Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release                                   October 21, 1999

                      REMARKS BY SAMUEL R. BERGER
                       NATIONAL SECURITY AFFAIRS

                        AS PREPARED FOR DELIVERY
                            OCTOBER 21, 1999

We end this century at a unique moment for America, when our power and
prosperity are greater than at any time in our history, unrivaled by any
other nation.  Our leadership has never been more needed, or more in
demand.  And so it is perplexing that America finds itself today being
accused of both hegemony and isolationism at the same time.

I want to talk about that this evening - American power and how it is
both perceived and used.

The contours of our power are beyond dispute.  Our military expenditures
now are larger than those of all other countries combined; our weaponry
is a generation ahead of our nearest potential rival.  Our military
technology is so dominant that serious people actually lamented that we
did not have enough casualties in the Kosovo conflict.

Because we are the only nation on earth able to project power in every
region on earth, others look to us to deliver decisive influence where
it is needed, whether that means maintaining security in Korea, helping
negotiate an agreement between Peru and Ecuador, overcoming differences
in Northern Ireland, invigorating implementation of the Dayton Accords,
convincing Indonesia's military to accept peacekeepers to East Timor, or
seeking peace between Ethiopia and Eritrea.

Our economy not only brings unprecedented prosperity to Americans; it
the engine of global growth and technological change.  Americans own
more than half the world's computers.  We are home to the world's eight
biggest high-tech companies.   Remarkably, in 1995, more than half of
all the royalties and licensing fees in the world were paid to
Americans.  We may be the first society in human history where children
have no idea what they will grow up to be - because it hasn't been
invented yet.

Then there is the realm of culture and values.  Our movies, music and
media are everywhere, irritating some, delighting many more. The poster
I saw most often walking through the dorms of Beijing University last
year was not Mao or Deng but Michael Jordan.

More important, the ideas the world associates with us have been
ascendant since communism collapsed. The financial crisis of 1998,
particularly in Asia, only reinforced the lessons we've stressed since
1989 - that open markets work better in open societies and that freedom
is a universal aspiration.

These trends have, to say the least, been noticed overseas.  Throughout
the world, our success inspires a mix of wonder and worry.  In America,
too, it produces contradictory reactions.

Most Americans understand that we are fortunate to be in a position of
leadership, and that to maintain it we must continue to lead.  Their
pride in our achievements makes them not triumphant but confident in our
ability to shape, with others, a better world.  But there are those in
our country who do not look to the world - or our ability to thrive
within it -- with confidence.  In fact, they are distinctly defeatist.
America may be at the height of its power and prosperity, yet they see
America in constant peril of losing our freedom of action.

It's not the majority view.  There are leaders in both political parties
who reject it.  But we must face the reality that it no longer is a
fringe view.  In fact, it is the view of a dominant minority in the

Think of it:  Nearly every other country in the world supports the
nuclear Test Ban Treaty, even though they realize it has the effect of
locking in America's superiority in nuclear weapons.  Yet there were
those who said on the floor of the U.S. Senate that the Treaty
represented "unilateral disarmament" for the United States.  Every
member of the United Nations can see we can veto any UN action we
oppose, and still act alone when the UN lacks consensus.  Yet there are
politicians in our country who say the UN threatens our sovereignty and
dictates our policy.  Developing countries are reluctant to reduce their
greenhouse gas emissions because they worry that their growth will slow,
whereas they can see that America has the technology to keep racing
ahead.  Yet our Congress is reluctant to support the Climate Change
Treaty because it fears our economy - the world's technological leader
-- cannot embrace technological change.

There is a wide disconnect today between how others see America's
strength and how some people in our country see it.  I want to look at
both sides of that equation today.  I'll begin with the view from beyond
our shores.  Then, I want to talk about the view at home.

Among our many friends and allies around the world, the dominant vision
of America still is one of a country whose leadership is essential to
peace and prosperity and which exercises leadership for the greater
good.  Europeans still seek our troops on their soil, criticize us when
we don't assert ourselves, and have worked to sustain our alliance long
after its original reason for being has vanished.  The same is true in
Asia, where some of the biggest critics of our culture, such as
Singapore and Malaysia, are some of the biggest backers of our security

It is quite an experience travelling around the world with the President
of the United States. America is still special for most people in the
world - a symbol of hope and resolve for those struggling to be free, to
be at peace, or simply to have their voices heard.  If you were to ask
Jose Ramos Horta of East Timor what role America plays in the world; or
John Hume of Northern Ireland, or Aung San Suu Kyi of Burma, or any
Kosovar refugee, central European democrat, Israeli or Palestinian
campaigner for peace, you would get one answer:  America has and must
continue to lead.  If we disappoint, it's usually not from doing too
much, but too little.

And yet, there is another image of America abroad -- of a country that
is unilateralist and too powerful.  We see that in the view expressed by
the French, as only they can, that we are not merely a superpower, but a
"hyperpower."  We see it in the European reaction to Kosovo:  relief we
prevailed, but also angst over the necessarily disproportionate role
America played, and among some the quest for a security identity
detached from NATO.  We see it in Russia's and China's reactions to
Kosovo - in their fear that what we saw as a legitimate, multilateral
defense of common interests and values was in fact the start of a
crusade to contain their power and impose our will on the world.  We see
it in the dismay among our friends and allies that we do not live up to
many of our international obligations, even as we demand that others do.

The perception persists among some that the United States has become a
hectoring hegemon.  And since perceptions do matter, this is a problem
we must do what we can to resolve.  Let's begin by understanding the
various strands of the criticism we face.

At one extreme, we are accused of trying to dominate others, of seeing
the world in zero sum terms in which any other country's gain must be
our loss.  But that is an utterly mistaken view.  It's not just because
we are the first global power in history that is not an imperial power.
It's because for 50 years, we have consciously tried to define and
pursue our interests in a way that is consistent with the common good -
rising prosperity, expanding freedom, collective security.

Consider our economic policies.  In the last few years, we have grown
our economy and fought for open markets, here and abroad.   Our exports
have supported the creation of 1.3 million U.S. jobs.  But the impact on
the world also has been remarkable.  Through the Asian financial crisis,
the President quite deliberately undertook to keep our markets open,
knowing our trade deficit would increase substantially.  As a result, we
made a bigger contribution than any other country toward easing the
crisis and lifting its victims from poverty.  Korea, for example, has
gone from negative to positive growth in the last year, helped by a $31
billion swing in its trade balance.  Trade with the United States
accounted for 40 percent of that swing.  And last year, American
consumers and businesses accounted for almost half the growth in world

Think about our support for political freedom.  Some people say that's
forcing our values on the world.  But when we promote democracy, we are
promoting a system of government that allows the people of other nations
to choose their own destiny according to their own values and
aspirations.  Ask the people of Poland and South Africa and the
Philippines and they'll tell you:  Dictatorship was imposed on them.
Democracy was their choice.

Then there is a second kind of criticism that really reflects visceral
reactions to our culture and status.  I'm afraid that simply comes with
the territory we momentarily and gratefully enjoy.  For example, there
is the slightly confused attitude of Europeans who flock to fast food
outlets and then complain about the threat of "McDomination" to their
"culinary sovereignty" - and of Asians who decry the superficial
materialism of American culture but then compete to build the biggest
skyscrapers.  There is not much we can do about this except exercise a
fair measure of humility and, as our Declaration of Independence says, a
"decent respect for the opinions of mankind."

A third kind of criticism reflects disagreements about policy and
resentment over the manner in which we pursue what we consider to be
legitimate goals.  For example, many countries react to our proclivity
to pass judgment on their performance on everything from religious
freedom to drug control, and about our imposition of sanctions on
foreign companies doing business with countries that earn our
opprobrium.  In these areas, there is room for debate about the proper
balance between isolating bad actors in the world and isolating

Finally, from the outside looking in, there is a criticism that I
believe is entirely well founded.  It is inspired not by what we
allegedly do to the world, but by what we fail to do with the world.  It
is an attack not on our wealth and power, but on the fact that despite
our wealth and power, we do not pay our arrears to the UN and the
development banks, or devote a higher percentage of our GDP to the
reduction of global poverty, or give our President the authority to
negotiate new trade agreements, or ratify the treaties we urge others to
adopt.   It views America as a country that demands of others what it
will not give of itself.

And that critique brings me back to the first half of the equation I
raised earlier - to our view as Americans of our own power.  The
internationalist consensus that has prevailed in this country for more
than 50 years increasingly is being challenged by a new isolationism,
heard and felt particularly in the Congress.  The great irony today is
that we owe our reputation for trying to dominate the world in no small
measure to a group of people who are intent on disregarding the world.

It's tempting to say that the isolationist right in the Congress has no
foreign policy, that it is driven only by partisanship.  But that
underestimates it.  I believe there is a coherence to its convictions, a
vision of America's role in the world.  Let me tell you what I think
they are, in simple terms:

First:  Any treaty others embrace, we won't join. The new isolationists
are convinced that treaties - pretty much all treaties -- are a threat
to our sovereignty and continued superiority.  That's what they say
about the Test Ban - though it requires nothing more of us than we've
already undertaken to do ourselves, though it so clearly locks in our
strategic advantage.  They think there is no point in trying to raise
standards of international behavior, because rules can be violated,
because perfect verification is impossible, because other countries
can't be counted on to keep their word.  Never mind that the alternative
is a world with no rules, no verification, and no constraints at all.

We have a different vision - and by "we" I mean the Clinton
Administration, members of Congress of both parties and countless others
who want to preserve America's tradition of leadership.

We agree it would be foolish to rely on arms control treaties alone to
protect our security.  But it would be equally foolish to throw away the
tools good treaties offer:  the restraint and deterrence that comes from
global rules with global backing, the ability to shine a light on
threatening behavior through inspections and to mobilize the whole world
against it.

The second plank of the new isolationism is this:  Burden sharing is a
one way street.  For example, its proponents rightly insist that
Europeans fund the lion's share of reconstructing the Balkans, because
we carried the heaviest burden of the conflict.  But then they balk at
doing our part.  They oppose American involvement in Africa's tragic
wars, but refuse to help fund the efforts of others, like Nigeria, when
they take responsibility to act.  And when it comes to paying America's
part of the cost of UN peacekeeping missions, they're not interested,
even if it is to uphold a peace we helped to forge.  This year, Congress
has cut our request for peacekeeping by more than half.

We believe that is dangerous and wrong.  Unless we want to be the
world's policeman, we must support the institutions and arrangements
through which we share the responsibilities of leadership.  That's why
we've maintained our commitment to a revitalized NATO, while urging our
allies to take on new responsibilities, with the capabilities to match.
It is why we have aided Asian nations as they step up to the challenge
of stopping the violence in East Timor.  It is why we have helped to
launch the African Crisis Response Initiative to train African forces
for peacekeeping.  And it is why all Americans, whether they are
internationalists or those who wish to limit our involvement, should
agree it is utterly self-defeating to fail to pay our dues and debts to
the UN.

The third thesis of the new isolationism:  If it's over there, it's not
our fight.   Foreign wars may hurt our conscience, but not our
interests, and we should let them take their course.  That is what many
said about the war in Bosnia - let it go on until they get tired of
killing themselves.  A part of the Congress would have let the brutal
onslaught in Kosovo rage until it spread.

Let me be clear:  America cannot do everything or be everywhere.  But we
also cannot afford to do nothing, and be nowhere.  The new isolationism
of 1999 fails to understand precisely what the old isolationism of 60
years ago failed to understand - that local conflicts can have global
consequences.  In an era of worldwide communication, we cannot choose
not to see; we can only choose not to act.  Sometimes that's right.  But
not acting must be a conclusion, not a conviction.  We have learned the
hard way that when the spread of conflict threatens our interests and
our values, often the only realistic choice we have is between acting
sooner and acting later.

The fourth plank of the new isolationism:  We can't be a great country
without a great adversary.  Since the Cold War ended, the proponents of
this vision have been nostalgic for the good old days when friends were
friends and enemies were enemies.  We've seen lately how easily
Russo-phobia can be revived.  But for the role of new enemy number one,
China is most popular with some, with its growing economy, its nuclear
program, its missiles aimed at Taiwan.

We should not look at China through rose colored glasses; neither should
we see it through a glass darkly, distorting its strength and ignoring
its complexities.  Here is the China we see:  A country that has lifted
tens of millions of its citizens from poverty and expanded personal
freedoms, but whose progress is constrained by its resistance to the
political reforms necessary for its long-term growth and stability.   A
country that could, if it chose, pour much more of its wealth into
military might and try to dominate its region, but which has not yet
decisively made that choice.  Our interest lies in protecting our
security while encouraging China to make the right choices. We can only
do that if we continue a policy of principled, purposeful engagement
with its leaders and people.

The final plank of the new isolationism is:  Billions for defense but
hardly a penny for prevention. The President this week vetoed the
Foreign Operations Bill, the vehicle for much of our international
resources.  It was about 40% below what America spent on international
engagement in 1985, despite the fact that the world has become more, not
less, complex; it is $2 billion below what the President requested.  It
does not fund our request for a vitally needed expansion in the effort
to safeguard nuclear technology and expertise in the former Soviet
Union, increasing the likelihood that deadly weapons will fall into
dangerous hands.  It does not fund our initiative to help relieve the
debts of impoverished countries that are finally embracing freedom,
increasing the likelihood of humanitarian crises that will cause
instability and conflict.  Astonishingly, it does not fund the
commitments to the Middle East peace process growing out of the Wye
Accords.  Meanwhile, the Congress is trying to add $5 billion to the
defense budget this year for projects our military says it doesn't need.

The President firmly believes America must have the strongest, best
trained, best equipped military in the world, and has requested the
first sustained increase in military spending in a decade.  But he has
also argued that if we underfund our diplomacy, we're going to end up
overusing our military - which happens to be precisely the outcome these
critics say they want to avoid.  Those who fear that our military may
become overextended should make it their first order of business to
restore decent levels of funding to the programs that keep our soldiers
out of war.

The outlines of this debate are, I believe, quite clear.  The Clinton
Administration believes we must use all the tools of our leadership to
maintain our strength.  The new isolationists would have us rely solely
on our military defenses to protect our security.  For example, to us, a
missile defense is part of a sound national security strategy.  To them,
missile defense is the strategy.

In effect, they believe in a survivalist foreign policy - build a
fortified fence around America, and retreat behind it.   And if other
nations complain that we're abdicating our responsibilities - or if they
start abdicating their own -- let them, because we are stronger and
richer than they are.  As the President said last week, that is a recipe
for a "bleak, poor, less secure world."

The outcome of this debate about our role - between leading the world
and hunkering down -- is hardly academic.  The Test Ban vote and the
devastating cuts to our foreign affairs budget make clear that our most
fundamental interests are at stake.  I believe those interests are

America must continue to be a peacemaker.   That means seizing the
historic chance in the coming year for a comprehensive settlement in the
Middle East, securing the peace in Kosovo, promoting stability in South
Asia and reconciliation in Northern Ireland and Cyprus.

We must keep working to integrate Russia and China into the global
system as open, prosperous, and stable societies.  That means, in the
coming year, helping Russia stabilize its economy as it conducts its
first ever democratic transfer of power.  It means bringing China into
the WTO on acceptable terms, while speaking plainly about the need for
political change.

We must continue the struggle to stop the spread of nuclear, chemical
and biological weapons, and to be especially vigilant where
proliferation intersects with the threat of terrorism.  That means
working in the coming year with Russia to pursue deeper arms reductions,
to keep weapons secure at the source, to restrain North Korea's missile
program, to contain Iraq, and yes, to build a consensus for eventually
ratifying the Test Ban Treaty.

We must keep building an open global economy that sustains our
prosperity while leaving no one behind.  That means working at the WTO
Ministerial next month to launch a new global trade round, pushing for
debt relief, and for higher standards on labor rights and the

And we must keep America as a force for freedom in the world.  That
means working in the coming year to support the fragile transitions to
democracy in Nigeria, Indonesia, and Ukraine.

Above all, America must remain a builder of coalitions, remembering that
few of our hopes for the future will be realized if we cannot convince
others to embrace them as well.

We must remember that there is a difference between power and authority.
Power is the ability to compel by force and sanctions; there are times
we must do so, but as a final, not a first, resort.  Authority is the
ability to lead, and we depend on it for virtually everything we try to
achieve Our authority is built on very different qualities than our
power:  on the attractiveness of our values, on the force of our
example, on the credibility of our commitments and on our willingness to
work with and stand by others

History teaches us that this moment of preeminence for America may be
fleeting.  Common sense tells us it won't be self-sustaining.  That may
be hard for many people to imagine, in part because there is no real
threat to our power in the world today.  But there is a very real threat
to our authority.  It lies in the impulse to withdraw from the world in
a way that would squander our advantages, alienate our friends, diminish
our credibility, betray our values, and discredit our example.   We
cannot let that happen.  Every chapter in American history of which
we're proud was written by people who refused to let that happen.

The Senate vote on the Test Ban Treaty was a cloud, but there is a
silver lining.  The stakes of our engagement in the world have been made
clear.  The lines have been drawn.  And an old debate has begun anew.  I
have no doubt how it will end.  The American people will choose as they
have chosen so many times before:  to keep America engaged in a way that
will benefit our people and all people.  That is a goal for which this
President and his Administration will work every single remaining day of
our term, a goal for which I solicit your active support today.

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