This February, Senator Cranston began writing a free weekly column on democracy and democratic institutions for the main Russian news agency, ITAR-Tass. In these articles he addresses such issues as the role of intelligence services in post-cold war democracies and civil-military relations in democratic regimes.
During his 23 years in the Senate, Senator Cranston has made the improvement of United States-Soviet relations a cornerstone of his foreign policy concerns. These articles are the latest of his efforts to improve understanding between what used to be our two nations, and what now has become our 13 nations.
With the collapse of the Soviet empire the people of the Commonwealth of Independent States look to the United States for advice and assistance to rebuild their political and economic systems peacefully and democratically. I commend Senator Cranston for sharing the wisdom of his many years of public service with people who are experiencing freedom for the first time, and for taking the initiative to provide personally some of the assistance they so desperately need.
Mr. President, I ask that these first three of Senator Cranston's articles be inserted in the Record at this time.
The articles follow:
Since the democracy was born in ancient Athens centuries ago, political thinkers have pondered the question, `Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?'--who will guard the guards?
The issue of civilian-military relations is one of the most vital policy questions facing the elected leadership of any country, providing as they do a look into the very chamber of the heart of democracy.
In newly-emerging democracies, the issue of civilian control of the military is often the single most important change that must take place. It is also very important in nations whose armed forces have historically been subordinated to the dictates of a single political party.
Without a doubt, the success and prestige of the American military, and that of many other democracies, has been immeasurably advanced by their unquestioned subordination to civilian political authority and their strict adherence to a mission of national defense of territory and sovereignty.
I believe that the American model, in particular, has an important array of lessons in the proper management of civil-military relations.
In the United States, there is a clear and unequivocal direction provided by civilian political leaders of the military structure and forces. This leadership is not a sometimes thing; many politicians make mastery of the intricacies of military issues a prime objective once they reach Washington, and sometimes before.
The control of the military budget by Congress provides essential oversight by elected officials responsible to the People.
This control over the purse strings has allowed an important check on military autonomy even in time of huge military build-ups. It is an ultimate safeguard of our democracy, ensuring as it does that military policies initiated by the Executive Branch (the president and his representatives, the Secretary of Defense) are debated and, if need be, changed to represent the views of our citizens.
Another important lesson is the existence of close interaction and contact between civilians and military, and between our four armed services, throughout the military command and control structure.
This system of joint command, in which civilians play an important role, reduces the potential for institutional rivalries, and promotions are based --in part--on an officer's ability to operate in an environment of inter-service cooperation.
A fourth aspect is that literally hundreds of privately funded, civilian-run nongovernmental agencies (NGOs) help to inform and shape defense policy.
As a legislator, I frequently reach outside the world of official briefings and Congressional hearings to better understand the complexities of a problem or the advantages--and disadvantages--of a particular approach.
In Washington, the NGOs constitute a virtual `Fourth Branch' of our Executive-Legislative-Judicial triad, helping to inform policymakers and educate the public.
Finally, the American military, which has no law enforcement role except in extreme and unusual circumstances, has therefore remained at the margins of partisan politics.
In a democracy, the armed forces are non-deliberative, which means they can contribute to policy formulation but must not take part in political party activity. This rule has been key to keeping the U.S. military as a respected and professional force throughout our more than 200-year history.
In many emerging democracies, the corps of civilian managers that forms an integral part of military management does not exist, or is tainted by its service to undemocratic parties of the ancien regime.
To all those who seek to strengthen their nation's democratic future, the issue of civil-military relations pose an important immediate challenge. Democratic control over the military cannot be established without empowering civilian managers in defense and security issues, and without circumscribing the role of the armed forces to that of national defense.
In a democracy, the answer to the question, `Who guards the guards?' the answer is easy--the People do.
I urge the leaders and all the people of the new EurAsian republics in the former Soviet Union who are constructing their new societies to consider the unique, remarkable and wonderful example set by a small country in strife-torn Central America--Costa Rica.
Costa Rica has found that it can get along magnificently without maintaining any army at all.
Costa Rica, nestled amid the war-torn nations of El Salvador, Guatemala, and Nicaragua, provides a useful study of a nation whose political and economic development has been strengthened by its decision to demilitarize.
It has been said that the one thing worse than an army of the unemployed, is an unemployed army--an army that is still in uniform but has no justification for its existence.
In today's world of scarce capital and oversized militaries this truism takes on a critical importance, particularly in new and emerging democracies.
In many of these nations, the primary threat to democratic governance and economic development is the large, and largely useless, standing militaries--the legacy of the Cold War and bipolar superpower struggle.
Because Costa Rica's expenditures on security are relatively small, resources have been freed for other projects that create more jobs and other socially beneficial works. Today Costa Ricans have the longest life expectancy (74 years), the lowest infant mortality (less than 19 per thousand) and the highest caloric consumption per capita in Central America.
They have a truly great education system because they are able to devote strong financial support to their schools--paying teachers well and keeping classes small. They have a relatively prosperous economy--with high living standards--because they invest their resources in civilian production rather than wasting it on military weapons and forces that they don't need. (In comparision, in the period 1972-1988, Costa Rica's neighbors diverted significant resources to their armed forces--Guatemala 1.9 percent of GNP, Nicaragua 9.5 percent, Honduras 3.6 and Panama, 1.4 percent.)
Since 1949, in the aftermath of a brief civil war, the Costa Rican constitution has forbidden the creation of an army, a statue that has reassured its neighbors that it has no designs on their territory. Even during Central America's fratricidal wars in the 1980s, Costa Rica owned no tanks, artillery, warships or helicopter gunships.
In eliminating their military, Costa Ricans also reaffirmed their williness to play international good citizens, relying on diplomacy and the rule of law to maintain their country's sovereignty and independence.
A signatory to all major human rights treaties and accords, Costa Rica is an active participant in international and regional forums as a voice for moderation, multilateral arbitration and peaceful change.
Because of this, Costa Ricans feel confident that in the (unlikely) event of external aggression, they could count on the active support of international bodies, such as the United Nations and the Organization of American States.
By demilitarizing their country, Costa Ricans have rid themselves of an institution that, in practically every other Latin American nation, and in many other countries around the world, has at one time or another destabilized or threatened democracy.
What is more, because of the absence of an army the political environment is conducive to seek changes through negotiations and compromise, rather than knocking on the barracks' door seeking support.
The fact that Costa Rica does not have an army does not mean it is defenseless. Internal security is carried out exclusively by a 12,000-man national police force. Firmly under civilian control, the police provide Costa Ricans with a level of security unmatched in neighboring Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala.
Other recent democracies have sometimes confused the essential distinction between internal security and national defense, and have give an important role in the former to the military.
This tendency to militarize internal security however, has invariably led to politicized armed forces--they are forced to take part in internal conflicts--and demoralized police, who find their institutions subordinated to the military and often run by officers with little knowledge of, or talent for, police work.
In the United States, which has for several decades shouldered global military burdens, this separation of police and military missions is enshrined in the principle of posse comitatus, the Latin for `the force of the country,' which prohibits our own military from an internal security role except in the most extraordinary circumstances.
Demilitarization is not the only pillar upon which Costa Rican democracy rests.
The fact that all major political figures and parties accept the rules of the game and respect the rule of law provides important support for this experiment in democratic rule in a harsh environment. Other institutions and practices--such as a free press and competitive multiparty environment--are also of vital importance.
Yet, for many countries in the world today, demilitarization offers the best hope for healthy economic growth and the security of its citizens.
Costa Rica provides an example worth bearing in mind. I think it would be wonderful if some of the new Republics in the former Soviet Union would decide to emulate Costa Rica and get along without military forces.
At least two and hopefully three of the republics that had nuclear weapons on their soil are in the process of getting rid of them, and the fourth, Russia, is drastically reducing its nuclear arsenal.
Why not simply get rid of all weapons, nuclear and conventional?
Or, why not at least greatly reduce weapons and forces. That is what my country, the United States, is now doing as a first step toward a saner and safer more prosperous nation and world.
I am one of those advocating, along with many others, the deepest and swiftest possible reductions in the U.S. military structure.
If we could only start competing in building-down and eliminating military forces, rather than building them up, how much better off we would all be!
A call by U.S. Central Intelligence Agency Director Robert Gates in late February for a new era of `openness' at the CIA is perhaps the most palpable indication of the winds of glasnost and perestroika stirring throughout the inner recesses of the secret world of intelligence.
In the United States, the end of the Cold War has brought a new and exacting set of challenges to the American intelligence community. The CIA and the `intelligence community' as a whole now face a world in which the `enemy' is more elusive.
As intelligence agencies are shifting their focus, they are going through a process of self-examination, and at the prodding of Congress are being forced to reexamine broader policy issues that get at the very essence of how we have defined and provided for our nation's intelligence requirements.
Although there is much that may not be relevant about the American experience to the former Soviet republics and the emerging democracies of Eastern Europe, there are strengths to our system that policymakers in emerging democracies should consider as they restructure their own intelligence agencies.
Civilian control of the intelligence agencies is the hallmark of the American experience. Holding the intelligence agencies accountable to our civilian political leadership has been one of the main policy battles of the last several decades in my country. Because intelligence is by definition a world of secrets and confidences, oversight of those who collect it has been as much an art as a science.
In 1976, the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence was created to ensure greater oversight of the intelligence community, even though it does not itself have the ability to prohibit the actions of any intelligence agency. Nor do the agencies have to reveal the identities of key contacts in other countries.
These safeguards imposed by Congress have sometimes led to complaints by intelligence professionals that interfering politicians are `looking over their shoulders.'
Most people agree, however, that the committee's work has provided important public support and input into the workings of what has been described as a `secular priesthood.' Even during the Cold War, intelligence agencies advised the committee of their actions and budgets.
In the 1970s, after a set of revelations in the media and elsewhere caused Americans to become concerned about encroachments on their freedom, or on the rights of foreign governments, by our intelligence establishment, several reforms were enacted. Particularly worrisome was the fact that some agencies prohibited by law from spying on Americans were in fact conducting internal surveillance on some of our citizens.
These reforms and the existence of a strong judiciary protect individual citizens from the long arm of the intelligence apparatus. The separation of internal and external security serves as a further protection of the rights of American citizens. Placing internal security in the hands of a domestic law enforcement agency, for the sole purpose of policing criminal activity, as defined by law, has ensured that our intelligence apparatus has not evolved into a secret police, preying on its own people for political purposes.
In the final analysis, the most powerful check the American people have on the clandestine intelligence agencies is the power of the purse. Congress controls the intelligence community's budget, perhaps the most important safeguard in a democratic system. Agencies which engage in wrongdoing know there exists the possibility that their budgets may be cut.
Congress is demanding that intelligence issues receive more public scrutiny than ever before--that policies be debated even as secrets are protected. Although it is unlikely that the entire intelligence budget will be released to the public, there is
increasing pressure to reveal the aggregate amount of money spent on intelligence. I favor that and so does the Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Senator David Boren.
Shrinking federal budgets have compelled America's intelligence community to define vital interests in need of protection. Agencies without a set of clear and convincing priorities are those likely to lose public support and, just as importantly, public resources. Each expenditure on the intelligence `product' will be measured on the basis of the purpose it is meant to serve as well as its cost.
This process of reassessment is relatively new to intelligence professionals. U.S. intelligence agencies have emerged during the last century in an evolutionary process. In that time, the complex intelligence bureacracy has become increasingly difficult to manage, but has been marked by a spirit of competition among agencies--a rivalry meant to offer intelligence consumers (i.e. policymakers) a clearly defined set of assumptions from which to make decisions.
For policymakers in emerging democracies facing the daunting task of beginning anew, it is helpful to establish clear goals and objectives for a nation's intelligence agencies at the outset. Determining intelligence needs should shape the intelligence agencies and provide them with a sense of direction for the future. Only then, once these goals have been agreed upon, is it possible to move forward and create a system of checks and balances to protect the democratic nation state and the underlying democratic principles the intelligence agencies are ultimately designed to serve.