Diplomacy is a vital tool for countering threats to our national security. The daily business of diplomacy conducted through our missions and representatives around the world is a irreplaceable shaping activity. These efforts are essential to sustaining our alliances, forcefully articulating U.S. interests, resolving regional disputes peacefully, averting humanitarian catastrophe, deterring aggression against the United States and our friends and allies, creating trade and investment opportunities for U.S. companies, and projecting U.S. influence worldwide.
One of the lessons that has been repeatedly driven home is the importance of preventive diplomacy in dealing with conflict and complex emergencies. Helping prevent nations from failing is far more effective than rebuilding them after an internal crisis. Helping people stay in their homes is far more beneficial than feeding and housing them in refugee camps. Helping relief agencies and international organizations strengthen the institutions of conflict resolution is far less taxing than healing ethnic and social divisions that have already exploded into bloodshed. In short, while crisis management and crisis resolution are necessary tasks for our foreign policy, preventive diplomacy is obviously far preferable.
Credible military force and the demonstrated will to use it are essential to defend our vital interests and keep America safe. But force alone cannot solve all our problems. To be most effective, force, diplomacy and our other policy tools must complement and reinforce each other—for there will be many occasions and many places where we must rely on diplomatic shaping activities to protect and advance our interests.
From the U.S.-led mobilization to rebuild post-war Europe to the more recent creation of export opportunities across Asia, Latin America and Africa, U.S. foreign assistance has assisted emerging democracies, helped expand free markets, slowed the growth of international crime, contained major health threats, improved protection of the environment and natural resources, slowed population growth and defused humanitarian crises. Crises are averted—and U.S. preventive diplomacy actively reinforced—through U.S. sustainable development programs that promote voluntary family planning, basic education, environmental protection, democratic governance and rule of law, and the economic empowerment of private citizens. When combined effectively with other bilateral and multilateral activities, such as through our cooperative scientific and technological programs, U.S. initiatives reduce the need for costly military and humanitarian interventions. Where foreign aid succeeds in consolidating free market policies, substantial growth of American exports has frequently followed. Where crises have occurred, actions such as the Greater Horn of Africa Initiative have helped stanch mass human suffering and created a path out of conflict and dislocation through targeted relief. Other foreign aid programs have worked to help restore elementary security and civic institutions.
Arms control efforts are an essential element of our national security strategy. Effective arms control is really defense by other means. We pursue verifiable arms control agreements that support our efforts to prevent the spread and use of weapons of mass destruction, halt the use of conventional weapons that cause unnecessary suffering, and contribute to regional stability at lower levels of armaments. By increasing transparency in the size, structure and operations of military forces, arms control agreements and confidence-building measures reduce incentives and opportunities to initiate an attack, and reduce the mutual suspicions that arise from and spur on armaments competition. They help provide the assurance of security necessary to strengthen cooperative relationships and direct resources to safer, more productive endeavors. Agreements that preserve our crisis response capability shape the global and regional security environments, and simultaneously reinforce our commitment to allies and partners. Our arms control initiatives are an essential prevention measure for enhancing U.S. and allied security.
Verifiable reductions in strategic offensive arms and the steady shift toward less destabilizing systems remain essential to our strategy. Entry into force of the START I Treaty in December 1994 charted the course for reductions in the deployed strategic nuclear forces of the United States and the Former Soviet Union (FSU). START I has accomplished much to reduce the risk of nuclear war and strengthen international security. On the third anniversary of START I entry into force, the United States and Russia announced that both were two years ahead of schedule in meeting the treaty’s mandated reductions.
Once the START II Treaty enters into force, the United States and Russia will each be limited to between 3,000-3,500 total deployed strategic nuclear warheads. START II also will eliminate destabilizing land-based multiple warhead missiles, a truly historic achievement. Russian ratification of START II will open the door to the next round of strategic arms control.
At the Helsinki Summit in March 1997, Presidents Clinton and Yeltsin agreed that once START II enters into force, our two nations would immediately begin negotiations on a START III agreement. They agreed to START III guidelines that, if adopted, will cap the number of strategic nuclear warheads deployed in each country at 2,000-2,500 by the end of 2007— reducing both our arsenals by 80 percent from Cold War heights. They also agreed that START III will, for the first time, require the U.S. and Russia to destroy nuclear warheads, not just the missiles, aircraft and submarines that carry them, and opened the door to possible reductions in non-strategic nuclear weapons. On September 26, 1997, the U.S. and Russia signed a START II Protocol codifying the agreement at Helsinki to extend the end date for reductions to 2007 and exchanged letters on early deactivation by 2003 of those strategic nuclear delivery systems to be eliminated by 2007.
At Helsinki, the two Presidents recognized the Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction (CTR) Program as the vehicle through which the United States would facilitate the deactivation of strategic nuclear delivery systems in the FSU nations. The CTR Program has assisted Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Belarus in becoming non-nuclear weapons states and will continue to assist Russia in meeting its START obligations. The program has effectively supported enhanced safety, security, accounting and centralized control measures for nuclear weapons and fissile materials in the FSU. CTR is also assisting FSU nations in measures to eliminate and prevent the proliferation of chemical weapons and biological weapon-related capabilities. It has supported many ongoing military reductions and reform measures in the FSU, and has contributed to a climate conducive for further progress on non-proliferation.
Also at Helsinki, the Presidents reaffirmed their commitment to the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty and recognized the need for effective theater missile defenses in an agreement in principle on demarcation between systems to counter strategic ballistic missiles and those to counter theater ballistic missiles. On September 26, 1997, the U.S. Secretary of State and Russian Foreign Minister, along with their counterparts from Belarus, Kazakhstan and Ukraine, signed or initialed five agreements relating to the ABM Treaty. The agreements on demarcation and succession will be provided to the Senate for its advice and consent following Russian ratification of START II.