The U.S. intelligence community provides critical support to the full range of our involvement abroad. Comprehensive collection and analytic capabilities are needed to provide warning of threats to U.S. national security, give analytical support to the policy and military communities, provide near-real time intelligence while retaining global perspective, identify opportunities for advancing our national interests, and maintain our information advantage in the international arena. We place the highest priority on monitoring the most serious threats to U.S. security: states hostile to the United States; countries or other entities that possess strategic nuclear forces or control nuclear weapons, other WMD or nuclear fissile materials; transnational threats, including terrorism, drug trafficking and other international crime; potential regional conflicts that might affect U.S. national security interests; and threats to U.S. forces and citizens abroad. Diplomacy
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 an 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, promoting international economic cooperation and stability, fostering trade and investment opportunities, and projecting U.S. influence worldwide.
When signs of potential conflict emerge or potential threats appear, we take action to prevent or reduce these threats. One of the lessons that repeatedly has been 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 much better 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 far preferable.
We must renew our commitment to America’s diplomacy to ensure we have the diplomatic representation and voice in international organizations that are required to support our global interests. This is central to our ability to retain our influence on international issues that affect our wellbeing. Our national security requires that we ensure international organizations such as the United Nations are as effective and relevant as possible. We must, therefore, continue to work to ensure that our financial obligations to international organizations are met.
Preserving our leadership, influence and credibility in the world demands that we maintain highly trained and experienced personnel, a broad range of capabilities for diplomacy and public diplomacy, and a secure diplomatic infrastructure abroad. Modernization of embassies, consulates and our diplomatic telecommunications and information infrastructure is essential to advancing and protecting vital national interests overseas. Our embassies and consulates host critical elements of peacetime power: diplomatic personnel, commercial, defense and legal attaches, and consular and security officers dedicated to protecting Americans at home and abroad. The cost of doing these things is a tiny fraction of the costs of employing our military forces to cope with crises that might have been averted through collective international action.
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 freedom and information technologies like the Internet has increased the ability of citizens and organizations to influence the policies of governments to an unprecedented degree. 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 ability to inform and influence foreign publics in support of U.S. national interests, and broaden the dialogue between American citizens and U.S. institutions and their counterparts abroad.
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 the newly promulgated 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.
From the U.S.-led mobilization to rebuild post-war Europe to more recent economic success stories across Asia, Latin America and Africa, U.S. foreign assistance has helped emerging democracies, promoted respect for human rights and the rule of law, expanded 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 the rights of workers, voluntary family planning, basic education, environmental protection, democratic governance, the rule of law, religious freedom, and the economic empowerment of citizens. Debt relief is an important element of our overall effort to alleviate poverty, promote economic development, and create stronger partners around the world for trade and investment, security and democracy. The Cologne Debt Initiative announced at the 1999 G-8 summit, together with earlier debt relief commitments, provides for reduction of up to 70 percent of the total debts for heavily indebted poor countries. This will be a reduction from the current level of about $127 billion to as low as $37 billion with the cancellation of official development assistance debt by G-8 and other bilateral creditors.
The Cologne Debt Initiative also calls on international financial institutions to develop a new framework for linking debt relief with poverty reduction. These measures center around better targeting of budgetary resources for priority social expenditures, for health, child survival, AIDS prevention, education, greater transparency in government budgeting, and much wider consultation with civil society in the development and implementation of economic programs. In September, President Clinton took our debt relief efforts a step further. He directed the Administration to make it possible to forgive 100 percent of the debt these countries owe to the United States when the money is needed and will be used to help them finance basic human needs.
When combined with other efforts, such as our cooperative scientific and technological programs, U.S. aid initiatives can help reduce the need for costly military and humanitarian measures. When assistance programs succeed in promoting democracy and free markets, substantial growth of American exports has usually followed. Where crises have occurred, our assistance programs have helped alleviate mass human suffering through targeted relief. Other assistance programs have created a path out of conflict and dislocation, helped to restore elementary security and civic institutions, and promoted political stability and economic recovery.