Colin Powell | Bill Gates | Kofi Annan | John Prendergast
Recipient Colin Powell
The following is a transcript of Colin Powell's remarks
upon receiving the inaugural Crystal Tiger Award:
SECRETARY POWELL: Thank you, Dr. Tilghman, for that very,
very warm, generous and gracious introduction. Ladies and gentlemen,
it's a great pleasure to be with you here in Richardson Auditorium in
the famous Alexander Hall to kick off this conference. And a special
word of thanks for being here to Mrs. Kennan and the members of the
Kennan family who are present.
It's so great to see so many students, all of you up in the cheap seats
who got out of class. (Laughter.) With the line-up of scholars you
and your colleagues have put together, I am sure that this program will
meet the very high standards that Princeton University and the Institute
for Advanced Studies have always insisted upon.
Speaking of high standards, before I go further, I'd like to deeply
express in the most heartfelt way my thanks to the Princeton ROTC Color
Guard for presenting the colors in such a splendid fashion. As I was
coming in, I saw them, and I told them I would be watching -- (laughter)
-- so that nobody is out of step, nobody blinks, and it's done to the
highest standards. And it was done to the highest standards, and I congratulate
I can never fail to see an ROTC unit without remembering my own time
in ROTC. It was 50 years ago this year that I joined ROTC, and for me
it became my passport to life. And to each and every one of you, I thank
you for your willingness to serve your nation in this way, and perhaps
one day one of you will be Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. (Applause.)
I am so honored to have been asked to share in this celebration of George
Kennan's centenary birthday. My admiration for Ambassador Kennan more
than professional; it's quite personal as well.
When I began my tenure as Secretary of State a little over three years
ago, I received a letter from Ambassador Kennan, a long and wonderful
and loving letter, where he offered me some unexpected, unsolicited,
but nevertheless excellent advice. He told me about the job I was entering.
He told me about the demands of the job. He gave me some suggestions
how to spend my time between traveling around the world, how to use
ambassadors that we have out around the world, how to make sure I spent
enough time in Washington advising the President, which is my principal
responsibility, of course. But it was a wonderful letter.
And, of course, I took all the advice to heart, and I wrote Ambassador
Kennan back and I thanked him. And I said, "I hope you will send
me letters of advice on a regular basis." And a couple of weeks
later, I got a letter back from Ambassador Kennan that said, "I'm
97 years old. I do not intend to write you letters on a regular basis."
And a few months later, I got another letter from Ambassador Kennan.
(Laughter.) What a remarkable man. And even in this age of astounding
medical advances, it's still really something for anyone to reach 100
years of age, which the Ambassador did just 4 days ago.
Now, as the students in this audience will certainly note, I am no kid.
(Laughter.) I will hit 67 years of age in a few weeks time. I'm old
enough not to be your father, but your grandfather for most of the students
here. I was born so long ago that Franklin Delano Roosevelt was President
-- for those young people who have heard of his name. (Laughter.) But
that's nothing compared to Ambassador Kennan, who was born when Theodore
Roosevelt was President of the United States. (Laughter.)
That's nearly half-an-American-history ago!
Some are tempted to ask centenarians all the time how they've managed
the three-digit feat. What's the secret? Is it diet? Is it exercise?
Is it just being stubborn? What is it?
It's hard to say, but in Ambassador Kennan's case I wonder if it just
has anything to do with writing letters to people. (Laughter.)
However George Kennan has made it to 100 years, we are all so glad today
that he did, for he is truly an extraordinary man.
Some men achieve fame as witnesses to great events. Some men are renowned
because they have participated in seminal events. And some men are venerated
for their talent to interpret such events. But George Kennan has been
all three: witness to history, shaper of history, and interpreter of
Above all, Ambassador Kennan has grasped the link between diplomacy
and human nature. And that's why his memoirs have been treasured for
so many decades by generations of foreign service officers.
It's not just because they teach diplomatic technique, or raise respect
for both history and happenstance. It's because his memoirs show us
how to get under the human skin of international politics, allowing
us to see deeper into its very essence.
Because George Kennan could see more deeply, he could foresee more accurately.
When the Soviet Union came to an end in 1991, it did so exactly as Ambassador
Kennan predicted it would, a prediction he made some 45 years earlier.
I saw it with my own eyes as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
And it was a remarkable period of time for me to watch the union come
to an end, and I was always contrasting it as to the situation that
existed when I first entered public service as a young second lieutenant
of infantry. We didn't spend too much time -- in fact, I don't recall
spending any time at CCNY -- on the works of George Kennan. I was just
an infantry officer sent off to Fort Benning, taught to be a good infantry
lieutenant, taught something about containment. And then they shipped
me off to Germany, and in Germany they took me to my battle position,
which was at the Fulda Gap along the Iron Curtain separating the East
from the West. And my captain put me in the field and he said, "Between
that tree and that tree is what you are supposed to do in the strategy
of containment." (Laughter.)
"Well, what's my mission?"
"When the Russian army comes, stop it." (Laughter.)
Well, I can handle that. (Laughter.)
And for so much of those early years of my career as an infantry officer,
whether it was at the Fulda Gap, prepared to stop the Russian army,
or whether it was in Vietnam, prepared to stop Communist aggression,
or whether it was at the DMZ in Korea, deterring Communist aggression,
I knew what my role was. And I knew that there was a certainty in our
international strategy, a certainty that was defined by George Kennan,
as you describe the strategy of containment.
But then as I got more senior in the military and had other kinds of
assignments, and suddenly in 1987 I found myself as National Security
Advisor to President Ronald Reagan, and things were happening of a nature
that we had never seen before. A new Russian President by the name of
Gorbachev was saying things that were astonishing to us: openness, glasnost,
perestroika, restructuring, changing the nature of the system because
it wasn't working.
And in 1987 and 1988 as National Security Advisor, I spent time with
my Russian colleagues. I went with President Reagan to five summit meetings.
I saw all of this ferment taking place, and I fully understood what
Kennan knew all those years earlier.
Some of the Russian officials who were in office at that time are here
at your conference. Sasha Bessmertnykh especially, who was Deputy Foreign
Minister during my time, and then subsequently became Foreign Minister
of the Soviet Union in those final days.
Who could have imagined it would have happened exactly as predicted?
I'll never forget the moment in the Kremlin when we were having another
one of these many meetings with the Russian side, and I was with the
famous Princetonian graduate George Shultz, Secretary of State. We sat
across the table from President Gorbachev and Sasha Bessmertnykh and
others, and we were arguing about what all this meant, where it was
And Gorbachev, getting a little bit frustrated trying to explain it
to us, and finally he looked across the table at me, and in a way that
he knew a soldier would understand, he simply said, with a smile on
his face, "General, I'm very, very sorry. You will have to find
a new enemy." (Laughter.)
This was very disturbing news at the time. (Laughter.)
He was absolutely right. And a few years later, when I had left the
White House, gone back to the Army, become Chairman of the Joint Chiefs
of Staff, I watched it all happen. And I was happy to see it all happen.
I was happy to see the Iron Curtain fall. Happy to see Germany unified.
Happy to see that a new world was appearing before us.
When that happened, people said that perhaps Ambassador Kennan was just
the beneficiary of a lucky guess.
His prediction was no lucky guess, but a manifestation of genuine wisdom.
Anyone immersed in the world of international politics, as a Secretary
of State is bound to be, knows that it's a world that offers up fractured
story lines and fleeting images and swirls of words.
Few people can wrestle down these story lines, images, and words into
anything coherent -- except maybe, if they're lucky, long after the
fact. But George Kennan was different. George Kennan always had a remarkable
gift for seeing the very weave of history as it was being made before
That's what all of us are trying to do now: see the weave of history.
It's not easy to do.
Yes, we're well beyond the world of the Cold War; we've known that for
more than a dozen years. When a senior official travels to Russia these
days, it is as a friend and as a partner, as I did a few weeks ago --
having frank, open discussions with President Putin and with Foreign
Minister Ivanov and Defense Minister Ivanov, discussions with my colleagues
as a friend, so that we could talk about areas in which we have agreement
and areas in which we don't have agreement, where things rub a little
bit. But it's all in the spirit of moving the relationship forward. Although
the world, therefore, of the Cold War is gone, it hasn't been easy to
rename the world we are in. A competition arose to do so, to find a
memorable phrase that would organize our thinking and capture the day.
Some argued for the 'age of globalization', some for a 'clash of civilizations,'
others for the 'age of American unipolarity,' still others for the 'era
of democracy and free markets.' There was merit in each of these catchphrases,
each and every one of these proposals.
The 'globalization' label recognized important economic changes in the
world, driven by new technologies and by the disappearance of those
old political boundaries that kept us separated, those boundaries that
were constraints to free trade, constraints to cooperation and the exchange
of commerce. Now you can see a Starbucks in Beijing, the same Starbucks
in Berlin, the same Starbucks in Moscow. The only thing different is
the language on the menu and the currency used to buy a $4 cup of coffee.
(Laughter.) Those old barriers that kept us separate are gone.
And the 'clash of civilizations' theses recognized that the world isn't
culturally homogenized, and that cultural differences still matter.
The 'American pre-eminence' label recognizes a basic reality of power
politics: the vast economic, military and political strength of the
United States of America, and especially the United States of America
working in concert with our friends and allies.
And the 'democracy and free markets' label recognized that, in the realm
of political ideas, there's now no organized, coherent alternative to
the liberal triad of democracy, the rule of law and market economics.
Not because it is our triad, but because it is a triad that works. People
look at that triad and they see it works, and that's why more and more
nations are moving in that direction.
But, you know, economics, culture, power politics and the realm of ideas
are always part of what defines any era. So no one label could claim
victory for this era.
And then, all of a sudden, 9/11 -- 9/11 -- splashing on our television
screens one morning, and, in the popular imagination at least, the competition
was over: We were now in an age of terrorism.
Or were we? Are we?
Terrorism is a reality. It is the pre-eminent danger of our age, and
that's why defeating terrorism is our number one priority.
Still, the changes in the global economic system are real, and they
haven't disappeared since 9/11.
Cultural differences remain, but those differences have positive as
well as negative implications.
American power hasn't withered since 9/11, and the attraction of democracy
and free markets hasn't diminished either.
If anything, that attraction is growing stronger day by day.
But the events of 9/11 superimposed a disturbing vulnerability on top
of other, mostly encouraging post-Cold War trends.
9/11 has not reversed or displaced the basic direction of change that
began after the end of the Cold War. 9/11 has, instead, accelerated
our efforts to understand better, and manage more effectively, the many
changes intertwining before our eyes.
So we don't have a simple, one-word name for the world's present political
condition. We just don't. I don't know if it's possible to come up with
such a name, or that if we had one it would do us more good than harm.
What I do know is that we must, as George Kennan would tell us to, search
for the weave of history, try to connect the dots, as best we can --
as he did so well.
When we do that, one aspect of the challenges before us keeps repeating
itself, in various forms and in various places.
And that's the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and the
possibility that proliferation might link up with terrorism.
We must not let that happen.
The tragedy of September 11, 2001 was terrible enough. But the war on
terrorism isn't just about al-Qaida, or just preventing another disaster
on the scale of 9/11.
The war on terrorism is even more about preventing the fusion of weapons
of mass destruction with terrorist groups trying to acquire them. It's
about preventing a catastrophe on a scale much larger than what happened
The President said it very well in a speech that he gave last week at
the National Defense University. The President said:
'In the hands of terrorists, weapons of mass destruction would be a
first resort ? the preferred means to further their ideology of suicide
and random murder. . . . Armed with a single. . . nuclear weapon,' the
President reminded us, 'small groups of fanatics, or failing states,
could gain the power to threaten great nations, threaten the world's
No serious person denies that we've got a problem of massive proportions.
We would be irresponsible to think otherwise after what's already happened
to us, with just 'box cutters, mace and 19 airline tickets,' as the
President put it.
After 9/11, the President saw the true scope of the problem and he responded
with boldness and determination.
He has led not just the United States, but the entire civilized world,
to understand the dangers before us, and to act, act now, to confront
He warned us from the outset that the war on global terrorism would
be a different kind of war, one that wouldn't be won quickly or easily,
or without sacrifices and setbacks.
We haven't won the war on terrorism yet, but we've made steady and considerable
progress in both the military and especially in the critical, non-military
aspects of the war. I see it every day as we cooperate with our friends
around the world, in the sharing of intelligence about terrorist activity,
in sharing of law enforcement information, in going after terrorist
finances, and in slowly but surely rolling up these terrorist cells.
But there's still a lot more to do. And at the same time that we are
doing that, going after terrorists, we are ratcheting up our ability
to defeat proliferators, those who would put weapons of mass destruction
or make it possible for terrorists to acquire weapons of mass destruction
or put them in their hands. And last week, at his speech at the National
Defense University, the President announced several new initiatives
to make sure that that proliferation job gets done.
We're working with others to tighten our grip on the nuclear fuel cycle
so that fissile material can't be diverted to military programs. But
at the same time we'll offer more reliable access to nuclear fuel for
those nations who wish to take advantage of nuclear power for completely
We're also seeking a new UN Security Council resolution to strengthen
the international legal regime concerning proliferation.
We want to help the International Atomic Energy Agency do its job more
effectively, especially in the area of verification, knowing what nations
are doing with their nuclear programs.
We're expanding efforts, like the very successful Nunn-Lugar program,
to help countries secure and get rid of dangerous materials so they
won't be spread around the world or be a source of temptation to terrorists
trying to get their hands on this kind of material.
We're expanding the participation and scope of the Proliferation Security
Initiative, which brings more than a dozen nations together to prevent
the illicit transit of fissile material or other dangerous material
that could be diverted and put into the hands of terrorists.
I am totally confident that, in cooperation with our many partners,
these new tools, and others long put to good use, will get the job done.
One reason to expect success is that, when you look at the world, we
haven't really done that badly with respect to going after proliferators
or persuading countries not to move in this direction. If you look at
the record of the past 15 or 20 years, you'll see that more nations
have given up nuclear weapons and nuclear weapons programs than have
broken through the proliferation threshold: South Africa, Argentina,
Brazil, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, and, most recently, and most excitingly,
Libya has decided to abandon this kind of effort.
And there are good reasons for nations moving in this direction, a good
reason for this record.
Building nuclear weapons is not easy, and the Non-Proliferation Treaty
and other international agreements have made it harder still -- by restricting
access to dangerous technologies and by stigmatizing those who would
But most important, U.S. policies over many administrations have reassured
friends and allies that they don't need to pursue their own nuclear
weapons, especially if they're in alliance with the United States and
we can make sure that they will be protected against the threats that
might be out there. We have been able to persuade others that the potential
costs of acquiring such weapons would be outweighed by just the trouble
they get themselves into. There are no benefits to these weapons compared
to the cost that is paid to acquire them.
That's why the leaderships of most countries have come to see that weapons
of mass destruction won't make them safer, won't contribute to their
building a vibrant economy, and won't exactly help either their international
image either, or their relationship with the United States of America.
And after all, nearly every government, every nation, wants good relations
with the United States. But not all. I wish it were all. But not all.
For decades, Saddam Hussein played a strange but elaborate cat-and-mouse
game over his WMD programs, and he played it with the entire world.
He and his gang tried to blackmail others. They lied. They kept waving
the specter or nuclear, biological and chemical weapons into the face
of the civilized world. Saddam also hosted and supported several terrorist
groups over many years.
And in so doing, so he created a laboratory where weapons of mass destruction
and terrorism could mix.
In that sense, Iraq was an even more dangerous place than Taliban-ruled
Afghanistan, and it would have been irresponsible for us not to have
taken that danger seriously.
There's much discussion lately about how dangerous Iraq really was before
the war. Much of that discussion concerns the lack of evidence, so far,
of large WMD stocks in Iraq.
We thought they were there. Our intelligence community spent a great
deal of time studying it over a long period of years, and we thought
the stocks were there. Our predecessors in government and other governments
around the world thought they were there. Dr. David Kay, who was our
chief investigator in this matter, also thought they were there before
he began his analytic work last year.
It was the considered judgment of the entire intelligence community,
not just of the United States, but most responsible intelligence agencies
around the world.
Dr. Kay now thinks there may be no significant stockpiles. We will get
to the bottom of this. Mr. Duelfer now leads our group. There are many
more documents to be examined, sites to be explored, individuals to
be interviewed. But as we do this, as we go about answering this question
once and for all, we have to keep in mind that, in the larger scheme
of things, the question of stockpiles isn't the only or even the main
question that we should focus on. Iraq and Saddam Hussein clearly had
the human and technical capabilities to develop weapons of mass destruction.
They had the programs in place. They never lost the intention to have
I've been to northern Iraq. I have visited a city called Halabja. It
was in 1988, on a Friday morning, that 5,000 people were murdered in
their homes by a chemical weapon, by gas that was delivered by Saddam
Hussein, delivered on his own people, and five thousand people died.
I've been to their memorial. I've seen their graves. At that time he
had the intention, he had the programs, he had the delivery means and
he had the stockpile. Intention, programs, capability, stockpile.
You can have intention, you can have programs, you can have capability
to deliver. He may not have the stockpile at the moment. But there was
no doubt in my mind, in the President's mind, or any of us who have
thought about this and examined this, that there was no intention on
his part not to have the intention for such weapons and programs.
He kept it intact. He hid it from the UN. He had 12 years to 'fess up.
He had resolution after resolution to answer. And I have no doubt in
my mind that if the international community had not acted at this time,
if sanctions had been withdrawn, the international community went about
its business and let Saddam Hussein ignore the will of the international
community, it was just a matter of time before that intention, capability,
delivery system, and all the other wherewithal he had, would have produced
the stockpile that would have threatened his own people again, threatened
the region and threatened the world.
The President understood that. Prime Minister Blair understood that.
Prime Minister Aznar understood that. Prime Minister Howard understood
that. Prime Minister Berlusconi understood that. President Kwasniewski
of Poland understood that. So many other nations understood that.
We weighed all the consequences. The President acted. The other leaders
acted, decisively and appropriately.
Whatever you heard about Dr. Kay's work about the stockpile, this is
also what Dr. Kay has said. He found in Iraq a regime that, in his words,
'was in clear violation of UN Resolution 1441,' that 'maintained WMD
programs and activities,' and that 'clearly had the intention to resume
And Dr. Kay connected some dots out of all of this, dots he connected
on his own: 'we know that terrorists were passing through Iraq. And
we know now that there was little control over Iraq's weapons capabilities.
I think it shows," he said, "Iraq was a dangerous place¡ŠI
actually think this may be one of those cases where it was even more
dangerous than we thought.'
His conclusion: 'I personally believe the war was justified.'
It was justified. It was fought skillfully and effectively by American
and allied forces, and we all owe those brave men and women our gratitude.
They have allowed us now to move ahead, to work toward bringing stability,
peace, prosperity and a new dignity to the Iraqi people, and to the
people of the entire region.
And that's what we are doing. By any measure it's going to be difficult.
It's going to be complicated. Creating a democracy in a place and out
of material where there's no experience with democracy won't be easy.
But Ambassador Bremer, working with the Iraqi Governing Coalition, working
with the United Nations and working with our coalition partners, will
succeed. Not only have coalition forces rid the world of a regime that
was simultaneously building palaces for its pampered and digging mass
graves for its innocents, the object lesson of the war has led to some
important successes in the non-proliferation area.
So don't let anybody be confused by the debates that are going on. America
did the right thing.
We now know a lot more about proliferation activity. We can see now
that the Iraq war and its aftermath was a contributing factor in the
decision of the Libyan leadership to forsake the path of WMD proliferation.
I can just see Colonel Qadhafi deciding what to do as he saw the war
start to approach and as he considered his own situation. He had invested
huge amounts of money in weapons of mass destruction. And what was it
getting for his people? Were they living a better life? Was investment
coming into his country? Was he trading with other countries? No.
What was he getting from this investment? And now that he saw that the
world would not be scared of his weapons of mass destruction, we would
deal with them if we had to, but let's not deal with them in anything
but a peaceful way, and he made that choice. And now we are working
in a spirit of cooperation and openness with President Colonel Qadhafi. The
Iranian Government, too, has finally admitted to some of its WMD activities.
After 18 years of trying to deceive the International Atomic Energy
Agency and the world, Iran is slowly -- still too slowly -- coming forward
with answers needed by the IAEA and by the rest of the international
community to make sure that they are not violating their obligations.
It needs to pledge an end not just to suspension, to all of its WMD
programs, and it must follow those promises with action. We hope other
governments, too, like Syria, will realize that chemical weapons and
other WMD programs won't make their countries safer, their people more
prosperous, or their own hold on power more secure.
To the contrary. It goes in the other direction.
India and Pakistan, for example. Eighteen months ago, one of the great
concerns I had as Secretary of State was that a war might break out
between these two countries, a war that could possibly go nuclear, since
both have nuclear capability.
But over the last 18 months, we have seen all sides sobered by that
possibility of war, and instead they are moving in the other direction.
President Musharraf of Pakistan has done the right thing now to get
firmer control over Pakistan's technological assets. The international
web of proliferation that Dr. A.Q. Khan used to traffic with Libya,
with Iran, with North Korea is being shut down even as I speak.
And the Pakistani and Indian leaderships both have now decided let's
talk to each other, let's move forward. We hope they have now turned
the corner and are moving down a road toward lasting peace on the subcontinent.
The United States, acting in partnership with others, has played a quiet
but important role in this reconciliation between India and Pakistan.
The political negotiations will begin well -- will begin soon, and we
hope they go well. Political dialogue and genuine conciliation mark
the way forward in this new era.
Further weapons proliferation, recrimination and threats is the sure
way to calamity.
We are trying to get this point across in the six-party talks on Korea
that we have begun with Japan, Russia, China, and both North and South
Korea. The next round will convene on Wednesday. In these talks we and
our partners will communicate the basic truth about proliferation to
the government in Pyongyang.
Nuclear weapons won't make North Korea more secure.
Nuclear weapons won't make North Korea more prosperous.
To the contrary.
We need to find a diplomatic solution that will result in the complete,
verifiable and irreversible dismantling of North Korea's dangerous nuclear
weapons programs. We're certainly trying our best, and I hope we will
We have told the North Koreans we have no intention of attacking them.
We want to work with their neighbors to demonstrate that neither the
United States or their neighbors have any hostile intent. This is the
time for North Korea to change its policies and strategy, and work with
those interested in working with it to bring a better life to its people.
We must continue to demonstrate around the world that WMD proliferation
And to do so, we will continue to use a tough-minded diplomacy that
blends power and persuasion in proper measure, tailored to the case
But our aim is the same in all cases, and we will not miss our mark.
We will not tolerate WMD proliferation.
We will not acquiesce to it.
And we certainly will not reward it.
We will not put our people at risk as a result of this kind of activity.
It is a matter of sad necessity that both proliferation and terrorism
hold a share of the definition of our age. But we must not let these
dangers dominate that definition, and here our best tutor, our inspiration,
is, once again, George Kennan.
The young George Kennan witnessed the birth of a monster at close range,
first from his posting in Riga, and then from his posting in Prague.
He saw the will to power take its 20th Ccentury form in first Communist,
then Fascist, Totalitarianism.
He foresaw the great darkness totalitarian regimes would spread.
And he saw just as clearly, too, that many well-intentioned people in
the West did not understand the real character of that enemy.
Having undergone such an experience, a young person could have been
forgiven for entertaining a certain pessimism about the future.
But George Kennan was no pessimist.
If anyone has ever accused Ambassador Kennan of being excessively sentimental
in public, it's certainly escaped my attention.
He's been a practical and an analytically-minded man for all his professional
At the same time, as a re-reading of the justly famous long telegram
will show, he has never forgotten that ideas have power, nor has he
ever doubted that noble ideals guide us to victory in the end.
Now, this truth isn't something we have to shout from the rooftops at
every opportunity, and George Kennan hasn't gone in much for public
shouting or fist-pounding.
But it's a truth that must abide in our hearts.
It has abided in Ambassador Kennan's heart.
That's why he had confidence that the Allies would defeat Fascism in
World War II.
And that's why he could, and did, predict victory over Soviet Communism
in the Cold War that followed.
Few people ever find the right balance between the need to adopt a coldly
objective attitude toward the world's danger, and the equally important
need to allow oneself to embrace and to be guided by ideals.
George Kennan found that balance, and so must we.
We must acknowledge the power of ideas, and champion the nobility of
democratic ideals, in our own times.
We struggle today with a different kind of adversary than those of the
20th century, but one no less contemptuous of liberty and freedom. As
we triumphed before, so will we again ? if our ideas are serious ones,
and if we are serious about our ideals.
We're not going to win the war on terrorism on the battlefield alone
? though it's sometimes necessary to take the field of battle.
Alliance relations, good alliance relations, trade policy, energy policy,
intelligence cooperation, public diplomacy, nation-building -- all of
these are part of our formula for victory.
Most important, however, as President Bush frequently points out, are
ideas and ideals.
So even in a difficult time I am optimistic, as George Kennan was optimistic,
because the ideals that guide our political life remain our greatest
We stand for liberty and the rights of man; for intellectual, religious
and economic freedom; for limited government and the rule of law; for
tolerance, equality of opportunity and human rights for every man, woman
and child on this earth.
These ideals aren't ours alone. They are born of the experience of all
mankind, and so they are the endowment of all mankind.
These ideals are cherished on each and every continent, and that's why
the United States of America has allies, allies of the heart, on each
and every continent.
These ideals are a blueprint for the brotherhood of man, and this, ultimately,
is why we will prevail against terrorism.
To prevail we must also take advantage of the many opportunities before
us to build a better world.
And we have high confidence of success in that endeavor because we live
in an age where all major powers are coming to understand the sense
of cooperating to solve common problems, and the senselessness of the
zero-sum thinking of the past.
So together we must fight disease, and we are. Not least through the
President's Emergency Plan to Defeat HIV/AIDS, which really is the greatest
weapon of mass destruction currently plaguing our world.
Three weeks ago Congress approved $15 billion for the President's five-year
plan, and after I leave you this morning I will be joining the President
in the Oval Office to go over the final details of that plan, which
we will be announcing publicly on Monday.
Together all nations, civilized nations working together, have to do
so in order to lift millions of people out of poverty, and we are doing
our share through our many aid programs, and now through a new program
launched by the President, called the Millennium Challenge Account,
that Congress established last month.
Once the MCA, as we call it, gets fully up and running, we'll be devoting
5 billion new dollars every single year to help countries that are moving
down the path of democracy and economic reform and respect for human
rights and the rule of law. It will be the largest boost in funding
for development since George Marshall announced the Marshall Plan so
many years ago.
We must also work to end regional conflicts, because as long as these
regional conflicts take place, it's hard to do anything about development,
it's hard to fight disease. In Africa we've been trying hard to bring
the long and deeply destructive war in the Sudan to an end. And we're
close, getting closer by the day.
We're making progress in West Africa, as well.
Last year -- last week, rather, I co-chaired a donors conference to
put Liberia back on its feet after a wrenching civil war.
Dozens of countries came to the conference in New York at the UN, co-chaired
by Kofi Annan and others, and we pledged $522 million to support the
Liberian people. We realize, however, that the problems in West Africa
are regional in nature, and that money alone won't solve them.
We are therefore cooperating with our European and African allies to
assure the stabilization of Sierra Leone, Cote D'Ivoire and other countries
along with Liberia, working in partnership, not unilaterally, working
in partnership multilaterally with other nations to achieve a common
We are crafting a partnership that's working on an integrated regional
We've also seen some significant improvement toward a settlement of
the crisis in Cyprus that has been going on for so long. This comes
about largely through the good works of UN Secretary General Kofi Annan
and the will of the leaders in the region to work with him and to work
At the same time, we have in no way given up on the roadmap between
Israel and the Palestinians, and the vision that President Bush had
for these two peoples to live side by side in peace in their own state.
And I'm very pleased that Prime Minister Sharon yesterday, once again,
reaffirmed his support for the President's vision and the roadmap.
In the Balkans, Northern Ireland, Haiti -- very much in our minds today
-- and elsewhere, too, we are sharing the labors of peace and conciliation
with our allies and others.
Diplomacy is difficult work, work that cannot always or easily be forced
against the grain of local realities. But we are as patient as we are
determined. We never give up, never stop looking for opportunities to
push forward, so that we, the free peoples of the 21st century, will
define our age, not the terrorists and proliferators who assail us.
To do that we must build a better future even as we deal with the security
challenges before us. ?That is how we will overcome the security challenges,
because it's not enough to fight against a negative, like terrorism.
We must focus on what inspires us, on what brings the good people of
the world together.
We've got to fight for the positive -- for liberty, for freedom, for
That's what George Kennan has always tried to teach us, and if we learn
that lesson, and learn it well, there's no danger we can't look squarely
in the eye.
We, the free peoples of the 21st century, see the dangers before us.
We see them for what they are, plain and unvarnished.
And we don't blink.
Instead of blinking we are seizing the definition of our era by transcending
these challenges, confident in our ability to prevail in the 21st century,
just as Ambassador Kennan was confident in our ability to prevail in
We cherish the example he has given, the light he has brought. We are
doing our best to carry it forward.
Let me close simply by saying: Ambassador Kennan, George, thank you
for all you have taught us. Thank you for all you have done to serve
the nation, to serve the cause of peace, and to serve humankind.
Mr. Ambassador, we are forever in your debt.
Happy birthday, sir. We salute you.
MODERATOR: Secretary Powell, thank you for that moving tribute to George
Kennan and for giving us your compelling vision for a world that is
safe for democracy, that is safe for all the citizens of the world.
I think it is fair to say that there is no public servant today who
is more highly regarded by both the American people and people all over
the world than you, sir. And your speech today -- (applause.)
All of us who had the privilege of hearing this speech today understand
why that is the case.
Secretary Powell has agreed to answer a few questions.
QUESTION: My name is Tafiq Rahim (ph). I'm a senior in the Woodrow Wilson
Secretary Powell, thank you for your speech. It has been an honor for
us at the University to host you today, and I have tremendous respect
for you as a statesman and an individual.
That being said, there are several trends in the Bush Administration
that I find truly troubling. In particular, I would like to address
the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
There is no question that Arab-backed terrorist groups such as Hamas
and Islamic Jihad need to halt their horrendous terrorist attacks inside
Israel that not only prove subversive to the peace process but are grossly
immoral and despicable.
However, while the United States seeks to serve as a beacon of freedom
to the world, as you said, criticizing nations such as Syria, Iran and
others for the lack of rights for their people, and President Bush is
highly prominent on the issue of democracy in the Middle East, is it
not a severe double standard that the Palestinians have no rights as
a people, remain under brutal occupation and have no control over their
water, land or even homes, which can be demolished, and are, without
And how can America maintain this higher moral ground and preach its
vision to the world when, under its watch, it tacitly approves the building
of new settlements, the maintenance of old ones in the occupied territories,
and allows the erection of an illegal wall that undercuts Palestinian
villages, creates even new refugees, and serves as another humiliation
to the Palestinian people among the myriad of other injustices?
SECRETARY POWELL: The President has been engaged since the very first
day of his Administration trying to find a way forward and to move out
of this crisis situation between the Israelis and the Palestinians.
The President was the first President to go before the United States
General Assembly two years ago and call publicly for the creation of
a Palestinian state called Palestine. In his speech on the 24th of June
of 2002, he once again reaffirmed his commitment to a two-state solution,
two nations living side by side in peace with each other, Palestine
and the Jewish state of Israel.
He did more than that, though. He then laid down a marker that said
there is an obligation that each side has to contribute to this process.
We have to stop settlement activity. The President has made that clear
to the Israeli side. We've got to get rid of the outposts. We have to
make life better for the Palestinian people. We've got to have openings
that allow them to get to places of work, places of education, hospitals,
and so they have a thriving economy.
But we also said to the Palestinian side it is difficult for us to achieve
this goal and to put this kind of pressure on the Israeli side as long
as terrorism is seen as a legitimate political act on the part of Palestinians.
It is not. It can't be. Not in this post-9/11 age.
And so we pressed the Palestinian side to abandon all support of terrorist
activities, and also to deal with those organizations and individuals
who continue to espouse terrorism as a way of solving the problem.
Last year the President took a large political step, with political
risk, when he put enough pressure on the Palestinian side for them to
come forward with somebody who could be seen as a peacemaker, the new
Prime Minister Abu Mazen. And we went to Aqaba. The President stood
there with the new Prime Minister, King Abdullah of Jordan and with
Prime Minister Sharon, and everybody committed to the roadmap and the
Unfortunately, it didn't work because the Palestinians were unable --
and I put the blame squarely on Mr. Arafat -- Arafat was not willing
to provide authority to Abu Mazen to take control of the security organizations
and to go after terrorism and speak out against terrorism -- not to
start a civil war of the Palestinian communities and the Palestinian
Authority, but to start moving against terrorism.
And so Abu Mazen stepped down after a while, and now we have a new Prime
Minister, Abu Alaa. We're working with him, we're working with the Israeli
side, to get this moving again.
Three American emissaries just returned from the region: Deputy National
Security Advisor Steve Hadley, Special Assistant to the President Eliot
Abrams, and my Assistant Secretary for Middle East Affairs Bill Burns.
And they'll be reporting to me this afternoon and to the President over
the weekend on what the prospects are now.
We are anxious to see Prime Minister Sharon meet with Prime Minister
Abu Alaa to get this going. And as you heard from Prime Minister Sharon
yesterday, he knows we have to move forward, and the roadmap is the
way to move forward, and he is starting to take some steps; for example,
his proposal to take all of the settlements out of Gaza. We have to
learn more about that. How does it affect the West Bank?
But the President has not lost his commitment to finding a solution,
has not stepped back from his vision, and has publicly spoken about
settlement activity that has to stop, a better life for the Palestinian
people, and we want a state for the Palestinian people.
And it is one of the most difficult accounts, if I can call it that,
that we have to work on, and I've been immersed in it since my first
day as Secretary of State. But it is an area that we need to keep pressing
on and keep working on in order to find a solution, because it has such
a effect, not only right there but throughout the whole region, throughout
the Arab world, throughout the Muslim world.
And so we will continue to work and the President will continue to work
toward the goal that he put before the United Nations and the goal and
the vision that he had in his 24 June speech, and that is to create
a Palestinian state, a sovereign state called Palestine, living side
by side in peace with the Jewish state of Israel. That is the only possible
solution to this crisis, and we will continue to work for it.
QUESTION: I'm not a student. I'm old enough to be a father of some of
the students here.
I'd like to congratulate for the work, the immense work that you've
done as far as national security is concerned and I'm extremely excited
about what you have achieved in Iraq in the last several months. I am
also aware that, obviously, Usama is on the run, but at the same time
his network has been dismantled or is being dismantled as we speak.
I am extremely also excited on behalf of my Indian (inaudible) that
you have put India on the map of the world where we have been able to
achieve a great deal of coherence with the wonderful world that we live
in, that we have been able to actually cause it to become more productive
and (inaudible) cohesive with our regional neighbors.
Are there any dangers I -- that I may ask you, that -- there are any
way unforeseen or unseen so far that we are not aware of, besides the
other two that I've already named, and they exist in the world, would
you'd like to share with us?
SECRETARY POWELL: Other dangers? Is that the essence of the question?
I think terrorism, as I obviously said, lingers as number one. The interesting
thing about the age we are in is that I look at it both as the chief
diplomat and as a soldier. I cannot get rid of 35 years of military
experience. And it's the first era I've lived in when the likelihood
of major regional conflict between large countries with large industrial
capability and large populations is not there.
One exception to that might have been a conflict between India and Pakistan,
which I think we are now moving in the other direction. The success
we've had with both countries is to let them know that we treat them
as two separate countries; we don't see things solely as India-Pakistan.
India, Pakistan, India-U.S., U.S.-Pakistan. We'll lend our good offices
to the work you're doing.
But other than that one, which is sort of, I think, there, have been
defused for the moment, you don't see a possibility of a major regional
war in Europe or in Asia. In fact, quite the contrary. We are building
our relations. The best relationship with China that we've had in 30
years. The relationship with Russia, solid. Our alliances are strong
in Europe, even though we fuss with each other quite a bit. Quite a
But I say, you know, we're family. I don't know about your family, but
we have some fusses in my family, and in our alliance family we'll have
fusses from time to time. We get over them.
And so my concern is these little regional crises that we have not solved
that could affect a small but important group of people because they
are our fellow citizens -- the Haitis of the world, the Sierra Leones
of the world, the Liberias of the world, the Congos of the world, the
Sudans of the world. These are the kinds of conflicts that I see. The
Ethiopia and Eritreas of the world.
And these are the ones that I spend so much of my time and the time
of my staff, and the President spends so much of his time, trying to
see if we can get them under control and solve them.
And then we can turn our attention to the really great threats that
are out there -- HIV/AIDS, poverty, starvation, improving the human
condition, working on free trade, more free trade agreements with nations
around the world, breaking down trade barriers. Why? Just so we can
sell stuff? No, so that we can give opportunity to people in these nations
to get into the economic game, get into the economic world.
My time in my office is spent on these crises and challenges, but the
most exciting part of my day is when leaders come from nations that
a dozen or so years ago were enemies, the former nations of the Soviet
Empire, or from our own hemisphere where fifteen years ago, when I was
National Security Advisor, these nations were being run by generals
and coups and that kind of activity. And most of those now have shifted
And to sit in my office and to kid with them -- I have fun. I say, 'You
know, it's great to have you here. I want to talk about things with
you. You know, fifteen years ago you were on my target list." (Laughter.)
And they go, 'Hmm.' (Laughter.)
And I said, "Now you're on my target list again -- for Millennium
Challenge Account funding, for more trade, more assistance, for helping
you learn why the rule of law is so important."
It is these softer things that don't make headlines. Rule of law, ending
corruption, going after disease, clean water, food for people, teaching
your people the skills they need in the 21st century. This is the essence
of my work and my foreign policy, a commitment to the President and
to the American people. This is what will make it a better world. We've
got to solve these crises, hope new ones are not generated, and I think
more are on their way to solution than are being generated, which is
But democracy and ending of a regional conflict doesn't mean anything
to people if they got no more food on their table, they're still dying
from disease, still don't have access to clean water, healthcare, a
better life for their children. If we don't do that, then people will
lose faith in all the wonderful things I talked about. Democracy, freedom
-- hey, that's great. Do I have more food? Do I have a better life?
If the answer is yes, give me some more democracy. If the answer is
no, I'll seek an alternative.
And so when I think about it, that's my greatest enemy -- ignorance,
a lack of law, poverty, disease, and a failure to believe in democracy.
We can preach it. People have to believe it. They'll only believe it
if they have a better life from it.
MODERATOR: All right, last question.
QUESTION: First of all, thanks for a wonderful speech.
My question concerns some of the U.S.'s actions regarding the Cold War.
We did some things that we are now not necessarily so proud of, propping
up and assisting regimes that weren't necessarily the kindest people.
In hindsight, would it have been -- do you consider it worth it, given
that we resisted the Soviet Union and ultimately it fell apart, and
can you foresee something like this possibly happening with the war
on terror, where we support a regime with a dubious human rights record
that aggressively pursued terrorism?
SECRETARY POWELL: That's a terrific question. There's no question that
during the era of the Cold War, when we really thought our national
survival was at stake, and that Communism as a political philosophy
was in ascendancy in the minds of some, that we had some strange bedfellows.
And I was in government during many of those years, and we worked with
certain regimes that, in retrospect, I would just as soon not have had
to work with.
But that was history. That was the kind of history that we were facing
at that time, and we did what we thought was right.
We have never lost our commitment to human rights or to the rule of
I think what's different now is that the threats we face are serious,
but not so serious that we have to sort of back off some of our ideals
and our values.
At the same time that we are bringing democracy to Iraq, and at the
same time we are running into some anti-American feelings in that part
of the world, the President also goes forward and talks about the Greater
Middle East Initiative that talks about democracy for other nations
in that part of the world, not as an imposition by America but as, you
know, you really ought to be moving in this direction.
I do not fail in any of my discussions with friends and -- old friends
and new friends -- ignore or overlook human rights issues. President
Putin and I, and Foreign Minister Ivanov and I, had very direct conversations
three weeks ago, sitting in the Kremlin, on access to media and on how
to hold elections in the correct manner and how to make sure you don't
have selective prosecutions. This isn't always an easy conversation
to have. But we have them. Just a day before yesterday, when we had
a foreign leader in and we did not pull our punches, with respect to
what would he believe that a gentleman had to do and it was a good friend
of ours, the Tunisian President.
Tunisia and the United States have been friends for over 200 years.
Tunisia is doing some wonderful things. Fifty percent of the students
in their colleges are women. They're doing many things with respect
to their education system that is terrific and we applaud that. But
that did not keep us from saying to President Ben Ali, both me to him
and the President to him, that we have concerns about free media, about
a more open political system.
So we no longer have to pull back or shade our values in any way because
we're worried about thermonuclear war between blocs. And we will not.
Next week, I'll be putting out the new Annual Human Rights Report. We
have been in the forefront of fighting trafficking in persons: slavery
and child sex abuse and child soldiers. We have an office that does
nothing but that. I have a Human Rights office, I have a Religious Freedom
office, I have a Trafficking in Persons office. We spend a lot of time
ensuring that the new Afghan Government and the new Iraq Government
will have women in principal positions, that we're educating women.
So one of the beauties of this new era is that the United States will
not be -- will not be throwing curveballs in this issue. They'll be
straight across the plate, shoulder high. And we will stick up for the
values that we believe in.