Conservation measures and research leading to greater energy efficiency and alternative fuels are a critical element of the U.S. strategy for energy security. The U.S. economy has grown roughly 75 percent since the first oil shock in 1973. During that time U.S. oil consumption remained virtually stable, reflecting conservation efforts and increased energy efficiency. Our research must continue to focus on developing highly efficient transportation systems and to shift them to alternative fuels, such as hydrogen, ethanol or methanol from biomass, and others. This research will also help address concerns about climate change by providing new approaches for meeting guidelines on emission of greenhouse gases. Over the longer term, U.S. dependence on access to foreign oil sources may be increasingly important as domestic resources are depleted. Although U.S. oil consumption has been essentially level since 1973, our reliance on imported oil has increased due to a decline in domestic production. Domestic oil production declined during that period because oil prices were not high enough to generate new oil exploration sufficient to sustain production levels from our depleted resource base. Conservation and energy research notwithstanding, the United States will continue to have a vital interest in ensuring access to foreign oil sources. We must continue to be mindful of the need for regional stability and security in key producing areas to ensure our access to and the free flow of these resources.
Promoting Sustainable Development Abroad
Environmental and natural resource issues can impede sustainable development efforts and promote regional instability. Many nations are struggling to provide jobs, education and other services to their citizens. The continuing poverty of a quarter of the world’s people leads to hunger, malnutrition, economic migration and political unrest. Malaria, AIDS and other epidemics, including some that can spread through environmental damage, threaten to overwhelm the health facilities of developing countries, disrupt societies and stop economic growth.
Sustainable development improves the prospects for democracy in developing countries and expands the demand for U.S. exports. It alleviates pressure on the global environment, reduces the attraction of the illegal drug trade and other illicit commerce, and improves health and economic productivity. U.S. foreign assistance focuses on four key elements of sustainable development: broad-based economic growth, environmental security, population and health, and democracy.
We will continue to advocate environmentally sound private investment and responsible approaches by international lenders. The multilateral development banks are now placing increased emphasis upon sustainable development in their funding decisions, including assisting borrowing countries to better manage their economies. The U.S. Initiative on Joint Implementation, part of the Administration’s Climate Change Action Plan, encourages U.S. businesses and non-governmental organizations to apply innovative technologies and practices to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and promote sustainable development abroad. The initiative, which includes 32 projects in 12 countries, has proven effective in transferring technology for environmentally sound, sustainable development. The Global Environmental Facility provides a source of financial assistance to the developing world for climate change, biodiversity and oceans initiatives that will benefit all the world’s citizens. Environmental damage in countries of the NIS and Central and Eastern Europe continues to impede their ability to emerge as prosperous, independent countries. We are focusing technical assistance and encouraging nongovernmental environmental groups to provide expertise to the NIS and Central and Eastern European nations that have suffered the most acute environmental crises.
The third core objective of our national security strategy is to promote democracy and human rights. The number of states moving away from repressive governance toward democratic and publicly accountable institutions is impressive. Since the success of many of those changes is by no means assured, our strategy must focus on strengthening their commitment and institutional capacity to implement democratic reforms.
We seek international support in helping strengthen democratic and free market institutions and norms in countries making the transition from closed to open societies. This commitment to see freedom and respect for human rights take hold is not only just, but pragmatic, for strengthened democratic institutions benefit the United States and the world.
The United States is helping consolidate democratic and market reforms in Central and Eastern Europe and the NIS. Integrating the Central and Eastern European nations into European security and economic organizations, such as NATO and the EU, will help lock in and preserve the impressive progress these nations have made in instituting democratic and market-economic reforms. Our intensified interaction with Ukraine has helped move that country onto the path of economic reform, which is critical to its long-term stability. In addition, our efforts in Russia, Ukraine and the other NIS facilitate our goal of achieving continued reductions in nuclear arms and compliance with international nonproliferation accords.
Continuing advances in democracy and free markets in our own hemisphere remain a priority, as reflected by the President’s 1997 trips to Latin America and the Caribbean and the Summit of the Americas in Santiago this year. In the Asia Pacific region, economic dynamism is increasingly associated with political modernization, democratic evolution and the widening of the rule of law—and it has global impacts. We are particularly attentive to states whose entry into the camp of market democracies may influence the future direction of an entire region; South Africa now holds that potential with regard to sub-Saharan Africa.
The methods for assisting emerging democracies are as varied as the nations involved. We must continue leading efforts to mobilize international economic and political resources, as we have with Russia, Ukraine and the other NIS. We must take firm action to help counter attempts to reverse democracy, as we have in Haiti and Paraguay. We must give democratic nations the fullest benefits of integration into foreign markets, which is part of the reason NAFTA and the Uruguay Round of GATT ranked so high on our agenda and why we are now working to forge the FTAA. We must help these nations strengthen the pillars of civil society, supporting administration of justice and rule of law programs, assisting the development of democratic civil-military relations, and training foreign police and security forces to solve crimes and maintain order without violating the basic rights of their citizens. And we must seek to improve their market institutions and fight corruption and political discontent by encouraging good governance practices.
Adherence to Universal Human Rights and Democratic Principles
We must sustain our efforts to press for political liberalization and respect for basic human rights worldwide, including in countries that continue to defy democratic advances. Working bilaterally and through multilateral institutions, the United States promotes universal adherence to international human rights and democratic principles. Our efforts in the United Nations and other organizations are helping to make these principles the governing standards for acceptable international behavior.