Rice Says Europe, U.S. Must Seize Historic Moment
By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, June 26, 2003 Condoleezza Rice called on freedom-loving countries to unite and turn away from the temptations of playing great power politics during a speech at the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London today.
Rice, national security advisor to President Bush, elaborated on Bush's statement two years ago that America and Europe share more than just the NATO alliance, "we share a civilization."
In prepared remarks, Rice said countries throughout the world share the values of Western civilization. "The bankruptcy of fascism, Nazism and imperial communism has given way to a paradigm of progress, founded on political and economic liberty," she said. "The United States, our NATO allies, our neighbors in the Western Hemisphere, Japan, and our other friends and allies in Asia and Africa all share a broad commitment to democracy, the rule of law, a market-based economy and open trade.
"And since Sept. 11, the world's great powers see themselves as falling on the same side of a profound divide between the forces of chaos and order."
Rice stated that like the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, 9-11 changed America and its strategic perspective. The attacks in New York and Washington showed an open society's vulnerability.
"In the terrifying hours and days following the attacks, we resolved that the only true defense against a threat of this kind is to root it out at its source and address it at its fundamental and ideological core," she said.
The United States works with a great coalition of freedom- loving nations to detect and defeat the terrorist menace. "With the help of our coalition partners, we have deposed two of the cruelest regimes of this or any time," Rice said.
She noted that many nations are uniting to protect against the scourge of weapons of mass destruction. Many nations are determined to address the challenges of proliferation posed by North Korea and Iran.
All this indicates a historic change in the way nations relate to one another, Rice observed. She contends that the time is right for like-minded nations to join to guarantee freedom and peace worldwide. "This confluence of common interests and common values creates a historic opportunity to break the destructive pattern of great power rivalry that has bedeviled the world since rise of the nation state in the 17th century," she said. "This is, in fact, more than an opportunity. It is an obligation."
She said that instead of repeating the mistakes of great power rivalries causing small wars around the world, great power cooperation can solve conflicts. "In recent months some have questioned whether this is possible or even desirable," she said. "Some argue that Europe and America are more divided by differing worldviews than we are united by common values."
She said some people have expressed a desire for the "good old days" of "multipolarity." She offered that this idea was never a unifying vision. "It was a necessary evil that sustained the absence of war, but it did not promote the triumph of peace," she said. "Multipolarity is a theory of rivalry, of competing interests and at its worst competing values."
She said the world has tried this before and it led to millions of deaths in World War I and World War II, and ultimately it led to the Cold War. "Today this theory of rivalry threatens to divert us from meeting the great tasks before us," she noted.
Rice stated that democratic values don't need checks from other forms of governance. "Democratic institutions themselves are a check on the excesses of power," she said. "Why should we seek to divide our capacities for good, when they can be so much more effective united? Only the enemies of freedom would cheer this division.
"Power in the service of freedom is to be welcomed, and powers that share a commitment to freedom can and must make common cause against freedom's enemies."
Rice said the world needs that spirit to confront the enemies of democracy and freedom. She said that spirit will enable countries "to deny the world's most dangerous weapons to the world's most dangerous regimes." That spirit is needed to allow alliances like NATO to take on missions outside their geographical areas. The spirit is needed at the United Nations to confront the root causes of terrorism: poverty, sickness and oppression.
That spirit is especially needed in the Middle East, she pointed out. "In Europe, reconciliation between formally hostile peoples was achieved through the spread of democracy, security and freedom," she said.
"True peace between Israel and a future Palestine must be rooted in prosperity through economic freedom, and democracy founded upon the rule of law and respect for human rights, and the defeat of terror. Europe and the United States must turn to the Middle East with the same vision, determination and patience that we exhibited in building a united transatlantic community after 1945."
She said like-minded countries and the people of the Middle East must be bold and take advantage of this time in history. "If we and the people of the Middle East are not bold enough today, we face a future in which the freedom deficit continues to create ideologies of hatred that threaten civilization as we know it," Rice said.
She emphasized that this is a journey, not a destination. The work will span many generations, and it cannot be done if nations work against one another.
"Let us, then, lay aside the quest for new 'poles' and turn our energies to creating what President Bush has called 'a balance of power that favors freedom' where we defend freedom against its enemies and support those across the globe seeking to build freedom in their own societies," she said.
"As German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder said recently: 'Surely we are all agreed that we only want one pole in global politics around which we orientate ourselves the pole of freedom, peace and justice.' I, for one, could not agree more," she said.