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 You are in: Under Secretary for Political Affairs > From the Under Secretary > Remarks > 2002 Under Secretary for Political Affairs Remarks

American Foreign Policy for the 21st Century

Marc Grossman, Under Secretary for Political Affairs
Remarks to the Kansas City International Relations Council
Kansas City, Missouri
October 29, 2002

As Prepared

Thank you for inviting me today.

It is a particular honor to be asked to present the 2002 Eliot S. Berkley lecture to the International Relations Council.

I first visited Kansas City at Christmas 1980. It wasn’t too long after that Eliot asked me if I would speak to the IRC. It is wholly my fault that it has taken me 22 years to accept his invitation!

It will come as no surprise that the events of September 11, 2001 will figure prominently in my talk. But my goal today is not to recount the latest battle in the War Against Terrorism, a war we are winning and will win.

I want today to focus on six broad themes that I believe will shape the future of American foreign policy for a new era.

These themes -- the global war on terrorism, globalization, free markets, democracy, cultural and national identities, and American power -- define today’s international landscape. I hope you will leave here today believing, as I do, that these trends are all related and that one of the biggest changes in foreign policy over the last few years has been the end of our attempt to manage these things one at a time. We are required now to do so simultaneously.

The days are gone when leaders could spend Monday working on their democracy and Tuesday working on their economy and Wednesday working on their security and Thursday trying to figure out what their relationship is to globalization or what they intend to do to join the United States in the global fight against terrorism. Today, these jobs must be done simultaneously.

There can be no democracy without free markets. No free markets without the rule of law. The war on terror will not end our commitment to human rights; democracy, security and prosperity are the true antidotes to terrorism.


Before I talk about these six trends, and their connected opportunities and challenges, let's step back just a moment and recognize how far we have come. In 1946, not 150 miles from here, Winston Churchill named the Iron Curtain. It is gone. Surely we live in a world of challenges that can often seem overwhelming, but this is a world also facing enormous opportunity.

Secretary Powell tells this story about the end of the Cold War:

"...Communism is gone. Fascism is gone. There are other systems out there that are being tried, but what really works is democracy. Democracy puts you into the globalized system of trade and economic development and free economics that will bring the wealth needed to bring all people up."

How we take advantage of our opportunity and how we deal with the six trends I will propose to you in ways that promote the great purposes of America will define our success as a nation for the many years to come.

Let me now describe the first of those trends, the global war against terrorism and terrorism’s connection to weapons of mass destruction.


Global War on Terrorism.

The attack on the United States on September 11, 2001 changed America.

Al Qaeda’s goal is to disrupt and then try to end our way of life.

This is not just America’s fight.

This is a fight for all who believe in progress, tolerance and freedom.

  • This is a war unlike any other. Rather than a nation, or group of nations, we are fighting a network of terrorists operating in more than 60 countries. It is also a war unlike any other because we must stop the production, distribution or use of weapons of mass destruction, which are potential instruments of terror unlike any other. Nuclear weapons, biological weapons, radiological weapons and chemical weapons in the hands of terror groups or rogue states like Iraq are a fundamental challenge to American security.
  • To fight this enemy we have built a coalition unlike any other. More than 90 countries lost citizens when the World Trade Center was attacked.
    • More than 90 nations have arrested or detained over 2,700 terrorists and their supporters since that dreadful day.
    • 17 nations have contributed nearly 6,000 troops to Operation Enduring Freedom and to the International Security Assistance Force in Kabul. NATO members and partners have played an especially key role.
    • 161 countries have blocked terrorist assets totaling $116 million -- $34 million in the US and $82 million abroad.

    • We are engaged in a campaign unlike any other. President Bush has said, "We will direct every resource at our command – every means of diplomacy, every tool of intelligence, every instrument of law enforcement, every financial influence, and every necessary weapon of war – to the disruption and to the defeat of global terror network."
  • And we want by our effort to make lasting changes: For example, we are working with the Afghan government, key allies, humanitarian organizations and the rest of the global community to build a safe, stable, and prosperous Afghanistan that meets the needs of its people and eliminates an environment that breeds terrorism.

Second, Globalization.

Email, cell phones and satellites have revolutionized our lives.

As Tom Friedman reminds us in The Lexus and the Olive Tree, in 1990 there were only 800 computer systems on the Internet.

No revolution comes without loss.

Globalization has its faults and its legitimate critics.

Some say that American culture has trampled every other way of life. There is a danger of homogenization, here and abroad.

When I first came to Kansas City, the Plaza was full of locally owned shops. It is today a still beautiful stage for mostly national chains.

But there is reverse reality as well.

My daughter collects Pokemon cards from Japan. She is an avid reader of Harry Potter. In her 5th grade class in Arlington, Virginia, a significant number of her classmates were born abroad and are proud of their cultures.

Our lives are influenced by this global exchange. In 2000:

    • Missouri exported over $7.9 billion worth of goods and services to the world
    • 1 in 6 jobs in Missouri are connected to international trade
    • Exports to the world from Kansas were over $5 billion
    • 1 in 15 jobs in Kansas are tied to international trade

Some say that global international economic integration is good just for rich countries.

I believe global economic integration is in fact essential if we are to end global poverty. To embrace self-sufficiency or to deride growth, as some protesters do, is to glamorize poverty.

No nation has ever developed over the long term without trade.

Since the mid-1970’s, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, China and their neighbors have lifted 300 million people out of poverty, chiefly through trade. In South America, Chile has pursued economic reform, opened up its economy and lifted more than a million people out of poverty.

There is a debate about whether globalization is a reality or a reversible trend. I tend to the former. What I am sure about is that the way nations and people respond to globalization is a matter of choice and policy; for the same networks that allow the free flow of commerce and communication can be used to facilitate terrorist attacks, traffic women and children, and spread HIV/AIDS.

That is why the United States uses every chance – bilateral, regional and global – to address issues like trafficking in persons, and why we contribute nearly $1 billion annually to international efforts to combat AIDS and infectious diseases.

Third, Free Markets.

I have been reading a book on foreign policy by Walter Russell Mead. It is called Special Providence, American Foreign Policy and How it Changed the World.

Mead argues that the ideas that have shaped American foreign policy throughout our history are influenced by "our nation’s interest in the international, trading and financial order that over the last few centuries has spread over the earth and integrated the economies of many new nations and continents. The opening of markets has been a central component of American interests since our independence."

  • In 1947: 40 countries joined the WTO’s precursor, GATT.
  • In 1995: 112 countries joined the new World Trade Organization (WTO).
  • Today: 144 out of 192 countries belong to the WTO.

    Free markets harness energy, ambition, innovation, talent and industry. To succeed in our simultaneous world, they also require accountability, rule of law, human rights, and democracy.

    Countries with cultures as diverse as Mexico, India, South Africa, and Estonia have embraced enterprise and trade as the best means of achieving prosperity. Income per person in globalizing developing countries grew more than five times faster than it did in non-globalizing developing countries during the 1990’s.

    Since Mexico joined NAFTA:

      • Mexico’s economy has grown at an average annual rate of 5.5%
      • More than half of the 3.5 million jobs created in Mexico since 1995 are connected to trade.

    Good for Mexico. And – by the way – good for Kansas and Missouri as well:

      • In 2000, Missouri exported over $3 billion to NAFTA countries, nearly 20% increase since 1997
      • Trade with NAFTA countries is responsible for more than 300,000 Kansas jobs

    But we must never forget that more than two billion people live under regimes which deny them basic civic and political freedom, and roughly half of human kind struggles to live on less than $2 a day.

    This is unacceptable. Including the world’s poor in an expanding circle of freedom, development and opportunity is one of the top priorities of U.S. international policy.

    This is why earlier this year the President announced a new compact – the Millennium Challenge Account – to promote global development. Greater contributions from developed nations like the United States are linked to greater responsibility from developing nations that qualify for this assistance.

    We will seek an increase our development assistance by $5 billion per year over the next three budget years.

    These funds will be put into this new Millennium Challenge Account. The goal is to provide people in developing nations the tools they need to seize the opportunities of the global economy. This might mean expanding the fight against AIDS; bringing computer instruction to young professionals in developing nations; assisting African businesses and their people to sell goods abroad; or providing textbooks and training to students in Islamic and African countries.

    Fourth, Democracy.

    According to the 2001-2002 Freedom House Survey of Freedom, there are today more than 120 democratic nations (of 192), and the number is growing.

    Free societies work for the benefit of the many.

    Political freedom and the rule of law are necessary ingredients for sustainable economic progress.

    According to the Annual 2001-2002 Survey of Political Rights and Civil Liberties, free countries today account for $26.8 trillion of the world’s annual GDP (86%), as compared to Partly Free countries at $2.3 trillion (7%) and Not Free countries $2.2 trillion (7 %).

    Here is another example:

    The first Arab Human Development Report was released in July by the UN Development Program and the Arab Fund for Social and Economic Development. With contributions from dozens of Arab scholars, it concludes, "The wave of democracy that has transformed governance in most of the world has barely reached the Arab states. The freedom deficit undermines human development."

    Recently, the UN issued its yearly Human Development report. Here is what it says:

    "Advancing human development requires governance that is democratic in both form and substance." The report spells out what this means: representation, fair elections, checks and balances, and freedom of expression.

    The right to democracy is not bound by geography, race, culture or belief.

    In a speech at West Point last June, the President said, "The requirements of freedom apply fully to Africa and Latin America and the entire Islamic world. The peoples of the Islamic nations want and deserve the same freedoms and opportunities as people in every nation."

    And that is why - simultaneity again -the Millennium Challenge Account to promote economic development which I mentioned earlier specifically, emphatically, promotes democracy by encouraging nations to root out corruption, respect human rights, and adhere to the rule of law.

    Fifth, Cultural and National Identities.

    Since we are here at the bend of the Missouri River, it is worth recalling the beginning of Stephen Ambrose’s book about Lewis and Clark, Undaunted Courage.

    When Lewis and Clark set out, nothing on land moved faster than a horse walked. People lived in relative isolation.

    Today’s international agenda is framed by the interaction of cultures and civilizations. Many nations are defining or redefining themselves in terms of ancestry, religion, language, history, values, customs, and institutions.

    During the Cold War, cultures and civilizations became defined by the struggle between the US and the Soviet Union. People once separated by Cold War ideology but united by culture can come together, as the two Germanys did, and as the two Koreas may some day.

    Societies which were once united by Cold War ideology or historical circumstance, but divided by civilization, either came apart, like the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia, or are subjected to strain, like Nigeria and Sudan.

    It is an understandable reaction to globalization for people to identify or re-identify with their ethnic groups and cultures. Emphasizing one’s identity, culture and ethnicity does not automatically lead to conflict; this happens only when this emphasis is mobilized and manipulated to divide and not to unite in diversity.

    Here’s a quotation. Can you guess who said it and when?

    "We believe that it is possible for nations to achieve unity on the great principles of human freedom and justice, and at the same time to permit, in other respects, the greatest diversity at which the human mind is capable."

    That still modern vision is from Kansas City’s own Harry Truman, made on the day he signed the NATO Treaty, April 4, 1949.

    Sixth, American Power.

    While the first five trends – Global War Against Terrorism, Globalization, Free Markets, Democratization, and Cultural National Identities – shape today’s international political landscape, the dominant trend in today’s world is American power.

    The United States is on the leading edge of globalization, free markets, and democratization.

     Back to Secretary Powell's story:

    "I have had… leaders come into my office who used to be communists. They used to be tyrants or lived in countries that had tyrants. They say now we’re answerable to the people; and the people are interested in jobs, they’re interested in education for their children. Show us how to do it, show us how to imbed our democracy firmly on the rule of law, show us how to put in place a judiciary, show us how a free press works."

    Sometimes welcome, sometimes not, American power is felt in all spheres – strategic, economic, political, cultural – and in all corners of the earth.

    America’s strength is America’s great opportunity.

    I have learned this lesson in the course of my career as a US diplomat: America’s strength is key to our diplomatic success.

    I cannot tell you how many times my ability to negotiate on behalf of our country has been strengthened by America’s power, strength and dynamism.

    But it is not just our strength that is important.

    America is great because we are one of the few examples in history of a strong nation that has not used the power we have to pursue a narrow agenda of self-interest at the expense of others. And so the extraordinary strength and power Americans enjoy today gives us a special responsibility.

    We are at our greatest when we match our strength with our principles and our purpose. It is this match which leads other countries to join us and to contribute their strength to ours in common cause.

    Make no mistake: We will act alone if we must. But we can use our unique position of strength to set an example for the world of freedom, democracy and free markets and encourage others to join with us to pursue these magnificent objectives.

    The success of our American vision – of a world of peace, prosperity, freedom and pluralism – is not assured. That is what the war on terror is about. Success will require sustained American leadership.

    This is not a foreign concept in our foreign affairs.

    In that same speech at the founding of NATO in April 1949, Harry Truman spoke these words about the NATO Alliance, words that define our objectives today: "It is altogether appropriate that nations so deeply conscious of their common interests should join in expressing their determination to preserve their present peaceful situation and to protect it in the future."


    So what do these six trends tell us about the future of American foreign policy? The United States today is in a unique position in the world. We are more integrated into the global system than at any time in our history. Our strength and our openness have allowed the United States to become the engine, the beneficiary and the benefactor of globalization. More nations today are free even if there is still a huge "democracy deficit" around this world. Free markets have brought millions out of poverty even if there are millions yet to be benefited. Diversity is a strength, not a weakness.

    At the same time, we are more vulnerable to attack than at any time in our recent history. That threat is not limited to Washington, DC and New York. The same openness that comes with globalization can be used by its opponents and enemies against us.

    Our enemies will fail. But we have a long struggle in front of us. I have no doubt that if al-Qaeda had somehow been able to obtain weapons of mass destruction on September 11, they would have tried to use them. And we know that they are trying hard to obtain them today. In a world in which a terrorist attack can be planned in Kabul, refined in Europe and carried out in the United States, our response must be a global one.

    If we follow the path Harry Truman laid out on the day he signed the NATO Treaty in 1949, we can pursue a foreign policy that defeats our enemies, turns the six trends that define our world into opportunities for America and inspires not only our current allies and friends but those allies and friends yet to be made.

    That is what we are trying to do every day for you at the State Department. Our future depends on the quality and skill of our diplomacy as much as that of our armed forces. My colleague’s murder in Jordan yesterday is testament to the people you have working for you abroad and the danger they face. Be proud of them. US foreign policy is more than ever on America’s first line of defense.

    One more quote from Secretary Powell:

    "Democracy and free markets work, and the world knows it. And there is no finer example of this than America and its allies. And there should be no question in any world leader's mind that the first and most essential ingredient for success in the 21st Century is a free people and a government that derives its right to govern from the consent of such people."

    That was our goal on September 10, 2001 and it remains our goal today.

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