Powell At Southern Center for Intl. Studies
Remarks at the Southern Center for International Studies
Secretary Colin L. Powell
October 1, 2004
(9:15 a.m. EDT)
SECRETARY POWELL: Thank you all for that great Atlanta welcome, and Peter, thank you for the gracious introduction. It is something of a homecoming for me. I was privileged to be stationed at Fort McPherson a number of years ago as the Commanding Officer of Forces Command, and then when I left here and went to the Pentagon to be Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and then ultimately retired from the Army from that position, I nevertheless would come down to Atlanta on many occasions, as Peter noted, with my work with America's Promise, but especially with my work as a member of the Board of Governors of the Boys and Girls Clubs of America, a role that gave me a great deal of satisfaction, and one of the greatest programs we've seen for volunteerism in this country. And when I created America's Promise and became its Chairman, my very best partner in that program were the Boys and Girls Clubs of America. It's a privilege to be a part of the organization that grew those clubs from roughly 1,000 back in 1997 or thereabouts, now approaching or slightly over 3,000, a remarkable increase in a service that is provided to American young people.
I also am pleased to be back with the Center. I am grateful to the Southern Center for giving me this opportunity to speak to the leadership of Atlanta. For over four decades, the Southern Center for International Studies has been a magnet for statesmen and scholars from across the nation and from the international community. You have helped to prepare rising professionals for successful careers in a dynamic, rapidly changing, globalized world. And your wonderful outreach efforts have enriched the international educations of students in high schools and colleges and universities throughout our country. It is so important for the next generation of America's leaders to understand America's role in the world and the responsibility they will have to further our value system.
And so, I thank the Southern Center for the contributions that it has made to that process of educating the next generation of America's leaders, the next generation of leaders around the world.
There are many leaders from around the world in the United States now. It is the period of the international calendar when the United Nations General Assembly holds its annual debate, which began last week and is continuing into this week. The President was at the General Assembly last week, last Tuesday, and he gave an important speech. He touched on many things. He talked about our policies in Iran and Iraq and our policies with respect to Afghanistan, but he did more than that. He spoke about other things that don't get the same kind of notice. He talked about the fact that America's great purpose in the world is to work in partnership with other nations, to quote, as the President said, "to build a better world beyond the war on terror."
The war on terror is very important to us. The war on terror is facing us and affecting not only every American, but facing every citizen of every civilized nation in the world. Not just America that is under assault. See what happened in Beslan, Russia. Those school children, hundreds of them showing up for the first day of school were murdered by terrorists. We see it in Indonesia. We see it throughout the Middle East. We see it in so many places. And it was this President that recognized that what happened to us on 9/11 wasn't just an attack against us, it was an attack against the civilized world. And he has mobilized the civilized world to respond to this global attack by U.S. undertaking a global campaign against terrorism in its every form.
We've done so much over the last several years, whether it is improving the means by which we defend our homeland with the creation of a Homeland Security Department under the able leadership of Secretary Tom Ridge, to make sure we know who's coming into our country, to improve our visa processes and the means by which people enter our country and how they leave our country. We know where they are when they're in this country. This isn't unreasonable. We need it to protect ourselves and also to protect the traveling public, to protect those who are coming to our nation as well, and to be part of an integrated system throughout the world of understanding who is moving about that might cause harm to one civilized nation or another.
At the same time, though, as we are protecting ourselves, we are doing everything we can to say to the rest of the world that America hasn't changed. We're still an open nation, an open society. We know it's a little harder to get a visa now. We're going to make it easier. We're going to make it a faster process, a quicker process, but we want you to come to America. America is enriched when people come here to go to our great universities. I know of no city in the United States that has as great a university community as Atlanta.
We enrich ourselves when people come here to take advantage of our cultural activities, whether it is going to see the sites in New York City or going to Disney World. We are enriched when people come, and in turn, we enrich people who come to get their education, to get an experience here. I reach out to get more students to come to America, to learn, to get the skills they'll need for the 21st century back in their own home, but also, in addition to those skills, get a better sense of who we are as Americans.
So while we are securing our borders and knowing who's coming to this country, the President has committed to making sure that we remain the America that we all love, we all believe in, the America that is welcoming and opening and wants people from around the world to come and visit us. And that was the message that he communicated at the UN last week: partnership.
During the course of his time in New York, the President met with many world leaders. In a day and a half, he spoke to the President of Pakistan, the Prime Minister of India. He spoke to the Prime Minister of the independent government of the new Iraq. He spoke to a variety of leaders. And then, after he had to go and take on the rest of his demanding schedule, I stayed behind.
In the course of the week, I met with the 25 nations of the European Union. I met with the Permanent 5 representatives of the Security Council. I met with the Gulf Cooperation Council, those nations of the Persian Gulf region. I met with the G-8 ministers, the industrialized nations of the world, the ministers of the industrialized nations. I met with the Adriatic Charter Group members, a group of three countries in the Balkans -- Macedonia, Croatia and Albania -- who I entered into a charter with them on behalf of the United States last year to help them move toward membership in NATO and the other transatlantic institutions, to include the European Union, nations that used to be an enemy. I like to joke with them all the time when we're together, say, "You guys used to be on my target list. When I was down here in Atlanta, you were on my target list." (Laughter.) "But now, look, you're democracies, and what are you doing, what are you striving for? You're striving to be part of a Europe that is whole, free and at peace, part of a transatlantic community that is whole, free and at peace, and the United States will be your partner to help you get there." And that's what they want us to be, their partner. And that's the kind of partnership that the President is so interested in, the kind of partnership that he worked so hard on.
I met with the ministers from the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Rwanda and Uganda, Great Lakes group, because we entered into an arrangement with them to help them move forward, to settle the situation in that part of the world, to bring peace to that part of the world so development can take place.
We spent a lot of time last week at the UN talking about peace in the Middle East. On Friday morning, a meeting took place that people said wouldn't happen, couldn't happen, the United States is being unilateral again, you're trying to impose your will on others, you're trying to tell everybody they have to reform, to look like us., and that's not right. Well, that's not what we were telling the world. We were telling the world that, in the broader Middle East area and North Africa there is a need for reform. The people of the region are saying this. And we, the United States and the industrialized nations of the world need to reach out and help them, not impose upon them, but to help them achieve reform and modernization in accordance with their own history, their own culture, where they want to take their nations. Each one of those nations is different and unique and precious.
We, the industrialized nations, the G-8 nations of the world and other industrialized nations of the world have experience, have resources, have ways of reaching out and helping them. And so, last Friday morning we began that process. It's called Forum for the Future. The future rests more and more on democracy and the ability of all citizens of a nation to participate in the political, economic and social life of the nation. And last Friday morning 28 nations assembled at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York, and I chaired it, along with my colleague from Morocco, the Foreign Minister from Morocco. And we sat, we talked about what the region needs, what the broader Middle East needs. It needs peace, first and foremost, of course;. And I recommitted the United States, working with our Quartet partners, as they are called, to do everything we can to take advantage of Prime Minister Sharon's new approach toward getting out of settlements in Gaza as part of the roadmap process of finding a way to get to a Palestinian state that is free, secure, living in peace with the state of Israel.
But then we talked not just about the Palestinian-Israeli problem, but we went beyond that to talk about what their people need, what their youngsters need, how we have to have economic growth, how we have to have educational programs. How do we make sure that women are included in the society so they can make a positive contribution to each of those societies?
It wasn't a matter of the United States imposing; quite the contrary. It was the United States, as we've always done in our history, especially under the leadership of President Bush, reaching out and talking to people, talking to friends. Some people call it multilateralism; it is. But even in the multilateral organization, you've got to have a leader, or multilateralism is just a mob. Multilateralism means bringing your partners together to rally around a shared view, a shared vision, and then leading them toward the accomplishment of that vision and allowing other members in the multilateral team to lead as well.
And that's the approach that we have taken to the world. It's the approach that we have used to go about the foreign policy of the United States of America. It's what we've done with the global war on terror: assembled a great coalition, increase exchange of law enforcement and intelligence information, cooperate with each other, recognize that we have this common problem. Whether it's in Madrid, Russia, Indonesia, wherever, it's a common problem. And these terrorists, these murderers must be defeated and we do it in partnership with the rest of the world.
Or whether it's in Europe, where the United States played a leading role, and President Bush said early on in his Administration, we want NATO to expand. There were a number of countries that were up for membership and we debated in the Oval Office one day, how many should we go for? One, two, three, four? The President's decision was let's go and get all of them who are qualified for membership. Let's keep this club open and vibrant. And so NATO expanded by seven countries.
We've worked with the European Union for the expansion of the European Union to 25 countries. And although we're not a member of the European Union, I spend more of my time with the European Union arrangement than I do with the NATO arrangement because the European Union is now a great partner of the United States, just as we have been partners with all of our colleagues in NATO.
So this is a nation and an Administration that has been reaching out to deal with the problems of the 21st century. As you certainly know from the debate last night, you certainly know from what you see every day on television, the two great challenges that we are facing in this overall contest between good and evil, between those who would terrorize and those who would build, take place now in Iraq and in Afghanistan.
I visited Afghanistan for the first time in the fall of 2001, a few months after 9/11 and a few months after we had defeated the Taliban and run them off and had taken Afghanistan back from the terrorists, back from al-Qaida and given it back to its own people. And a brave and courageous President came forward, a man came forward who had been in the resistance by the name of Karzai. Mr. Karzai was in Kabul now. He was in great danger. People were after him. There was one telephone for the whole government. The financial system was so broken there were no banks, nothing was functioning. There was no government functioning. The Taliban had destroyed all of that. Women were terrified. They had not been educated. Girls had not been going to school for years and years and years. Millions of Afghans were living in camps in Iran and Pakistan, not able to go home, and had been there for decades.
In just three years, so much has happened. President Karzai is busy this coming week running for election. He is running in a free and open election. Ten million Afghans have registered to vote. I've been to one of those registration places for women, and you should have seen the women lined up with their identification, proving that they were citizens of this country so they can vote. When last had they voted? Never, really. This was the first time, a free, fair, open election. And we're there to protect them and to make sure that election takes place.
We're not alone. We're not doing it alone. NATO is there. NATO is there. A NATO force under the command of a French General standing alongside us in Afghanistan to help the Afghan people defeat the remnants of al-Qaida and the Taliban who don't want the Afghan people to vote for their own leaders on October 9, but that presidential election will take place on October 9, and a parliamentary election sometime early next year, because the people of Afghanistan want it, and the international community is determined that they shall have it. There's no reason that democracy can't work in Afghanistan as long as we stay the course, as long as we continue to work with the courageous leaders of Afghanistan, as long as we work with courageous partners in the region.
We are working with all of the nations in the region. All of them used to be part of the old Soviet Union, all the ones to the north, and of course, Iran to the west and Pakistan just to the east of Afghanistan. Two days after 9/11, I called President Musharraf at the President's instruction, and said, "Mr. President, it's time for you to make a strategic choice as to whether you're going to be with the civilized world fighting terrorism or not, and if you are with us, then we have to do something about the Taliban and we need your help." And President Musharraf made that strategic choice and joined in our coalition. And much has happened in Pakistan since.
We've also seen tension between Pakistan and its neighbor, India. Two years ago, we worried about a nuclear war between the two of them. As a result of what we did, working with our partners -- we didn't do it alone -- President Bush's leadership, my travels, the travels of my British colleagues, my French colleagues, the work we did with our Chinese friends -- all of us came together and took that moment of crisis where two nations in the subcontinent were facing each other with huge armies, both nuclear-armed, to a point where, in the last few weeks, they have begun serious discussions. And last week in New York, at the same meeting, UNGA, the Prime Minister of India sat with the President of Pakistan and they talked together. And they came out and said, "We have difficult issues in front of us, but we will talk about these issues. We'll work towards solutions. We want peace in the subcontinent, not war."
And it was our efforts, and the efforts of the partners that we work with -- not alone, partners that we work with -- that made that come about.
So this is an Administration of partnership. It's an Administration that is prepared to deal with the tough issues. Afghanistan is one of them. Iraq is the other one. Iraq is a case of a rogue regime, led by a tyrant, a dictator, who invaded his neighbors, who used weapons of mass destruction against his neighbors. I've been to a town in northern Iraq, goes by the name of Halabja. And on a spring day in 1988, a Friday morning, Saddam Hussein gassed his own citizens. He killed 5,000 people. I've seen their survivors. I've seen some of those who lost loved ones. I visited the cemetery where so many of them are buried.
He used those same weapons against Iran. This is a fact. This isn't speculation, this isn't intelligence, this is fact. He then invaded Kuwait, and we kicked him out of Kuwait in the hope that he would now comply with the UN sanctions that followed, the UN resolutions that followed that says, you must give up all these weapons, you must give up any intention or capability you have to have such weapons or to possess such weapons. You have to deal with the human rights problem within your own country. You have to start treating your people better. You have to start acting in a responsible way and forswear terrorism. He did none of that.
And for 12 years, the international community passed resolution after resolution, and he ignored resolution after resolution. The intelligence suggested that the intention was still there, the capability was there, and if ever he was released from sanctions, there was no doubt that he would recreate that capability and stockpiles. We also thought the stockpiles were there. Everything we saw from the intelligence community suggested that not only did he have the intention and capability and a history of it, but that if released from sanctions, he would build up the stockpiles, and he already had stockpiles. That's what the intelligence said.
It was that intelligence that was presented to the Congress, that intelligence that was presented to the world, that intelligence that President Clinton used in 1998 when he correctly took action against these facilities that were harboring weapons of mass destruction in a four-day bombing campaign called Operation Desert Fox.
And then the inspectors were forced out because of Saddam Hussein. And for five years, there were no inspectors. We weren't sure what was going on there. And the President decided that this was a risk the world could not take, the region could not take, we could not take. So what did he do? He took it to the Security Council. He took it the General Assembly initially in September of 2002 and presented the case and said, "You need to do something." And then the Security Council took it from there, passed a resolution unanimously, 1441, saying you're in material breach and there are consequences if you stay in breach or if you commit new breaches. He stayed in breach, committed new breaches. Couldn't get the Security Council to pass another resolution, but the body of international law, the body of resolutions over a period of 12 years was absolutely clear, so the President, with like-minded, courageous, brave leaders from around the world took action, took action to remove this threat to the world, to free the people of Iraq.
We've had a difficult year. There's no mincing of the word. We're in a tough fight now. We're fighting terrorists. We're fighting people who would set a bomb off yesterday to target children who were coming out with their parents to view the opening of a new sewage project that had been completed, part of our reconstruction effort. These murderers knew that some Americans would be there, but they knew more than that, that their fellow citizens would be there. And they set the first bomb off knowing that that would attract more people, some Americans, but more often their own citizens. And they set a second bomb off and a third bomb off to kill those children. That's who we're fighting. That's who we're dealing with.
Today, American troops, along with their Iraqi colleagues, are fighting in a place called Samarra, to take that city back from these insurgents. The whole country is not in flames. The southern part of the country is reasonably secure. There are incidents, but reasonably secure. The northern part of the country, there are incidents, but reasonably secure. The challenge is in the center, what's called the Sunni triangle. It's a challenge we will meet. We will prevail. We will build up the Iraqi forces as quickly as it is possible to build up the Iraqi forces; it doesn't happen overnight, and it's not just a matter of getting 300 guys together, giving them AK-47s and saying, "You're a force." It takes training, it takes leadership, it takes equipment, making sure they know what they're doing and then integrating them into sensible military organizations. And that's happening now under the leadership of a great General, General David Petraeus.
We have a political strategy that leads to elections at the end of this year and no later than the end of January of 2005. We have a reconstruction strategy that says we have billions of dollars, American dollars that we will commit to the Iraqi people to rebuild your society and rebuild your country. And we're not alone. I co-chaired a conference in Madrid last year that raised $14 billion. That money hasn't really started to flow yet in significant amounts because we've got to get the security situation under control to make sure the money will be well spent.
Next week, there will be another conference -- the week after next, I should say -- another conference on financing, a donor conference for Iraq that will be held in Japan. And my Deputy, Deputy Secretary Richard Armitage, will be representing the United States.
So nations are coming forward, they are contributing. They're standing alongside of us in Iraq, not just the British. The Japanese are there, the South Koreans are there, Romanians, Bulgarians. And you should listen to some of the Eastern Europeans when they tell you why they're there. You should listen to some of these nations that used to be behind the Iron Curtain, that used to be part of the Warsaw Pact, that used to be on my target list, as I kid with them. I ask them, "Why are you there?" It's because they know what freedom is. "We know what it was like to be oppressed. We know what it was like to behind that Iron Curtain. We know what it's like when nobody is willing to stand up with you for your freedom. The Iraqi people deserve to be free, and we will standing alongside you to help them achieve their freedom."
It was the right thing to do, and it will be the right thing to do to stick with it, to defeat this insurgency. It's going to be tough, it's going to be difficult; but it is doable. It will be done. And we will all be proud when the day comes that Iraq is standing on its own two feet, elected its own leaders, it has a constitution that it has ratified. We know what that constitution is going to look like. We've already seen it in the form of a Transitional Administrative Law: rights for minorities -- recognizing that the Shias are the majority, but rights from the minorities, rights for women. Schools will be opening. More reconstruction will take place. And when that job has been done, and when the Iraqi forces are able to take care of their own security, then our troops will come home, having done the job.
I was one of them for 35 years, and I have been retired for ten years now, but I still have never been as proud of our young men and women as I am today, watching them in these difficult circumstances doing a job for oppressed people, doing a job for peace and security, doing a job for the American people. They are great young men and women, and you should be so very proud of them and of their families and of the sacrifices that they make for us every single day.
This, nevertheless, is going to be a challenging time, a challenging period. There are other challenges that we have to deal with. It's not all Iran, Iraq, North Korea and Afghanistan. We have a challenge in the Sudan. We're working hard to help a people desperately in need in the western section of Sudan, a place called Darfur. Your government has been in the forefront of calling attention to this crisis, getting a ceasefire arrangement put in place, which, unfortunately, has not taken hold. We've been in the forefront of humanitarian aid, giving hundreds of millions of dollars, calling it what it is: genocide. We have been in the forefront of working with the African Union in placing monitors in Darfur to help in bringing pressure on the Sudanese Government. We're in the forefront of working with the African Union now to expand the size of its force in Darfur to help these desperate people.
In Iran and North Korea we are hard at work, working with friends and partners to stop their efforts toward nuclear weapons and to cause them to reverse their actions. It's possible. We saw it in Libya. Libya has gotten rid of all of its weapons of mass destruction, and President Qadhafi, Colonel Qadhafi, when he was explaining it to his people, he said, "I spent all this money, I did everything I could to get these weapons of mass destruction, and all I found was I was less secure as a result of it. Not more secure, but less secure. So I got rid of it. It's all gone." North Korea and Iran will gain no security by having nuclear weapons.
Why are we working with six parties in the North Korean situation? Simple. North Korea is a threat to its neighbors more so than it is a threat to us. North Korea would like it to be just us and them, and then the game becomes, "What will you pay us for our misbehavior?" We've seen this before. It happened with the Agreed Framework and a deal was struck which capped their plutonium activities at a place called Yongbyon. But while that was capped and we could watch that, the North Koreans were off somewhere else gaining the capability to develop nuclear weapons through enriched uranium processing. We're not going to fall for that again, and we're going to make that North Korea understands that its neighbors have as great an equity in solving this problem as the United States.
That's the way it should be. That's how you bring partners together. That's how you create coalitions. That's how you put pressure on a regime like North Korea -- not for the purpose of collapsing the regime. We don't want to attack it. We don't want to invade it. We have no hostile intent. We just want a denuclearized North Korean nation and a denuclearized Korean Peninsula, and I think it's achievable. And when the Chinese Foreign Minister visited with me yesterday afternoon and we talked about this, we went out in front of my Department, and before the world once again, said the six-party framework is the way to solve this problem. And I appreciate the strong leadership that the Chinese have been providing.
There are so many other issues that dominate the foreign policy debate. And it usually relates to a particular crisis or region of the world or a country. But there are other things that we do in foreign policy that are often referred to as "soft power." And I say to you that these soft power components of our foreign policy are perhaps even more important than some of the things that I've been talking about, because it's true the use of these soft power components, that you really are investing in the future, you're investing in the young people of the world, you're investing in democracy, you're investing in market economic reform.
One such program is called the Millennium Challenge Account. President Bush said we have to do more for the world. And so we've increased all the funding we give to the world through our U.S. Agency for International Development, and they do such great work. We're doubling the size of our Peace Corps; they do great work. We're scaling up all of those programs, but he said we've got to do more than that. We've got to invest in those nations that are committed to democracy, that are solidly anchored in the rule of law, that will have nothing to do with corruption, and who are investing in their people and who believe in a democratic future for their nation based on human rights and individual dignity.
And so we call it the Millennium Challenge Account. It's growing up now, and by 2006 fiscal year, $5 billion a year of new money will be going to those nations in the developing world that have made these commitments. We have identified the first 16 nations to receive such funding. And they're excited, and you should hear the kinds of things they're talking to us about, how they want to improve things within their country, how they're demonstrating that they will follow the rule of law and how they're going after corrupt officials.
So many other nations are now coming to me saying, "Well, how do we get into it? Why didn't we get picked the first time around?" "You've got to be solidly in the rule of law. You've got to prove it to me. I'm not going to give you money just because you want it. The rule of law, end corruption, democracy, let me see free elections. Let me see free elections. Let me see new parliaments coming in place. Let me see commitment to market reform. Let me see you get rid of these old state-run industries that are inefficient. Let me see you have clean water in your country. Is that what you're going to use our money for? How are you going to educate your young people? What skills are you going to give them? You show me that and we'll make a deal. We'll go to work together." This is the kind of foreign policy we're following, to invest in the people of the world, as well as deal with the crises that come along.
The greatest weapon of mass destruction on the face of the earth today is HIV/ AIDS. We worry about casualties; we are saddened by terrorist attacks that kill large numbers of people. But 8,000 people will die today because of HIV/AIDS, and more than that will be infected. And so it is the major killer. It is reducing lifespan in country after country. It is spreading. And the President recognizes this; and that's why he not only helped with the creation of the Global Health Fund, but he decided we have to do more than that. That's not enough, and we're America, we can afford it, we have a responsibility to do even more.
And so he came up with an emergency fund that has allocated $15 billion to this effort over the next several years. And we are now entering into contracts with countries around the world that are committed to do the right thing with respect to the education of their population, with respect to the use of contraceptives, and with respect to helping us make sure that people are not stigmatized simply because they have this disease. It is a disease that has to be dealt with and they have to be seen as fellow human beings and not stigmatized.
These are the things that we are engaged in. Foreign policy is challenging. I am not an academic. I am not a graduate of any of the great universities of foreign policy. I am not a lawyer who has come in from a private law firm. I'm a soldier who spent most of his life preparing for and dealing with the Cold War and other elements of the Cold War, parts of the Cold War, such as fighting in Vietnam.
I feel enormously privileged now to be Secretary of State, coming from the military, through America's Promise and back into government as Secretary of State, dealing with these great challenges. Not dealing with the Cold War any more, and not dealing with the Soviet Union any more; but dealing with nation after nation throughout the world that has become free, that has become democratic, whether it used to be behind the Iron Curtain or whether it used to be in our own hemisphere, run by a general or a junta but is now a democracy.
I'm proud to be able to work with grand alliances, the best relationship with China that we've had since the beginning of our relationship with China. A new relationship with India that is the best relationship we've ever had with that great nation. Those two nations alone with two and a half billion people. Solid alliances throughout Asia with Japan, Thailand, Australia, so many friends that work with us.
Pleased to be able to, in the name of the President, push these programs of soft power. But we also know that sometimes hard choices come along, difficult problems come along that will not be simply resolved by wishing them away or having a conference or passing a resolution, where it is necessary to send young men and women in harm's way to achieve a noble purpose. We've done it many times in our history and over the past 100 years.
We've never asked for anything afterwards. We hope you'll be grateful. We hope you'll be our friend and partner. And we hope you will appreciate the sacrifice that our young men and women make for freedom and for democracy.
But above all, I am optimistic. I am optimistic because the United States still remains that nation in the world that is sometimes criticized, sometimes abused with words, but still looked to for inspiration, values system still admired, a nation that is often resented but more often respected.
And when I read about there's anti-American attitudes here and there and elsewhere, I have to be worried about that and work against those attitudes; but I'm reassured by the people who come to my office every day, ministers and leaders and young people that I speak to around the world or who come to see me in my office, who still see in America the beautiful place, the beautiful vision, the vision of free people, diverse free people who have come together, a nation that is touched by every nation, and in turn, we touch every nation; a nation that will continue to live out its destiny of helping people around the world achieve their own form of freedom, their own form of democracy so that their people, too, can live as God intended them to live: free, constrained only by their own dreams and their ability to achieve those dreams and work toward those dreams.
That's what we have stood for and that's what we will continue to stand for. Thank you very much.
MR. WHITE: Obviously, we have a hostile crowd here, Mr. Secretary. (Laughter.) I must say, I've sat on stages like this with every former Secretary of State going back to the Kennedy Administration, and not once, not a single time have I ever heard a more articulate, enthusiastic, persuasive presentation of a policy position as you have just made. Obviously, this Administration, this country is very well served, and it's really an honor and a privilege to stand here with you.
I hope that in the future, when you become a former Secretary of State -- (laughter) -- you'll honor us with your privilege again. Those boys need a little revving up and I think you can do it. (Laughter.)
SECRETARY POWELL: Peter stopped chatting and now he's hustling me. (Laughter.) This is what happens when you put two Bronx boys together.
MR. WHITE: I'm glad you said it. Our mothers would have been proud. (Inaudible) But this is what happens when you escape from the ghetto. (Laughter.)
We have time for just a couple of comments. I thought I might ask the Secretary, would your job today be any easier, Mr. Secretary, if we had declared war on not terrorism, but terrorists?
SECRETARY POWELL: I'm not sure it's that easy to separate them out. You can declare war on a particular group of individuals say an Usama bin Laden, -- and go after them. But you also have to go after whatever it is that fuels them. It's not enough to say, well, it's radical Islam. Islam is a religion of faith, a religion of love, a religion of reconciliation and peace. It's misused by terrorists. Terrorists can't stand democracy. They can't stand systems of government where people are free to make their own choice. And so we have to not only go after terrorists, but we have to go after the breeding grounds for such people and such thoughts, and that's why I made sure that in this presentation, I wanted to talk about the conflicts that we are in but also why it is so important that the American people support things like going after HIV /AIDS and going after developing nations and helping those developing nations.
When young people have a future and see a future for themselves and for their families and their children, and when they have a job, and when they believe that they are in a political system that respects them and will take care of them, then a terrorist does not find fertile breeding ground. And so, we have to go after terrorists, that which are they doing, terrorism. And we have to go after that which gives rise to people who are so distraught, so hostile to the world, so estranged from society and the world that they would make themselves suicide bombers, or they would, coming out of a middle-class background as so many did, will suddenly be prepared to give their life for a cause, however misplaced that cause is.
And so there is no single surgical answer, and there's no single point of success or failure. We have to fight terrorists. We have to fight the concept of terrorism as a political action. And we have to make sure that we are spending enough time and energy on these soft elements of power so that we don't leave conditions behind that will breed new forms of terrorism and new terrorists.
MR. WHITE: Mr. Secretary, we have time for just one question. Now, this is the Jim Laney question. Jim Laney is a former ambassador to Korea. He's pledged me to -- that he would personally assassinate me if I didn't raise the question of Korea. Could you --
SECRETARY POWELL: Is he here? (Laughter.)
MR. WHITE: He couldn't get through the security nets. (Laughter.) I wonder if you could just give us a quick rundown as to what you think the situation -- the future is for North Korea. Are we going to get anywhere with Kim Jong-il?
SECRETARY POWELL: North Korea is really one of a kind on the world stage. It's a country that essentially has not abandoned the statism and hero-worshipping kind of political system that is no longer relevant to the 21st century. It sits there in a time warp, looks south. There's South Korea that has absolutely flourished, become a very wealthy country. That could have happened in the north. Same people. They want unification because they view themselves as the same people, as Koreans.
And so it's been left behind, and it clings to a political system that is not serving its needs and an economic system that is not serving its needs. We're providing it food. The international community is providing it the wherewithal to get along. It doesn't have enough electricity to run its factories, and so it is trying to reach out. And it's hard to reach out from the position they are in and have been in for the last 50 years.
We see some promising signs. They have started to take some actions to allow small markets to develop in some of the cities, and the South Koreans are conducting more and more economic activity with the North Koreans. But the North Koreans are clinging to this view that if they had a nuclear weapon, and if they have a very, very large army --"Army first" is their political doctrine. Army first, everything is secondary to a strong army to protect them from South Korea and protect them from outside forces, principally the United States.
And so they feel this way and they feel it very deeply. And what we've been saying to them is that you will not have security of the kind you need for economic development and to improve your society and make life better for your people if you cling to this militaristic concept, and especially if you move in the direction of nuclear weapons.
And we are not sure what goes on inside North Korea; it's a very closed society. But in approaching the problem in the early part of the Administration, the President wanted to make a complete assessment of what was going on in North Korea before we engaged into the matter. And while we were making that assessment, we studied North Korea very carefully, and when we were ready to move, we discovered, about that time, through our intelligence means, that they actually had been working on another kind of nuclear program, highly enriched uranium. And they were getting out of the constraints of the Agreed Framework.
And we decided that we cannot approach them in this one-to-one way again because they had failed the test. They were going to try to sell it to us again. And so we spoke to North Korea's neighbors and said, "This is a problem for all of us. You're much closer to them than we are. You're in greater danger than we are from their weapons and from their military. So let's approach this as a problem for the international community."
And that's what we've been doing. It's slow work. These kinds of negotiations are difficult. And as one of my colleagues, political colleagues reminded me one day when I was feeling blue about something, said, "Diplomacy fails every day until the day it succeeds." (Laughter.) Then suddenly you're a hero. (Laughter.)
And so, diplomacy often is slow, halting a step forward and half a step backward. But I believe that in the long run, we will be successful diplomatically with North Korea, because we'll be able to keep the pressure on and show to them in due course that it is in their interest -- keep in mind that North Korea has agreed, with the other five members, that the Peninsula should be denuclearized. They have agreed to denuclearize. That's come out of these talks.
What we're now discussing is how to go about it, what benefits should accrue to North Korea as a result of this decision, can they feel secure that they will not be attacked or invaded by anyone if they denuclearize.
And so, that's what we are talking about now, how to move forward. The goal is agreed to: a denuclearized Peninsula, how to satisfy what they believe their needs are, and how to satisfy what the needs of the others in the six-party framework are.
And this is what diplomacy and tough negotiations are all about. We will stay the course. No options are off the table, but the President has made it clear from the beginning that he is seeking a political diplomatic solution.
Released on October 1, 2004