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Albright Session at the Diplomatic Academy, Moscow

Office of the Spokesman
(Zagreb, Croatia)

For immediate release
February 2, 2000
Speech and Q&A by

Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright
Before the Diplomatic Academy

Moscow, Russia
February 2, 2000

SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: Rector Fokin, faculty and students; distinguished colleagues, guests and friends. It is indeed a humbling experience to speak at the preeminent Diplomatic Academy in a nation whose diplomatic history dates back twice as far as the entire history of the United States.

I also feel a special interest to be at the Diplomatic Academy. I wrote my Masters thesis on the profile of the Soviet diplomatic service, so I am very interested to be at this particular historic building.

I was surprised to learn that I am one of only a very few women ever to address this venerable institution, and I trust that if I earn passing marks from you this morning, I will not be the last.

It has been a decade now since the Cold War ended. That no longer seems like only yesterday. To the contrary, enough time has passed for the shape of the post-Cold War world to become clearer: new realities, new problems, new opportunities. A world ever less defined by being "post"-anything; a new era in its own right.

I was particularly struck by this a few days ago in Davos, where I participated in the meetings of the World Economic Forum. Here were gathered many of the world's leading political, corporate and intellectual figures -- a globalized international society on display. And, by the way, I heard lots of Russian being spoken in the corridors.

Foreign and economic policy discussions blended together seamlessly. Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers and I actually shared the same platform, talking about each other's issues. This kind of joint public discussion by foreign and finance ministers would have been hard to imagine in past eras.

And my colleague made a mind-bending prediction -- that two centuries from now, historians will view the Cold War's end as only the second most important event of the late 20th Century. The first, in his view, being the explosion of economic growth across borders and around the world.

To many of the high-tech participants, it seemed that international borders hardly mattered. Their cyberspace realm is inherently global, and the Internet on which they do business is inherently democratic and decentralized.

This is the kind of world that might even be called "multipolar" -- a term with which you are here in Russia, very familiar, I know. On this multipolar stage, the actors are advancing not only national goals, but also corporate, individual, and organizational agendas based on economic and other interests.

Now I've heard it said -- sometimes in Russia -- that the strategy of the United States is to establish and enforce a "unipolar" world. But it's hard to pay attention to the trends and forces of globalization without observing the many "poles" that affect the way the world now works.

This is unprecedented. And from the American perspective, it's a positive and welcome development.

Of course, if advocates of a multipolar world envision a 19th Century rather than a 21st Century way of conducting our affairs, then we do have a disagreement. The issue is whether the "poles" that give the world its structure are in conflict or work in concert. The latter -- a multipolar world of diversity and creativity among cultures, nations, and economies -- is the world we believe we can build, one that will enrich our lives, and thrives on habits of peace and creative competition.

In this new world, governments may not be the sole or even the dominant forces in international relations that we once took for granted. And yet they continue to have special responsibilities. Because many of the positive trends on which globalization is based -- maintaining the peace; strengthening democratic institutions; preserving an open international economic order -- depend on how well governments meet their responsibilities.

Likewise, some of today's most worrisome international trends are in part a consequence of the difficulties governments face in finding the right strategies for dealing with them. Our Attorney General, Janet Reno, who visited here in October, has noted that in dealing with international organized crime, we are still heavily reliant on national tools.

Pessimists about this new world argue that many of the positive trends I mentioned will in fact break down, because states face too many conflicting interests and too many irreparable rivalries to be able to cooperate even against problems that threaten them jointly.

Now, I do not agree with that defeatist assessment. And I'd like to explain why I believe we must not -- and ultimately will not -- allow it to define the relationship between Russia and the United States.

I'm convinced that America and Russia have enough major interests in common to surmount our disagreements and work together in dealing with the biggest dangers and opportunities we face in the new century.

As we look ahead to the first years of this new century, I hope that this is the practical approach we will bring to bear on three key sets of issues: nonproliferation; arms control; and regional stability.

As to the first, the convergence of interests is clear. The Cold War's end lessened one great danger, but spawned others. One is that the international arms dealers and shady middlemen would seek ways to sell nuclear materials, technology or expertise to dangerous clients.

This has placed enormous pressure on all governments to enact and enforce a strict, modern system of export controls. Russia's new export control regime -- on paper -- is a solid start. But far more needs to be done to address this serious problem -- a commitment at all levels to better implementation, better enforcement, better control of exports.

The logic of cooperation here is powerful. For in the parlance of our mainstream media, both of our countries share an interest in preventing any nukes from becoming "loose nukes."

We both have an interest in preventing the spread of nuclear and ballistic-missile capabilities in the Middle East, and the same is true on the Korean Peninsula and elsewhere.

We both have an interest in eliminating the deadly stockpiles of chemical weapons that remain on Russian and U.S. soil.

We both have an interest in an NPT Review Conference this April that makes this bedrock treaty a stronger instrument than ever against the spread of nuclear arms.

We both have an interest in walking India and Pakistan back from the nuclear precipice, and in reinforcing the global norms that were challenged by those countries' nuclear blasts.

We both have an interest in bringing the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty into force, and in maintaining our respective moratoria on testing until we do.

And that list could go on; the logic is compelling. Russia and the United States have a host of powerful reasons to work together to prevent the spread of mass weapons and missiles that can carry them. On many issues, we've done so and if we continue to do so, we will make a major contribution to the security of both countries. But it will be a troubling sign that we see the world in very different ways if we don't.

Even the most assiduous nonproliferation efforts will not be perfect. That reality obliges us also to consider how we respond to the emergence of new weapons capabilities.

Here we must begin by acknowledging that the strategic environment has changed greatly over the past quarter-century. And we know that technology required to launch longer-range missiles is spreading despite our best efforts to stop it.

The U.S. and Russian nuclear arsenals provide overwhelming deterrence against direct attack by any rational adversary. The problem is how to deal with threats from sources that are neither rational nor interested in complying with global norms.

And that's why discussion of the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty and America's plans for a National Missile Defense have figured prominently in my meetings here.

An American decision on deploying a limited National Missile Defense system -- and let me stress the word "limited" -- could be made as early as this summer. It has not yet been made. But for deployment to occur under the ABM Treaty, certain changes would be necessary, and we've been discussing these changes with Congress, our allies and with you.

Not long ago, a Russian defense official declared that your nation has the ability to overwhelm the missile defense system we are planning. And that's true -- and part of our point.

The changes we are contemplating in the ABM Treaty are modest. They simply would not permit us to undermine Russia's deterrent, and we don't seek to do so. And because Russia and the United States are vulnerable to the same threats -- even if we sometimes perceive them differently -- we are prepared to cooperate with your government on missile defense.

In response, I hope Russia will do more than just say "Nyet." It is in our mutual interest to find a way to preserve the essential deterrent structure of the ABM Treaty, while responding to the new dangers we both face.

One reason is the historic opportunity we have today to make further reductions in strategic arsenals. Almost three years ago, Presidents Clinton and Yeltsin agreed on the outlines of a START III Treaty that would cut our arsenals by 80 percent from their Cold War peaks. This was one of the subjects I discussed in this visit to Moscow also.

And I hope we succeed, for such a treaty would be in both our nations' interests. It would make us safer by maintaining parity at lower levels. Moreover, nuclear weapons are expensive to maintain and safeguard. And we should find ways openly to destroy and dispose of every one we don't need.

This brings me to a third set of problems and interests common to both our countries: potential instabilities in the Balkans, the Middle East, the Caucasus and Central Asia. In each, the sources are similar: ethnic hatred, fanaticism, economic hopelessness and too little democracy. And the tensions they spawn create fertile breeding grounds for many forms of organized thuggery -- from trafficking in drugs and guns and women, to outright terrorism.

In avoiding such developments, U.S. and Russian interests clearly coincide. We both have a clear stake in stability in Kosovo; in a Middle East transformed by peace; and in a lasting settlement of the dispute over Nagorno-Karabakh. In each of these areas, Russia and the United States have worked together to seek sound solutions.

Once, a comprehensive peace in the Middle East seemed all but unthinkable, in part because the United States and Russia were adversaries. Almost thirty years ago, we came all too close to war in this region. Yesterday, Foreign Minister Ivanov and I co-hosted a Multilateral Steering Group Ministerial. And our cooperation was easy, and we succeeded, because our interests coincide.

In Kosovo, we had very strong disagreements but our nations knew they had an interest in ending conflict and ushering in an era of stability in the Balkans. And today, our soldiers serve alongside one another to give peace the best possible chance.

On the diplomatic front, our two governments have been working through the OSCE Minsk Group to find a lasting solution to the very difficult problem of Nagorno-Karabakh. And with our help, the leaders there have made some progress.

Now such cooperation illustrates how the United States and Russia can also work together with the countries of the Caucasus and Central Asia. These sovereign states face the quadruple challenge of protecting their independence, creating modern political institutions, building prosperity, and maintaining stability. The fact that many of them border on a region to the south that has been an exporter of extremism and terror adds to the challenges they face.

Russia and the United States have much to gain, and nothing to lose, from the success of the strategies that these states have chosen. These countries believe they need access to international markets for their exports, especially energy and natural resources; and they want to be a part of the international institutions like the WTO and the OSCE; and they seek normal, mutually beneficial relations with their neighbors.

In summary, in each of the vital policy areas that I have just discussed, Russia and the United States have common interests. And this means that there is a basis for true cooperation in each, even if differences seem at times to occupy center stage.

And that's why our disagreement over Chechnya is so troubling. No one questions Russia's responsibility and even obligation to combat insurgency and terror within its borders. But the world increasingly has questioned doing so at such a high cost in innocent human lives and suffering, and such a high cost to Russia's international standing.

These tactics will not set the stage for building a peaceful, prosperous Chechnya within the Russian Federation. Only a political resolution of the conflict will do that. As long as the fighting continues, it will serve as a magnet for extremism that could one day risk the stability of the entire region.

The Middle East peace process that we've so successfully advanced here in Moscow carries a powerful lesson. A commitment to political solutions empowers peacemakers. Military operations encourage the extremists.

The Russia that chooses to pursue the political solution is the Russia that we hope to work with well into the 21st Century. This is a secure Russia with strong political institutions; a rock of stability in Europe and Asia; an engine of prosperity in the global economy; a vibrant and varied contributor to a multilateral world; and a source of inspiration to all who admire Russia's remarkable culture and history and believe in the power of human beings to change their individual and collective destinies.

These may seem like dreams. But I am speaking to you of interests. For it is this Russia which will benefit most in world markets and international institutions.

And it is this Russia with which the United States can work most effectively to meet the many challenges that confront both our nations.

Thank you very much. And in this wonderful setting I look forward to having some very good questions and, hopefully, good answers.

QUESTION: I'm (name inaudible) of the Diplomatic Academy. First of all, I'd like to thank you for a very deep and solid analysis of diplomatic relations in the 21st Century, of American foreign policy and Russian-American relations. And, from now on, most definitely I'll be advocating inviting you here. (inaudible) prestigious speakers and professors. I'm so impressed. And my question is not about today, but about a man. His name is (inaudible), Professor (name inaudible). He had an office in our Academy for four years. He trained our diplomats. He conducted seminars and he developed his theory (inaudible) of civilizations. And, I'd like to know if you've heard about this theory which essentially is quite different from what you just said in your speech this morning. Thank you very much.

SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: Thank you. Well, I know (name inaudible) very well and we actually worked together at the National Security Council in the Carter Administration, and obviously as fellow professors who have seen each other in various academic settings, and I have always been impressed by the rigor of his thinking while not always agreeing with his conclusions. I think that while it is possible that if not mitigated there could be a clash of civilizations. Because many of them, the three basically (inaudible) or operate in a different way while maybe having basically the same ideals, but come at them in a different way. And if there is to be a clash of civilizations we have to avoid it. I think that is my major difference with him because to me a clash of civilizations would bring all hope for a peaceful 21st Century to nothing. And instead what we're seeing and I think my initial comments about globalization would indicate this is an interaction of the civilizations.

What I found so interesting at Davos, because it's the most recent example and it's so visible, were the number of people that were there from the various civilizations. And, their desire to be a part of a whole new way of communicating. I have to admit fully that I don't yet know how to communicate that way. I think the older you are the less you know. And, especially on that subject. But the whole way that we are forced to deal with each other on issues that are common problems such as drugs, or terror or environmental issues or health requires civilizations to cooperate and not compete. And that requires us all to know much more about each civilization rather than stereotyping and I think that's the problem. The more you talk about a clash of civilizations, the more likely it is that there will be stereotyping. And just let me take an example of something. Obviously people are waiting to see what happens between the United States and Iran. And what in fact has been happening is that with the election of President Khatami, we have very closely watched, first of all who elected him, how they are operating within their society and the kinds of messages that are coming to us in strange ways - of interviews that President Khatami gives. We respond by speeches. And we are actually seeking to have an open government-to-government dialogue if in fact they stop supporting terrorism, stop trying to acquire weapons of mass destruction and support the Middle East peace process. And with the elections in February of the Majlis ...(inaudible)...we may see more. So we are trying very hard to understand that clash of civilizations is unnecessary and counter-productive and less likely, given all the communications and interaction societies now have.

QUESTION: (In Russian, not translated)

SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: I think you've asked a very thoughtful and difficult question. What it really comes down to, if I can simplify it a little bit into the question of whether the U.S. is practicing cultural hegemonism in some ways, and whether the fact that countries have a particular culture and then others have another culture. And how they influence each other. I believe that what we're going through internationally now is basically two not only conflicting but self- supporting phenomenon. One is the globalization which we all know puts us all into the same pot where we have the same kinds of information; we're now given increased technology; the same music can be heard all over the world; the same food can be eaten everywhere; and as I drive around Moscow I see as many ads for Western products as I do in New York. And so there is this sense of homogenization. But at the same time, I think there is a counter-aspect to this which is that as you are part of a larger whole, you seek your inner identity. And, you look to see what makes you special, either as Russians or French or Chinese. And so there is a drawing inside and therefore a greater emphasis on individual culture. And taken to its extreme it leads to ethnic strife because what it means is that your pride in yourself turns into hatred of somebody who is not like you.

I believe that what has to happen here is not a sense that, for instance, the United States is trying to dominate everybody's culture. It is a matter of choice. People are choosing some of the things that we have and that we discussed. Basically, because they see that as useful products added to their lives and it adds to their well-being. And, no one can impose a different culture on somebody else and there is a complete paradox. You can't impose democracy. Democracy is something that is chosen. You can't impose free markets. That is something that is chosen. I happen to believe that we're moving into a world in which we have to accept the globalization and understand the importance of what I would call cultural autonomy -- the right of people to obviously reserve everything that they have for themselves. But I will use your question basically to make very clear to Russian listeners that the United States didn't choose to be the sole superpower. The United States believes that it has certain responsibilities. We have the largest economy in the world. We try to share it. And we do not, I don't believe, try to dominate it. What has happened is that people like a lot of what American has to offer and they take it. But, that doesn't mean that Americans don't respect other people's cultures and in fact, one more point, we have not made it a point, as part of our diplomacy to [tape recording ends)]

QUESTION: [tape recording continues] (In Russian, not translated)

SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: That's a whole vocabulary. I didn't understand in Russian. (Laughter)

Let me say that without talking about your specific examples, that I believe on the contrary, that there is a much greater interest by public officials in various aspects of the environment. What is hard is that there are major differences among the countries about how to treat the environment. And it has to do a lot, I think, with differences between the developed and developing countries. I think the more highly developed countries being fully aware of the fact that we bear a major part of the responsibility for having undermined the sanctity of the environment and having discovered ways that the environment can be protected, are now trying to put in standards for environmental protection that the less developed countries believe are threatening their economic development. Because they looked at the pattern that we all followed throughout the 19th and 20th Centuries and believe that our use of fuels and various methods of industrialization is what got us where we are. So they want to follow the same route. So when we say through the, for instance, the Climate Control negotiations, that there ought to be different approaches to how different levels of carbon dioxide and various other things to do with global warming, that they need to be limited, they think we're trying to limit their growth.

President Clinton, I think, speaks with the greatest passion about the fact that when he says to countries, we are not trying to slow your growth and we can show that you can grow your economy by being environmentally conscious, he wants to make so clear that we're not trying to keep anybody down. That it is possible to take from our lessons and leap-frog over all the mistakes that have been made. And I believe, actually, that the Clinton Administration has been the most environmentally conscious actually probably since the beginning of the 20th Century when President Roosevelt, Theodore Roosevelt, was environmentally conscious and President Clinton has just turned over more land for parks than anybody else.

So, I believe by making environment and environmental protection an international relations issue and a matter of foreign policy, and not something that only green people do, is very important and we consider environmental degradation one of the threats that we deal with at the State Department as a foreign policy issue.

QUESTION: (In Russian, not translated)

SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: Obviously, we do. I think that every country. . . it is the responsibility of every country to promote its products. And, we believe that it is important for American businesses to have access to countries across the board. But, nobody has to buy them. Nobody has to choose to have them. And I think that we do promote American business. And another reason we promote American business and I've just been meeting with American business people, is, I believe, and you can accuse me of being a chauvinist but I believe that American businesses have excellent business practices that they bring with them. They have a particular way that they treat their workers, they provide health benefits and retirement benefits. And I think that, and other good business practices in terms of transparencies, American businesses are prohibited from bribery to get contracts. And so in many ways I consider American businesses a part of showing a good side of America. And finally another thing is when American business comes into a country and finds that the investment climate is, ... frankly it promotes a good investment and business climate within the country itself. It adds financial credibility and helps with basically putting a country on the map in terms of its financial status.

But, I know that it's interesting, you know, that people, ... this is a matter of choice for people. You don't have to go McDonalds. And I think that as I have understood it people think it's an interesting variety and they go there. And the basis of what's happening now and I hope will happen further in Russia, is that you will be able to do everything that you want by choice. That is what's happened in the last ten years. If you don't want to buy American products, don't buy them. But if you want to have access to American products, then you ought to have the right to have access to them. And not be limited from having them.

I meant to tell you what's very interesting. First of all, I feel often freer to say things because I'm not a born American. I was born in Czechoslovakia. And so I have a sense about America maybe that a born American doesn't have . And that is that it is a country which is based on the whole issue of individuality and freedom of choice. That is not an imperial power. That has not conquered territory in order to acquire to keep it. That does not try to impose democracy, that tries to present it as an option.

At this stage, at the 21st Century, there is no question that for a variety of reasons America is a dominant power. It has happened because of a term that you all used to use in correlation (inaudible) ... We are not there in many ways by our own choice. And the thing that the United States would like the most, believe me, is to have strong partners to be able to share the burden of dealing with a world that faces not so much a clash of civilizations but instability created by a variety of factors that impinge upon all of us and with a whole host of new global threats that are entirely different.

In addition to the environment there are all kinds of cross border problems such as drugs and terrorism, gun smuggling, a whole series of issues which a country no matter how powerful, cannot deal with alone. And so what the United States is seeking, and I as the chief foreign policymaker in the United States, am seeking, is partners, not dominance. Partnership. And therefore, we're not frightened by words like multi-(inaudible) You're shaking your head. Shaking your head. But believe me, I do it. We are trying to find partners. And we need strong partners who also desire stability. Who believe in the independence of other countries, and who want to participate in a 21st Century world in which differences are respected, in which borders become less important while territorial integrity is respected; and where we are free to share each other's cultures. And I know we're going through kind of a strange period in terms of U.S.-Russian relations, but I hope very much we get through it. Because for me and I've spent my entire life studying Russia, I think that we have an opportunity of such unparalleled proportions to work together on common problems, keep our identity and help move the world into a healthier 21st century.


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