Enhancing Our Security at Home and Abroad
There are clear indicators that engagement is achieving our national security goals in this rapidly changing world. First, engagement has produced many benefits that enhance our security at home and abroad. The overseas presence of our military forces helps deter or even prevent conflict. It assures our allies of our support and displays our resolve to potential enemies. It allows for maximum military cooperation with our allies and therefore encourages burdensharing. Forward-deployed forces permit us to identify emerging security problems, and then facilitate a swift response, if necessary. Ongoing operations in Southwest Asia and Southeastern Europe have improved the current security environment by ensuring that a return to peace is sustained. Our new embassies in the countries of the former Soviet Union, and in some 140 other countries, allow the U.S. to advance America’s interests and values in real time, and to immediately detect opportunities and challenges to these interests. Other aspects of our engagement policies, such as non-proliferation programs like the Expanded Threat Reduction Initiative (ETRI), have, within the framework of START 1, stabilized the security environment. Over 5,000 nuclear warheads, 600 missile launchers, 540 land-based and submarine launched inter-continental ballistic missiles, 64 heavy bombers, and 15 missile submarines have been deactivated and potential proliferation of WMD or their delivery means averted. These efforts have made the world a much safer place.
We have also seen international engagement enhance our ability to address asymmetric threats to our security, such as acts of terrorism and the desired procurement and use of WMD by potential regional aggressors. International counterterrorism cooperation, for example, led to the pre-emptive arrest of individuals planning to terrorize Americans at home and abroad celebrating the Millennium. Engagement efforts have already assembled an impressive record of international cooperation to harmonize legislation on terrorist offenses, conduct research and development, and create databases on terrorism. Strong U.S. overseas presence and engagement, enhanced by a network of multilateral agreements and arrangements, has enabled us to contain the proliferation of nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons and their means of delivery by potential regional aggressors. Inspections done at point of origin for goods destined for the U.S. improves our nonproliferation and border security efforts and even enhances cargo throughput. In other cases, it has actually interrupted the flow of sensitive goods to those countries. Robust engagement in support of law enforcement efforts of partner nations has resulted in the dismantling of a number of major drug trafficking organizations and the interdiction of significant quantities of elicit [sic] drugs that would otherwise have reached U.S. or other consumer markets. Together, efforts that focus on asymmetric threats to our security will reduce our potential vulnerability despite an increasingly inter-connected world.
Economic Benefits that Promote Prosperity
Engagement has had clear economic benefits that promote prosperity around the globe. This strategy provides stability to the world economic system on which the U.S. economy depends. Our involvement in international economic organizations like the G-8, G-20, World Trade Organization (WTO) and Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has helped build stable, resilient global economic and financial systems that promote strong, global prosperity. The U.S. – China Bilateral WTO agreement, for example, will reduce China’s tariffs on U.S. priority agricultural products from an average of 31% to 14%. It will reduce similar tariffs on U.S. industrial products from 24.6% to 9.4%. Such agreements expand U.S. market access and bring new goods and services to these markets at lower cost. Overall, the Administration has concluded 304 trade agreements, and created a series of new fora for economic dialogue, that now include the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum, the Transatlantic Economic Partnership, and the ongoing development work on the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA). This has led to numerous economic and financial agreements/reforms in international institutions that bring stability to the global marketplace that is so essential for America’s economic health and economic security. As a result, total U.S. exports of goods and services have grown by over 75% since 1992. Measures to strengthen the architecture of the international financial system, including through increased transparency and reform of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank, have helped put the international economy on a sound footing after recent financial crises and build a stronger global financial system. In addition, WTO agreements to strengthen and expand trade in information technology goods, financial services, basic telecommunications services, and electronic commerce have secured open markets in sectors key to American economic vitality, and laid the groundwork for future liberalization in agriculture, services, and other areas.
Military presence and engagement activities can also provide similar economic stability. Our naval presence ensures that international waters, the sea lines of communication, and ports remain open to commercial shipping, and our ground, air, and naval forces in Southwest Asia deter threats to the free flow of Middle East oil. The clearest and longest standing example of what overseas presence can do for economic stability is found in the sizeable U.S. military force found on the Korean peninsula since 1953. Currently 37,000 strong, U.S. forces have helped the South Koreans rebuild and grow, and now both sides support the continued presence of U.S. forces as a measure of stability. U.S. actions that protect the free flow of natural resources and finished goods provide an environment for sustained economic productivity. Engagement, through military, diplomatic, or other governmental entities, also enables rapid response to computer network incidents and attacks that harm our economy. International government-to-government cooperation, for example, led to the law enforcement action that definitively determined the source of some of the distributed, denial of service attacks in February 2000.
Promoting Democracy and Human Rights
Finally, engagement has had political and diplomatic benefits that promote democracy and human rights. Our policies bring our country’s strengths directly to international publics, governments, and militaries, with the hope that this exposure may inspire others to promote democracy and the free market. Whether we’re advising foreign governments on the conduct of free elections, teaching foreign troops about the importance of civilian control of the military, aiding international relief agencies in the wake of natural disasters, or in the diplomatic day-to-day efforts of our diplomats in 273 missions around the world, an engaged America brings its values to the world’s doorstep. For example, the multi-faceted program for engagement in Africa is having a clear impact on the cultivation of democracy on the continent. From Kampala to Cape Town, from Dakar to Dar-es-Salaam, Africans have new hopes for democracy, peace, and prosperity. Although many challenges yet remain, visible change is occurring. Through our diplomatic missions, over 20 nations across Africa have requested and are receiving assistance to develop judiciary, legal, media, and civil society systems to build necessary institutions to sustain democratic ideals. We are assisting democratic transitions in Nigeria and South Africa.
In our own hemisphere, our engagement efforts have promoted free and fair elections throughout the hemisphere. In Southeast Europe, the Dayton Accords have sustained the peace in Bosnia, permitted a civil society with opposition parties and non-governmental organizations to take root, begun reforms of police and court systems, and allowed national and local elections to take place. The transformation is not complete and progress is not irreversible, but it is unmistakable. The best role model is a visible one.