Remarks at the Indonesia World Affairs Council
Remarks at the Indonesia World Affairs Council
March 15, 2006
SECRETARY RICE: Good morning. Thank you very much, Dr. Siregar, for that wonderful introduction. It's an introduction I'll never quite forget, so thank you very much for that. (Applause.) I want to thank you also for this opportunity to address the Indonesia World Affairs Council. Gatherings of this kind of people who are interested in foreign affairs from all walks of life are extremely important to the functioning of democracy and I congratulate you and your board and your patrons for the excellent work that this council does.
It's a pleasure to be here in Jakarta. Yesterday, I had the honor of meeting with President Yudhoyono. He shared with me his vision of a united and successful and democratic Indonesia -- a vision that is increasingly coming true under his leadership. Today, more Indonesians than ever enjoy lives of peace and opportunity and freedom. And the United States wants to help you expand democracy's benefits to every citizen in this country.
The United States has been a Pacific nation for nearly two centuries. And to this day, our unfailing support for Asia's success remains rooted in the same basic principles: the promotion of peace and the rule of law; freedom of commerce and exchange and support for the just aspirations of all people. These principles are now at the heart of our emerging partnership with Indonesia -- a young democracy with which we share traditions of tolerance and moderation and "unity in diversity." Or, as you say: Bhinneka Tungal Ika.
Few nations are as diverse as Indonesia. Your archipelago of more than 17,000 islands, of course, stretches the entire distance of the continental United States. And it is home to 240 million people, representing hundreds of different ethnicities and cultures, and every world religion, especially Islam. For every eight Muslims worldwide, one is a citizen of Indonesia. In the past several years, Indonesians have shaken off the legacy of autocratic rule and have begun to build a distinctly Indonesian democracy -- drawing on their own customs and cultures, their own history and experience. Today, Indonesia is succeeding not despite its diversity, but because of it.
Diversity in Indonesia is a source of strength that lifted your people through the horrific trial of the tsunami. In the face of nature's fury, Indonesians united with courage, and compassion, and countless acts of heroism. One such hero is Ms. Erni Munir, a nurse and midwife in Aceh who lost everything in the tsunami. (Applause.) She is here today. (Applause.) What a story. Ms. Munir turned a battered empty shop into a bustling clinic for women and girls, that despite the fact that she had lost her husband and her three daughters in the tsunami. Since then, she has treated hundreds of patients and helped pregnant women living in refugee camps deliver their babies in safety. You are a real heroine. Thank you so much. (Applause.)
Because of people like Ms. Munir, the Indonesian people transformed an unspeakable tragedy into a triumph for peace in Aceh. With nearly a quarter-of-a-million souls lost, citizens of conscience rallied across the country to help the people of Aceh. They did so not as Javanese, or Sudanese, or Acehnese -- but as Indonesians. The Aceh Peace Accord is a hopeful step toward the vision of Indonesia whole, free and at peace. And the United States is proud to support your achievement.
In the wake of the tsunami, the United States rushed to help our friends in need. Survivors still remember the USS Lincoln and American helicopters as images of hope. My government's response was carried forward by the compassion of thousands of individual Americans -- most of whom are ordinary men and women, even children, who donated small sums online, or in their churches or their synagogues or their mosque or mailed what few dollars they could to the Red Cross. That desire to help continues today, as American aid workers in Aceh work with you to build clinics and schools and a vital road to unite the province.
And as we saw during the tsunami, America's engagement with Indonesia is more than a partnership of governments; it is an alliance of peoples. Your success is our success, and we want to help you reap the full benefits of democracy.
President Yudhoyono has defined his government's mission as "pro-growth, pro-jobs, pro-poor." And we support his campaign to root out those vices that hinder human potential everywhere, what Indonesians call "K-K-N"-- corruption, collusion, and nepotism. American judicial experts are helping Indonesians to strengthen the rule of law and ensure equal justice for every member of this society, from the richest businessman to the poorest farmer.
We are also working with you to enhance economic development and social mobility through education. We've opened our doors to Indonesian students, who have enriched our nation and returned to be leaders of your country. In fact, President Yudhoyono and 12 members of his cabinet studied in American universities. (Applause.)
President Bush is now advancing our commitment to education in this country. When he visited Bali in 2003, he announced a landmark $157 million initiative to train Indonesian teachers. Today, graduates of this program are leading classes for over 300,000 Indonesian boys and girls across the country. And yesterday, I had the pleasure of visiting the Makmuriah School, right here in Jakarta.
Our "alliance of peoples" is part of a broad Pacific community that has united Americans and Asians through decades of travel, and exchange, and immigration. Thousands of Americans reside in Southeast Asia, drawn here by your commerce and your culture, or both. And likewise, millions of my fellow citizens trace their roots to this region. Vietnamese, and Cambodians, and Filipinos, and Indonesians -- all have made new homes in places like Orange County and California and Houston and Texas and Northern Virginia. They are chasing the American dream and adding to the American character.
I focus on people today for a reason -- for it is the people of Southeast Asia who have transformed the promise of Southeast Asia. Your challenge now is to expand the peace, the opportunity, and the freedom that we see in much of Southeast Asia to all of Southeast Asia. To achieve this great purpose, the United States is eager to work with ASEAN through our new Enhanced Partnership, and we look to Indonesia, as the region's largest country, a founding member of ASEAN, and a rising democracy, to play a leadership role in Southeast Asia and in the dynamic changing in East Asia in general.
So much has changed in Southeast Asia and changed so quickly. Just consider the picture of three decades ago: cross-border war; communist subversion; anxiety that America was literally in retreat; fearful talk of a "bamboo curtain" being drawn across the Pacific. But in the decades that followed, the nations of Southeast Asia realized a future of peaceful cooperation through ASEAN. The United States backed your vision with our sustained diplomatic, economic and military cooperation. And today, this region is a pillar of stability in Asia.
The United States has now resumed military ties with Indonesia, as this nation has chosen a democratic path. We look forward to continued progress toward greater accountability and complete reform in the military sphere. A reformed and effective Indonesian military is in the interest of everyone, because threats to our common security have not disappeared. The greatest challenges now emerge more from within states than between them, and they cannot be met by any one nation alone. Multilateral cooperation is essential, so the United States is working together with our two treaty allies in this region -- Thailand and the Philippines. And we are strengthening our partnership with ASEAN through institutions like APEC and the ASEAN Regional Forum, to confront today's global threats.
One such threat is posed by criminals who exploit this region's growing openness. Southeast Asia is more water than land, and maritime security is a top priority. We are working with Indonesia and others to close this region's waterways to drug smugglers and human traffickers and pirates and weapons proliferators. We also stand ready to help Indonesia and Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand to secure the Straits of Malacca, through which one-quarter of the world's oil and trade pass every year.
Another global threat is the spread of epidemics like SARS, and HIV/AIDS, and now the threat of avian influenza. At the United Nations last year, President Bush launched a global partnership to confront the threat of avian influenza. This new partnership helped to coordinate the recent donor's conference in Beijing, which raised close to $2 billion. The United States is now contributing an additional $11.5 million this year to fight avian influenza in Indonesia. Our nations are joining with Singapore to create an early warning program in your country that we hope to use as a model in other parts of the region.
Finally, but not least, we must continue to fight terrorism in Southeast Asia. In the past several years, we have seen the true threat posed by violent extremists who use terror as a weapon. Groups like Abu Sayyaf and Jemaah Islamiyah want to destroy this region's dynamism and the traditions of tolerance and turn Southeast Asia into literally a "Ring of Fire." Asians know this all too well, especially Indonesians. Terrorist attacks in this country have killed hundreds of innocent Indonesians, many of whom were Muslims.
The region knows that terrorists must be actively confronted -- and the United States is helping in that fight. We are working alongside countries like Malaysia and Singapore, and to build the capacity of others, like the Philippines, who have the will to fight terrorism but need help with the means. Indonesia is bringing terrorists to justice. And these actions are empowering the people across the region who possess the most enduring force of all -- the force of tolerance. Muslim citizens in Southeast Asia are uniting Islamic traditions with democratic principles and advancing the hope for peace in this region.
The expansion of peace continues to create opportunities for men and women to transform their lives. Despite the difficulties of the late-1990s, the people of Southeast Asia have achieved an economic miracle: In the past generation, the wealth of this region doubled, then doubled again, lifting over a hundred million people out of poverty. Economic cooperation has always been a central pillar of America's partnership with Southeast Asia, and we remain completely committed today to advancing our shared interest in economic growth, increased trade, and the reduction of poverty.
The countries of Southeast Asia are making their mark on the global economy. Across the world, millions of people wake up every morning and they buy a cup of coffee made from beans grown in East Timor and Sumatra. They talk on mobile phones built in Thailand and the Philippines. They switch on computers manufactured in Malaysia, and in the coming years, many of the microchips that power those computers will bear the label "Made in Vietnam." This progress is visible here in Indonesia, where the average worker is four times better off than his parents were.
The economic growth that comes with increased free trade is what's vital to this region's continued success. The ASEAN group of countries is America's fourth largest trading partner, and we want to expand the benefits of this dynamic relationship to every person in Southeast Asia. We are elevating our relations with Vietnam in all areas, from our support for their efforts to join the WTO, to our dialogue on human rights and fundamental freedoms. We are also working, through our Enterprise for ASEAN initiative to conclude Free Trade Agreements with countries in this region that are committed to economic openness and reform. We have signed one with Singapore. We have ongoing discussions with Thailand. And just the other week, we began free trade negotiations with Malaysia. These are important steps toward our shared vision of a Pacific free trade community.
Yet despite growing trade, the economic miracle of Southeast Asia remains an elusive dream for millions who suffer in poverty. America is more committed than ever to helping them. In the Philippines, for example, we have brought internet access to a quarter million students in poor schools across Mindanao. We have also worked with Cambodia to improve its labor standards to attract foreign investment from responsible countries, many of whom employ young women. Through our Millennium Challenge Corporation, we want to reward countries, including countries like Indonesia as they make progress to govern justly, advance economic freedom and invest in their people. And of course, here in Indonesia, America has helped to establish thousands of health care centers and to train thousands of midwives, who have saved the lives and dramatically improved the well-being of Indonesian mothers and children.
As this region continues to develop and prosper, the already strong aspiration for freedom and self-government is also growing stronger, and the inspiring expansion of democracy is continuing. For all who believe that human beings are slaves to the forces of history -- good and bad -- I would simply refer them to the example of Southeast Asia.
Democracy is a reality across much of this region today because people believed in it and they worked for it and they sacrificed to achieve it. Twenty years ago, Filipino citizens braved violence and peacefully won their democracy through "People Power." Seven years later, Thai citizens mobilized for a democratic future. And today, the people of East Timor are building a democracy of their own.
The people of Indonesia have added their own chapter to the story of democracy in Southeast Asia. In 1999, as this nation prepared to go to the polls, cynics and skeptics counted you out. They said Indonesia was just too big, and too fragile, and too diverse for democracy. They were wrong. Then there were those who said that democracy could not be sustained. Indonesia silenced those doubts too, and in recent elections, which culminated on September 20th, 2004 -- a date now remembered as the largest single election turnout in human history -- 117 million Indonesians voted freely for their next president and affirmed for the world the power of free men and women when given the opportunity to choose.
Every young democracy in Southeast Asia now faces a similar challenge: building democratic institutions that function transparently and accountably. Institutions like the rule of law, an independent judiciary, and a free media help to ensure that leaders remain responsible to their people. In other places, however, democracy still faces determined opponents, and where freedom is under attack, it must be defended.
For 15 years, the military dictatorship in Burma has held captive the democratic aspirations of the Burmese people, along with their most eloquent leader: Aung San Suu Kyi. A country that was once the jewel of Southeast Asia is now out of step with the entire modern experience of the region. A once thriving economy has collapsed. Universities that once attracted the best Asian minds are locked shut. The Burmese regime is now literally retreating into the depths of the country, closing its people off from the world and robbing them of their future.
The United States applauds the recent efforts of ASEAN to support the just aspirations of the Burmese people. The United Nations Security Council has taken up the case of Burma, and so long as the proud people of this great nation remain oppressed, there can be no "business as usual" in Southeast Asia. I want to thank the Indonesian Government and President Yudhoyono for their efforts on behalf of freedom in Burma.
As we see in our growing cooperation on nearly every challenge of the day, the United States and the democracies of Southeast Asia, especially Indonesia, are building a true partnership. Defined not just by the immediate threats we oppose, but by the enduring ideals we seek to promote: peace and security; opportunity and prosperity; freedom and democracy; justice and tolerance.
These principles are the source of success -- past, present, and future -- for large, multiethnic nations like Indonesia and the United States, as well as others like India, and Brazil and South Africa. This is the course of the future. Countries like these could not be more different, but in their commitment to democracy and in their effort to build unity from diversity, nations like ours are an example for the world that diversity is a source of strength. And in a world in which difference is still a license to kill that is an extraordinarily important message. In the 21st century, we must use our democratic partnerships to help people everywhere who long for a more hopeful future. The partnership between the United States and Indonesia will greatly contribute to that work.
Thank you very much.
MODERATOR: Thank you, Dr. Rice, for that very excellent and powerful speech. We now come to the question and answer session. We have 20 minutes -- a very short time -- and we'd like to get as wide a range of questions as possible. I would like to give the first question to a member of the council. And a member of council (inaudible) to be the questioner, but I would like to appeal because we only have 20 minutes, be very brief. We only have time for one speech already, which is from Dr. Rice. (Laughter.)
QUESTION: Your Excellency, the United States is a powerful country. In that context, the question is how to use the power. Is it possible, Your Excellency, that United States put more emphasis on soft power rather than hard power, to use the power to promote multilateralism rather than unilateralism, to use the power also to do more for poverty eradication rather than any other. In brief, is it possible the United States promote the use of power which his benign and more humane? Thank you.
SECRETARY RICE: Thank you very much for that excellent question. I think the United States and the people of the United States have always felt that the United States is at its best in the world when it is able to combine power and principle, values and compassion. And in fact, I think you will see that over the last several years the United States has tried to do all of that.
First of all, on the matter of leading from principle, there is no doubt that President Bush has made very clear that the centerpiece of American foreign policy, our goal of American foreign policy, is to unite with other democratic states around the world to make available to those who have long been denied freedom the opportunity for choice and for freedom. The United States simply doesn't accept the notion that there are corners of the world in which people are either not ready for democracy or they're not capable of democracy or they don't somehow deserve democracy, and so the first point about American foreign policy is that I think it really does proceed from that principle of the importance of democracy.
It is rare, very rare, that military power is used in that course. In fact, the use of military power in Iraq and Afghanistan was to overthrow hostile regimes that in both cases had repressed their own people but also were a threat to the international community, as seen by Saddam Hussein's wars in his region but also by the Taliban's support of al-Qaida. And so military force was used in those cases to overthrow brutal but dangerous regimes.
It is then the obligation of the United States or of any others to make certain that we are then creating the conditions once those regimes are overthrown that those people have a chance at democracy. So democracy promotion remains the core, but the use of military power is a rare occasion. It is more likely and more usual that the spread of democracy is through what you've referred to as soft power; that is, through example, through speaking out for people who are seeking democracy and freedom, supporting education around the world as the United States does, supporting women's rights and empowerment as the United States does, and perhaps most importantly trying to support economic development through free trade and through poverty alleviation.
It may be well to note that under President Bush, American official development assistance has almost tripled for Africa and doubled for -- and development assistance has doubled for Latin America. Worldwide through programs like the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, the Millennium Challenge Account, the United States is doing its part to help alleviate poverty, to help fight disease.
And finally, I think we all believe that one of the strongest elements of American influence -- I'll not call it power, I'll call it American influence in the world -- is that as a country that is itself extremely diverse, where people have come from every corner of the earth and where people in America can trace their heritage to almost every corner of the earth, that it is that principle or that belief in diversity, that example of diversity, that is one of our greatest strengths.
It's why I am always a proponent of having people come to the United States, study in the United States, get to know Americans, have educational and cultural exchanges. I'm a professor at Stanford University -- on leave currently, but I'm still a professor at Stanford University -- and one of the great joys of teaching at a university like Stanford is you have students from all over the world. And so I think too that one of our strongest elements of our policy is when people can come and see who we are and when Americans go to other parts of the world and really get to know other parts of the world. So I think it's a comprehensive strategy that a country like the United States must pursue.
MODERATOR: Thank you, Dr. Rice. We have a very special guest, group of guests, from the University of Indonesia, which is one of the best universities of Indonesia. They're sitting all the way in the back in yellow. Let's give him a big hand, everybody. (Applause.) They have designated one of their members to ask you a question. Please state your name.
QUESTION: Good morning. My name is Enya Derbegan (ph) from the department of International Relations University of Indonesia, and I would like to ask you, do you think that the transformational diplomacy that you have developed will transform the tendency of U.S. Embassy in becoming too focused on Islamic movement which has the tendency to change the political balance in Indonesia itself? And what is your response to the fact that most Indonesians seem to believe that the priority of your transformational diplomacy should be aimed at ways to alter the unjust / unfair and nontransparent characters at government policies that we experience in Indonesia? Thank you very much.
SECRETARY RICE: Well, the whole concept of transformational diplomacy is working with people as partners. It's not paternalism. It's a partnership. It's not something that we do to other people or for other people. It's what we do with people. And I think it's best represented by programs that the United States is involved in with Indonesia in education, like the wonderful school that I went to yesterday which is an Islamic school which is upholding its traditions, yet where the kids are learning science and math and where we'll soon have a Sesame Street program so that the kids can enjoy that fun way of learning. It's working with health clinics so that Indonesians are healthier. It's the work that we did in the tsunami. In other words, it's hand-on working with the people of Indonesia, not just with the government.
But we recognize too that young democracies still needs to transform their institutions, that issues of transparency, of fighting corruption, issues of rule of law, remain important to the transition that is underway here in Indonesia. And so we do have programs that are involved with all of those areas as well.
So transformational diplomacy, I hope here in Indonesia, will mean that we will have a direct impact on the lives of Indonesians, working with them in areas that are important to making life better, but that we will also have a -- be a helping hand for a government that is still trying to build the institutions of democracy, where Indonesian citizens are demanding rightly accountability and transparency. That's what citizens in democracies do. And we want to be partners with the Indonesian Government as well as it works to develop those institutions of rule of law and transparency.
MODERATOR: I would like to give the next question to a member of parliament (inaudible). Dr. (inaudible) is next, but before you ask a question, can I also alert inform Dr. Rice that we are honored to have the presence of the Speaker of Parliament (inaudible). Can I ask you to stand up? (Applause.) A very powerful man in Indonesia.
QUESTION: Thank you, Dr. Rice. I would like now turn to the foreign policy of the United States about the work of today particularly and yes, Indonesian principles of Indonesian foreign policy is particularly (inaudible) nation of independence its territorial integrity, social justice and in this regard we have our people -- much concern of our people now is the situation in the Middle East. I would like to ask you two questions, Madame. That's first, since now the Hamas took over the government of Palestine and we know that the United States position on Hamas is very clear. But we know also that we all, Indonesia, particularly the United States are committed to go along with the peace process in Middle East. How do you think the possibility of asking or let Hamas go to the table for a peace process in Middle East to go through with this?
My second question the situation in Iraq that when are you wondering to leave as soon as possible Iraq because as long as you -- the longer you stay there and it's going to be as you see now that the more victim -- more death, destroy effort has been done, not only for the facilities there but also for the people and the stature of the country. How do you think you can leave and promote the national independence and the territorial integrity let the Iraqi people do this? Thank you very much.
SECRETARY RICE: Thank you. Thank you very much to the member of parliament and thank you, Mr. Speaker, for being here. I am honored that you are.
Let me start first with the Palestinian situation. Yes, the Palestinian people have had an election, and the United States on the day of that election welcomed it. It was to all eyes free and fair. And the Palestinian people voted for change and they decided that the government that was there was not representing their interests and I think they worried about the degree of corruption and incapacity.
I do think though that the Palestinian people still desire a peaceful future and it is our view and it is the view of our partners in the Quartet, which is the sort of guardian of the roadmap to peace on behalf of the international community -- the Quartet being the United States, Russia, the EU and the United Nations. It is the collective view that the only way for a Palestinian government now to deliver that peaceful future for their people and therefore a better life is to recognize the right of Israel to exist, to denounce terrorism and to accept the responsibilities and the obligations that the Palestinian governments have accepted for decades now. You also cannot have independent militias. You need to have, as Mahmoud Abbas has said, one authority and one gun.
So this is, it seems to us, a practical matter that you can't have a peace process if one of the parties doesn't recognize the right of the other to exist. You can't have a peace process if one of the parties is committed to violence and terrorism and you can't have a peace process if one of the parties is unwilling to share the land in a two-state solution.
So the choice is up to Hamas. I want to be very clear. We would like nothing better than to have Hamas make the right choice because if all the Palestinian factions were indeed united around the notion of the roadmap and the peace process, I think the peace process could move very quickly. The United States is committed to a two-state solution. We're committed to the well-being of the Palestinian people. We will continue humanitarian assistance to the Palestinian people, to Palestinian refugees, to food assistance where it's needed, to help -- to the health and well-being of Palestinian children and families.
But we need Hamas -- the world needs Hamas -- to make a choice for peace. And if that choice is made, I'm quite certain that peace can, in fact, be brought to the region.
As to Iraq, the United States and the coalition were able to liberate the country from Saddam Hussein and to give the Iraqi people an opportunity now to build a unified state. It is hard. There's no doubt about it. It's hard, because these are people who have resolved their differences for most of their existence by force and coercion or oppression. That's how "politics" was done in Iraq. Now they are trying to resolve their differences to bring together these various sectarian groups on the basis of compromise and politics. It's very difficult to do that. In the United States we had a long history of getting to a stable democracy. In Indonesia you've had a long history of getting to democracy.
We owe the Iraqi people our confidence that they're going to be able to do it. Every time they have been confronted by the terrorists, every time they have been confronted by Zarqawi or by the lieutenants of bin Laden with an effort to break them apart and to start what Zarqawi and his people would like to do, a civil war, the Iraqis have drawn together. They have not split apart. And I think it's time that we stop saying that the Iraqis want to devolve into civil war. That's not what they want. That's what some foreign terrorists want for them. But I think they have shown extraordinary, extraordinary patience and extraordinary maturity, political maturity, in continuing to work through their problems.
I believe that they are going to form a national unity government and when they do and when the coalition has properly trained Iraqi security forces in order to be able to secure the country, you can be certain that we will be more than pleased to stand down and to have the Iraqis do it themselves. It has always been the intention of the United States and the coalition that Iraqis run their own country. That's what we've wanted from the day that we liberated the country from Saddam Hussein, that's what we want today and that's what we're going to want tomorrow.
But we need to recognize that what the Iraqi people are going through is hard and it's a tough journey, but when Iraq emerges as a stable democracy, a multi-religious -- a multi-ethnic, multi-religious democracy, it is going to be a very important anchor in the Middle East for a different kind of Middle East, much as Indonesia with its tolerance and with its inclusiveness and with its multi-religious character is an anchor in Southeast Asia. We owe the Iraqi people our patience and our confidence that they are going to achieve that goal.
MODERATOR: Okay. I'd like to give the next question to someone from the business community (inaudible) and also maybe -- will you take two questions? If you can answer two questions.
SECRETARY RICE: Of course.
MODERATOR: I see an Islamic scholar (inaudible) Dr. (inaudible) if you can stand (inaudible) and ask your next question.
QUESTION: Excellency, Dr. Rice. The United States has always been an important business partner to Indonesia. At one time, I think the United States was the largest investor in Indonesia. But that was in the past. Now you have been surpassed by countries like China, UK, even Singapore have become very important investors to Indonesia. My question is while businessmen decide where they want to invest irrespective of what government policy is -- but policies such as travel advisory, travel warning can affect decisions to support business. When your embassy is demonstrated and you shut down your embassy it could send also a signal that Americans are not welcome here. So my question is can you be a bit more understanding -- demonstration is a national support now here in Indonesia. (Laughter.)
My second question is, if asked, are you going to run for President of the United States? (Laughter.)
QUESTION: Thank you very much.
MODERATOR: Please state your name.
QUESTION: (Inaudible) from (inaudible) university in Jakarta. I have two questions.
MODERATOR: One question only, please. (Laughter.)
QUESTION: Oh, one question. How do we really know in Indonesian we are basically moderate Muslims. It is quite different from Muslims in the Middle East and what we hope from exercising democracy here which we believe that Islam is in line with democracy. We would like to show that over here we are still being good Muslims. On the other hand, probably you heard also the development of radicalism in the last two decades over here and this relates to the side-effect difference of democracy itself. So after 1999 some people --
MODERATOR: (Inaudible) please go to the question.
QUESTION: We would like to ask especially from the U.S. government concerning the global justice that is really needed from many people around the world to bridge the gap between the richest countries and developing countries. Thank you very much.
SECRETARY RICE: Thank you very much. Let me start on the question of the business investment climate. I am a firm believer, first of all, that Indonesia as it makes its reforms and as it recovers any issues reputationally in the international economy will be a place that you will see investment. I know that there was a major breakthrough on the Exxon-Mobil deal just the other day and I'm sure that there will be other major breakthroughs.
The investment climate, of course, is mostly a factor of where investors believe that they can receive the best return on their investment, and so issues like rule of law and stability of contracts and issues of taxation, national treatment -- these are all the issues that are critical to investors. And I met yesterday with some of the economic ministers. I know that these are issues that are being discussed in the Indonesian Government and will soon be discussed in parliament. And so those are, I think the keys.
As to the attitude of the United States, we want to be very open and have our investors come here, and I hope that we can make opportunities even through the Commerce Department to bring investors here to see what an extraordinary opportunity now emerges again in Indonesia after the difficult period from the past.
We do have security concerns and from time to time we have had to address those security concerns through warnings and the like. We do this worldwide. But we also have efforts and we will continue our efforts to impress upon people that Indonesia is a good and strong business partner as Indonesia does the work of reforming its own economy.
On your second question, no, not likely in my lifetime. (Laughter.)
And finally to the question on the world and Islam. I think Indonesia is doing its part in demonstrating that it is possible to both adhere to Islam's traditions and beliefs and to be democratic. There is simply nothing that is contradictory between the two. And we see it here in Indonesia. We see it in Muslims in India. We see it in the United States, where the Muslims are one of our fastest growing minority -- are the fastest growing religious minority in the United States.
And so I would hope that people around the world would recognize that Islam as a religion that is peaceful, Islam as a religion that places a great deal of weight on individual responsibility, that the notion of individual responsibility is also very core to democratic development. And so I think they are completely consistent.
It's also the case that around the world where we are involved, we are trying to do our part to help eliminate poverty. As I said, this President has in Africa tripled development assistance, in Latin America doubled it. Around the world we are up 50 percent in development assistance. We have new programs. We are actively engaged. And the American people have very rapidly increased their assistance to the rest of the world, their foreign direct -- foreign development assistance to the rest of the world. And we've done it for a reason. We've done it because the United States and the American people are people who are compassionate and who believe that everybody ought to have an opportunity.
I would just note, too, that it's not just what the U.S. Government did. I want to repeat something that I mentioned in the speech. You know, the American response to the tsunami was very big, the government response, and I think you remember the USS Lincoln and the billion-plus dollars in assistance that the U.S. provided. But the real heart of America was seen in the schoolchildren that gave money for the tsunami and in churches that collected money for the tsunami and in the huge donations to the American Red Cross for the tsunami. Because Americans are compassionate and I would hope that as we are out in the world demonstrating that we, as a diverse culture like Indonesia, also believe that all religions can live together, that people also see that out of that kind of society, a society which is inclusive and diverse, there is a kind of compassion that comes out of that kind of society, too. And I think if we can get that message out, it will be very helpful to you and to us.
MODERATOR: Excuse me, I think I'm the captain here. Will you sit down. We are running a bit early -- can we take one very quick question.
SECRETARY RICE: Oh, sure, of course. Yeah. Absolutely
MODERATOR: There is a Stanford graduate who I think I would like to give the opportunity to ask the last question. He's in the back, please.
QUESTION: Madame Secretary, my name is (inaudible). I graduated from your university, Stanford University in 1957. I'm an old man. (Laughter.) (Applause.) About (inaudible) politics (inaudible) history (inaudible) is about is there a way that we can promote better cooperation in science and technology, in terms of realizing a multicultural and pluralistic society. I believe (inaudible) having science and technology is to serve mankind in order to create what we call (inaudible). I believe that we have a better politics on happiness and trying to promote them through science and technology as a means it might be possible (inaudible). I would like you have your comment on that Madame.
SECRETARY RICE: Thank you very much. Undoubtedly, science and technology can be unifying forces because they know no national boundaries. Science knows no color or ethnicity in its great discoveries. And I think that the science and technology cooperation that we have around the world, including hopefully here in Indonesia and through universities, will indeed contribute to understanding.
But what science and technology really do for us, I think, is that they open up possibilities for human beings to both understand the universe and to use technology and science for better lives. I come from, as you did, a great science and technology university and the excitement in being in a place like that is that you see what the sort of extraordinary march of human knowledge over centuries and you see, too, what the human mind can do and what the human mind can imagine. And you see a world in which things that were thought impossible just a few years ago, or not even imagined a few years ago, suddenly become a part of people's daily lives. And you think about the extraordinary capacity of human beings to think and to innovate and to make change and to make a difference.
And sometimes, my only sadness, as someone who is not a scientist but rather on the humanist side, is that I wish we could take that same spirit of innovation and creativity and ability to imagine the impossible and to the make the impossible possible. I wish we could take that same creativity and apply it to social and human relations and therefore make human history move in a more fruitful direction. And I think that's really our challenge. Our challenge is to use what is an extraordinary human spirit, which is the human spirit to be better. It's the human spirit to achieve more. It's the human spirit not to be satisfied with circumstances as they are. It's that human spirit that we need so much and need to employ in times of great change like this.
I've seen it work in my own lifetime. I come from Birmingham, Alabama. I come from the segregated South in America. I come from a place where, as a child before 11 years old, I couldn't eat in a restaurant with my parents or stay in a hotel, where the very right of black Americans to vote was very often denied -- that's in my lifetime in my hometown of Birmingham, Alabama. Birmingham, Alabama, that saw a terrorist bombing that killed four little girls in a church, including one of my little school friends.
And yet I saw that there in Birmingham, Alabama, the human spirit triumphed, that people were -- people like Mrs. Rosa Parks who died just a little while ago -- were simply unwilling to accept circumstances as they were, and they changed those circumstances. And it's that human spirit of refusing to accept the world as it is that has driven time and time and time again impatient patriots to demand more of their governments, to demand more of the world, to spread human liberty and freedom. You saw it here in Indonesia. We've seen through this region. We're seeing it in places like Iraq and Afghanistan.
And what we really need to unite around, I think, is not just our tremendous capacity as human beings to innovate and to be creative in the physical world through science and technology, although it's wonderful to do that. But we also need to unite as human beings in our ability to be creative and to innovate and to insist and to determine that we don't have to accept the world as we found it. It's clear we have to deal with the world as we found it, but we don't have to leave it this way. And through partnerships with great countries, great multi-ethnic democracies like Indonesia, I'm quite certain that we're going to leave it better.
Thank you very much. (Applause.)