|Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright
Remarks at University of Louisville
Louisville, Kentucky, October 27, 1997
As released by the Office of the Spokesman
U.S. Department of State
SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: Thank you very much. Thank you, Senator McConnell, for, really, that warm and wonderful introduction. And President Shumaker and Professor Webber, and good morning Louisville!
As Secretary of State, I am pleased to have a chance to discuss with you the goals of American foreign policy. As a former professor, I am delighted to be here at this great university on the eve of its bicentennial. And as Madeleine Albright, I am excited to be here in the heart of Kentucky Derby country.
Not many know that I am an avid fan of horse racing. I have a farm in West Virginia which isn't far from Charlestown Race Track. Charlestown will never be confused with Churchill Downs, but the sport's the same, the silks are colorful, the races are exciting, and whether you've just watched the Derby or a $3,000 claiming race, the sound of a betting ticket being torn up is just the same.
It is a coincidence, perhaps, that the most accomplished race horse in America this year is named Gentleman. Although my host here this morning probably can't move all that much faster than I can, he too is certainly both a thoroughbred and a gentleman.
I have known Senator McConnell for almost as long as he has been in Washington, but especially these past few years. We do not always see eye to eye; but when we disagree, we usually manage to do so agreeably. One thing is certain -- Senator McConnell is a vigorous fighter for Kentucky; but he also understands that as we look to the future, we cannot defend the interests of the Bluegrass State without being actively engaged in the affairs of the world.
This University, under President Shumaker and with its extension degree programs in Hong Kong, Athens, Cairo and San Salvador, is looking outward. So must we all. For when you, who are students of this university graduate, you will lead global lives. You will compete in a global workplace and do business in a global market. You will travel further and more often than any prior generation.
You will see advanced technology creating not only new wonders, but new dangers, as national borders become less and less important. You will find new opportunities in the fast-paced, high-skilled economy of the future, and do battle with the new global threats of terror, proliferation, pollution, infectious disease and international crime.
As the years go by, if you are like most Americans, you will not think of the United States as just another country. You will want America to be strong and respected. And you will want that strength and respect to continue throughout the new century - your century.
Considering all this, it should be clear the success or failure of American foreign policy is not only relevant to our lives, it will be a determining factor in the quality of our lives. That is why I am grateful, and I hope you are grateful, that Senator McConnell has done so much to maintain the bipartisan tradition of American leadership overseas. And it is why I would like to discuss with you this morning the three central goals of our foreign policy.
First, we are striving to build a set of institutions and relationships that will keep America safe and the world as peaceful as we can make it. Second, we are working to sustain our prosperity by creating an ever-expanding global economy in which American genius and productivity receive their due. And third, we are determined to keep our people free by promoting the principles and values upon which America's democracy and identity are based.
Today, as a result of American diplomatic and military leadership from Administrations of both parties, our citizens are safer than at any time in memory. Russian warheads no longer target our homes. The Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty has been made permanent. And a ban on nuclear explosions has been signed. With the support of both of Kentucky's Senators, America is leading the way in implementing a convention to ban chemical weapons from the face of the earth.
North Korea's dangerous nuclear weapons program has been frozen and will be dismantled. Saddam Hussein remains trapped in a strategic box, unable to threaten Iraq's neighbors, or us. We are engaged in a strategic dialogue with China, aimed at narrowing our differences with its government over human rights and other matters, and encouraging cooperation on issues that will affect our security and prosperity for decades to come. This dialogue will continue later this week when Chinese President Jiang Zemin meets President Clinton in Washington.
And in Europe, where America has fought two hot wars and one Cold War this century, we are making progress towards a continent that is wholly united, peaceful and free. And we are working with our NATO allies to adapt our great alliances to the challenges of a new century, and to invite as new members three of central Europe's strong, young democracies.
I believe--and I know Senator McConnell agrees--that this proposal to enlarge NATO is the right choice for Europe's future and the right choice for America. Some critics argue that NATO does not need to invite new members because no nation in Europe faces an immediate threat of attack. That is true. And the purpose of NATO enlargement is to keep it that way.
Enlarging NATO will make us safer by expanding the area of Europe where wars simply do not happen--thus reducing the chance that American troops will again be called across the Atlantic to fight. It isn't an accident that no nation has ever dared to attack a member of NATO in Europe or that we have never had to fire a shot to defend a NATO ally.
Moreover, the very prospect of enlargement has made us safer by giving the nations of central and eastern Europe an incentive to solve their own problems. To meet the terms of membership, aspiring countries have strengthened democratic institutions, resolved disputes with their neighbors, and made sure soldiers take orders from civilians, not the other way around. This, too, bodes well for Europe's future and our own.
It now falls to the Senate to decide whether this hopeful process of enlarging and adapting NATO should continue. I believe that the cause of freedom for which so many of our veterans fought, and the cause of security which all our children deserve, demands the answer be yes.
A second major goal of American foreign policy is to spur economic growth and to see that American companies, workers and farmers have a level playing field on which to compete. Here, we have had remarkable success. Since President Clinton took office, we have negotiated more than 230 agreements to increase beneficial trade. For our farmers, factory workers and firms, these agreements have opened new markets and created good new jobs. This matters to a state such as Kentucky, which is both an investment location of choice for some of the world's finest foreign companies and an export powerhouse.
In recent years, Kentucky has become a world leader in manufacturing cars, computers and electronic equipment. And ballplayers from more than three dozen countries demand and import the best Louisville Sluggers.
All told, Kentucky exported almost $6 billion in goods last year. The Louisville area alone exported more than $2 billion, an increase of almost 40% during the past four years.
But Kentucky business people know that these welcome trends will not continue automatically. Competition for the world's markets is fierce. Often, our firms go head-to-head with foreign competitors who receive direct help from their own governments. So let me assure you that, as long as I'm Secretary of State, our diplomats will strive for a global economic system that is increasingly open and fair. Our embassies will provide all appropriate help to American firms. Our negotiators will seek trade agreements that help create new American jobs. And I will personally make the point--as I do every time I travel overseas--that if other countries want to sell in our backyard, they had better allow America to do business in theirs.
But if we are to build new markets for Kentucky goods, and new opportunities for Kentucky's people, the United States has to remain a leader in shaping the global economy. That is why we have asked Congress to renew the President's traditional Fast Track trade negotiating authority.
Until it lapsed three years ago, Fast Track was a tool that Presidents of both parties had used for more than two decades to negotiate trade agreements that lowered tariffs and created new jobs. Without it, there is a grave risk that America will be left sitting on the sidelines while other countries negotiate free trade agreements with each other and leave us out.
Since 1992, for example, in Latin America and Asia alone, our competitors have negotiated more than 20 free trade pacts that exclude the United States. And unless Fast Track is restored, this trend will continue and gather steam.
I was very disturbed recently to read of a senior European official boasting that in expanding its trade with Latin America, Europe is "stomping all over America's backyard." That is unacceptable, but it is what happens when the United States does in trade what we would never do in defense -- unilaterally disarm.
Fast Track opponents argue that free trade creates a bidding war in which foreign countries compete by lowering labor and environmental standards, thereby luring US factories and jobs offshore. But the truth is that we already have free trade. Unfortunately, that freedom tends to run one way. On average, US tariffs are far lower than those of other countries. This means that, when we reach a free trade agreement, the other country has to cut tariffs much more than we do. That's not only free trade; that's fair trade--and that's good for America.
By approving Fast Track, Congress can go a long way towards assuring that the prosperity we have enjoyed in recent years will be sustained. That is why I have joined every living former Secretary of State in asking Congress to be true to America's best competitive traditions -- to approve Fast Track and to pave the way for continued prosperity at home and leadership abroad.
As the United States prepares for the 21st Century, we will rely on our armed forces, strong alliances, economic leadership and vigorous diplomacy to guarantee our security and well-being. But if we are truly to build the kind of future we want, we must also remain true to American values.
Some suggest that it is soft-headed for the United States to take the morality of things into account when conducting foreign policy. But I believe that a foreign policy devoid of moral considerations can never fairly represent the American people. It is because we have kept faith with our principles that, in most of the world, American leadership remains not only needed, but welcomed.
That is why we must fight and win the war against international crime, and put those who profit from the illegal drugs that poison our children permanently out of business.
That is why we must stand up to the forces of international terror, because every person everywhere should have the right to ride a bus or shop or board an airplane, without fear of being blown up by some nut who thinks that killing the innocent is a legitimate way to make a political point.
That is why we are such strong backers of the International War Crimes Tribunal, because we believe that the perpetrators of ethnic cleansing should be held accountable and those who consider rape to be just another tactic of war should answer for their crimes.
That is why we condemn violations of human rights wherever they occur, because we believe all people should have the opportunity to speak, write, assemble and worship freely--and when dictators say it's none of our business, we say that respect for human dignity is everybody's business.
Finally, that is why we should do everything we reasonably can to sustain the progress that democracy is making around the globe.
One of the great lessons of this century is that democracy is a parent to peace. Free nations make good neighbors. Compared to dictatorships, they are far less likely to commit acts of aggression, support terrorists, spawn international crime or generate waves of refugees.
And so one of the highest priorities of our foreign policy these past few years has been to reach out and to help nations trying to make the transition from communism, repression or war to what Kentucky's most famous son famously referred to at Gettysburg as government "of the people, by the people and for the people."
The efforts we make to advance our security, prosperity and values are both right and smart for America and for our future. But we cannot lead without tools. It costs money to detect cheating at a nuclear facility in North Korea or Iraq; or to dismantle and dispose of nuclear materials safely from the former Soviet Union. It takes money to help our partners build peace and democracy and to defeat trans-national crime.
But these costs do not begin to compare to the costs we would incur if we didn't act; if we allowed international criminals to run rampant, democracies to crumble and nuclear arms to spread willy-nilly around the globe. That is why I ask you to support the President's request to fund our international affairs programs; and why I thank Chairman McConnell, who has been a very tough-minded, but also very valuable ally on this subject.
The amount we seek for everything from aid to Ukraine to promoting Kentucky's exports to assisting students abroad equals about one percent of our total budget. But that one percent may determine fifty percent of the history that is written about our era; and it will affect the lives of 100 percent of the American people.
A half century ago, a generation of American leaders, including Secretary of State George Marshall and Republican Senator Arthur Vandenberg, helped to forge a bipartisan consensus to defend freedom against the threats faced in their day. They did this, not because it was good politics, but because it was best for America. They understood that when Americans stand together and act across party lines, we are more likely to succeed. They knew that, when we are together, our commitments will inspire greater trust. And those tempted to oppose us will think twice--or today, if they see Senator McConnell and me ganging up on them--maybe more than twice.
Above all, our predecessors understood that the ties that bind us as Americans are far stronger than disagreements over any particular policy and far more durable and profound than any party affiliation.
I am reminded of a story in the Bible about the prophet Elijah, upset by the waywardness of his people, seeking guidance from above. As Elijah crouches in a cave, a great wind arises that splits mountains and breaks rocks. But Elijah doesn't find God in the wind. After the wind comes an earthquake, but God is not in the earthquake. Then comes a fire, but God is not in the fire. Finally, after the fire, there comes a still, small voice. And it is in that voice that Elijah hears God.
I believe that those searching for the secret of America's strength will not find it in our missiles, though our missiles, too, may split mountains and break rocks; they will not find it in the tall buildings on Wall Street or in the largest shopping centers or the most luxurious private homes. I think they will find it, instead, in the still, small voice that helps us not only as Americans, but as people, to separate right from wrong, to judge others as we would be judged, and to believe in our hearts in the birthright of every human being to be free.
Let us all, Republican and Democrat, old and young, rich and poor, heed that voice. Let us respond to the threats we face in our day by building a future based on what is smart and what is right for America -- a future that will bind our people together, secure our freedoms, and protect our citizens through the remaining years of this century and into the next. Toward that end, I pledge my own best efforts, and ask your help.
Thank you very much this morning.
[End of Document]
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