TEXT: MADELEINE ALBRIGHT STATEMENT BEFORE SENATE FOREIGN RELATIONS COMMITTEE JANUARY 8
Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, it is a great honor and pleasure to be here with you this morning. I want to begin by thanking the President for his trust in nominating me to this high and very challenging position.
I am very grateful to Secretary Christopher both for his kind words of introduction and for the opportunity he has given me these past four years to observe how a steady and determined diplomat conducts business.
And I appreciate very much the committee's courtesy in scheduling this hearing so promptly.
Mr. Chairman, we have reached a point more than halfway between the disintegration of the Soviet Union and the start of a new century. Our nation is respected and at peace. Our alliances are vigorous. Our economy is strong. And from the distant corners of Asia, to the emerging democracies of Central Europe and Africa, to the community of democracies that exists within our own hemisphere -- and to the one impermanent exception to that community, Castro's Cuba -- American institutions and ideals are a model for those who have, or who aspire to, freedom.
All this is no accident, and its continuation is by no means inevitable. Democratic progress must be sustained as it was built -- by American leadership. And our leadership must be sustained if our interests are to be protected around the world.
Do not doubt, those interests are not geopolitical abstractions, they are real.
It matters to our children whether they grow up in a world where the dangers posed by weapons of mass destruction have been minimized or allowed to run out of control.
It matters to the millions of Americans who work, farm or invest whether the global economy continues to create good new jobs and open new markets, or whether -- through miscalculation or protectionism -- it begins to spiral downward.
It matters to our families whether illegal drugs continue to pour into our neighborhoods from overseas.
It matters to Americans who travel abroad or go about their daily business at home whether the scourge of international terrorism is reduced.
It matters to our workers and businesspeople whether they will be unfairly forced to compete against companies that violate fair labor standards, despoil the environment or gain contracts not through competition but corruption.
And it matters to us all whether through inattention or indifference, we allow small wars to grow into large ones that put our safety and freedom at risk.
To defeat the dangers and seize the opportunities, we must be more than audience, more even than actors, we must be the authors of the history of our age.
A half century ago, after the devastation caused by Depression, holocaust and war, it was not enough to say that what we were against had failed. Leaders such as Truman, Marshall and Vandenberg were determined to build a lasting peace. And together with our allies, they forged a set of institutions that would defend freedom, rebuild economies, uphold law and preserve peace.
Today, it is not enough for us to say that Communism has failed. We must continue building a new framework -- adapted to the demands of a new century -- that will protect our citizens and our friends; reinforce our values; and secure our future.
In so doing, we must direct our energies, not as our predecessors did, against a single virulent ideology. We face a variety of threats, some as old as ethnic conflict; some as new as letter bombs; some as long-term as global warming; some as dangerous as nuclear weapons falling into the wrong hands.
To cope with such a variety of threats, we will need a full range of foreign policy tools.
That is why our armed forces must remain the best-led, best-trained, best-equipped and most respected in the world. And as President Clinton has pledged, and our military leaders ensure, they will.
It is also why we need first-class diplomacy. Force, and the credible possibility of its use, are essential to defend our vital interests and to keep America safe. But force alone can be a blunt instrument, and there are many problems it cannot solve.
To be effective, force and diplomacy must complement and reinforce each other. For there will be many occasions, in many places, where we will rely on diplomacy to protect our interests, and we will expect our diplomats to defend those interests with skill, knowledge and spine.
If confirmed, one of my most important tasks will be to work with Congress to ensure that we have the superb diplomatic representation that our people deserve and our interests demand. We cannot have that on the cheap. We must invest the resources needed to maintain American leadership. Consider the stakes. We are talking here about one percent of our federal budget, but that one percent may well determine 50 percent of the history that is written about our era.
Unfortunately, as Senator Lugar recently pointed out, currently, "our international operations are underfunded and understaffed." He noted, as well, that not only our interests, but our efforts to balance the budget would be damaged if American disengagement were to result in "nuclear terrorism, a trade war, an energy crisis, a major regional conflict...or some other preventable disaster."
Mr. Chairman, we are the world's richest, strongest, most respected nation. We are also the largest debtor to the United Nations and the international financial institutions. We provide a smaller percentage of our wealth to support democracy and growth in the developing world than any other industrialized nation.
And over the past four years, the Department of State has cut more than 2,000 employees, downgraded positions, closed more than 30 embassies or consulates, and deferred badly-needed modernization of infrastructure and communications. We have also suffered a 30% reduction in our foreign assistance programs since 1991.
It is said that we have moved from an era where the big devour the small to an era where the fast devour the slow. If that is the case, your State Department, with its obsolete technology, $300 million in deferred maintenance and a shrinking base of skilled personnel, is in trouble.
If confirmed, I will strive to fulfill my obligation to manage our foreign policy effectively and efficiently. I will work with this committee and the Congress to ensure that the American public gets full value for each tax dollar spent. But I will also want to ensure that our foreign policy successfully promotes and protects the interests of the American people.
In addition, I will want to work with you to spur continued reform and to pay our bills at the United Nations, an organization that Americans helped create, that reflects ideals that we share and that serves goals of stability, law and international cooperation that are in our interests.
The debate over adequate funding for foreign policy is not new in America. It has been joined repeatedly from the time the Continental Congress sent Ben Franklin to Paris, to the proposals for Lend Lease and the Marshall Plan that bracketed World War II, to the start of the SEED and Nunn-Lugar programs a few years ago. In each case, history has looked more kindly on those who argued for our engagement than on those who said we just could not afford to lead.
Mr. Chairman, any framework for American leadership must include measures to control the threats posed by weapons of mass destruction and terror; to seize the opportunities that exist for settling dangerous regional conflicts; to maintain America as the hub of an expanding global economy; and to defend cherished principles of democracy and law.
At the center of that framework, however, are our key alliances and relationships. These are the bonds that hold together not only our foreign policy, but the entire international system. When we are able to act cooperatively with the other leading nations, we create a dynamic web of principle, power and purpose that elevates standards and propels progress around the globe. This is our opportunity, for in the post Cold War era, big power diplomacy is not a zero-sum game.
The Trans-Atlantic Partnership
A foremost example is the trans-Atlantic partnership. It is a central lesson of this century that America must remain a European power. We have an interest in European security, because we wish to avoid the instability that drew five million Americans across the Atlantic to fight in two world wars. We have an interest in European democracy, because it was the triumph of freedom there that ended the Cold War. We have an interest in European prosperity, because our own prosperity depends on having partners that are open to our exports, investment and ideas.
Today, thanks to the efforts of President Clinton and Secretary Christopher, American leadership in Europe is on solid ground.
European institutions are evolving in directions that are making the continent more free, unified and peaceful than at any time in history.
Our key bilateral relationships, albeit spirited at times, are as strong and resilient as they have ever been.
The terrible carnage in Bosnia has ended.
The Partnership for Peace has broadened cooperation on security matters.
And there is continued progress on political and market reforms within Central Europe and the New Independent States.
If confirmed, I will be returning to this committee often to ask your support for our vision of an integrated, stable and democratic Europe.
In July, at the NATO summit in Madrid, the alliance will discuss European security, including NATO adaptation to new missions and structures, a framework for enhanced consultation and cooperation with Russia, and enlargement.
The purpose of enlargement is to do for Europe's east what NATO did 50 years ago for Europe's west: to integrate new democracies, defeat old hatreds, provide confidence in economic recovery and deter conflict.
Those who say NATO enlargement should wait until a military threat appears miss the main point. NATO is not a wild west posse that we mobilize only when grave danger is near. It is a permanent alliance, a linchpin of stability, designed to prevent serious threats from ever arising.
To those who worry about enlargement dividing Europe, I say that NATO cannot and should not preserve the old Iron Curtain as its eastern frontier. That was an artificial division, imposed upon proud nations, some of which are now ready to contribute to the continent's security. What NATO must and will do is keep open the door to membership to every European nation that can shoulder alliance responsibilities and contribute to its goals, while building a strong and enduring partnership with all of Europe's democracies.
Building a more cooperative and integrated Europe will be one of many issues that President Clinton will be discussing with President Yeltsin during his visit here to the United States in March. A democratic Russia can and must be a strong partner in achieving this shared goal.
We know that Russia remains in the midst of a wrenching transition, but gains made during the past five years are increasingly irreversible. Despite the threats posed by corruption and crime, open markets and democratic institutions have taken hold. And last summer marked the first fully democratic election of national leaders in Russia's long history.
President Yeltsin's challenge in his second term will be restore the momentum behind internal reforms and accelerate Russia's integration with the West. We have a profound interest in encouraging that great country to remain on a democratic course, to respect fully the sovereignty of its neighbors and to join with us in addressing a full range of regional and global issues.
Our deepening friendship with a democratic Ukraine is also fundamental to Europe's integration. Ukraine was the first of the New Independent states to transfer power from one democratically-elected government to another. And, under President Kuchma, it has launched ambitious economic reforms that have subdued inflation and prevented economic collapse.
In our relations both with Russia and Ukraine, the binational commissions established with Vice-President Gore as the lead U.S. representative will serve as a valuable aid for setting the agenda, and facilitating cooperation across a broad range of endeavors.
Finally, the future of European stability and democracy depends, as well, on continued implementation of the Dayton Accords.
Although IFOR completed its military tasks brilliantly in Bosnia, more time is needed for economic reconstruction and political healing. SFOR's goal is to provide the time for peace to become self-sustaining.
Although the full promise of Dayton is not yet fulfilled, much has changed during the past 13 months. The fighting has stopped, peaceful elections have been held, and the framework for national democratic institutions has taken shape.
Much of this is due to American leadership. Our plan now, in cooperation with our many partners, is to consolidate and build on those gains. Our strategy is to continue diminishing the need for an international military presence by establishing a stable military balance, improving judicial and legal institutions, helping more people return safely to their homes and seeing that more of those indicted as war criminals are arrested and prosecuted.
Given the ongoing challenges, it is encouraging to note the history-making dimension of the process set in motion by the Dayton Accords.
Today, in Bosnia, virtually every nation in Europe is working together to bring stability to a region where conflict earlier this century tore the continent apart.
This reflects a sharp departure from the spheres of influence or balance of power diplomacy of the past, and an explicit rejection of politics based on ethnic identification. And it validates the premise of the Partnership for Peace by demonstrating the growth of a common understanding within Europe of how a common sense of security may be achieved.
The experience of IFOR and now SFOR in Bosnia heightens the potential for security cooperation among the full range of NATO and non-NATO European states. In Bosnia, soldiers from NATO, Russia, Poland, Ukraine, Romania and many other nations trust, defend and depend on each other. Our challenge is to extend that spirit to other joint endeavors and to keep it thriving long after SFOR concludes its work.
European stability depends in large measure on continued American engagement and leadership. And as history attests, European stability is also vital to our national interests. As a result, we will remain engaged, we will continue to lead, we will strengthen our alliances and we will continue to build with our democratic partners a Europe in which every nation is free and every free nation is our partner.
Promoting Mutual Security and Prosperity in Asia
Mr. Chairman, America must remain a European power. We must, and will, remain a Pacific power, as well.
Asia is a continent undergoing breathtaking economic expansion and measured, but steady, movement in the direction of democracy. Its commercial vigor reinforces our own and contributes to the vital interest we have in its security. This is, after all, an area in which America has fought three wars during the past six decades, and in which 100,000 American troops are based.
President Clinton has elevated this dynamic region on our agenda, and I plan to devote much of my attention to its promise and perils.
Our priorities here are to maintain the strength of our core alliances while success fully managing our multi-faceted relationship with China.
Because of our commitment to regional security, we have maintained our forward-deployed military presence in the Western Pacific. We are encouraging regional efforts to settle territorial and other disputes without violence. We are working hard to open markets for American goods and services, both bilaterally and through APEC, which the President lifted to the summit level. We are broadening our diplomatic and security ties in Southeast Asia, home to the world's fastest growing economies. And we will continue to promote respect for internationally-recognize human rights and the spread of freedom.
Our closest and most wide-ranging bilateral relationship in the region is with Japan, with whom we have strongly reaffirmed our alliance. We consult Japan regularly on a broad range of foreign policy questions from security in Asia to development in Africa. We appreciate its generous financial support for peace efforts from Bosnia to the Middle East. And we are working with Japan and another valued ally, the Republic of Korea, to implement the framework agreement freezing North Korean development of nuclear arms. In recent weeks, we and Seoul have worked together successfully to reduce tensions, reinforce the nuclear freeze and improve prospects for dialogue on the Peninsula.
I look forward, if confirmed, to visiting both Japan and the Republic of Korea at an early date.
I am also looking forward to the visit here soon of the Chinese Foreign Minister.
A strong bilateral relationship between the United States and China is needed to expand areas of cooperation, reduce the potential for misunderstanding and encourage China's full emergence as a responsible member of the international community.
To make progress, our two countries must act towards each other on the basis of mutual frankness. We have important differences, especially on trade, arms transfers and human rights, including Tibet. We have concerns about Chinese policy towards the reversion of Hong Kong. While adhering to our one China policy, we will maintain robust unofficial ties with Taiwan. But we also have many interests in common, and have worked together on issues including the Korean peninsula, crime, the global environment and nuclear testing.
U.S. policy towards China has long been an issue of controversy in Congress and among the American people. There are disagreements about the proper balancing of the various elements of that policy. There should be no doubt, however, about the importance of this relationship, and about the need to pursue a strategy aimed at Chinese integration, not isolation.
Preventive Defense through the Control of Deadly Arms
The Cold War may be over, but the threat to our security posed by nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction has only been reduced, not ended. Arms control and nonproliferation remain a vital element in our foreign policy framework.
With our leadership, much has been accomplished. Russian warheads no longer target our homes. Nuclear weapons have been removed from Belarus and Kazakhstan and in Ukraine, the last missile silos are being planted over with sunflowers. Iraq's nuclear capability has been dismantled, and North Korea's frozen. The Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty has been extended, indefinitely and without conditions. A comprehensive ban on nuclear tests has been approved and a chemical weapons ban will soon be in effect.
Mr. Chairman, these efforts to reduce the spread and number of weapons of mass destruction contribute to what Defense Secretary Perry has called "preventive defense." They are designed to keep Americans safe. We pursue them not as favors to others, but in support of our own national interests. But arms control and nonproliferation are works in progress, and we will need your help and that of this committee and the Senate to continue that progress.
First, we will be asking your consent to the ratification of the Chemical Weapons Convention, or CWC, before it enters into force in late April.
As this committee well knows, the CWC was begun under President Reagan and negotiated under President Bush. It is supported by many in both parties, by the business community and by our military. The CWC is no panacea, but it will make it more difficult for rogue states and others hostile to our interests to develop or obtain chemical weapons. I hope, Mr. Chairman, that we will be able to work together to get this treaty approved in time for the United States to be an original party.
We will also be seeking your early approval of the CFE Flank agreement, which is essential to sustain the CFE Treaty, which in turn contributes mightily to European security.
Overseas, we will be working with Russia to secure prompt ratification by the Duma of the START II Treaty, and then to pursue further reductions and limits on strategic nuclear arms.
We will also continue efforts to fulfill the President's call for negotiations leading to a worldwide ban on the use, stockpiling, production and transfer of anti-personnel landmines. The humanitarian problems created by the misuse of anti-personnel landmines can only be dealt with on a global basis. In September, the President told the U.N. General Assembly that "our children deserve to walk the Earth in safety." This will be a major arms control objective of the next four years.
Arms control and nonproliferation are closely linked to our policies toward rogue states. We have a major interest in preventing weapons of mass destruction from being obtained by regimes with a proven disrespect for the rule of law. Accordingly, we will continue working to improve the security and prevent the diversion of fissile materials. We will continue to oppose strongly the sale or transfer of advanced weapons or technologies to Iran. And we will insist on maintaining tough U.N. sanctions against Iraq unless and until that regime complies with relevant Security Council resolutions.
Vigorous Diplomacy in Support of Peace
Mr. Chairman, the appropriate American role in helping to end conflicts and respond to crises overseas has been debated widely, not only in our time, but throughout American history.
Because we have unique capabilities and unmatched power, it is natural that others turn to us in time of emergency. We have an unlimited number of opportunities to act around the world. But we do not have unlimited resources, nor do we have unlimited responsibilities. If we are to protect our own interests and maintain our credibility, we have to weigh our commitments carefully, and be selective and disciplined in what we agree to do.
Recognizing this, we have a strong incentive to strengthen other mechanisms for responding to emergencies and conflicts, including the United Nations and regional organizations. We should work closely with the entire network of public and nongovernmental organizations that has evolved to predict, prevent, contain and minimize the human and other costs of natural and human-caused disaster. And we should insist that other capable nations do their fair share financially, technically and -- if necessary -- militarily.
The primary obligation of the United States is to its own citizens. We are not a charity or a fire department. We will defend firmly our own vital interests.
But we recognize that our interests and those of our allies may also be affected by regional or civil wars, power vacuums that create targets of opportunity for criminals and terrorists, dire humanitarian emergencies and threats to democracy. Then, as President Clinton said recently, "The United States cannot and should not try to solve every problem, but where our interests are clear, our values are at stake, (and) where we can make a difference, we must act and we must lead."
During the past four years, under President Clinton and Secretary Christopher, the United States has been steadfast in supporting the peacemakers over the bombthrowers in historically troubled areas of the globe. Our goal has been to build an environment in which threats to our security and that of our allies are diminished, and the likelihood of American forces being sent into combat is reduced.
We recognize that, in most of these situations, neither the United States nor any other outside force can impose a solution. But we can make it easier for those inclined towards peace to take the risks required to achieve it.
As this statement is being prepared, sustained U.S. diplomacy in the Middle East has helped to build a renewed dialogue between Israel and its Palestinian partners, producing significant progress on Israeli redeployment in Hebron.
While an agreement is not yet in hand, the intensive negotiations which have been conducted over the past three months -- including direct discussions between Prime Minister Netanyahu and Chairman Arafat -- have restored a sense of momentum and greater confidence between the sides. This process began during the Washington summit called by President Clinton last October and has been sustained and advanced through our active diplomatic engagement.
Prime Minister Netanyahu and Chairman Arafat have reaffirmed to President Clinton their determination to continue their joint efforts for peace. The United States will stand by them as they do.
Today, there remain two competing visions in the Middle East. One is focused on the grievances and tragedies of the past; the other on the possibilities of the future. An agreement on Hebron would serve as a catalyst, strengthening the supporters of peace. Under the President's leadership, we intend to press vigorously on all tracks to realize a secure, comprehensive and lasting peace between Israel and her Arab neighbors.
Throughout, we will be guided by America's unshakeable commitment to Israel's security, and by our opposition to those who would disrupt this process through terrorism and violence.
Secretary Christopher leaves office after four years of historic progress in facilitating peace in the Middle East. While his presence will be missed, I will maintain fully the State Department's commitment to an active U.S. role in this long-troubled and strategic part of the globe.
Across the Mediterranean in Cyprus, another longstanding disagreement remains unresolved. In 1996, the parties moved no closer to a final decision on the status of the island. Moreover, disturbing incidents of violence marred the climate for negotiations, while underlining their urgency. The dispute here and related differences between our two NATO allies, Turkey and Greece, affect European stability and our vital interests. Accordingly, we are prepared in this new year to play a heightened role in promoting a resolution in Cyprus, but for any initiative to bear fruit, the parties must agree to steps that will reduce tensions and make direct negotiations possible.
In Northern Ireland, we are encouraged that multi-party talks began but we are disappointed by the lack of progress made, and strongly condemn the IRA's return to violence. We will continue to work with the Irish and British governments and the parties to help promote substantive progress in the talks. And we note that former Senator George Mitchell, who is chairing the multi-party talks, has been crucial to the forward steps that have been taken.
As we enter the 50th anniversary year of independence for both India and Pakistan, we will again consider the prospects for reducing the tensions that have long existed between these two friends of the United States.
We have a wealth of equities in this region, and a particular concern about the regional arms race and nuclear nonproliferation. India and Pakistan should both know that we will do what we can to strengthen their relations with us and encourage better relations between them, and that we expect both to avoid actions calculated to provoke the other.
Another dispute tangled by history and geography concerns Armenia, Azerbaijan and the status of Nagorno-Karabakh. The good news here is that the ceasefire has now held for more than two years. The bad news is that progress under the OSCE's Minsk process has been agonizingly slow. We have very substantial economic, political and humanitarian interests in this region, and are prepared to play a more visible role in helping to arrange a settlement. One step that Congress could take to increase our influence would be to lift restrictions on nonmilitary assistance to Azerbaijan, while maintaining support for our generous aid program in Armenia.
Finally, in Central Africa, we are striving with regional leaders and our allies to prevent a still-volatile situation from erupting into even greater tragedy. We are encouraging the repatriation of the remaining Rwandan refugees and assisting in their re-integration into Rwandan society. Through the efforts of Special Envoy Howard Wolpe, we are promoting a dialogue between the opposing parties in Burundi. And we support an end to conflict in Zaire based on recognition of Zaire's territorial integrity and full respect for human rights.
Mr. Chairman, I visited Central Africa last year. In Rwanda, in the beautiful region where they filmed "Gorillas in the Mist," there is an old stone church. By its side, American and other volunteers work with little brushes to clean and reassemble the skeletons of people slaughtered there in 1994. Among the hundreds of skeletons there, I happened to notice one in particular that was only two feet long, about the size of my little grandson.
It is said that foreign policy should not be influenced by emotion. That is true. But let us remember that murdered children are not emotions; they are human beings whose potential contributions are forever lost. America has an interest, as do all civilized people, to act where possible to prevent and oppose genocide.
One practical step we can take is to increase the capacity of African countries to engage successfully in peacekeeping efforts within their region. That is the purpose of the African Crisis Response Force proposed by the administration last fall. This proposal has generated considerable interest both within and outside the region. With congressional support, it will be a priority in the coming year.
Leadership for a Global Economy
The Clinton Administration has had extraordinary success these past four years in creating jobs for Americans at home by opening markets abroad. The more than 200 trade agreements negotiated have helped our exports grow by 34% since 1993 and created 1.6 million new jobs. By passing NAFTA, concluding the GATT Uruguay Round and forging the Miami summit commitment to achieve free and open trade in our hemisphere by 2005 and the APEC commitment to do the same in the Asia-Pacific by 2020, the President has positioned the United States to become an even more dynamic hub of the global economy in the 21st century.
As Secretary of State, I would do all I can to see that this momentum continues. Already, I have talked with Treasury Secretary Rubin, Commerce Secretary-designate Bill Daley and Trade Representative-designate Charlene Barshefsky. We intend, if confirmed, to function as a team -- America's team. And we intend to be a very tough team.
Competition for the world's markets is fierce. Often, our firms go head-to-head with foreign competitors who are receiving active support from their own governments. A principal responsibility of the Department of State is to see that the interests of American companies and workers receive fair treatment, and that inequitable barriers to competition are overcome. Accordingly, the doors to the Department of State and our embassies around the world are open -- and will remain open -- to U.S. businesspeople seeking to share their ideas and to ask our help.
In the years ahead, we must continue shaping a global economic system that works for America. Because our people are so productive and inventive, we will thrive in any true competition. However, maintaining the equity of the system requires constant effort. Experience tells us that there will always be some who will seek to take advantage by denying access to our products, pirating our copyrighted goods or under-pricing us through sweatshop labor.
That is why our diplomacy will continue to emphasize high standards on working conditions, the environment and labor and business practices. And it is why we will work for a trading system that establishes and enforces fair rules.
Although we will continue to work closely with our G-7 partners, the benefits of economic integration and expanded trade are not -- and should not be -- limited to the most developed nations. Especially now, when our bilateral foreign assistance program is in decline, public and private sector economic initiatives are everywhere an important part of our foreign policy. We can also leverage resources for results by working with and supporting the international financial institutions.
In Latin America, a region of democracies, we will be building on the 1994 Summit of the Americas to strengthen judicial and other political institutions and to promote higher standards of living through free trade and economic integration. I am pleased that, in this effort, we will have the assistance of the newly-designated special envoy for the Americas, Mack McLarty.
Although much poverty remains, substantial gains have been made in many parts of the hemisphere through economic reforms, increased commerce, lower inflation and higher foreign investment. We believe that further progress can be achieved that will benefit us, as well as our hemispheric partners, through agreement on a Free Trade Area for the Americas by the year 2005. We also place a high priority on the early addition of Chile to the North American Free Trade Agreement on equitable terms, and on the extension to Central America and the Caribbean of arrangements equivalent to NAFTA.
Even closer to home, we are encouraging continued economic and political reform in Mexico, with whom we share a 2000 mile border and a host of common concerns, including crime, narcotics, immigration and the environment.
In Africa, the overall economic outlook is improving, but daunting problems of debt, strife, environmental stress and inadequate investment remain.
It is in our interest to help the region's leaders overcome these problems and to build an Africa that is more prosperous, democratic and stable.
We know, however, that the primary impetus for development here, as elsewhere, must come from the private sector.
It is encouraging, therefore, that many African governments are facilitating growth through policies that allow private enterprise to take hold, while investing public resources wisely in education, health and measures that expand opportunities for women.
If confirmed, I will place great emphasis on working with Africa's democratic leaders to broaden and deepen these trends. More specifically, we will work towards the integration of Africa into the world's economy, participate in efforts to ease debt burdens, and help deserving countries, where we can, through targeted programs of bilateral aid.
Promoting Freedom and Extending the Rule of Law
Mr. Chairman, the representative of a foreign power said once that his country had no permanent allies, only permanent interests.
It might be said of America that we have no permanent enemies, only permanent principles.
Those principles are founded in respect for law, human dignity and freedom not just for some, but for all people.
If I am confirmed, I can assure you that the United States will not hesitate to address frankly the violation of internationally-recognized human rights, whether those violations occur in Cuba or Afghanistan, Burma, Belgrade or Beijing.
We will work with others to defeat the forces of international crime and to put those who traffic in drugs permanently out of business.
We will pursue a hard line against international terror, insisting on the principle that sponsoring, sheltering or subsidizing terrorists cannot be rationalized; it is wrong; and those guilty should not be appeased, but isolated and punished.
We will maintain our strong backing for the international war crimes tribunal for Rwanda and the Balkans, because we believe that the perpetrators of ethnic cleansing should be held accountable, and those who consider rape just another tactic of war should answer for their crimes.
And we will continue to promote and advocate democracy because we know that democracy is a parent to peace, and that the American Constitution remains the most revolutionary and inspiring source of change in the world.
The Environmental Mainstream
One final note, Mr. Chairman. Before closing I wanted to make it clear that I intend, if confirmed, to build upon Secretary Christopher's wise decision to incorporate environmental goals into the mainstream of our foreign policy.
Over the past several years, I have traveled to almost every region of the world. I have seen the congestion caused by over-development, and the deforestation that results when expanding populations compete for shrinking natural resources. I have smelled the air of smoke-clogged cities where the environmental techniques made possible by modern technology have not yet been applied.
The threats we face from environmental damage are not as spectacular as those of a terrorist's bomb or a hostile missile. But they directly affect the health, safety and quality of life of families everywhere. We can choose to be passive in responding to those threats, and leave the hard work to our children, or we can be active and forward-looking now. I choose the latter course, and will not be shy in seeking congressional and public support.
Members of the Committee, I am deeply honored to appear here today. I have laid out some, but by no means all, of what I see as the principal challenges and opportunities we will face over the next four years. Clearly, we have a lot to do.
I could say to you that it had always been my ambition to be Secretary of State of the United States. But that is not true. Frankly, I did not think it was possible.
I arrived in America when I was 11 years old. My family came here to escape Communism and to find freedom and we did. My ambition at that time was only to speak English well, please my parents, study hard, and grow up to be an American.
The newspaper in Denver, where we lived, had a motto that read, "`Tis a privilege to live in Colorado."
My father used to repeat that motto on a regular basis, but he would often add a reminder: "Kids," he would say, "never forget that it is also a privilege to live in the United States."
Long after I left home, my mother would call on the Fourth of July to ask my children, her grandchildren: "Tell me, are you singing any patriotic songs?"
Senators, you on your side of the table and I on my side, have a unique opportunity to be partners in creating a new and enduring framework for American Leadership. One of my predecessors, Dean Acheson, wrote about being present at the creation of a new era. You and I have the challenge and the responsibility to help co-author the newest chapter in our history.
In so doing, let us remember that there is not a page of American history of which we are proud that was written by a chronic complainer or prophet of despair.
We are doers.
By rejecting the temptations of isolation, and by standing with those around the world who share our values, we will advance our own interests; honor our best traditions; and help to answer a prayer that has been offered over many years in a multitude of tongues, in
accordance with diverse customs, in response to a common yearning.
That prayer is the prayer for peace, freedom, food on the table and what President Clinton once so eloquently referred to as "the quiet miracle of a normal life."
If with your consent, I am confirmed as Secretary of State, I will ask you to join me in doing all we can, as representatives of the indispensable nation, and with the help of God, to answer that prayer.
Thank you very much.