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Columns:

From the Secretary


 

 
 

We Must Use Our Influence and Power
For World Security and Stability

This column is being written during the final months of one century for publication in the next. So I begin with congratulations. If you are reading this, you have survived both Y2K and Third Millennium Eve.

The start of a new year, let alone a new millennium, should bring forth optimism in all but the sourest of souls. It is certainly exciting to me.

This January, we begin a new chapter in the story of American leadership. Our nation embarks upon the new century strong and respected in a world being transformed by globalization, democratization and integration.

Our challenge in the year 2000 will be to use our influence and power to guide these forces, while cementing our alliances and other key relationships, which serve as the basis for our own security and for stability around the world.

We will also strive for further progress toward a Middle East peace, stability in the Balkans, democratic gains in key countries such as Nigeria and Indonesia and greater international cooperation in countering the global threats of proliferation, terror, crime and disease.

These and other tasks may seem disparate, but each relates to our vision of a safer America within a world in which freedom, prosperity and peace are everywhere accessible. Our friends overseas should know they are part of that vision and that they help to make it real whenever they strike a blow against lawlessness, in support of political and economic openness or on behalf of basic human rights.

A challenge to our leadership both abroad and here at home is to demonstrate how all the pieces fit together, to help people understand the connections that exist in our global era.

For example, we must convince advocates of ballistic missile defense to understand the parallel importance of our security of arms control. We should urge supporters of human rights to appreciate the potential value of China's integration into the world economy. To those most concerned about terrorism, we should point out the stabilizing effects of sustainable development. And to those focused on American prosperity, we should stress the linkage between our well-being and the dynamism of economies around the world.

We also need to back our principles and prescriptions with resources. Here again, we must show how the big picture comes together.

In testimony before Congress and in talking to the public, we must make the case that when we invest in programs that provide alternatives to drug production or that curb terror, our streets are safer. When we devote resources to preventing conflict or building peace, our armed forces are less likely to face combat. When we contribute to initiatives that open markets or promote democracy, our businesses and workers find more opportunity. When we do our part to stop pollution or fight disease, we build for our children a healthier world.

The new year affords us the opportunity to tell our story again, and to tell it well: to our citizens and their elected representatives, so that American leadership is supported; to friends and potential adversaries overseas, so that American interests and intentions are clearly understood.

Because of the strength of our foreign policy team in Washington and on every continent, I am confident that we will succeed not only in telling our story, but also in authoring new pages of accomplishment to support democracy, prosperity and peace.

So let us celebrate the new year, the new century and the new millennium. But let us also understand that although the numbers on our calendars have changed, the need for a strong and successful American foreign policy has not.

Madeleine K. Albright


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