Sustainable development brings higher incomes and more open markets that create steadily expanding opportunities for U.S. trade and investment. It improves the prospects for democracy and social stability in developing countries and increases global economic growth, on which the demand for U.S. exports depends. 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 five key elements of sustainable development: broad-based economic growth, human capacity development, environmental protection, population and health, and democracy. We will continue to advocate environmentally sound private investment and responsible approaches by international lenders.
Promoting Democracy and Human Rights
The third core objective of our national security strategy is to promote democracy, human rights, and respect for the rule of law. In the past decade, the movement of nations away from repressive governance and toward democratic and publicly accountable institutions has been extraordinary. Since the success of many of those changes is by no means assured, our strategy must focus on strengthening the commitment and capacity of nations to implement democratic reforms, protect human rights, fight corruption and increase transparency in government.
The United States works to strengthen democratic and free market institutions and norms in all countries, particularly those 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. Our security depends upon the protection and expansion of democracy worldwide, without which repression, corruption and instability could engulf a number of countries and threaten the stability of entire regions.
The sometimes-difficult road for new democracies in the 1990’s demonstrates that free elections are not enough. Genuine, lasting democracy also requires respect for human rights, including the right to political dissent; freedom of religion and belief; an independent media capable of engaging an informed citizenry; a robust civil society; the rule of law and an independent judiciary; open and competitive economic structures; mechanisms to safeguard minorities from oppressive rule by the majority; full respect for women’s and workers’ rights; and civilian control of the military.
The United States is helping consolidate democratic and market reforms in Central and Eastern Europe and the newly independent states of the former Soviet Union. Integrating new democracies in Europe into European political, economic and security organizations, such as NATO, OSCE, the EU and the Council of Europe, will help lock in and preserve the impressive progress these nations have made in instituting democratic and market-economic reforms. Consolidating advances in democracy and free markets in our own hemisphere remain a priority. In the Asia Pacific region, economic dynamism is increasingly associated with political modernization, democratic evolution, and the widening of the rule of law. Indonesia’s October 1999 election was a significant step toward democracy and we will do our part to help Indonesia continue on that path. In Africa, we are particularly attentive to states, such as South Africa and Nigeria, whose entry into the community of market democracies may influence the future direction of an entire region.
The methods for assisting emerging democracies are as varied as the nations involved. Our public diplomacy programs are designed to share our democratic experience in both government and civil society with the publics in emerging democracies. We must continue leading efforts to mobilize international economic and political resources, as we have with Russia, Ukraine and other countries in Eastern Europe and Eurasia and with Southeast Europe. We must take firm action to help counter attempts to reverse democracy, as we have in Haiti and Paraguay.
We must help democratizing nations strengthen the pillars of civil society, supporting administration of justice and rule of law programs, promoting the principle of civilian control of the military, 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 and a free and independent local media that promotes these principles.
Adherence to Universal Human Rights and Democratic Principles
We must sustain our efforts to press for adherence to democratic principles, and respect for basic human rights and the rule of law worldwide, including in countries that continue to defy democratic advances. Working bilaterally and through international institutions, the United States promotes universal adherence to democratic principles and international standards of human rights. Our efforts in the United Nations and other organizations are helping to make these principles the governing standards for acceptable international behavior.
Ethnic conflict represents a great challenge to our values and our security. When it erupts in ethnic cleansing or genocide, ethnic conflict is a grave violation of universal human rights. Innocent civilians should not be subject to forcible relocation or slaughter because of their religious, ethnic, racial, or tribal heritage. In addition to being a cause for concern on humanitarian grounds, ethnic conflict can threaten regional stability and may give rise to potentially serious national security concerns.
We will work to strengthen the capacity of the international community to prevent and, whenever possible, stop outbreaks of mass killing and displacement. The United States and other countries cannot respond to every humanitarian crisis in the world. But when the world community has the power to stop genocide and ethnic cleansing, we will work with our allies and partners, and with the United Nations, to mobilize against such violence – as we did in Bosnia and Kosovo.
Our response will not be the same in every case. Sometimes collective military action is both appropriate and feasible. Sometimes concerted economic and political pressure, combined with diplomacy, is a better answer. The way the international community responds will depend upon the capacity of countries to act, and on their perception of their national interests.
Events in the Bosnia conflict and preceding the 1994 genocide in Rwanda demonstrate the unfortunate power of inaccurate and malicious information in conflict-prone situations. We must enhance our ability to make effective use of our communications and information capabilities to counter misinformation and incitement, mitigate ethnic conflict, promote independent media organizations and the free flow of information, and support democratic participation.
We will also continue to work – bilaterally and with international institutions – to ensure that international human rights principles protect the most vulnerable or traditionally oppressed groups in the world – women, children, workers, refugees and other persecuted persons. To this end, we will seek to strengthen international mechanisms that promote human rights and address