast, two one-hundredths of one percent of American students had any exposure whatsoever to or study of the Japanese language.
How in the world are we going to be ready to go out into a new international environment and hold our own when the next generation of Americans doesn't seem to have an understanding that it's an international environment in which they're going to be living and competing? We must change.
We also have to change the emphasis that we're giving in the intelligence community in terms of services and the kinds of
skills that we need. In this changing world what we need from the intelligence community is also changing. When we're looking at the foreign policy of the country, when we're looking at the intelligence policy of the country, one of the things we have to guard against is the tendency for bureaucracies to sanctify the present and ignore the future.
There's always a tendency to protect today's programs instead of reaching out to meet tomorrow's challenges. We're in exactly that situation today in the intelligence community.
Obviously, we're going to be far less concerned in the future about any kind of threat from the Warsaw Pact; about any possibility of a massive attack across the borders of Eastern Europe. That has all changed.
We're going to be in lower forward positions around the world in the future. We're not going to have bases in all the places we've been before. We're not going to have as many troops in forward positions.
What does this mean for intelligence? It means we're very unlikely to have another brush-fire situation or a regional conflict like Panama where we already have our troops on the scene, ready to move in; where we already have a lot of intelligence; where we already know about the various personalities and players, the economic situation and other factors.
It means that we're going to have to have intelligence, good human intelligence, to tell us about the intentions of leaders in advance so that we can begin to move forces early on in any crisis. We're going to have to shift our intelligence so that it will be readily usable by tactical commanders who have to move troops from long distances into situations all the way around the world, where we don't have bases like we have in Panama or the Philippines or other places. It's going to take a whole new kind of intelligence.
We're going to have to know about foreign governments' intentions for oil production levels, exchange rates and trade policies. We're going to have to protect our own commercial enterprises against the theft of commercial secrets. We're going to have to think about the role that we want our own intelligence service to play in terms of protecting America's economic and commercial interests around the world. We have to ask how far it should go, what is appropriate for our government intelligence agencies to do to look after our commercial and economic interests in a free enterprise system, in a democracy.
When we think about terrorism, when we think about laundering of drug money, when we think about nuclear proliferation--again we must think of improving human intelligence. The training and the beefing up of our human intelligence capability become all-important in terms of finding out what is going on around the world.
We have to think the unthinkable. We have to think about the fact that our intelligence job is going to change if we have to deal with a Soviet Union that is primarily democratic instead of a Soviet Union that is a closed society as it has been in the past.
We need different intelligence skills, focuses not so much finding out what went on at the Politburo meeting between a narrow range of decision makers, but what is going on with the people--finding out how these influences will come to change a system which is becoming increasingly democratic.
Thus, there are many things that we have to think about in terms of changing the intelligence capabilities of our country. I think you can see from what I'm saying that we're going to have to put great emphasis on the improvement of our human intelligence capability because intentions, changes of policy, and changes of public attitude are going to be far more important to us than they have been, particularly in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union.
It is a new world; we have to stop and think about our role in it; we have to have a vision for it. It's been said that those who mill around at the crossroads of history do so at their own peril. We are there--there's no doubt about it. If we don't understand that, we're going to place our nation at risk. If we don't understand that we're going to have to have a whole new set of assets to lead the world in the twenty-first century than we had in the twentieth century, we place our nation's role at risk.
If we're going to do that, if we're going to have that kind of focus, if we're going to come up with plans, if we're going to have the vision, our own domestic political institutions must work well. I think we realize that our political institutions here at home have severe problems. Reforms need to be made. Look at the fact that in these newly emerging democracies--Nicaragua, for example--over ninety percent of the people went to the polls in the recent elections. When you look at East Germany, over ninety-five percent of the eligible voters went out to vote in the last election.
Then look at the United States, where we struggle to get up to the fifty percent level in presidential elections, and we're down to the twenty and thirty and forty percent level, if we're lucky, in Congressional elections. There is a cynicism growing among American citizens about politics that is driving them away from the voting place. We have to do something about it.
When Congress should be grappling with the changes in the world, approaching them with vision, coming up with a blueprint to share with the American people, and asking the American people to be a part of that blueprint, more and more of congressional time
is spent in reelection efforts and raising the funds necessary to run a political campaign.
Even the daily schedule of Congress is driven not by policy issues, not by these changes in the world, not by clean air issues or aid to Panama and Nicaragua--the schedule is driven by the need for political fund-raising. No votes on Mondays, particularly on Monday nights. Those are political fund-raising nights, as everyone in Washington knows. No votes pass on Friday because members have to go all around the country--to California, Florida, New York--to raise the necessary funds. The time and attention that should be spent on solving the nation's problems are going into raising the money necessary to run for reelection.
If you just look at the figures, it's easy to see the kind of problems that we have. Since 1976, the cost of winning a United States Senate race has gone up 570 percent. From $600,000 in that year to an average $4 million in the last election cycle. That means that the average Senator has to raise $15,000 in campaign contributions every single week for six years to find the amount of money necessary to defend his or her seat in the coming election.
Where is that money coming from? Is it coming from the grass-roots? Is it coming from the people back home, from the home state or district of that Congressman? Absolutely not. Again, in the last twelve years, contributions from political action committees, mainly headquartered here in Washington, have gone from $22 million to $147 million. In the last election, well over half of the members reelected to Congress received far more than fifty percent of all their campaign contributions not from the people back home, but from the people here in Washington, D.C. who control political action committee money.
I was once interviewed at a meeting of PAC managers, and they asked a very serious question of me. One of them said, `Senator, don't you think that's a good development? One congressman told me, `You know, I feel good about it, because now I can just raise all my money up here in Washington in three or four nights, and I don't have to go back and inconvenience those people at home, my friends, and embarrass myself by having to ask them for contributions to my campaign.'
My answer to that was, `Thank God the Constitution requires it, or we could just conduct the election here in Washington too and not inconvenience the people to participate in the political process in any way whatsoever.'
What has the infusion of all this money done to the system? What has it done in terms of allowing young people to come into the political process, with fresh ideas and new concepts about how to solve our nation's problems? We all know that not only is more money being spent and more of that money coming from special interests, more and more of the money is going to incumbents. In the last election cycle, the political action committee gave to incumbents at a rate of four-to-one in the Senate and the rate of eight-to-one in the House. On average, incumbent members of Congress were able to outspend their challengers by a ratio of two-to-one.
What are we going to do about it? We have a real opportunity and a pressing need to deal with these problems in our own political institutions as we look out at a world that is changing, look out at a world that calls for us to face it with new vision and new understanding. I think we have a real opportunity this year. There's been a sea-change in attitude. Part of it has to do with the number of ethics cases that are now pending in Congress. Part of it has to do with increased public awareness. Almost eighty percent of the American people, according to recent polls, now say they support overall spending limits in political campaigns. The people want something done.
We were very close to passing a bill two years ago, as you know, and I think we could take S. 137, the bill that I've introduced with Senator Byrd and Senator Mitchell, and probably pass it through the Senate as it is now. We had fifty-five votes for our bill last time. We were only five short of cloture. With all of the changes that have taken place, I'm convinced that we have already picked up the five votes that are necessary.
But we don't want to push through a bill--I do not want to do it, Senator Mitchell doesn't want to do it--that is principally sponsored by only one political party. We want a bipartisan approach. This is a problem for all Americans. We don't seek any political advantage. We don't want to write a bill that tips the scales in favor of the Democratic Party or the Republican Party. We want to solve the problem.
That's why we're working very hard towards a consensus. Right now I'm working with a number of Republican senators; Senator Stevens, the ranking Republican on the Rules Committee, has been very active in this effort to work out a bipartisan compromise so that when we take this issue to the floor a week or two after the Easter recess, we'll be able to have a strong bipartisan vote and a bipartisan consensus.
I think we can do it around several principles. One, overall spending limits that have to be voluntary under the Supreme Court decision. An overall limit that candidates can receive from PACs in the aggregate, and an overall limit on the amount that candidates can spend in the aggregate. There would only be one exception to the aggregate spending limit. I was suggested by a special committee of experts which was appointed to give us new ideas and try and break the deadlock about spending limits. They came up with an idea that they call flexible spending limits. Since Republicans have always been traditionally opposed to any kind of complete and total limit on spending, these experts
suggested to us that we make an exception. They suggested we have an overall limit, but it would not apply to small in-state contributions raised from individuals. That's the kind of participation in the political process that we want to encourage.
I believe that a combination including an overall spending limit, overall limits on amounts coming from PACs, along with the so-called flexible limits exception of allowing unlimited amounts to come from small in-state contributors gives us a way to break the partisan stalemate on this issue.
We also, of course, are going to have to deal with the problem of bundling. We're going to have to deal with the problem of reforming the Federal Election Commission so that it can break the present three to three deadlock and actually make some decisions. And we have to come up with a package of incentives which will make it attractive enough for people to accept the voluntary spending incentives.
I think we've included such incentives in the proposal we're putting together. We have, for example, said that those who accept the voluntary spending limits will get lower mailing rates and a lower broadcast rate. Senator Danforth has come forward with a very fine suggestion that we're going to include that would allow a very, very low cost broadcast rate, almost free time, for two and five minute segments for those candidates that accept spending limits, to allow for real debate and not just negative thirty second spots.
We've also come up with a disclaimer so that those who refuse to accept the spending limits will have to put on all of their ads, including those on television. `This candidate does not accept spending limits,' for the whole time it is on the air. We think that's something which will be a strong inducement to candidates to accept limits given the change of public attitude.
We're almost there. We have a real chance to do something meaningful for our country through real campaign reform.
We have a real chance to make people believe in the political system again, to make them keen to participate in elections, since the elections will once again be decided on issues and the qualifications of candidates, and not on who can raise the most money.
So here we are. I think we all realize, perhaps in a way people have not realized it before, that we're playing out a role in history. With all the changes that are around us, we have to change our thinking, as Einstein said. It is absolutely vital for us to adjust our thinking, to realize that we are at the crossroads of history, that we cannot afford to mill around. We have to seize these opportunities, because they may not come again. In order to seize them, in order to prepare this country to lead in the twenty-first century, we need to get our own house in order. We intend to do it. This is the year when Congress must face up to that responsibility.
Thank you for letting me come and visit with you today.