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Rice To American Society of Newspaper Editors

Remarks to the Annual Convention of the American Society of Newspaper Editors

Secretary Condoleezza Rice
Washington, DC
April 15, 2005

(1:45 p.m. EDT)

SECRETARY RICE: Thank you very much. Well, thank you for that great introduction. You've got quite a research department. But I want to assure everybody it's actually not that hard to be the disco queen of South Bend, Indiana. There's not that much competition in South Bend, Indiana. (Laughter.)

I want to thank you very much for the opportunity to talk with you about the issues and the challenges and the opportunities that we face in American foreign policy. And I'm going to resist the temptations that most academics have, which is to talk in 50-minute bites so that, at the end of it, you've never had a chance to ask the question that you really wanted to ask. I'm going to keep my remarks rather brief and then perhaps we can have a chance for maximum time for questions and dialogue.

I want to thank you for what you do every day because we have to value the role of press in our democracy. An informed American public is absolutely crucial to sustaining an American foreign policy that is effective. And time and time, (inaudible) we see the growth of a free media as an important indicator of whether or not a country is a vibrant democracy, and whether it's willing and ready to embrace the challenges and changes ahead of it. The free flow of ideas and information is literally the lifeline of liberty and in our most rational moments even we public servants appreciate what you do.

Let me take a few minutes to share with you my thoughts on where the world and our foreign policy are headed. In his State of the Union Message, President Bush spoke of the progress that we and our allies and friends around the world have made since September 11th, 2001 in the global war on terrorism. But the President said something else. He said that in the long term, "The only force powerful enough to stop the rise of tyranny and terror and replace hatred with hope is the force of human freedom."

Through diplomacy, the United States can help to create new possibilities for freedom and fresh hope across the globe. As I stated in my confirmation testimony, we do have to deal with the world as it is, but we don't have to accept the world as it is. The men and women of the State Department, the men and women of the United States Government, are helping to create a balance of power in the world that favors human liberty. That is exactly what we are trying to do, to advance a forward strategy of freedom together with our democratic partners around the world. And as we have seen, the advance of freedom in one country or region gives strength and a widened sense of responsibility and possibility to those working for the cause of democratic reform in others.

How could one not have been impressed by the people of Afghanistan standing in long lines along dusty roads to cast a vote for president? How could one not have been impressed in the Ukraine by the Orange Revolution or in Georgia by the Rose Revolution? Or in the Palestinian territories, where Palestinians turned out to vote for a man who says that the time is over for the armed intifadah and the time for peace with Israel has come? How could you not have been impressed with the people of Lebanon or the people of Kyrgyzstan who are taking their own future into their own hands? And particularly, how could you not have been impressed with the people of Iraq, who face down terrorists, who face down murderers, for the chance to vote for a better future?

As you know, I have traveled several times to Europe since taking office and I have spoken with European leaders about how America and Europe can work together to serve freedom's cause worldwide. The President's meetings at NATO and at the European Union, as well as his meetings with European leaders, furthered that conversation. And I think we're seeing the effect when countries that are united by democratic values, countries that were on the right side of freedom's divide, unite to give a chance to those who are unfortunately trapped on the wrong side of freedom's divide.

Our cooperation, therefore, with international partners is dramatically evident in Afghanistan, where last month I had a chance to see firsthand the progress that that country has made toward stability and reconstruction and democracy. The presidential election last year was an inspiration, and next September Afghanistan's citizens and men and women alike will go to the polls again, this time to elect a parliament.

Afghanistan still faces many challenges, including the narcotics trade that could undermine its strides on so many fronts. We are committed to a comprehensive counternarcotics strategy and a long-term reconstruction effort because we believe that the future of a new democratic Afghanistan that is no longer a haven for terrorists is absolutely essential to American security.

When President Bush traveled to Europe, he found also allies who are now focused and united on the need to build a stable and free Iraq. As a result, 26 NATO allies are now contributing to a NATO training mission for security forces in Iraq and, if requested by the new Iraqi government, the European Union has announced that it is willing, with the United States, to host an international conference to encourage and coordinate support for Iraq.

Today, Iraqis at all levels, from the Town Council in Fallujah to the Iraqi President, now feel that they are in charge of their own destiny and they are not waiting and sitting back. In the midst of the tough security situation that they face, they are engaging in a democratic process and things are moving in the right direction. This is going to be an important year for them as they write a constitution and then hold national elections in December. The Iraqis need, want and deserve our support.

We and our European allies are also putting the power of our partnership to work across Afghanistan and Iraq, but also across the broader Middle East and North Africa. Efforts to encourage democratization and economic reform and the growth of civil society and opportunity for all through quality education are critical to shaping a stable and prosperous future.

Recognizing this, the G-8 has established a Forum for the Future, a new partnership of progress between the democratic world and the nations of a vast region extending from Morocco to Pakistan. We are committed to ensuring that the forum plays a central role in advancing democracy's march.

In March of this year, in London, Prime Minister Tony Blair hosted a conference of major donors to focus on new ways to help the Palestinian people advance their political, security and economic reforms and to build infrastructure for self-government. The path of reform in the Middle East will be difficult and uneven, but the spread of freedom is the work of generations and it is the work that we, with our allies, must take on with them.

The process of reform in the broader Middle East is, of course, not detached from that which must take place between Israelis and Palestinians so that they can find peace. In my recent travels, I found no difference of view at all between the United States and Europe on the goal of an independent Palestinian state living side by side in peace with the Jewish state of Israel. We support fully the process of reform in the Palestinian Authority, the successful Palestinian elections, and now the Israeli withdrawal plan for the Gaza and parts of the West Bank have created a new climate that is a propitious moment for movement back to the roadmap.

The Quartet, composed of the United States, the European Union, the United Nations and Russia, has just named former World Bank President James Wolfensohn as Special Envoy for Gaza Disengagement. We are confident that with international help, the parties now have before them the best chance for advancing the peace than they are likely to see for many years to come.

I was struck when I met with both Prime Minister Sharon and President Abbas that they had the same opening line: This is an opportunity for peace and we must not miss the chance.

So there is a great deal that we are doing together with our democratic partners in the Middle East. But as we meet the challenges and opportunities of that troubled region, we are also seizing other important opportunities across the globe.

For example, in South Asia, Pakistan and India are building a relationship of rapprochement which we wish to support and which must be successful. We are supporting it on the basis of strong, independent ties with each of them. In a sense, we've de-hyphenated the relationship. It's no longer the Indo-Pakistani or the Indian-Pakistani relationship; it is a strong relationship with India, a democracy, a multi-ethnic democracy that is playing an increasingly important role in the global economy and in global politics; and with Pakistan, a country wracked by extremism that is trying to find a path toward democratic elections, national elections, in 2007.

We've established broad relationships with these countries and just yesterday India's Foreign Minister met with President Bush and they discussed ways that we might accelerate our cooperation still further. We anticipate soon, in July, a visit by Prime Minister Singh.

When I was in South Asia, one could not help but notice the dynamism of that region. But of course, the future of all of Asia is very dynamic and our key alliances and relationships with Japan and the Republic of Korea and Australia and Thailand and the Philippines continue to give us a foundation to help to create a stable and prosperous and democratic region in the world.

We seek to incorporate into this dynamic region a rising China. Indeed, we believe that working together, we and our allies and friends can help create an environment in which a rising China is a positive force. To be sure, China is an influence and it is going to be a major influence. It is a new factor in international politics. We want China as a global partner, able and willing to match its growing responsibilities and capabilities, one to the other. We believe that China must eventually embrace some form of open, genuinely representative government if it is fully to reap the benefits and meet the challenges of its changing role in the world.

Now, I'm about to return to Europe next week to attend the NATO Ministerial meeting, held for the first time in Lithuania, one of NATO's newest members and one of those countries that was, for a long time, trapped on the wrong side of freedom's divide and now finds itself in the middle of freedom's most important security alliance. The expansion of the North Atlantic alliance to include Lithuania and other members exemplifies the importance that this relationship and this alliance has had to making a Europe that is whole, free, and at peace.

There are certainly difficult issues still in Europe: among them, to find a permanent peace in the Balkans; and perhaps as importantly, to find a relationship with Russia that can bring Russia west so that Russia continues its progress toward a more democratic and open and free market society.

I'm going to visit Moscow and I'll meet with senior Russian officials, including President Putin. My message there will be that a democratic and vibrant and prosperous Russia is in everyone's interest. Our relationship with Russia holds enormous potential and we can do even more together as Russia moves along a democratic path.

Now, I'm on the road a lot and so, shortly after returning from Moscow, I'm going to Latin America, where we also face interesting challenges and opportunities. Because there, in Latin America, a major thrust of our effort is to work in concert with our friends to strengthen democracies around the world so that all free nations are equal to the work of freedom and opportunity. We must do all that we can to ensure that nations, which make the hard choices and do the hard work to join the free world deliver on the high hopes of their citizens.

In Latin America and in Africa, we therefore face the twin challenges of helping to bolster democracy and alleviate poverty. Leaders who are elected democratically have an obligation to govern democratically and we're working with these countries for good governance, for anti-corruption and so that human potential can be developed.

This is a moment of incredible possibility for human liberty, greater than at any other time since World War II. It was after World War II that the great architects of our postwar diplomacy shaped an international system that for four decades protected and promoted freedom and prosperity in the West and helped to open freedom's promise for those trapped on the other side.

The cruel Cold War divide of barbed wire and concrete that symbolized freedom's divide is no more. Tens of million more human beings live on that right side of freedom and all citizens of the community of democracies have a solemn obligation to help those who still do not.

This time of global transformation calls for transformational diplomacy. More than ever, the United States is active with our partners in democracy in building a safer and better and freer world. And more than ever, we need the support of an informed American public if we are to succeed in our vital mission for the American people and for the cause of liberty. That is why we so greatly value your work and value the work of the American Society of Newspaper Editors in promoting freedom of the media at home and abroad.

Thank you very much, and I'd be pleased to take your questions.


MODERATOR: May I remind you that questions are for members of ASNE. As you step to the microphones and begin to ask questions, please identify yourself by name and by the newspaper or organization you represent. And I'm going to start by taking a point of privilege in allowing Peter Bhatia, a graduate of Stanford in 1975 in journalism, who had a first question.


QUESTION: Thanks, David. It's not about our football or basketball teams but -- which we've talked about before. You made reference to the situation in South Asia in your remarks and the President yesterday mentioned as well that he had been talking to the Foreign Minister and talking to him about President Musharraf, which it was just a brief mention but it struck me as sort of like somebody talking to the Yankees about the Red Sox or something to that effect.

As you alluded, there is a breakdown in tensions there but, of course, we're trying to facilitate overcoming 60 years of tensions since the partition in '47 or whenever it was. Could you just go a little deeper on the United States role in trying to mediate between now two nuclear powers?

Thank you.

SECRETARY RICE: Well, we have been very impressed with what India and Pakistan have achieved on their own, in a sense, and I would not call our role one of mediation, I think I would call it one of support, because, in fact, they have broken through much of the tension and distrust, and I will tell you that tension and distrust was quite high. I remember, in December of 2001 there were really war drums beating and again in June of 2002. So it's quite remarkable when you see where they've come.

Now, President Musharraf will actually visit India, I think tomorrow, for a cricket match, as it turns out, and that will give the two heads, the two leaders, even more opportunity to talk. They have opened bus service in the Jammu and Kashmir area, which would have been unthinkable just a few years ago. They are looking at broader economic ties. They themselves, I think, have decided that they need to push this relationship further.

Now, the interesting thing is that the more progress they make, the more the populations really want that progress to continue. They don't want to go back to the bad old days. Now, there are problems. There's still incursions across the line of control which divides Kashmir. But it is a much better atmosphere now and our role has been to be supportive of that.

And if I could say just one more word about this, it is an interesting phenomenon because, because of the war on terrorism, where essentially countries were made to make a choice about supporting extremism and terrorism or not, I think President Musharraf's decision that he was not going to support extremists no matter what the cost, no matter if it was in Kashmir or anyplace else, put India and Pakistan, in a sense, on the same side of the war on terrorism, and that has been very important in contributing to their efforts.


QUESTION: (Inaudible.) Secretary Rice, thank you for joining us today. I hear people in our community talk about this a lot over the last few years. What are the odds that the United States is going to capture Usama bin Laden over the next four years?

SECRETARY RICE: Well, I would hate to try to give odds on it because, I'll tell you, I think in this case close really doesn't count. And we've had lots of reports that I've seen in the newspapers where they've been written we've been close. To my mind, what matters is the day that I get the phone call that I got about Saddam Hussein, which is we have him. And I am quite confident that that day will come.

In the meantime, we have managed to make the space in which al-Qaida and, obviously, bin Laden can operate much, much smaller. When you think about it, this was a movement, an organization, that had full reign of Afghanistan just three and a half years ago, that could operate with impunity in Afghanistan. They can no longer operate in most of Afghanistan and even in parts where they try to operate they're being hunted not just by Americans but by Afghans.

Similarly, they were once able to operate with near impunity in Saudi Arabia. Now, after -- particularly after the attacks on the Kingdom in May in Riyadh, the Saudis have become very stalwart in fighting the al-Qaida and they can't operate with impunity there.

They used to be able to operate with impunity in Pakistan, especially along the Afghan-Pakistani border. They can no longer do that because the Pakistani forces are actually fighting up there, which is, by the way, a new development. The Pakistani forces had not ever fought up in the tribal areas and now they are.

So wherever you look they are under -- they are on the run because they are under threat from intelligence organizations and security organizations from around the world. We've also managed to take down a large part of the al-Qaida leadership, the A-team of the leadership, sort to speak, and so it is an organization that has been hurt. I think you have to think of this as an organization, as a network. We're working on its financing. We've made it harder. I do not, by any means, dismiss the possibility that they could be successful again because we have to remember they only have to be right once, we have to be right 100 percent of the time. But we have hurt this organization, they don't operate like they once did, and we're going to keep after them.

MODERATOR: In the center. Ken.

QUESTION: Secretary Rice, I believe you said a second ago that --

MODERATOR: Please identify yourself.

QUESTION: Oh, sorry. Ken Bunning with Seattle Post-Intelligence. Thanks for coming.

I believe you said that the prospects for peace in the Middle East is the stuff of generations, but I'm hoping I could implore you to (inaudible). What's your best* hope for peace, stability, progress in that region?

SECRETARY RICE: Well, it's a very interesting question and I think what we have to do over the next several years is to lay the foundation for a different kind of Middle East. And let me speak to the broader Middle East first and then to the Israeli-Palestinian issue.

For too many years -- 60, to be exact -- American presidents were -- on both sides of the aisle, by the way, Democrats and Republicans -- were prepared to have a policy of exceptionalism in the Middle East concerning democracy. We were prepared to say, well, authoritarian regimes are okay there either because the Middle East, well, they really don't want freedom or we want stability or any number of reasons that we have -- we had not to push the democracy agenda in the Middle East.

What we found on September 11th was that we had gotten neither democracy nor stability, but a terrible malignancy had grown up in the freedom deficit there that led people to ideologies of hatred that led them to fly airplanes into our buildings on a fine September day.

Well, you can't leave that Middle East in place and ever expect to defeat terrorism. And so what the President has really been saying is that we have to have a different kind of Middle East in which we have the same expectations for people in the Middle East and their aspirations that we have for the rest of the world -- Africa or Latin America or Europe -- that people want to be able to say what they think, they want to be able to worship freely, they want to be able to educate their girls and their boys. These are universal aspirations.

What I think this President has done, the United States has done, and it's perhaps something only the United States could do, we've enlarged the realm of the possible. It's not that we're ever going to deliver democracy to the Middle East. That has to be done by the people of the Middle East. It has to have an indigenous character.

But when you think about the fact that people seem to believe that things are possible today that they didn't think were possible before, why is that? In part, because we've changed the nature of the conversation to say, yes, those are legitimate aspirations; in part, because they've seen people in Iraq vote and people in Afghanistan vote and people say, well, if there, why not here? And now what seemed impossible a few months ago now seems inevitable in time. So I don't know when it will be a transformed Middle East, but it's on its way and I think it's happening more quickly than any of us would have thought.

In that context, the Israeli-Palestinian issues take on a slightly different cast because, yes, there are border issues and land issues to be resolved and issues about refugees and so forth. But the character of the Palestinian state, a two-state solution where there is a democratic Palestinian state sitting next to a democratic state of Israel, is going to be a very different dynamic in the Israeli-Palestinian issue than what you have had there, which is something that was not only not a state but the Palestinian Authority, which was known for corruption and lack of transparency and for not really caring to make peace.

When these kinds of dynamics start to shift and they're shifting pretty remarkably, it is very hard to know precisely where it's going, but it is also impossible to stop its momentum. And so I feel very strongly that if we do our work well over the next several years, we will have at least laid a very strong foundation for a very different kind of Middle East.

MODERATOR: On the left.

QUESTION: Secretary Rice, my name is Jeff Bruce. I'm the editor of the Dayton Daily News in Dayton, Ohio. It was ten years ago in Dayton that the peace accords were hammered out that ended the war in the Balkans. In the intervening period of time, people in Dayton built very strong relationships with folks in Sarajevo, very interested in the continuing presence of the United States there. I wondered if you could characterize how that fits into the Administration's priorities and what your vision is for the future there.

SECRETARY RICE: Thank you. Well, in order to complete, in a sense, Europe whole and free and at peace, we have to deliver on the promise of what has gone forth in the Balkans to this point and the Dayton Accords are part of that, Bosnia and Herzegovina, of course. We also have a complicated and challenging issue concerning Kosovo and there will be very close consultations with our European friends and allies over the next several months as we review the Kosovo situation so that we can look at the Balkans as a whole.

One of the important levers that we have in the Balkans is that we want to look to a day when the Balkans are integrated into European structures. Now, that means that you have to have further democratization in Serbia. It means that you have to have a solution for Kosovo. It means that Bosnia and Herzegovina, which is moving fairly effectively in this way, has to continue that progress. It means that we have to wrap up the war criminals that the international tribunal is trying to try.

And if we can get that done alongside economic development, I think with the window of Europe out there or the opportunity for integration into Europe out there, we could see the Balkans finally resolve in a very positive way. But what started ten years has not just ended the violence; I think there has actually been significant progress on all of those fronts.


QUESTION: Secretary Rice, my name is Amanda Bennett. I'm editor of the Philadelphia Inquirer. I have a slightly related question. When you look at the issues you were describing before in the Balkans, in the former Soviet Union, in Africa, many of the things that unite all these trouble spots is the struggles of Muslim people. And I would like you to describe your thinking about this overall issue and if there is the success that you talk about in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, what effect do you see that having overall on Islam and its issues?

SECRETARY RICE: Yes. Well, it's a very good question. I think Islam, the Muslim world, is indeed going through an evolution, and as with any evolution there are both potential negative outcomes and potential positive outcomes. The negative outcome would be the continued rise of extremism and those who would hijack the great world religion to a cause that clearly has nothing to do with Islam. Islam is a peaceful religion and so the notion that somehow flying airplanes into buildings or strapping a belt on yourself and blowing up other people is in the service of Islam is something, I think, that clearly perverts the religion and is resented by most respected Islamic scholars for very good reason -- by the way, I think probably rejected too by most people because who wants that to be the future for your children? Nobody.

So the goal is to, in those places where Muslims are either the majority or in some cases almost without any minority, is to recognize that there is no contradiction between Islam and the Muslim world and democracy. You have, in Turkey, for instance, a state that is growing up with a strong Islamic party as its ruling party. In countries that are democratic like India, you have a huge Muslim population and yet it lives peacefully alongside other Muslim populations. And I think that has to be the hope for the Middle East, that these -- that you will get moderate political forces that find the right relationship between Islam and democracy, that find institutions that accommodate both, and therefore in the democratic process can be tolerant of all peoples.

Now, the Israeli-Palestinian -- the resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict would certainly help. I don't think that there's any doubt that it perhaps gives, if nothing else, a kind of feeding of this sense of extremism. But it's not really the solution. There are -- sometimes it's talked about as if, "Well, if you resolve the Israeli-Palestinian issue, you've resolved the problem with extremism." You will not have resolved the problem with extremism. The only way that the problem with extremism gets resolved is if there is a competing ideology that is one based on freedom and liberty and tolerance.

And I think that we are on our way in many countries, if you look at Morocco, Bahrain, or Jordan or many places in the world or in the Middle East, or if you look at what's happening in Iraq, where they're struggling toward it, but doing the bidding, you've got a chance to have exactly that kind of Middle East and that kind of relationship between Muslims and Islamist faith and democratic development.

MODERATOR: We'll take two more questions. The Secretary has other business, obviously. Let me take right and center. Go ahead.

QUESTION: I'm Mark Seibel with Knight-Ridder newspapers. I'd like to ask you a question about Mexico. Last week, the Mexican Congress stripped the immunity from prosecution from the Mexico City mayor, who is broadly considered the most popular politician in Mexico. Of course, his allegation is it's to prevent him for running for president next year. I'm curious if you have an opinion on whether that's a threat to democracy in Mexico, as many people in Mexico feel, and also what you or American representatives have told Mexican officials about that situation, either cautioning or in support or whatever.

SECRETARY RICE: Well, in fact, this is a matter of internal affairs in Mexico and we do have and I do have confidence in Mexico's democratic institutions to deal with whatever difficulties there may be. I would just note that Mexico has come a long way from the Mexico of a little more than a decade ago. You now have competitive presidential elections with parties that are truly competitive. You have a press that is quite open and free. I know this from firsthand, having faced a Mexican press conference recently that this is a very active press and they are reporting fully on these events and people are being allowed to speak their minds. So I really don't have an opinion on this particular issue. We are, of course, constantly discussing with all of our partners the importance of ruling democratically, of adhering to rule of law, to democratic institutions, but I think we have every reason to be confident in Mexico's democratic institutions.

QUESTION: Secretary Rice, David Westfall, McClatchy newspapers. Could you help us better understand the nomination of John Bolton to the United Nations and talk about why it is helpful for the United States, at a time when the United States is trying to make clear to the world its goodwill toward all nations, all people, it's helpful to be represented by a man -- at the United Nations by a man who has been so strongly critical, bordering on disdainful, of the institution?

SECRETARY RICE: Sure. Well, since I'm the one who proposed John, I think I can give you a full answer. (Laughter.) John Bolton is a very good diplomat. I have watched him get the Proliferation Security Initiative in place, negotiate the Moscow Treaty on Arms Reductions with the Russians, create the Global Partnership whereby we share the cost of the dismantling of the old Soviet nuclear arsenal. I have watched him on -- I knew him when he was Assistant Secretary for International Organization in the '80s. I have known him as someone who is intelligent and strong and who is going to go after any job that he is given with a lot of fervor and interest and commitment.

Now yes, he has had a lot to say about the need for the United Nations to look different than it looks now. Frankly, the United Nations is saying a lot now about the need for the United Nations to look different than it looks now. It is no secret to anyone that the United Nations can not survive as a vital force in international politics if it does not reform, if it doesn't reform its organizations, if it doesn't reform its Secretariat, if it doesn't reform its management practices. We have had problems with peacekeepers, we've had problems with the Oil-for-Food situation. Everybody knows that it's an important time for UN reform.

When I talked to John, what I said to him was, "Do you believe that the United Nations is important to American foreign policy?" And he said yes, because it is a place that the United States can work with others to mobilize, as we have, for instance, on terrorism where we have a convention on terrorism, or to mobilize against trafficking in persons where we have a resolution on trafficking and persons, or to mobilize -- to criminalize the proliferation activities of dangerous materials related to weapons of mass destruction, or to create a democracy fund as we've done within the United Nations at the President's suggestion, or with Kofi Annan to put together the global partnership, the Global Fund for AIDS.

The United Nations has been very -- this administration has been very active with the United Nations and that's going to continue. But if you want the United Nations to be strong, you also have to be honest about its limitations and you have to be willing to try and work to remove those limitations so that it can be appropriate for the 21st century. And that's what I expect of John Bolton because he is a person who is committed. You know, it's fine to say all nice things about the United Nations. As important an institution as it is, one has to say there some things that are not so great about the United Nations right now and everybody recognizes that and we've got to fix it.

And so his commitment to me and to the President is that he is going to be a force for what is always needed in the United Nations, American leadership to update and reform and strengthen this great institution, which by the way we're a founding member, so that it can play the critical role because, you know, we have really, really important challenges ahead of us as an international community.

If you don't mind, I'll use the question to just make one closing point. I was here in 1989 to 1991. I got to be the Soviet specialist at the end of the Cold War in the White House. It doesn't get much better than that. I got to participate in the liberation of Eastern Europe and the unification of Germany and to the start of the peaceful collapse of the Soviet Union -- things I never thought I would see, let alone participate in.

And I recognized that as heady as all of that felt, I was really only harvesting good decisions that had been made in 1947 and 1948 and 1949, after World War II. And if you think of what they faced in that period of time, in 1946 they faced a failing reconstruction in Europe where many Europeans were still starving, particularly in Germany. In 1947 they faced a civil war in Greece and civil conflict in Turkey. In 1948 they faced the coup in Czechoslovakia that took down the last freestanding government in Eastern Europe and they faced the permanent division of Germany through the Berlin crisis. In 1949 the Soviet Union exploded a nuclear weapon five years ahead of schedule, and the Chinese Communists won.

What right did they have to think that they were going to be able to build a Europe based on democratic values, a Japan based on democratic values, that would anchor democracy and freedom and peace in Europe and in Asia? What right did they have to think that?

Well, as we fast forward to today, we have to ask ourselves if we are equally up to the task as an international community to, in the Middle East, create a different kind of Middle East where there will be anchors of democratic values that will finally change that last remaining region where democracy has not been a force. And in order to do that, we need the full force of those who are our friends and allies, who have benefited from being democratic, and we need the full force of the great international institutions.

But the great international institutions are going to have to be up to the task and it means you cannot have a human rights commission on which Sudan sits. It doesn't make any sense. It means you cannot have a situation in which, but for a last minute move, Iraq almost ended up, before liberation, chairing the disarmament commission.

This is the problem. This is what we've got to take on in the United Nations. And because John Bolton is tough and he's a good diplomat and he's committed, he's going to help us to do precisely that.

Thank you.


MODERATOR: Please join in me in thanking Dr. Rice.


SECRETARY RICE: Thank you very much.



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