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 You are in: Under Secretary for Political Affairs > From the Under Secretary > Remarks > 2003 Under Secretary for Political Affairs Remarks

Diplomacy and the War Against Terrorism

Marc Grossman, Under Secretary for Political Affairs
Testimony Before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee
Washington, DC
March 18, 2003

Mr. Chairman, thank you for the opportunity to testify today on diplomacy's role in the war against terrorism.  I thank the committee -- and you and Senator Biden in particular -- for your strong support of U.S. diplomacy.
 
Mr. Chairman, I read with interest your January 27 Washington Post piece on "Beating Terror."  In it, you outlined five foreign policy campaigns necessary to win the war against terrorism: strengthening U.S. diplomacy; expanding and globalizing the Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction Program; promoting free trade; strengthening and building alliances; and reinvigorating the U.S. commitment to democracy, the environment, energy and development. 

Mr. Chairman, your goals highlight our priorities as we fight the global war on terrorism.  Secretary Powell said on February 6 when he testified before this Committee in support of the President's FY04 International Affairs budget that, "our number one priority is to fight and win the global war on terrorism."

Mr. Chairman, let me say at the outset that the war on terrorism is a war unlike any other.  We are fighting a network of terrorists operating in more than 60 countries. The war on terrorism is also a war unlike any other because we must stop the proliferation 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 challenge to American security.

To fight this enemy, 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."

Our response to terrorism is global.  And so America's future depends on the quality and skill of the people of the State Department.  Secretary Powell says that he has stopped thinking about the Department as a first line of defense for our national interests and now says that we are the first line of offense by pursuing active, purposeful diplomacy.
 
What does it mean to be on the offense? Our colleagues -- Foreign Service, Civil Service, Foreign Service Nationals -- gain cooperation of leaders in other countries to support American goals.  Our officers work to maximize support for U.S. initiatives, coordinate policies and resolve differences.  Our officers work with Finance Ministries and Central Banks to cut off financial support for terrorists.  Our officers are on the front line of the effort to prevent terrorists from getting into the United States.  Our officers work to build public support for American values and policies.  Our officers keep our Department functioning smoothly, at home and abroad, and our officers keep us safe.

Through this active, purposeful diplomacy, we have built a coalition against terrorism unlike any other.   More than 90 nations have arrested or detained over 2,700 terrorists and their supporters since 9/11.  Seventeen 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.  One hundred and sixty-one countries have blocked terrorist assets totaling $116 million -- $34 million in the U.S. and $82 million abroad.
 
Here are several examples:

  • Our diplomacy in Southeast Asia prompted the exchanges of information that allowed intelligence and law enforcement agencies to break up an active terrorist network led by the Indonesia-based Jemaah Islamiya.  Arrests have occurred in Singapore, Malaysia, and Indonesia.
  • In Operating Enduring Freedom, our diplomacy paved the way for U.S. forces to transit, stage in, and operate in numerous countries in Afghanistan and its region. 
  • In Central Asia, effective engagement secured new base-access agreements and overflight permission.

September 11, 2001 changed America.  September 11 also changed the way the State Department does business. Under the direction of the Secretary and Deputy Secretary, every bureau in the Department and all of our Missions overseas have organized to contribute to the fight against terrorism.  Our Missions ensure that counterterrorism objectives are met consistently and that our operations succeed.

Mr. Chairman, I appreciate the observation made in your letter of invitation that "the foreign policy tools contained in the 150 Account will make or break our anti-terrorism efforts in the long term."  Congress's strong support enables the U.S. to present and sustain an effective offense against terrorism and its root causes.  That is why we support the President's FY04 budget of $18.8 billion for the State Department. 

Our number-one priority is to fight and win the global war on terrorism.  The President's budget furthers this goal by providing economic military and democracy assistance to key foreign partners and allies and pursing our program of "Diplomatic Readiness."

Over the last 2 years, with support from Congress, the State Department has begun to address our human and capital resource needs.  The President's FY04 Budget requests resources that will allow us to continue to reinforce America's world-class diplomatic force -- focusing even more attention on the people, places and tools needed to promote U.S. foreign policy goals.
 
Mr. Chairman, let me share with you a few more examples of the returns on your investment State Department, USAID and other foreign affairs agencies on the counter-terrorism front.

  • As I briefly mentioned earlier, hundreds of wanted terrorists have been apprehended by the United States since September 11, and our partners have arrested thousands more.  These arrests include Khalid Shaykh Muhammad on March 1.
  • Through our Antiterrorism Assistance (ATA) Program, we are providing training and equipment to 56 countries to fight terrorists within and around their borders.
  • The $10 million Congress authorized in the FY 2002 supplemental budget for enhancing Pakistan's counterterrorism capabilities has already helped to facilitate successes against some of the most wanted terrorists in the world, including Khalid Shaykh Muhammad.
  • Last year, we provided training to over 4700 foreign security and law enforcement officers from 45 different countries.
  • Our anti-narcotics and anti-crime programs have also shown success. There is now stronger emphasis on counter-terrorism training in our global network of International Law Enforcement Academies' core and specialized courses.  Our drug crop eradication and interdiction programs in Asia, Latin America, and elsewhere, have taken hundreds of tons of illicit drugs out of circulation, helping to choke off an important source of revenue to terrorist networks.
  • Our public diplomacy programs reach out to influence global public opinion, build trust in our national policy, and build respect and understanding for American values and principals. The Shared Values Initiative of mini-documentaries, pamphlets and other materials showing Muslims leading successful, secure lives in America reached 288 million people in the Middle East, South Asia, and East Asia.

Mr. Chairman, I want to highlight another point we have been making since September 11:  fighting terror and promoting human rights are not opposite poles.

I believe supporting the growth of democracy and the respect of human rights around the world is one of our greatest weapons against terrorism.  As the National Security Strategy of the United States says: "America must stand for the non-negotiable demands of human dignity: the rule of law; limits on the absolute power of the state; free speech; freedom of worship; equal justice; respect for women; religious and ethnic tolerance; and respect for private property."

Since September 11, we have increased our global engagement on building democracy and protecting human rights. Here is an example of how this all comes together: With your support, in Colombia the United States trained and equipped a counterdrug brigade.  This unit is human rights vetted and received U.S. human rights training.  There has not been a single credible human rights violation charged to this unit and it is considered the best unit in the Colombian military.  In fact, when I visit Colombia, human rights advocates always tell me that what is needed is more such U.S. training, not less, because our training means Colombia's military becomes more professional, effective and respectful of human rights and democracy.
   
The President's budget for fiscal year 2004 will provide the dollars we need to stay on the offense in the fight against terrorism.  With adequate resources, foreign affairs agencies can devote more attention to addressing fundamental challenges that make countries vulnerable to terrorist networks and their operations. 

  • We will have the dollars we need to focus greater attention and resources on weak states that can serve as refuge and staging grounds for terrorist organizations. 
  • We can do more in these countries and others to boost economic development, improve governance practices, and increase respect for human rights and the rule of law.  The President's budget includes a request for $1.3 billion to launch the Millennium Challenge Account, a new bilateral assistance program for developing countries that rule justly.  The President has also asked for $2 billion in FY04 to support HIV/AIDS care and prevention programs in the hardest hit countries, especially Africa and the Caribbean, with a goal to provide $15 billion in HIV/AIDS funding over the next five years.  The Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI), which was launched in December, has democracy promotion as one of its priorities and links these efforts to economic and education reforms.  These are all smart and necessary investments.

We thank you, Mr. Chairman, for helping the State Department, USAID, and other foreign affairs agencies get the resources we need to do our jobs, and do them well, for the sake of the American people.  From your consistent support we know that you understand the sacrifices -- and sometimes the ultimate sacrifice -- that the men and women of our diplomatic corps as well as their families make every day to protect America.


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