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U.S. Department of State
96/10/25 Address at West Point, New York
Office of the Spokesman
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Office of the Spokesman
(West Point, New, York)
As Prepared for Delivery October 25, 1996
U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE WARREN CHRISTOPHER
FORCE, DIPLOMACY AND THE RESOURCES WE NEED FOR AMERICAN LEADERSHIP
West Point, New York
October 25, 1996
Good morning. I am delighted to be here today. For my visit,
General Christman and I carefully chose this time of year when the woods
are turning red and yellow. And indeed, it was just beautiful as I flew
up the Hudson this morning. Although I anticipated the autumn colors, I
could hardly expect that Army would be 6 and 0, for the first time in 45
years. Congratulations to the team. Congratulations to their fans.
Today, I want to talk with you about combining diplomacy and force
to advance America's interests and ideals. There could be few more
appropriate places for such a discussion than West Point, with its
tradition of eminent soldier-diplomats. This is a tradition to which
your new Superintendent, General Christman, certainly belongs.
In his two years as my military adviser, General Christman's
counsel was superb -- especially on the many important trips we took
together. As a Vietnam veteran, he contributed greatly to the success
of my trip to normalize relations with Hanoi last year. Dan also
succeeded in bringing together for the first time high-ranking general
officers from Israel and Syria -- even though the two countries remain
technically at war.
Dan's assignment to West Point seems an ideal opportunity to
return to the scene of his early achievements -- he graduated first in
the class of 1965. I understand he has already earned a nickname for
himself up here -- "Chief Rabble Rouser." Given how good he was at
rousing the troops wherever we went together, I hope that he -- and you
-- will give a demonstration right here and now.
West Point is very fortunate to have Dan at this moment in
history, when so much has changed from the world we knew during nearly
half a century of Cold War. Your instructors never imagined ten years
ago that their students would be going on joint patrols with Russian
soldiers in Bosnia, or exercising with Baltic troops on the bayous of
But in the midst of these changes, the fundamentals have stayed
the same. American leadership and strength are just as critical to our
nation's security and prosperity now as they were 50 years ago.
Consider where we might be today if we had failed to lead over the
last four years. Iraqi troops would be back in Kuwait. There
would be not just one but four nuclear states on the territory of the
former Soviet Union. North Korea would be well on the way to possessing
nuclear weapons. War would still rage in Bosnia. Dictators would still
rule Haiti. And there would be no framework for peace in the Middle
Where America is called upon to lead, often it is you who will be
on the front lines. That is why President Clinton, with bipartisan
support in Congress, has made sure that the United States has the best-
trained, best-equipped and most ready forces in the world. And today,
our military might is matched by the strength of our economy and by the
powerful attraction of our ideals. Together with our diplomacy, they
allow us to exercise our global leadership and to protect our interests.
In today's world, when American interests are more global than
ever, our national security requires the wise use of force and diplomacy
together. Diplomacy that is not backed by the credible threat or use of
force can be hollow -- and ultimately dangerous. But if we do not use
diplomacy to promote our vital interests, we will surely find ourselves
defending them on the battlefield. Today, in more places and more
circumstances than ever before, we must get the balance right. To do
the job properly, we must field and fund a world-class military. But we
must also field and fund world-class diplomacy.
The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, General Shalikashvili,
understands well that defense and diplomacy must work hand in hand. As
he says, "the walls have come down between our two institutions...the
days when the military viewed diplomats as the striped pants set...are
long gone." He has personally put that insight into action in recent
missions like Operation Restore Democracy in Haiti and IFOR in Bosnia.
The lesson of our time is that we must combine force and diplomacy
when our important interests are at stake. We are working together
across a broad spectrum of circumstances. Let me discuss several of
them today: defending against aggression, deterring potential
adversaries and securing peace in regions of vital interest.
It is the fundamental responsibility of the President to defend
against attacks on our nation, our people, our allies and our vital
interests. The military role is critical -- but our diplomacy is also
indispensable. There is probably no better example than Desert Storm,
when our diplomacy built a coalition to turn back Iraq's invasion of
Kuwait. Since then, we have maintained strong partnerships with our
friends in the Gulf. And we have kept robust forces available. As a
result, we were ready when Saddam Hussein renewed his threats against
Kuwait in 1994. Within hours, with the cooperation of our Gulf
partners, the President was able to send Army tank units to the border
and order an aircraft carrier group to the region, together with over
300 Air Force planes. Our resolve forced Saddam to stop in his tracks
and pull back. Today in Iraq, we maintain our strategy of troop
deployments, an expanded no-fly zone, and a tough sanctions regime.
There is no doubt that we will use force when we must. But our
military can also provide deterrence to make it less likely that our
service men and women will be sent into battle.
On the Korean Peninsula, our soldiers and diplomats together
practice a textbook example of deterrence. Some 37,000 American troops
still stand watch on the last fault line of the Cold War. There they
deter an attack from the North. Our strong alliance with Seoul has
allowed our two countries to stand shoulder-to-shoulder against
In recent years, North Korea has raised the stakes with its
pursuit of nuclear weapons. We reinforced our troops and pursued tough
but painstaking diplomacy to halt and reverse North Korea's nuclear
program. Negotiations have brought important progress. But we have
left no doubt that we are prepared to respond militarily in defense of
our interests in this critical region.
In the Taiwan Strait, the timely combination of our military
presence and our diplomacy helped to ensure the stability of the whole
region at a moment of great tension last March. We demonstrated our
resolve by sending two carrier groups into the waters around Taiwan.
Diplomatically, we reiterated our adherence to the three communiques
that have defined our long-standing China policy. And we pressed both
sides to reduce tensions and resume their dialogue.
The combination of force and diplomacy is also essential to deal
with the complex challenges of securing peace in many regions of vital
interest to the United States.
In Bosnia, it took both American diplomatic initiative and
intensive NATO airstrikes in the summer of 1995 to end four years of war
that threatened the stability of Europe. Without overwhelming air
power, we could not have brought the Serbs to the negotiating table.
But without a dedicated negotiating team of both diplomats and soldiers,
we could not have produced the Dayton Agreement.
We did this through the unprecedented involvement of the military
members of our negotiating team, led by General Wes Clark -- who by the
way also was first in his class here in 1966. Their pivotal role in
Dayton last fall ensured that IFOR's mission would be well-defined and
appropriately limited -- and that our soldiers would have the authority,
and the rules of engagement, they needed to do their job. And let me
also say that our 20,000 IFOR troops, led by another West Pointer,
General William Nash, has performed superbly.
Only IFOR could create the secure environment in which a lasting
peace can be built. But only civilians can rebuild a civil society in
Bosnia. That is why our diplomatic efforts have emphasized elections,
multi-ethnic institutions, and economic reconstruction.
Haiti was another example of careful advance cooperation to ensure
that the civilian and military parts of the operation would work
effectively together. Our troops gave Haitians the security they needed
to hold free and fair elections resulting in the first peaceful,
democratic transfer of power in Haiti's history. And our diplomats
assembled the coalition we needed to convince Haiti's dictators to stand
aside -- allowing U.S. troops to come in peace and leave on time. Now
we are working with the people of Haiti and the international community
to support economic reconstruction and help build a strong future for
But, of course, we will serve the American people best of all if
we can prevent the conflicts and emergencies that call for a military
response. As Secretary of State, it is my responsibility to marshal our
resources to do just that. Secretary Perry calls our diplomacy our
first line of defense. If we hold that line around the world, we are
much less likely to have to send you and the troops you will command
into harm's way.
Nowhere does the United States have more at stake than in Europe,
where five million Americans were sent to fight this century. After
World War II, we created NATO -- perhaps the most successful example of
military-diplomatic cooperation the world has ever seen. Today, NATO
plays a central role in overcoming Europe's historic divisions and
laying the foundations for a lasting peace. Now we are adapting and
expanding the alliance -- NATO should take in its first post-Cold War
new members by 1999. They will be ready, both politically and
militarily, "to share the risks and responsibilities of freedom," as
President Clinton said on Tuesday. And as we consolidate the political
gains of Europe's new democracies, we are making it less likely that we
will ever again have to send American troops to fight a war or to keep
the peace on the borderlands of central and eastern Europe. And we are
working with all the nations of Europe, including Russia, to build an
undivided and peaceful continent.
In Asia, President Clinton has renewed our commitment to remain a
Pacific power with 100,000 forward-deployed troops. Alongside the
deterrence our military presence provides, our diplomacy is building the
cooperation that will keep the region stable. We have reinforced our
core alliances with Japan, Korea, Australia, Thailand, and the
Philippines, and we have promoted a new structure for regional security
cooperation as well as dialogues among former adversaries.
In Africa, we are building a broad strategy to prevent the
violence that threatens the future of many emerging democracies. Our
diplomacy is helping to rebuild civil society in countries like
Mozambique and to avert new conflicts. We are also prepared to help
Africans respond to African crises. That is why we are working with our
partners in Africa and Europe to create an African Crisis Response
Force. African nations would provide the troops for such a force. The
United States and other nations would make a substantial contribution of
equipment, training and logistical support -- to help Africans build
Here at West Point, I doubt that I need to convince you of the
need for this kind of diplomacy. You know the world is now more
interdependent than ever, that the line between domestic and foreign
policy has been erased, and that our security and economic interests are
inseparable. The logic of these changes is that America must be more
engaged in the world, not less.
Especially because you are future officers, you have a keen
interest in a foreign policy that helps us avert costly conflict and
crisis. It may sound like a paradox, but the history of this century
teaches us that as America's engagement around the world increases, the
likelihood we will be drawn into conflict decreases. It is when we seek
to escape the world's problems that we pay the greatest price.
Americans understand we need a strong military whose requirements
are strongly supported. Because American diplomacy is also vital, I
believe the national interest requires that we provide sufficient
funding for both. Only by doing so will we be able to maintain and
enhance our diplomatic readiness.
Just as military readiness requires maintaining forces and bases
around the world, so diplomatic readiness requires keeping embassies
open and trained personnel posted around the world.
Diplomatic readiness means maintaining constructive relations with
the great powers. For example, we need a strong presence in Russia to
manage relations with that country as it goes through a momentous
transition. A presence in each of the Newly Independent States of the
former Soviet Union is also decisively important.
Diplomatic readiness means reaping benefits for our own security
and prosperity by playing a central role in international organizations.
Our funding for the International Atomic Energy Agency, for example,
supports inspections that help control the nuclear programs of such
countries as North Korea and Iraq.
Diplomatic readiness means supporting American business overseas,
so we can break down barriers to American exports in countries like
Japan and Brazil. Business leaders often tell me how much they
appreciate our support -- and how they wish we had the resources to do
Diplomatic readiness means having adequate communications
facilities. In today's 24-hour, fast-paced world, we cannot make do
with information technology that is years out of date.
Diplomatic readiness also means providing targetted aid to
struggling democracies -- an investment in their future, and in ours.
Earlier this month in the West African country of Mali, I saw first-hand
how just a few hundred dollars of materials, and the labor of our Peace
Corps volunteers, are helping farmers defend their land against the
encroaching Sahara desert and build a better future for their families.
Today, our diplomacy is also essential to confront the new
transnational threats to our security, such as international crime, drug
trafficking, terrorism, proliferation and environmental damage. These
threats respect no borders. No nation -- and no army -- can defeat them
alone. Without diplomatic representation in almost every country of the
world, we could not have marshaled global support to renew the nuclear
Non-Proliferation Treaty -- or to adopt a Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.
Without law enforcement agents stationed around the world, we could not
track down criminals and drug dealers to make sure they stand trial in
the United States.
Simply put, we cannot sustain our diplomacy on the cheap -- unless
we want to shortchange the American people. But that is just what is
happening. Since 1984 our international affairs spending has fallen by
51 percent in real terms. Fifty-one percent. The total amount the
United States spends on international affairs now constitutes just 1.2
percent of the federal budget -- a tiny fraction of the amount we must
spend when foreign crises erupt into war.
I am constantly impressed by the ingenuity our people around the
world show in doing more with less. But there comes a time when less is
really just less. As President Clinton said last month, our
international affairs budget "is well below what we need to assure that
we can achieve our foreign policy objectives." This reflects the fact
that the President has consistently sought greater resources than the
Congress has provided.
We have long since cut through fat to muscle and bone. Since I
became Secretary of State, budgetary pressures have forced us to close
30 embassies and consulates. We cannot advance American interests by
lowering the American flag. Our global presence should be expanding,
not contracting. We must find a way to continue to provide vital
facilities and services to military attaches and personnel from other
government agencies. And we must be able to provide essential services
to American citizens.
In a world without dangers, these cuts in our diplomacy might be
comprehensible. But in the real world, the failure to maintain
diplomatic readiness will inevitably shift the burden to America's
military. The President has made clear that we will use force when we
must. But if we rely on our military strength alone, we will end up
using our military all the time. That would impose too high a cost in
lives and dollars.
I do not believe we can sustain our global leadership and protect
our interests with constantly contracting resources. We must do better.
Next January a new Congress will be sworn in. Whatever its composition
and whoever is elected President, it will be high time to face up to the
implications of the funding cuts of the last few years and the
requirements of future budgets. In the context of the need for deficit
reduction, I believe that we must renew our support for American
Our diplomacy and our military power must go hand-in-hand if our
great nation is to fulfill its potential. It is time for our nation to
commit itself to a new bipartisan consensus recognizing that diplomatic
readiness remains fundamental to our national security and that we must
-- and we will -- fulfill the responsibilities of leadership.
As President Clinton put it on Tuesday, "Wherever I go, whomever I
talk with, the message to me is the same: We believe in America. We
trust America. We want America to lead. And America must lead." With
a new generation of leaders like you, I am confident that, working
together, our military forces and our diplomats can meet that challenge
of leadership today -- and tomorrow.
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