|Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright
Remarks at University of South Carolina
Columbia, South Carolina, February 19, 1998
As released by the Office of the Spokesman
U.S. Department of State
SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: Thank you for that introduction, and thank you to everybody that's been involved in Carolina Productions for sponsoring today. And I also want to thank the entire University community for the wonderful welcome I received. What a beautiful day, and what a gorgeous campus.
Most of all I want to thank you the students for being here. I really am sorry if I have made you miss any classes.
Perhaps because I am a former professor, I really look forward to the chance to talk with students and having a really good, open dialogue. It's my favorite activity and I'm really glad to be here.
I wanted to come here not only because of your beautiful, historic campus and your diverse student body, and not even a chance to get a USC sweatshirt. I did want to come because the University of South Carolina embodies what I believe, which is that it is vitally important to educate young people for your lives, which will be durable lives. In the years ahead your generation will compete in a global market place and travel further and more often than any other group of people in America's history. And you are going to be living in an era that is entirely different, with different challenges, in ways that countries have to work together, people have to work together and in an era where no nation can act alone, where we're all interdependent.
This campus leads the field in international business education; it has a top-flight foreign language program. In fact, I was just greeted in Polish. Its international studies in general are outstanding. Your college of criminal justice has received a grant from the State Department to provide hands-on training to the Moscow, Russia police. I'm looking forward -- I hope we're going to talk about that.
Anyone who graduates from here will understand that what happens in Beijing and Baghdad or Jakarta or Johannesburg today may affect us all tomorrow, whether here in Columbia or across America.
When I was your age, and since you heard all my bio here, that was quite a while ago -- (laughter) -- the world really looked very different. The whole map looked different. The whole effect of how America acted was different. When I studied, it was, believe it or not -- I didn't think so at the time -- but much simpler than when you are doing your political science and history and various current affairs studies. The world was divided into two blocks. It was pretty dangerous; but the fact is that the zero sum game between the good guys and the bad guys was one that was fairly simple to understand. I think we are now in a totally different era, and you have to adjust to it.
The possibilities are greater and the challenges are deeper and more exciting. I can't say I envy anybody because I love my job; but I do think that you have opportunities in shaping the future of America and the world in a way that no other generation has. And you will understand better than others the importance of American leadership.
I was Ambassador to the United Nations five years ago, and when I got there, I tried to figure out what it was all about in terms of some kind of a conceptual system. I know that those of you that have professors that say, "Where is the conceptual construct to what you have just written?" and I was trying to sort out what it was that I was seeing. I arrived and there were 183 countries there at the time; there are now 185. I tried to sort out what I was seeing.
At that time, I thought a very good explanation for what was going on was that there really were four distinct national groups. The first group was the largest one and was composed of countries that basically believed in a functioning international system where the beneficiaries of various rules and regimes, treaties, conventions that prescribe behavior and kind of set the rules of the game. Now, we don't agree necessarily with all the forms of government or all the policies of the countries in that first group, but it clearly is a group that manages the world's system.
The second group is composed of societies in transition; and there are an awful lot of those as a result of the end of the Cold War -- countries that want very much to be a part of the first group, but don't yet have the structures and the institutions to fully participate in it.
The third group are what we call the rogue states. Those are countries that not only do not feel that the system works for them, but on the contrary, are trying to do everything to undermine it.
The fourth group are basically the states that are the basket cases. They are the ones that have no structure; that are literally and figuratively eating their seed grain, and that need the support of the international system.
Now, our challenge -- the challenge for American foreign policy -- is to strengthen the first group. And the kind of thing, for instance, that we're doing of NATO enlargement -- building on our societies, trying to develop more partnerships within that group -- is a good example of how to work within that group.
Our second challenge is to reach out to those struggling to build democracy and emerge from poverty and recover from conflict. That is the New Independent States and Bosnia and Central Africa.
The third is to protect ourselves from those who run roughshod over the ranks of others. And the fourth group, let me say, is to try to help those countries that are basket cases to bring themselves out of the horrors there. So this is where we come to Iraq.
Iraq is clearly and identifiably one of the chief rogue states. I know that people wonder what it is that we find so objectionable in what is going on in Iraq. I think that you just need to look at the record of the last seven or eight years, and I think you will see that Saddam Hussein is a particularly horrific dictator. He has used chemical weapons not only against his neighbors, but against his people ten times in the last ten years; first against Iran, seven times, and three times against his own people.
He has started two wars. He has invaded a country next door. He is a repeat offender, and he is the kind of a rogue state leader that is a threat not only to his neighborhood, but because he has possessed and would like to possess more weapons of mass destruction, he is a threat to our national security.
Now, we know from our own experience that if someone cheats, whether it's in a class or shoplifts or commits any kind of a crime, if he or she is allowed to get away with it, then that person will try again. And given the stakes, especially with weapons of mass destruction, the world cannot afford to let Saddam try again. That's why what we are doing is so important.
I think all of you probably know -- and if not, we can talk about it in the questions -- is how the United Nations inspection system was set up. It came as a result of the war, and Saddam Hussein's people signed a cease-fire agreement with "Stormin'" Norman Schwarzkopf. In that agreement, they committed themselves to getting rid of their weapons of mass destruction within 15 days. They didn't do it. A United Nations inspection system, UNSCOM, was set up; and their job is to be the eyes and ears of the world, to make sure that he does get rid of those weapons of mass destruction.
And UNSCOM has, in fact, managed to get rid of more weapons of mass destruction than were disposed of or destroyed during the Gulf War itself. They have been doing a very good job. They are, in fact, doing such a good job, that as they approach these "sensitive sites" of Saddam Hussein, he kicked them out. I think that's the best clue of all that they were about to get near the crown jewels. So I think it is essential that the international community continue its insistence that Saddam Hussein live up to his obligations and allow unfettered, unconditional access to those sites by the inspectors who are professionals. They are not diplomats; I am now a diplomat -- or I try to be, occasionally. But I couldn't do the job. This is a job that has to be done by people that are experts in the chemical, biological and nuclear issues that know what they're looking for. So that is all that we are asking.
Now, we want -- and I would really like to repeat this, because I know that there are people who don't want us to go to war. I don't want to go to war. I was not selected for this job in order to go to war. I was selected for this job because I want America to protect its national security interests in every conceivable way and mostly in peaceful ways. We want a diplomatic solution.
But as far as I'm concerned, the worst solution is a phony solution. And if we were to get a phony UNSCOM, one that would blind or had its hands tied behind its back or couldn't hear, that is the worst of all. It's like going to a doctor and having the doctor tell you that you have a clean bill of health when actually you're very sick. That is what's going on here, and we need to have a professional UNSCOM. The Secretary General of the United Nations is on his way to Baghdad now. We have all been talking to him; I've talked to him; the President has talked to him. Everybody has been having long discussions with him, as have other members of the Permanent 5 of the Security Council.
We wish him well on his trip, and we know that what he is going to try to do is to do what the United Nations ordered in the first place, which is unfettered, unconditional access to these special sites. We are looking forward to his return, and then we'll see what happens.
What I think, especially, again, those of you that have been studying history and political science, you've all studied various examples of how force and diplomacy work together in various times. I hope very much this will end up as one of those examples where diplomacy worked because the threat of the use of force was out there, a perfect balance between the threat of the use of force and effective diplomacy.
That is what our forces are doing out there; they are prepared to use force. You never threaten to use force unless you're prepared to use it. But the best solution here would be if it was evident, very evident that we were all united, that the international community was going to make clear to him that sticking by agreements is the way to go, and that our force is there to underline that message strongly. And this is a very tough and interesting time, and I hope very much that we'll have a chance specifically to discuss that and other issues.
I don't want to leave you with the impression that our foreign policy centers on Iraq. We are doing an awful lot of things. Within the past year, I have been to every continent except Antarctica. America has interests everywhere, and America is respected everywhere. Because we stand tall, we can see further than any other nation. We have the ability and the power and most of all the values in order to be a leader. I'm very proud to represent the United States and be a diplomat. And as I look around, I'd be happy to do a little recruitment here, and hope that those of you that are interested in foreign policy will actually think about representing the United States in our Foreign Service. It is a great life, endlessly fascinating, the opportunities are wonderful, and you'll never, ever be bored.
So let me close by inviting you all up to take a test (Laughter.) and think about the Foreign Service as a career, and think that you may well make a difference as you represent the United States.
The main thing that I tell you, and I would tell you even if I weren't here as Secretary of State, is not to complain about what's going on in the world. It's fascinating, it's challenging and I look forward to listening to your questions and trying to answer them. I really feel good about being on a university campus today.
OK. I am ready. Are you?
QUESTION: Hi. It's really great to see you today, and I hope you really like your stay at USC for the short time that you have it. I basically wanted to ask you what it felt like to be a woman when you dealt with nations that do not have the same kind of policy towards equal rights that we have? I mean, what happens when you deal with Arab nations, and they have a policy of keeping women as secondary citizens. How do you feel, and how do you deal with that when you directly deal with men?
SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: Thanks for asking that, because it's a really issue. Before I was named, there were a lot of people who said "It's hopeless. You can't have a woman, especially because of countries that don't respect women's rights." And I have found, interestingly enough, that some of my very best encounters and honest conversations have been in the Gulf. I have just comet back; I went there last year and I had my first meeting with the Gulf Cooperation Council states. These are obviously all Arab countries, and they are all sitting there and we had a long meeting and we had been talking about various issues in the Middle East and throughout the world, and nothing was said. So at the end of it, I said, you all have been very gracious to me and very polite and we've had a really good meeting. You may notice that I don't exactly look like my predecessors, and this has been great. Next time we'll talk about women's rights.
And what was very interesting was one of the Foreign Ministers there said, yes, I welcome that; I have daughters, and I'll just make you a bet that it takes our country shorter than 200 years to have a woman Secretary of State.
QUESTION: Is there an anti-Saddam faction in Iraq and would the U.S. fund such a group in order to topple Saddam's regime?
SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: Let me say that one of the questions that is being asked is whether there isn't something more that can be done within the opposition to Saddam. We have been working with a variety of opposition groups and expect to continue to do so. But it is a complex problem because the opposition groups are very diverse. They actually thought that they would receive some assistance from the United States during the Gulf War, and they didn't get it.
We want to examine how we can work with them effectively. But I think the important thing -- and it's a hard thing to say -- is our goal in this particular segment of time is not to topple Saddam Hussein. We are looking forward to dealing with a post-Saddam regime. And just the way that it was not the goal of the Bush Administration to topple Saddam during the Gulf War -- their goal for that operation was to get him out of Kuwait -- we think that we need to state very specifically what we're trying to do at this point and not pretend that we're trying to get him, because there is no magic way to do that. That is a very complicated issue. It is hard to find him, and I don't think we should promise what we can't do.
But we are trying to find effective ways to work with the opposition groups.
QUESTION: My question is somewhat related. Accept for the moment your classification of Iraq as a rogue state and accept for the moment the viability of using force with diplomacy. What I question is how this will actually aid US long-term goals? Specifically what I mean is, suppose we use force and it results in either of two outcomes. One is replacing the Saddam Hussein regime; the other one is sort of a status quo antebellum. Either way, I don't see how US force aids in a long-term goal; because in a status quo antebellum, we can expect this to happen again in two, three, four, five years. If we replace the regime, then what we have is a situation that you just described. So what I'd like to know is, what are US long-term goals, and how do you plan to address this often?
SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: Well, first of all, I think none of us would deny that this is a very complicated issue. The questions that you all have raised and will raise, I can assure you, we have all raised with each other. If there were a simple solution, I think it would have been taken care of some time ago.
We have several goals in the world. One -- and we can narrow them down -- the greatest goal that we have is obviously to protect the security of the American land mass, our people and our way of life. As we look out at the threats of the 21st Century to those very large goals which are the goals of any country's foreign policy, we see that the spread of weapons of mass destruction is probably the most serious threat to us -- proliferation of nuclear weapons, as well as the spread of chemical and biological weapons. It's not an easy threat to deal with because we all know how easy it is for these kinds of weapons to get around, hard to control. We've tried different regimes and we're going to continue to do that. But if we do not make a determined stand against a dictator who has actually used these weapons and make clear how unacceptable it is, then we lose on that particular goal; and while we may not accomplish everything at one time, it is a long-term goal that we're going to be practicing in a variety of places.
As far as the Middle East is concerned, stability in the Middle East is one of the vital national security interests of the United States for a variety of reasons. It's an area that is very important to us strategically for its geographical position as well as its resource base, and we have a lot of very good friends there. So it is very important to us that that region remain stable. To have a dictator in the middle of that nation who is ready to attack his neighbors and has invaded one is also not good for US national interests.
So our policy -- and it's actually worked for the last seven years -- is to contain Saddam Hussein. This goes back to the earlier question. Our goal is not to topple him, it's to contain him, keep him in a box. And the truth is, his box is getting smaller. The no-fly zones are encroaching him, and the no-drive zones. So we have succeeded in that, and what we want to do is to make sure that we can continue to do that.
Now, we would -- and I will repeat this probably at every question -- we would like to solve this diplomatically. If we have to use force, then the force designed will be a substantial strike that will affect his weapons and substantially diminish his weapons of mass destruction threat and his ability to threaten his neighbors. If it is not taken care of, if it if looks as though he is reconstituting those weapons, we reserve the right to strike again.
Now, if he were smart, he would accept an inspection regime because the inspectors are his only key to getting out of the sanctions box. If they don't give him a clean bill of health, there will be sanctions on him. So while this may not be an aesthetically pleasing solution, it is strategically sufficient for us, that we need to contain him in his box.
QUESTION: You mentioned earlier that Saddam Hussein used some chemical weapons against his own people ten years ago. I am sure you know it was only against the Kurds, who are not truly considered as part of the Iraqi people. So, two questions: Why has it taken such a long time to realize Saddam Hussein is such a horrible, bloodthirsty monster, and what can the Kurds expect from the United States against Iraq and against Turkey, a close ally of the United States?
SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: Well, first of all, I'm glad I'm not a Kurd to have heard what you said -- "only the Kurds." I think that the Kurds are a part of Iraq, and I think that there are questions as to how happy the are to be a part of Iraq. But nevertheless, I think that they are a part of Iraq he has used weapons of mass destruction against them.
I tell you, I think that the world made a big mistake in the 1980s in terms of the way that they saw Saddam Hussein. There was, as you well know, kind of a balance set up between Iraq and Iran, and they were fighting each other and people thought it was a fairly cynical approach. I was a professor then, and I said a lot of things about that war. I think that it really created an awful lot of enmity and instability in that region.
But Saddam Hussein has lied to everybody around. I have just been reading again the run-up to the Gulf war. Every leader would say, you can trust Saddam Hussein, he won't go in there. President Mubarak told the Bush Administration just a few days before the invasion of Kuwait that it would not happen. So I think people have misunderstood Saddam Hussein, wanted to trust him. I don't know why the record was such. But there is no question about what he's been like from 1990 on.
I think it is our job, because we are the United States, because we do have worldwide responsibilities. And while we would like very much to have other countries join us -- and they are joining us; we have a much larger coalition than seems to have penetrated the knowledge that we have a lot of countries, a couple of dozen countries that in some form or another are helping us on this. I think there is general recognition that Saddam Hussein is a horrific dictator.
QUESTION: Madame Secretary, how are you doing?
SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: Fine.
QUESTION: It's great to have you here, once again, on behalf of student government, and also resident press in college. I just have a question. I get kind of long-winded, so I have to write it down. Yesterday at Ohio State University a gentleman raised the issue of consistent application of foreign policy -- rather, inconsistent application of foreign policy. My question, Madame Secretary, what are we , rather the leadership of this nation, doing to control the production of weapons of mass destruction, seeing as how we are willing to take on such a demanding role and possible war with Iraq, for as you say we stand so tall and see so much further?
SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: Well, I think that the United States has been a leader in getting treaties that limit weapons of mass destruction -- the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. We have the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty in front of the Senate now. We had the Chemical Weapons Convention that we did last year. The President has asked for a biological convention. So we all -- if you go back to what I said initially about the first group of countries operating within a set of rules, we are the prime rule-maker and rule-obeyer. And we are doing everything we can to control weapons of mass destruction, whichever ones they are.
QUESTION: My question is this, is there a universal benchmark by which you gauge US response to the crises and violations worldwide in your daily job? And if so, how would you describe it?
SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: What do you mean, a universal benchmark? Explain a bit.
QUESTION: I mean, what do you have in your mind when you say, how are we going to respond to this? Is there a list of what qualifies as US military response to a situation?
SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: Well, first of all, let me say that there are various problems in various parts of the world at all times that need to be managed. One of the questions that maybe we can get back to -- and I thought the inconsistency question was going to be something else, which, you know, why do we treat one country one way and another some other way? A lot of that has to do with what the country is doing; whether it actually threatens our national security, or whether it's just something that we believe is not an appropriate way for a country to behave.
I think we decide that we use force or believe that it is appropriate to use force when we actually see a threat to our national security; or when an application of force can help resolve an issue in a more rapid way than endless fighting. For instance, take Bosnia, where there had been an awful lot of fighting between the various factions, where when the United States finally decided to take definitive action and do bombing, which was actually -- I hate to say this, because it sounds -- there's nothing ever pin-pricky about bombing -- but nevertheless, was fairly limited bombing, it changed the whole situation. So it is one of the issues that you consider very carefully. Any President does not decide to use force lightly because one, it is obviously very damaging; and two, if you use it a lot, there is no value in it.
I know when I taught, I thought a lot about what the tools of foreign policy are. And the truth is, there are not an awful lot of tools to have in foreign policy. You have diplomacy; you have economic tools -- either trade, aid or sanctions -- and you have the use of force. If you subdivide it, you have the threat of the use of force and the actual use of force. So you have to be very careful in terms of how you decide what to use when and in what combination.
But there is no universal. I mean, part of the thing that we get paid these big bucks for is in order to try to make those decisions.
QUESTION: Good morning. My husband is currently stationed with one of the submarines supporting our troops in the Persian Gulf. I'd like to know, if and when we have to strike, how will we guarantee that the gentlemen and ladies who are there serving our country will be brought home and seen as heroes rather than warmongers or ridiculed for doing their sole job?
SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: I think that is a very important question. I have to tell you that in my time either as Ambassador or now as Secretary of State, I have bonded with the American military. I think that they are the finest force in the world of dedicated people who are serving their country in a magnificent way. I am very proud to serve by the side of the US military.
And I think the thing that I've found so interesting about them -- and I've spent a lot of time on bases here, as well as abroad. I always try to meet with our military, and also again, when I was Ambassador to the UN, to go to various peacekeeping missions; and Americans have served on that. I have found the military a very interesting blend; and that is, that obviously it's the toughest fighting force in the world. But it also is one composed of young people who want to do the right thing. For instance, there is some military now in Haiti. When I was there three or four months ago, they were there helping to rebuild a school. In Bosnia, where I was over Christmas, they are there trying to provide a secure environment for the people as they rebuild their lives in Bosnia. So they're amazing. I think that if we do use force, they are the heroes, and they deserve a hero's welcome. I think Americans have learned their lesson about how to treat the military. I think we should all be proud of the men and women in uniform.
QUESTION: I have two questions I want to pose to you. I want to move away from Iraq for a second, and get on to Iran. As you know, President Khatemi, if I've pronounced his name right, has sort of made an open dialogue towards the US. I just wanted to know what you feel about that? Is it possible for the US and Iran to have a sort of open dialogue for a change?
And also, what's the reason the US hasn't paid its dues to the UN?
SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: You didn't really ask that did you? (Laughter) That was not a set-up, for the media in the back.
Let me do both these questions. First of all, on Iran, I think that we were all intrigued -- the President actually said that after President Khatemi's election -- and have been listening very carefully to the kinds of things that he had said.
President Clinton also does a message at the end of Ramadan every year; and this year there was a paragraph in it specifically directed towards Iran. As you probably know, President Khatemi in his speech had paid tribute to American history and some of our historical figures. So President Clinton talked about the history of Iran and our respect for the Iranian people. I think he really showed that we were willing to listen.
Now, there are some exchanges going on; in fact, I think the wrestling team is there right now. But we are looking into the potential of exchanges. But ultimately, there has to be government-to-government dialogue, because that's the way that business is done. And if we have government-to-government dialogue, we have said that we need to talk about three major problems in our relationship. One is their support for terrorism; the second is their lack of support for the Middle East peace process; and the third is their desire to acquire weapons of mass destruction.
We believe that on that basis, there can be a government-to-government dialogue. But we're obviously observing very closely. It's very interesting. President Khatemi has an interesting role within his own system. And everybody is waiting. But so far, I have to tell you, it's been words and not a lot of action; so we're looking at it.
Now, the UN is a different issue. I have spent a great deal of time trying to get our Congress to fulfill President Clinton's budget, which would pay back our arrears to the United Nations. We believe it's essential because we are not a country that doesn't -- these are not bills, actually, these are dues. It's like being a member of a club and then deciding you're just not going to pay your dues. While the United States does make a lot of contributions to the UN, we have a huge arrears problem of over $1 billion, and it undercuts our position.
Imagine how it feels to go and say, we need the UN for dealing with Saddam Hussein; and they say, well, we do need the UN, but you're not helping to pay for it. The UN does need reforming. I have kidded a lot about it, but it's true that during its 50-year life, the bureaucracy grew to elephantine proportions, and now we're asking the elephant to do gymnastics. So they need to restructure themselves.
But the reason that we haven't paid -- and this gets very complicated, and those of you that follow Washington executive legislative policies, I hope you all study this very carefully. What has happened is that there is a very important issue to a lot of people, and it has to do with family planning and choice -- pro-choice versus pro-life. There is language that came out of a population conference in Mexico City that limits not federal taxpayer money, but limits taxpayer money to organizations that use their own money for helping in family planning and giving advice to women on choice and lobbying or going to conferences and talking about choice versus pro-life. So it is a very important issue.
I happen to have one view, and I'm sure that in this audience there are those of you that are on both sides of this issue. It needs to be debated; it is a key issue. But it should not be attached to a piece of national security legislation. Paying our dues to the UN is such a piece of legislation. Now, added to that, there is also the funding for the International Monetary Fund. Maybe we'll get around to talking about the Asian financial crisis, but you all know how important the International Monetary Fund is to dealing with the Asian financial crisis, which may very well affect in some form or another -- and it probably will -- the US economy.
So this issue that has nothing to do with the UN or the IMF is holding it up. And what I just called for -- I was up testifying last week -- is let's vote on it; let's vote on this Mexico City language -- up or down, that's the American way -- send it to the President; let's do it. But let's not tie up the legislation. And thank you very much for asking the question, and we didn't plan this
QUESTION: Hi, Madame Secretary. First of all, I'd like to say I'm taking the Foreign Service exam at the end of this month so maybe we could work something out.
My question is, yesterday Secretary Cohen spent a lot of time talking about the evils Saddam Hussein. And I don't think there's anybody who can deny that Saddam Hussein is evil, and I don't think he's well-liked anywhere -- except in Palestine. The Palestinians have traditionally been supporters of Saddam Hussein, during the Gulf War, especially.
How does the Palestinian support of Saddam affect the Middle East peace process? And can the United States remain a neutral player in that peace process, when you have one side who is obviously supporting something that we just cannot condone?
SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: Well, first of all, let me say that I don't think you can make a blanket statement like that about the Palestinian people. What is also interesting is in '91, King Hussein of Jordan supported Saddam, and he is not doing that this time. In fact, I had a discussion with him about it, and he believes that something needs to be done in terms of living up to the Security Council resolutions. Chairman Arafat also has made very clear that need to fulfill Security Council resolutions. He sent that message. So I think you can't make a blanket statement like that.
The Middle East peace process is one of my other time-consuming activities. There is no question that it is something that needs to be resolved. But it's very important that the United States keep these two issues separated. I think that we have to make very clear that we have to deal with the Middle East peace process in which we are the honest broker, the country that tries to get both the Palestinians and the Israelis to work together to rebuild some of the confidence that existed at the beginning of the Oslo process. At the same time, we have to deal with the threat from Saddam Hussein.
QUESTION: Good afternoon, Madame Secretary. Truth in advertising, I fought in Desert Storm, and I also served as part of the humanitarian relief operation during the Shiite rebellion in the south of Iraq. So I've had personal exposure to what Saddam Hussein did to his people and what his regime is capable of.
My question is this, as this crisis builds, one gets the impression that there are bigger things at stake than Iraq, specifically; and that is, the ability of the international community to punish bad behavior and to enforce compliance with international agreements. Is it true that this is potentially a turning point for American leadership or for international relations, depending on how this crisis plays out?
SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: Well, first of all, thank you for serving. I think we're all grateful to you. Let me say that I think that it is -- I don't know whether a turning point, but it clearly is a very, very important time when we want to see how much other countries back their votes in the Security Council with their actions.
What I keep saying is, we didn't make this problem up; this is not a US made-up problem. This is a Saddam created problem. What the US is doing is making sure the Security Council mandates are properly carried out. Interestingly enough, there is no question in anyone's mind -- and I've talked to practically every Foreign Minister on the Security Council, in fact, I have -- and everybody believes that he needs to obey those Security Council resolutions. So they need to make their voices heard, and they are. I think there are some tactical differences, but, I think, on the whole, everybody is agreed.
I hope this turns out right, but let me say the following. Even if it is an important turning point, the United States can never turn its back on the international system or the rules; because without us, they don't exist, and with us, we are the organizing principal. If we stick by the rules and carry out the rules, the others can see that that is the way to go. Now, we cannot do it alone. I think you, having been in the military, know that we need to share the burden and others need to share the burden with us.
In the 21st Century you are all going to inherit, we, as the sole superpower, want to have partners. We are more effective with partners; they are more effective with us. So while this may be a very important time, it cannot be one that will make us turn inward because if we turn inward, your lives are going to be poorer in every single way. Looking around this audience and understanding how many nationalities are here, I think we know that we thrive in the world in which all nations participated.
I'm having so much fun. Thank you all very much; you've been a wonderful audience.
[End of Document]
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