US Global Leadership Campaign's 10th Anniversary
Remarks at the U.S. Global Leadership Campaign's 10th Anniversary Gala Dinner
Secretary Condoleezza Rice
Atrium Ballroom of the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center
November 8, 2005
(7:25 p.m. EST)
Thank you. Thank you very, very much. Thank you to Bob Stevens and to Nancy Lindborg for your kind introduction. I want to thank Sam Donaldson for that fantastic introduction and I just want to say, Sam, since you left the air, my Sunday mornings are a lot more peaceful. (Laughter.) I'd like to thank Sam, though, for emceeing this important gathering of the U.S. Global Leadership Campaign.
I especially want to thank George Ingram for leading this great organization. This organization which is really at the center of our efforts to make certain that the United States can, indeed, exercise global leadership, has come a long way in its ten years and I just want to thank you, George, for your fantastic leadership.
I want to thank the many distinguished members of Congress and the diplomatic corps who are here, business leaders who are here and especially the leaders of the nongovernmental organizations, the civil society sector. These are people who work in the trenches. I've been in places like Darfur and in Afghanistan and in Baghdad and you see what nongovernmental organizations do. And as a matter of fact, these days when we talk about building democracy, we very often talk about building democracy on the firm foundation not just of the system of electoral politics in the government, but also on the firm foundation of civil society that comes to us because we understand as Americans the very important role that civil society plays here. So thank you especially to the nongovernmental organizations that are here.
I want to thank all of you -- (Applause.) -- I want to thank all of you for helping us to do what we must do and that is to lead. America has always been best when it leads not just from power, but also from values and principle and that is what we are trying to do. Because you have led in helping us to get the resources that we need, we are rebuilding the foundation of the resources that our diplomats need to ensure that America remains a confident and active and principled international leader.
The men and women of the Foreign Service and Civil Service and the Foreign Service Nationals and others who are on the front lines of engagement in our policy, must have the resources that they need, the skills that they need, the training that they need in order to do their work. And President Bush believes this very strongly and it's why he's requested increases to the international affairs budget every year that he's been in office. And the Global Leadership Campaign has helped us fight for every dollar.
In his Second Inaugural Address, President Bush declared that "the policy of the United States is to seek and support the growth of democratic movements and institutions in every nation and culture, with the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our world."
Now, to fulfill this grand goal, I have called upon the men and women of the State Department to practice transformational diplomacy -- to deal with the world as it is, but never, never to accept that we are powerless to change the world for the better. And in the past year, the State Department has been fulfilling that mission under my leadership. But I want to acknowledge that the leadership of the man who was on this screen, Colin Powell, of course, preceded me in his leadership of this Department, and I have inherited as a result a much stronger and better Department. And I know that you worked with him as well.
The process of transformation begins at home with the way that we recruit and train and equip our people, and my friend and predecessor Colin Powell cared a great deal about this and I want to thank you for the resources that we have been able to add to the Foreign Service, which, quite frankly, needed new resources in order to be able to bring the best and the brightest into the service.
I want you to know, too, that your resources are helping us in the fight to reform public diplomacy. I have no higher priority than to make certain that America's message is out. Yes, that's very important. But also that the essence of what America is is understood in the world. And there is no better way to make certain that that message is understood than through the exchange of people.
So many times when we travel around the world, we will sit with other governments, with ministers from other governments, with prime ministers, with leaders, and they will say, you know, "I spent a year in the United States," or maybe, "I spent a month in the United States," or maybe even "I spent two weeks in the United States." But because they have spent that time in the United States, they understand us better and they don't believe many of the things that are said about America.
Our ability to have people come here and to experience not what it is like to live in Washington but what it is like to live in Iowa or in Birmingham or in California or in Texas, that's what's important about our exchanges.
And I want to assure you that I understand that exchange is not a one-way street, that it is also important that Americans go abroad, because in doing so and in encountering other cultures Americans are much better able to understand why we are engaged with the rest of the world. Because of the resources that you have helped provide, we can increase our efforts at exchange and public diplomacy, and I want to thank you for that.
America is also a country that is determined not just to leave the world safer, but to leave it better. And because of the support that this organization has provided and the leadership of the Congress, we have put in place a new program, the Millennium Challenge Account initiative, which I think has an opportunity, a chance, to really reform the way that we think about foreign aid.
When you think about it, foreign assistance -- most Americans, by the way, think we spend much more money on foreign assistance than we actually do. But foreign assistance has to be a contract between the donor and the recipient. The donor has to provide the funding, but the recipient has to spend that funding wisely.
And so the Millennium Challenge Account is an account that chooses countries for American assistance that are governing wisely, that are investing in their people, that are committed to democracy, that are committed to open markets, that are committed to the health and education of their people. And because of the funding that we have received from the Congress, we are able to push forward this new model of development. And I can tell you that when countries come to my office, they very often have their little brochure on why they'd be a good Millennium Challenge Account recipient. It's making a difference in the way that people think about foreign assistance.
Also because of the resources that you help us to achieve, we have launched an historic new initiative to fight malaria in Africa, avian influenza around the world and especially the scourge of HIV/AIDS. The President's Emergency Relief Plan for AIDS is the largest financial commitment ever by one nation to combat a single disease. America is now active in the fight against HIV/AIDS in 123 countries with a five-year strategic goal of preventing 7 million new infections, treating 2 million individuals who are living with AIDS and caring for 10 million people who are infected and affected by the disease, including orphaned children. (Applause.)
I want to tell you a little story about the final meeting with the President before we launched the -- before he launched -- the AIDS initiative. We were sitting in the Oval and we were talking about what had changed concerning HIV/ AIDS. And what clearly had changed was the ability to prolong life through anti-retrovirals. And the question came up, "But if you cannot cure, should you try and prolong life?" And it really struck at my heart because when I was 15 my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer, but because of treatment she lived until I was 30. What a difference to have my mother that 15 years, to see me graduate high school and go to college and become a university professor.
And so I said, "Yes, the prolongation of life matters." (Applause.) That maybe a mother or a father who might not have seen that child grow up will at least see that child grow up. And the President, because he believed that it was a moral obligation of the United States, launched the HIV/AIDS Initiative. And thank you for the efforts that you've made. We've been able to fund that initiative every year.
Finally, there is nothing more transformational than to help others to find and secure their liberty and their freedom. There have been times when people have said that there are people who aren't quite ready for democracy. It was said once about Russians. It was said about Asians, that Asian values were somehow incompatible with democracy. It was said about Africans that tribalism would always trump democracy.
In fact, in my hometown of Birmingham, Alabama, it was said about people like me, that African Americans were too childlike or needed protection. And they didn't really need the vote; they wouldn't know what to do with it.
And it's been said, and in some quarters is still being said, about people of the Middle East, people of Afghanistan, people of the newly emerging democracies. But as you look across the globe, you cannot help but be inspired by the Orange Revolution in Ukraine and the Rose Revolution in Georgia and the Cedar Revolution in Lebanon. And who will ever forget that twice now in Afghanistan, a country that is still very underdeveloped, old men and young girls stood along dusty roads just to be able to cast the right to vote? And who will forget that in Iraq, twice now, despite the fact that there were posters that said "Vote and you will die," first 8.5 million and 10 million Iraqis went out and exercised their right to vote? Who dares say that there are any people on earth who do not deserve the simple human dignity that comes with being able to choose those who will govern you, to say what you think, to worship as you please, to educate your children, both boys and girls? Who would dare say? (Applause.)
Now, the resources that you are helping to provide through your advocacy and through your commitment to foreign assistance is helping us to help people secure their freedom. America cannot deliver freedom and liberty. We can only help to create the conditions in which people can seize it for themselves. But whenever you hear people say that we are imposing democracy, remind them that you impose tyranny. Democracy and freedom come naturally to human beings. (Applause.)
But what is needed is to help people build the institutions of democracy, to build civil society, to run elections freely and fairly, to build competent police forces, to build competent judiciary forces that are not corrupt, to do all of the things that we now take for granted. But just so we remember that as hard as it is, this can be done.
I would just call your attention to the wonderful slogans behind me: Protecting National Security, Strengthening Humanitarian Values, and Building Economic Prosperity.
And I would suggest to you that these three are inextricably linked. That in fact, if you think back on times when it seemed impossible that democracy would take hold, that prosperity would spread and that humanitarian and democratic values could actually take root. If you think back on those times, it was the commitment of American will, the commitment of American skill and the commitment of American resources that made it possible where it had seemed impossible.
Sometimes I know that when we watch the daily violence in Iraq or the violence in Afghanistan and you see evil men blowing up innocent children standing at a bus stop or taking candy from our soldiers, it's hard to believe that these countries are ever going to be stable, that people are ever going to have the blessings of democracy without the sacrifice of blood. It's hard to believe unless you think back. And if you go back to the end of World War II in 1945 and you ask, how did those people in the State Department and in the government: Marshall and Kennan and Nitze and Acheson and in the White House, Truman, how did they come to believe that democracy was going to take hold, because after all, in 1946 the Communist won 48 percent of the vote in Italy and 46 percent of the vote in France. And in 1947, the reconstruction in Germany was still failing, Germans were starving and we launched the Marshall Plan.
And in 1947 there was a civil war in Greece and civil strife in Turkey. And in 1948, the Berlin airlift had to break the blockade of Berlin but seemed to doom Germany to permanent division. And in 1948, Czechoslovakia fell to a communist coup and in 1949 the Soviet Union exploded a nuclear weapon five years ahead of schedule and the Chinese Communists won. Those weren't just tactical set backs for democracy. Those were strategic disasters, but somehow, some way these people kept their faith in democracy. They kept their faith in our principles and they kept their desire to put the resources forward so that prosperity could be built, humanitarian values could spread and, indeed, national security could be secured.
Now, we cannot even imagine a Europe in which there's war between Germany and France, but in 1947 it seemed that it would be inevitable that it happened again. Now, we cannot imagine a Europe in which major war is ever a threat again. Now, some 15 years later, it is hard to remember the days when Poland was a captive nation. And yet now this Europe is a stable and secure Europe, an increasingly prosperous Europe and a Europe that is a partner for us in securing liberty for others.
I submit to you that one day we will say the same about Afghanistan and Iraq and Pakistan and Lebanon and a Palestinian state living side by side in peace with Israel. (Applause.) And some day another Secretary of State will stand here and say to the Global Leadership Campaign, thank you for providing the resources so that America's essential leadership can continue to spread freedom and liberty and justice for all.
Thank you very much.
Released on November 9, 2005