IDEOLOGICAL EXTREMISM & INTERNATIONAL TERRORISM:
ROADBLOCK TO SECURITY, PROGRESS, & PROSPERITY
By Donald H. Rumsfeld
Today, in this new era, our close cooperation with allies and friends in Asia is more essential than ever. The phenomenon of ideological extremism -- of which terrorism is the weapon of choice -- stands in the way of global political progress and economic prosperity, threatens the stability of the international order, and clouds the future of civil society.
Because it cannot be appeased, it must be confronted on many fronts by all civil societies.
So, today, I want to talk a bit about the way ahead in the global struggle of civilization versus ideological extremism, and then touch on some of the longstanding issues of importance to the Asia-Pacific region. Perhaps the best way to provide context is to look back at the world, what it looked like just some three-plus years ago.
The Cold War had ended, and many looked for an era of peace. Some believed future conflicts would be minor, and that military alliances had lessened in importance. Others recognized that we might be facing an era of the unexpected, the unforeseen, and the unplanned.
Then, on a bright September morning in the year 2001, those concerns proved prescient.
In an instant, the twin towers of the World Trade Center were aflame, killing men, women, and children from nations all across the globe. The Pentagon became a battle zone. Passengers sacrificed their lives on a hijacked plane that crashed into the fields of Pennsylvania.
Stunned Americans faced this new world with resolve. We turned instinctively to our longtime friends, including many here in Asia and the Pacific. They offered sympathy, support, and resolve.
I am grateful to be able to say today that our friendships here in Asia and the South Pacific are strong -- not least our steadfast friends here in Singapore.
An 80-nation coalition against terrorism was quickly formed -- probably one of the largest coalitions in the history of mankind. Their achievements in the past several years speak for themselves. Together, we've:
Despite the considerable progress, the reality is that we remain closer to the beginning of this struggle than to its end. Terrorists continue to inflict violence and death across the globe.
And here in Singapore, terrorists plotted a major attack, only to be thwarted by vigilant officials.
But let there be no doubt, more is to come.
The message is unmistakable: no area of the world is immune from extremists' attacks. A terrorist need only be lucky once or twice; civil society needs to be prepared always. Terrorists can attack at any time, in any place, using any conceivable technique. And it is impossible to defend at every moment against every conceivable technique, in every conceivable location.
So, the only way to win this global struggle -- this war -- call it what you will -- is to go on the offense and to root out terrorists at their source, and for us to collectively put steady pressure on them and all of their enablers that sustain them. We need to do even more than simply attempt to capture, kill, or thwart terrorists. We have to find ways to persuade young Muslims that the way of the future is through education and opportunity -- not through suicide and terrorism.
For several years, the United States of America has been considering how to refocus its military posture to meet the changes of this new century. Future dangers will less likely be from battles between great powers, and more likely from enemies that work in small cells, that are fluid and strike without warning anywhere, anytime -- enemies that have access to increasingly formidable technology and weapons.
So, we have developed some concepts that we think should guide America's security presence in this new world. And we have been seeking and will continue to seek the advice and counsel of our friends and allies over the coming months.
Let me set out some of those principles:
Since the global war on terror began, we have witnessed the forging of new partnerships and closer cooperation with longtime friends.
For example, we have reinvigorated long-standing relationships with countries like India and Pakistan;
There numerous other examples.
We have forged new relationships with countries like Yemen and Uzbekistan;
We've been working with the Philippines upgrading security programs;
We've improved intelligence-sharing with longstanding allies and friends in Europe, Australia, and East Asia; and we've developed a better relationship with China.
NATO is now leading the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan;
Many allies and friends have contributed forces to help reconstruct Afghanistan and Iraq. The contributors include allies and friends from this region. New Zealand, the Republic of Korea, India, Australia, Japan, Mongolia, the Philippines, Singapore, Brunei, and Thailand -- to mention just a few -- are helping with reconstruction and in other ways.
Though the way we organize may evolve and change, the United States is a Pacific nation, and we will most certainly maintain our security presence with modernized deterrent capabilities here in this region.
We are committed to the security of our allies and friends, whether against traditional challenges or new challenges.
The new challenges include not only terrorism, but also the growing danger of the nexus between terrorism and weapons of mass destruction. We know that extremists are seeking still more powerful means to inflict damage on even greater numbers of innocent men, women, and children.
Recognizing this danger, the United States and a growing number of partners have pushed forward the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI), forming a new international coalition to:
More than 50 nations have already expressed support for this initiative, including many of the nations represented here today. Japan and Australia have been active, as well as other countries here.
Let me offer an example of what can be accomplished when concerned nations work closely together.
As you know, A.Q. Khan, was regarded as the architect of Pakistan's nuclear weapons program. What many did not know, until recently, was that he had also constructed an elaborate international network that spanned Europe, the Middle East, Southeast Asia, and elsewhere, to proliferate nuclear technology to a number of outlaw regimes, including Iran and North Korea.
Over recent years, the United States and several other governments have worked closely to unravel the Khan network. Today, Khan has been stopped. His criminal enterprise is out of business. And at least one key supply line for civilization's most determined enemies has been closed.
Consider how much more progress could be made if our entire 80-nation global coalition made the fight against proliferation a top priority.
North Korea poses another serious challenge to the international community's decades-long effort to prevent nuclear weapons proliferation. A year and a half ago, it became clear that North Korea was violating its nonproliferation commitments.
Today, the United States strongly supports the multinational diplomatic effort to solve this problem. We are certainly pleased that China has agreed to play a leading role. It is important that this diplomacy succeed.
China, of course, is an emerging power. The United States seeks to cooperate with it in many fields -- diplomacy, economics, and global security. The world would welcome a China that is committed to peaceful solutions and whose talented people contribute to international peace and prosperity.
My country has demonstrated that the best foundation for that peace and prosperity is in the continuing advance of openness and democracy.
Most of the nations in the Asia-Pacific region understand that well. Their modern histories are testaments to the benefit of self-government, political freedom, and freer economic systems.
In the past three years, the world has welcomed to this family of free nations 50 million Iraqis and Afghans. Their road to liberty has not been smooth, but that road is never smooth.
At the end of June, 2004,, our multinational coalition will hand over power to the newly announced interim Iraqi government. The rise of a free and self-governing Iraq will deny terrorists a base of operation, discredit their violent ideology, and may well provide more momentum for reformers across the region. Success in Iraq will be a victory for the security of the civilized world.
Terrorists know this, and they are seeking to derail this progress. Their fear is that, one day, the Middle East will shed itself of their tyranny and violence and replace the law of terror with governments of the people.
Yet even today, some ask if such a breathtaking transformation is really possible. I suggest they come to Asia.
Think of how much has changed here in Asia, in this region, just in the last few decades. A century ago, a number of the region's great nations were not free nations, or were torn by civil strife.
Today, Asia is one of the world's fastest-growing centers for the creation of opportunity, of prosperity, and of knowledge. Asian nations have found firm footing on the road to democracy and prosperity through freer economic systems.
None of this has been easy, but the true measure of a people is their ability to persevere, to overcome hardship and difficulty, and build a better future. In this, the people of Asia have few equals.
So, in these difficult times, dangerous times, in many respects perilous times, the United States is privileged to have such close bonds with so many courageous and steadfast friends.
The Middle East & the Arabs
The Middle East & the Problem of Iraq
The Problem of Rogue States:
Iraq as a Case History
The Far East & U.S. Foreign Policy
War & Peace in the Real World
Page Two Page One
Islamist Terrorist Attacks on the U.S.A.
Osama bin Laden & the Islamist Declaration of War
Against the U.S.A. & Western Civilization
Islamist International Terrorism &
U.S. Intelligence Agencies
U.S. National Security Strategy
Donald H. Rumsfeld, U.S. Secretary of Defense, presented the foregoing statement, on June 5, 2004, in Singapore, at the annual
Pacific Security Conference hosted by the International Institute for Strategic Studies.
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Africa: Black Africa *
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American Government 1