We have an obligation and opportunity to harness the tools of public diplomacy to advance U.S. leadership around the world by engaging international publics on U.S. principles and policies. The global advance of individual freedom and information technologies like the Internet has increased the ability of citizens and organizations to influence the policies of governments to an unprecedented extent. This makes our public diplomacy — efforts to transmit information and messages to peoples around the world — an increasingly vital component of our national security strategy. Our programs enhance our nation’s ability to inform and influence foreign publics in support of our national interests, and broaden the dialogue between U.S. citizens and institutions and their counterparts abroad. Some even improve mutual understanding by reaching out to future leaders and inform the opinions of current leaders through academic, professional, and cultural exchanges. Successful diplomatic relations between the United States and other countries depend upon establishing trust and creating credible partnerships based on this trust.
Effective use of our nation’s information capabilities to counter misinformation and incitement, mitigate inter-ethnic conflict, promote independent media organizations and the free flow of information, and support democratic participation helps advance U.S. interests abroad. International Public Information activities, as defined by Presidential Decision Directive 68 (PDD-68), are designed to improve our capability to coordinate independent public diplomacy, public affairs and other national security information-related efforts to ensure they are more successfully integrated into foreign and national security policy making and execution.
The United States has a history of providing generous foreign assistance in an effort to promote global stability. From the Marshall Plan to the present, our foreign assistance has expanded free markets, promoted democracy and human rights, contained major health threats, encouraged sustainable global population growth, promoted environmental protection, and defused humanitarian crises.
Expanding debt relief is a key element of our international assistance agenda. In 1999, the G-8 agreed to a reduction in bilateral debt between member countries and Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC). This effort encourages international financial institutions to link debt reduction to other efforts to alleviate poverty, promote economic development, and thereby create stronger partners around the world for trade and investment, security, and democracy. To show our commitment to this agreement we have stood firmly behind efforts to provide 100% debt relief in countries where the funds being used to service bilateral debt will finance the basic human needs of a population.
The United States intends that these nations not be left behind, instead joining in the positive economic prosperity made possible through participation in the international economic community. Our role in the World Bank and other multilateral development banks supports mutual goals to provide developing countries with the financial and technical assistance necessary to assimilate them into the global economy. Such efforts lift peoples out of poverty, and typically result in substantial growth of U.S. exports to the aided countries.
Finally, our philanthropic history is such that we routinely act to mitigate human suffering in the wake of both natural and man-made disasters. From the U.S. Agency for International Development’s disaster assistance and food aid, to the State Department’s refugee assistance, to grants to non-governmental relief organizations, to the Defense Department’s Humanitarian Assistance Program, the United States has found multiple avenues to relieve the suffering of disaster victims worldwide with coordinated targeted relief efforts.
Arms Control and Nonproliferation
Arms control and nonproliferation initiatives are an essential element of our national security strategy of enhancing security at home and abroad. They closely complement and strengthen our efforts to defend our nation through our own military strength while seeking to make the world a less dangerous place. We pursue verifiable arms control and nonproliferation agreements that support our efforts to prevent the spread and use of NBC weapons, materials, expertise, and means of delivery; halt the use of conventional weapons that cause unnecessary suffering; and contribute to regional stability at lower levels of armaments. In addition, by increasing transparency in the size, structure and operations of military forces and building confidence in the intentions of other countries, arms control agreements and confidence-building measures constrain inventories of dangerous weapons, reduce incentives and opportunities to initiate an attack, reduce the mutual suspicions that arise from and spur on armaments competition, and help provide the assurance of security necessary to strengthen cooperative relationships and direct resources to safer, more productive endeavors.
Verifiable reductions in strategic offensive arms and the steady shift toward less destabilizing systems remain essential to our strategy. The START I Treaty’s entry into force in December 1994 charted the course for reductions in the deployed strategic nuclear forces of the United States and the former Soviet Union. The other countries of the former Soviet Union, besides Russia, that had nuclear weapons on their soil — Belarus, Kazakhstan and Ukraine — have become non-nuclear weapons states under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT). If the START II Treaty enters into force, the United States and Russia will each be limited to 3,000 to 3,500 strategic nuclear weapons. START II also will prohibit land-based missiles from being deployed with more than one warhead and eliminate heavy land-based missiles entirely. On September 26, 1997, the United States and Russia signed a START II Protocol extending 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. The Senate approved the ratification of START II in January 1996; the Duma ratified the START II Treaty and the 1997 START II Protocol in April 2000.
At the Helsinki Summit in March 1997, Presidents Clinton and Yeltsin 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% from Cold War heights. They also agreed that, in order to promote the irreversibility of deep reductions, a START III agreement will include measures relating to the transparency of strategic nuclear warhead inventories and the destruction of strategic nuclear warheads. In addition, the Presidents agreed to explore possible confidence-
building and transparency measures relating to nuclear long-range, sea-launched cruise missiles and tactical nuclear systems.