Powell Draws Outlines of "New Middle East"
Transcript: Secretary Powell Draws Outlines of "New Middle East"
(Strikes confident note on "roadmap," Iraq reconstruction)
Dead Sea, Jordan -- President Bush's vision for a prosperous, peaceful and democratic Middle East is optimistic and forward-looking and has the full commitment of his administration, Secretary of State Colin Powell says.
"We can see the outlines of a new Middle East," he said during a June 22 address to a plenary session of a three-day World Economic Forum (WEF) meeting in Jordan.
U.S. plans for the region range from rebuilding Iraq and working closely with Israelis and Palestinians on the "road map" for peace, to moving toward a U.S.-Middle East free trade agreement within the next decade, Powell said.
"Let there be no doubt: Iraq will succeed as a democratic nation," Powell said. He also reiterated Bush's pledge that U.S. forces in Iraq "will leave as soon as the job is done."
Powell said he agreed with those who urge the speedy transfer of Iraq's governing responsibilities to the Iraqi people, but added: "We must do it in a measured way." He warned that the process "will take time" and urged patience as the difficult work in Iraq proceeds. That work includes finding and destroying any weapons of mass destruction left behind by the Saddam Hussein regime, Powell said.
Regarding the road map for peace in the Middle East, Powell outlined the dramatic progress that has been made in recent weeks and highlighted the pledge of Israeli and Palestinian leaders to work through their differences without resorting to violence. He also, in response to a question, dismissed "cynics" who argue that episodes of violence reveal the futility of the effort.
"Spare me the cynics," Powell said to resounding applause. "Let's not have cynicism destroy the dreams of children."
In his speech, the secretary also stressed that true peace in the Middle East should encompass the entire region -- not just Israelis and Palestinians. "I'm interested," he said, "in a comprehensive solution that includes Syria and Lebanon."
Asked to outline U.S. policy towards Iran, Powell said officials "disapprove strongly" of Iran's continued support for terrorist activities and for what the United States believes is a nuclear program that could be used to produce weapons of mass destruction. The Bush administration hopes Iran "will not try, in any way, to play an unhelpful role" by interfering in Iraq, Powell said.
The United States also "encourages" the many Iranians who have been publicly agitating for democratic change in their country, Powell said. "We encourage them because people should be free to speak out."
Powell spoke on the second day of the forum, which brought together more than 1,000 global leaders in business, government and civil society. The meetings, held at a Jordanian resort on the shores of the Dead Sea, are scheduled to conclude June 23.
Following is a transcript of the event, as released by the Department of State:
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE Office of the Spokesman (Dead Sea, Jordan) June 22, 2003
Remarks by Secretary of State Colin L. Powell At the World Economic Forum Dead Sea, Jordan June 22, 2003
SECRETARY POWELL: Thank you very much, Klaus, for your kind and generous and gracious introduction. And I want to congratulate you and your colleagues for this wonderful, extraordinary meeting of the World Economic Forum. It is very timely and I'm very pleased to have been an early supporter of this effort and to be here today.
I'd also like to thank His Majesty King Abdullah and Her Majesty Queen Rania and the Jordanian people for the warm hospitality that they have extended to us all. I would like to extend my congratulations as well to Their Majesties for the successful elections that were held in Jordan this past week. We are all inspired by the Jordanian people's commitment to reform and to peaceful, popular expression through the ballot box.
My friends, yesterday Professor Schwab and King Abdullah made reference to Davos in January, and Klaus just did it again. It was a time of enormous tension. It was a time of, frankly, anger at that seminar. I will never forget those couple of days that I spent there. And I think it was a bold move on the part of Klaus and King Abdullah and others to decide that notwithstanding the tension of that moment, let's nevertheless think about having an extraordinary session such as this, not knowing what the future might hold in those weeks and months after Davos.
But just imagine if the date they had picked was not sometime in the middle of June, but just imagine if they had decided to do this, oh, let's say, the second week in March. The agenda and the attitude and the atmosphere at that time would be quite different than what we see here today. If we had done it in early March as opposed to this weekend, Saddam Hussein would still have been sitting in Baghdad, watching an army assemble, but believing that his tactics of deception and delay would allow him to wait it out, still counting on the world's attention wandering off into another direction as we prepared for another inconclusive debate in the United Nations.
If it was last March, the Palestinian people, trapped in the grip of a failed leadership, would still be wondering if they were on our agenda or when, perhaps even if, the roadmap that they'd heard so much about, the Americans had spoken about, that the Quartet had spoken about, they'd be wondering were they ever going to see this roadmap that promised to lead to a two-state solution and was there any reason for them to hope that that would come about.
In March, the prospect of war, even a successful one, would have hung heavy over every seminar, over every corridor conversation. Leaders around the world would have been buttoning up and battening down the hatches in anticipation of riots and terror attacks. Economies would have been on hold, waiting for an end to the uncertainty. Perhaps, it might have been deemed too difficult, too dangerous for us to have assembled like this.
This is not three months ago. This is not March. This is June, and much has changed. The clouds of doubt and uncertainty are beginning to lift, and we can see the outlines of a new Middle East, whose people are free to look to the future with hope, who are free once again to dream about what may be.
Today, Saddam Hussein and his thugs no longer rule and the charnel house that was Saddam Hussein's Iraq is apparent to all. All can now see it. We recoil, we recoil from the face of evil that has been exposed -- the mass graves, the drained marshes, the destroyed infrastructure, the utter wreckage wrought by nearly three decades of tyranny.
But thanks to the political courage and determination of leaders such as President Bush and Prime Minister Blair and many others, and especially with thanks to the brave young men and women of the coalition's armed forces, the Iraqi people now find themselves liberated from this horror, with all the hope and with all the anxiety that freedom brings.
The Iraqi people can know this, and can go to bed tonight knowing this, that they will have the full support of the United States, the full support of the rest of the coalition and the international community as they recover to build a new and democratic Iraq, as they come out of this period of horror, as we help them get through the anxiety and the uncertainty of the present.
Their oil is safe, now starting to ship, and the proceeds will be used only to help them, not squandered on illegal weapons or palaces for dictators.
The coalition and the international community, after drifting apart earlier in the year, are now coming together again. The United Nations Security Council has passed unanimously Resolution 1483. In two days time, the United Nations will hold an informal meeting of countries who are prepared to help the Iraqi people. And we hope this meeting will lay the groundwork for a formal donors' conference in the fall that will mobilize the resources Iraqis need to rebuild their country.
Even as we look ahead to a new future for the Iraqi people, we must still complete the unfinished business of the past. Many dangers still exist. Our troops are at risk. All problems can't be solved in a few days or a month or two. Saddam's weapons of mass destruction must be found and all of the programs dug up and removed once and for all. The last holdouts from Saddam Hussein's regime must still be eliminated.
The degradation and discrimination of thirty years of misrule must be corrected. Helping Iraqis to rebuild their country will be very hard work, with success measured one difficult step at a time.
The United States has sent one of our most able public servants, Ambassador Jerry Bremer, to lead this effort, assisted by individuals drawn from throughout the United States and from other parts of the world, a great team that's come together.
You heard from him earlier today. He described to you the strategy that we will be following to rebuild Iraq's economy and infrastructure and to begin the political process leading to a return of the country to a new democratic Iraqi government committed to living in peace with its neighbors.
Let there be no doubt: Iraq will succeed as a new nation. And we will be there to see it through. The coalition, now joined by the United Nations and the whole international community, has the staying power necessary. We will leave as soon as the job is done and Iraq is ready to take its rightful place in the region's future.
In the course of the day, I have heard comments reflecting the desire on the part of so many to transfer responsibility back to the Iraqis as soon as possible. We agree with that. We agree with that entirely. But we must do it in a measured way, we must do it when they are ready to accept that responsibility. And it will take time. I ask you all to have patience, but as you see, Jerry Bremer is already hard at work introducing Iraqi civil society to the rest of the international community, sending them to New York in a delegation, bringing them here, bringing media from Iraq out for the first time in how many decades in order to speak freely with individuals here at this marvelous conference and to take that message back to the Iraqi people and to deliver it freely without censorship, to le the Iraqi people know that we care and we'll be there for them.
Ambassador Bremer will continue moving in this direction, to write a constitution, to put in place a political committee than can begin to take on responsibility, to take on authority from the provisional authority.
With the liberation of Iraq behind us, the Middle East can be a region of peace. It can be a region where the Palestinian and Israeli people at last see a path, a path through to the end of the bitter conflict which has wrecked their hopes far, far too long. It can be the region that President Bush described almost exactly one year ago now: a region where two democratic states, Israel and Palestine, live side-by-side in peace, security, and dignity.
The United States, working with our partners in the Middle East Quartet -- the Russian Federation, the European Union, and the United Nations -- developed a roadmap to achieve this vision. The roadmap offers a practical pathway for Israelis and Palestinians, embedded in a continuing commitment to comprehensive peace and progress on all tracks. We are interested in the Israeli-Palestinian track, but we are just as interested in finding a comprehensive solution that will include Syria and Lebanon.
The roadmap builds on a broad foundation, including UN Security Council Resolutions 242, 338, 1397; Madrid and the principle of land for peace; and it builds on the initiatives of Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah as endorsed at the Beirut Arab summit.
We waited for a new Palestinian leadership committed to peace. And on April 29, the Palestinians gained that leadership with the confirmation of Prime Minister Abbas and his cabinet. The stage was set.
True to his word, President Bush, in the name of the Quartet, presented the roadmap to the parties, immediately, right away. He wanted to get on with it. And then, just a little over two weeks ago, on the shores of the Red Sea, President Bush moved this vision an important step closer to reality. Putting the full weight of his office and his personal leadership behind this historic effort, President Bush challenged all parties to live up to their obligations for peace.
At Sharm el-Sheikh, Arab leaders stood with the President and committed themselves to support the roadmap with words and deeds. I'll never forget the strong statement that was made, a statement that I repeat over and over to audiences around the world to show the commitment of the Arab states, "the culture of extremism and violence in any form or shape, from whatever source or place, regardless of justifications or motives" had to end. So too was the pledge that they made to prevent support from reaching terrorist groups that continue to foment terror and violence. It was an important moment for the world, and I'm deeply appreciative of the commitment made by the Arab states at Sharm el-Sheikh.
A day later at Aqaba, a moment we will never forget, a scene we will never forget, there we saw the Prime Ministers of Israel and the Palestinian authority, standing alongside King Abdullah and President Bush, all giving that consistent theme in their presentations that violence must end and they committed themselves to real steps to achieve the promise of peace for their people.
This too will be very hard work. I returned to meet Prime Minister Sharon and Prime Minister Abbas two days ago to urge them to move forward. We spent our time on this occasion not on esoteric subjects, not on rhetoric, but on practical details of implementation: how to stop terror and violence, how to transfer security responsibility in Gaza, how to restore dignity and bring tangible improvements to the daily lives of Palestinians.
At the President's direction, I will be returning often as will my colleague, Dr. Condoleezza Rice, the President's National Security Advisor. Our team is in place here. Ambassador Wolf leading our new monitoring group, Ambassador Burns who was on the stage a few moments ago will also be spending a lot of time in the region, in order to help the two parties talk to one another, dialogue with one another, begin coordination with one another again on security matters, on access matters, on all the matters that have to be dealt with as the two sides move forward down the path laid out by the roadmap.
I was pleased also, two hours ago, to meet once again with my partners in the Quartet, and reaffirm our collective determination to implement the roadmap and to help the parties implement the roadmap and to do everything we can do to isolate the violent extremists who threaten our path to peace.
Let me at this moment thank my Quartet colleagues, Secretary General Annan, Foreign Minister Ivanov, Foreign Minister Papandreou, High Representative Solana, and Commissioner Patten for their steadfast support. Over the past year, I have relied on them, relied on the Quartet process, to keep the international community unified behind this effort. We have no illusion about how hard it's going to be. We can see it every day with some incident taking place on one side or the other. We have no illusion about how hard it will be to move forward in the presence of that kind of action. We had no illusions at Sharm el-Sheikh and Aqaba, but the other thing we knew was that we had no choice. Where else can we go? What else will we do? What choice do we have but to move forward now, with this roadmap, with this total commitment of the international community, with all these leaders standing together at Aqaba and saying, we are committed, we are obliged, we will move forward.
But as these incidents come along, we will regret them, we will have to deal with them, but we must keep moving forward. The people of the region expect it, demand it, and we must meet their hopes, their dreams and their aspirations, and I can assure you today that the United States will be there for them. The United States will not shrink from the demands of this important effort that we are embarked upon.
Our focus on hope in Iraq and in the roadmap to achieve things between Israelis and Palestinians are just one part of our Middle East strategy, because the borders of the Middle East extend beyond liberated Iraq, beyond Israel and Palestine, coexisting in peace and security. Indeed, from the Straits of Gibraltar to the Strait of Hormuz, we see a renewal of hope. We are here in June, not talking of war but of promise, the promise of a Middle East where civil society grows from the ground up. Where pressure for economic reform builds from inside the region itself, and where hope leads to real progress toward greater democracy and economic freedom, not just more empty rhetoric.
Yes, our optimism is real, but we are not naïve. There are no guarantees that the fragile promise of peace and progress and reform will flourish. This region is littered with the wreckage of dashed hopes and missed opportunities. But there is a new attitude in the region. I can sense it. Despite all the difficulties, I can sense it. I see it at this conference, I feel it in this room. I saw it in the presentations that were made just before me by the leaders who were assembled here.
Emerging hope will become firm reality, however, only with the full commitment of all of us -- the United States, partner governments, the private sector and, most importantly, above all, the peoples and governments of the nations of the Middle East themselves.
The challenge of a new Middle East is one that must be seized by the people and leaders of the region. Enduring democratic change and economic modernization must be driven from within -- they can't be imposed from outside. And it is our strategy, United States strategy, to help, to support, to nudge, to encourage, but not to impose. Imposition would be impossible, it would not be right. The impetus for change must come from within.
The hard truth as we enter the 21st century is that countries that do change, countries that adapt, countries that open up, countries that take the economic and political initiative and the hard decisions driven by those initiatives, those countries will prosper. Those that don't, those that pretend that there is another way, those that want to keep themselves closed up, those who do not join this wave of the future, will fall farther and farther behind.
In the new century, growth will be based on information and opportunity. Information drives markets, ensures a rapid reaction to health crises like SARS, and brings new entrepreneurial opportunities to societies throughout the region. The keys to prosperity in an information economy are education, individual creativity, and an environment of economic and political freedom. An environment of economic and political freedom is the thing sina qua non for the kind of progress that we are talking about.
Information technology, the power of the Internet. Let me give you an example of what it can do. My example does not come from Silicon Valley or some wireless, advanced economy of Europe. It comes from Bangladesh, a country I visited just three days ago.
In the course of my meetings in Bangladesh, I spoke with the Minister of Science and Information and Communications Technology, Dr. Ahmed Moyeen Khan, and he's putting all government services on-line: E-government, e-business. But more importantly, he is determined to make sure that every town and village in Bangladesh -- that poor country, a country with such a large population, such desperate need -- he is going to make sure that every village and town in Bangladesh has access to the Internet, has access to that marvelous store of knowledge and information up in the ether, waiting to be brought down, waiting to be brought down to educate youngsters, to provide opportunities, to bring in the knowledge of the world to help the most desperate people in the world.
The opportunity to transport knowledge to the poorest Bangladeshi citizens equally, efficiently and fairly is certainly a major step forward for a nation trying to develop, and it applies around the world, not just in Bangladesh.
All of us want to take advantage of these new opportunities and citizens of the Middle East deserve them as much as those anywhere else in the world. The United States will do all we can to help them.
Last month in a commencement speech at the University of South Carolina, President Bush unveiled a far-reaching and comprehensive approach to supporting growth, opportunity and hope in the Middle East. With this speech, President Bush put reform squarely on America's Middle East agenda.
As the President proclaimed when he announced his proposals, "free markets and trade have helped defeat poverty and taught men and women the habits of liberty." So the President calls for strengthening trade and investment ties between the United States and the countries of the Middle East, culminating in the creation of a U.S.-Middle East free trade area within a decade. That is what he called for, and we are already seeing right here, in Jordan, the power of the free trade engine.
Barely two years after Jordan implemented sweeping economic reforms and concluded a free trade agreement with the United States, we are now Jordan's number one export market. Jordan's exports to the United States, the American market, have increased from barely $10 million in 1998 to nearly $500 million in 2002, sparking growth in Jordan's economy of 4 percent -- all in a region that is in a recession.
In human terms, some 30,000 more Jordanians have jobs today because of the power of trade and because of economic reform. Economic reform and freer trade. That is a combination that works in Jordan, a combination that we want to spread throughout the Middle East.
My colleague, Ambassador Bob Zoellick, our trade representative, will be here tomorrow and speak more about the exciting prospects for harnessing the power of trade. Suffice it to say that we are pursuing free trade agreements not merely for their own sake, but as the best way to generate wealth in countries that desperately need that generation of wealth to bring their people out of poverty and despair.
But trade alone is not enough to bring prosperity and freedom. To benefit from the power of the global economy, the people of this region must be empowered with skills, with access to finance, and with freedom. So, at President Bush's direction, we have launched an innovative set of programs we call the U.S.-Middle East Partnership Initiative.
With this initiative, we are increasing our support for those in the region who are already working to broaden economic opportunity. We are working with people on the ground to expand the political and civic participation that lies at the root of a free society. And we are working closely with teachers, principals, and parents to improve education and give kids a better start in life.
Recognizing that the region's women too often live on the margins of economic and political life, our initiative places special emphasis on empowering women.
In planning our programs, we are looking at what works. Here in Jordan, for example, we have been a prime backer of micro-enterprises -- the tiny businesses that are often the first steps up on the ladder of success. Over the past six years, the four Jordanian micro-finance institutions we have supported have lent some $56 million to 52,000 Jordanian micro-entrepreneurs. Nearly 80 percent of the borrowers have been women.
If you do the math, that's only $1,000 per person. But it's $1,000 that can mean the difference between dependence and independence. It certainly made a difference to Ra'eda Akkawi, Nariman Abu Hamdan, and Yusra Abdel Hadi, three friends and three entrepreneurs from the Irbid refugee camp.
Ra'eda owned a grocery shop in the heart of the camp, just a few blocks from her friend Nariman's clothing and textile boutique. Nearby is the house of Yusra, the camp's famous candy apple maker. Business was good, so the three women did what entrepreneurs the world over do -- they looked for credit, for financing, to expand their business.
They went to the microfund for women and applied for loans. Based on their record of success, based on their determination, their initiative, their willingness to take a risk, they received a group loan of 500 Jordanian dinars per borrower -- about $700 each. And with that money, they went to work.
So, today, Ra'eda sells camp residents canned goods, olives, bread, and fresh breakfast sandwiches. Nariman does a thriving business in her boutique, selling wedding dresses and other products, expanding the line. And Yusra has started two more businesses, expanding her entire enterprise, selling fresh vegetables and providing fillings for mattresses and pillows. Where I'm called for [where I'm from], a person like that is called a serial entrepreneur.
That, my friends, is the power of hope. That is the power we want to multiply a thousand fold throughout the Arab world.
Our partnership initiative has already begun to touch people's lives. We already have some 40 projects underway. To create more Ra'edas, more Narimans, and more Yusras, we have brought 20 Arab women entrepreneurs to the United States to attend the Department of Commerce's first Middle East Executive Training Program. In September, we'll bring over more, this time focusing on healthcare opportunities. And when they have finished their training and taken their skills back home, we will bring over more and more and more.
To support women's political empowerment, we invited 50 Arab women political leaders to the United States to observe last fall's midterm elections. I met them while they were in Washington, and they were a remarkable group -- proud of their Arab heritage and eloquent in their dreams of a world where their children could live in peace. And they were only the first, they were only the first of many such political leaders we will help to find their voices in their own societies.
To promote the rule of law, we are planning to set up a regional forum on judicial reform. I am delighted that United States Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor has agreed to lead a team of distinguished American jurists to Bahrain for the first forum this fall.
We have also launched programs to improve education throughout the region. In Yemen, for example, we are working with local groups to teach women how to read and thereby gain entry into productive society. In Morocco, we are supporting girls who would not otherwise have been able to go to middle school.
We know we are on the right track, because we know the people of this region are calling for change, for opportunity, for education, for more than the false promises of intolerant ideology and violence.
Look at what is happening in Iran. Students and intellectuals are out in the streets, calling for change in a land that has known only shahs and ayatollahs. They are demanding to be part of this new Middle East.
President Bush's goals for the Middle East are the same as his goals for America and the world. In his National Security Strategy, he describes what we want. We want to partner with more nations around the world. We want to champion human dignity, we want to strengthen alliances, we want to work with others to defuse regional conflicts, and we want to ignite global economic development.
Many people have read our National Security Strategy and said it's a strategy of preemption. Nothing can be further from the truth. Preemption is nothing more than a last resort tool. Our strategy is a strategy of growth, a positive agenda of helping the downtrodden, of fighting disease and creating opportunity by developing cooperative action with other nations.
The most important dangers we face today come in many forms, they come in many directions. Disease, want, and terrorism know no boundaries. We cannot stop the proliferation of deadly weapons, we cannot halt trafficking in drugs and trafficking in people, we cannot expand our global economy on our own, doing it by ourselves. We must have partners. You are those partners. America welcomes the partnerships that we plan to strengthen and create as we move forward.
United in partnership, we can achieve historic goals. I believe we can achieve the President's vision of a new Middle East -- a Middle East at peace, where Israelis and Palestinians lead normal lives, a Middle East of participation and prosperity.
So how should we, together, travel to this hopeful future? By reaching out and embracing it, by seizing the opportunities of the modern world -- education technology, political participation, democracy and economic freedom.
Sounds like a radical American or western idea to transform the Muslim world, doesn't it? Sounds like we're trying to transform the Muslim world, doesn't it? But it's not. It's a radical Arab idea -- the radical idea contained in the Arab human development report, which you're all familiar with.
That report makes it clear that embracing the new Middle East doesn't mean giving up your faith. It makes it clear that there is no conflict between democracy and faith, whatever your faith may be. It makes it clear that everyone in this holy region deserves a fair chance in life.
We will work with the governments and peoples of the region who want to build a new future. We offer our partnership. We offer a hand of change. We offer hope. We offer hope.
I'm so pleased that this conference is so different from Davos. We can talk about economic development, not the prospect of war or UN resolutions or things of that nature. We can talk about peace, we can talk about what we want to do for our children. What a delight to see the change that has occurred over the last several months. The United States is here to offer hope.
And what better place is there to commit ourselves to building a future of hope than here in Jordan, a land of hope?
We meet not far from Petra, where 2000 years ago the Nabateans literally carved a city out of the living rock and turned it into a prosperous trading center on the route between Europe and the east. We meet near Aqaba, where earlier this month Prime Ministers Sharon and Abbas so boldly pledged themselves to bring about peace based on President Bush's vision. And we meet in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, where His Majesty King Abdullah is a worthy successor to the legacy of his father, King Hussein, and his great-grandfather, the first King Abdullah.
These great leaders set the standard for courage in the cause of peace. Today, my friends, let us set the standard for courage in the cause of hope -- hope for all of God's children, of all faiths, who call the Middle East their home.
Thank you very much.
DR. KLAUS SCHWAB: Mr. Secretary, you have shared with us a comprehensive, grand vision for peace and development here in the region. As it is a tradition of the World Economic Forum, you may take one or two questions. Are there any questions?
QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, you very briefly mentioned what's going on in Tehran, in Iran. Can you specify what US policy towards Iran will be in the next month and months ahead?
SECRETARY POWELL: With respect to Iran, we've made it clear that we disapprove strongly of their continued support for terrorist organizations and terrorist activity. We have made it clear that we disapprove strongly of what we believe is a nuclear program that will lead to the development of nuclear weapons, and I think evidence that has come forward in recent months from IAEA work and other information available to us suggests that that is the case, and we're concerned about it and believe the international community must speak out clearly with respect to Iran's activities. We also hope that Iran will not try in any way to plan an unhelpful role in the development of a new, democratic Iraq, particularly in the southern part of the country. So we convey these messages strongly to Iranian authorities.
With respect to what's actually happening within Iran, we're seeing young people speak out, marching, demonstrating, because they're not satisfied with the leadership they're receiving, either their political leadership or the leadership coming down from the religious leaders of the country. And we encouraged the demonstrations, not as a way of fomenting trouble, but as a to say that people should be free to speak out. People should be free to express their desires, to express their hopes, to express their concerns.
That's what Iranian people are now doing and we encourage that, and that's our policy. We're against Iranian support of terrorist activity, we're against nuclear weapons development program, we hope that the Iranians will not play an unhelpful role in our reconstruction efforts in Iraq, and we are watching what is happening within the country, the churning that is taking place within the population, and we have to provide encouragement and support for those who are seeking the right to speak out.
But for some to go beyond that and say the United States is getting ready for something aggressive or looking for another place to have a conflict, it's absolutely wrong. We are being very careful in our words and our action, and the elements I just laid out to you constitute American policy.
QUESTION: Mr. Colin Powell, you know, you know a lot about the Middle East. Jordan is a moderate country that supports peace for a long time. Do you not think that peace players like Jordan should have a greater dividend from peace? Thank you.
SECRETARY POWELL: I'm very pleased that Jordan has played such an effective role in the cause of peace, and we work very closely with our Jordanian friends to make sure that we support their economic development and their move toward a more pluralistic society and the elections they've held. We try to be as supportive as we can. I think that's a dividend. I think the free trade agreement with Jordan can be seen as the dividend, which was not a handout but a way for Jordan to export more and create jobs. That, I think, is the kind of support we're interested in.
We provide a great deal of aid to the world, foreign assistance, not only in the normal accounts that are available to the Secretary of State, but through new programs that the President has created such as the Millennium Challenge Account, which will be $5 billion a year of new money that will go to developing nations. But we also believe strongly that aid is not the ultimate answer. The answer is trade. The answer is entering the global marketplace, and aid should be used to help countries develop their infrastructure, to help them develop their civil society, to help them educate their young people, and to prepare these countries for participating in that global marketplace so that they can get the trade that will help them to grow and help them to alleviate conditions of poverty and despair.
Jordan, I think, is on the right track, has been on the right track, and I think the Jordanians would say that they have benefited in the form of a dividend from the support they have provided for the cause of peace and to the United States in so many ways.
DR. SCHWAB: Mr. Secretary, eventually we have to come to an end. You have shared with us your vision and if we would do a calling, I would say the large majority would support your mission. I also would say a large majority, if not everybody in the room, would engage to help in order to activate this mission. Now, there are still some cynics out and imagine, Mr. Secretary, you would have here only cynical people. What would be your message to them?
SECRETARY POWELL: Cynicism is a disease. Everybody needs to have an attitude of optimism, an attitude of hope, an attitude that says there is no problem that is insurmountable. There is no setback that comes along that can't be overcome with determination and with getting into the battle again.
I'm not a diplomat, I didn't come out of a think tank. I'm a soldier, as all of you know, and I was a soldier for 35 years, and I'm conditioned by my training. My training over those 35 years and having been in battle and having been responsible for sending men and women into battle, and having been a platoon leader and having been Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, in a 35-year career, I've had many instances in my life where there have been setbacks. Setbacks and battles. And what you do is you learn from the setback and then you get back into the conflict the next day.
I don't want cynics around me because they keep us away from the goal that we are trying to achieve. It's easy to stand up and say the roadmap won't work. Oh, there was another incident, isn't that a setback? Doesn't that mean that this is all going off track? Spare me from these kinds of cynics and this form of cynicism.
We owe it to the Palestinian people, we owe it to the Israeli people, we owe it to the Iraqi people to make sure that they have a better life, that they can live in peace. We owe it to each and every one of them that they have food on their table, a roof over their heads, hospital care when they need it, an education for their children, and we owe each and every one of them and we owe everyone in the Middle East, we owe everybody in the world. Everybody in the world should have leaders who are positive, who are not interested in cynicism, who are optimistic about the future and who work for that future, not whine about the future, and not whine about the present and all the problems that we have.
What are we doing it for? We're doing it for the children. We're doing it for the young people in the refugee camp. We're doing it for the young Israelis who are terrified to take a bus. We're doing it for the young Shiites in the southern part of Iraq, who used to have a wonderful place, their marshland, we're doing it for them. And so let's not have cynicism destroy the dreams of these children. Children, who for the first time in years, have a reason to have happy dreams.