well as domestic foods, to be overseen by the President’s Council on Food Safety. New and emerging infections such as drug-resistant tuberculosis and the Ebola virus can move with the speed of jet travel. We are actively engaged with the international health community as well as the World Health Organization to stop the spread of these dangerous diseases.
The worldwide epidemic HIV/AIDS is destroying peoples and economies on an unprecedented scale and is now the number one cause of death in Africa, killing over 5,500 per day. The Administration has taken bold new steps to combat this devastating epidemic, including reaching agreement in 1999 with the G-8 in Cologne to link debt relief with social programs such as HIV/AIDS prevention. And at the United Nations in September 1999, the President committed the United States to a concerted effort to accelerate the development and delivery of vaccines for AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis and other diseases disproportionately affecting the developing world. He announced plans for a special White House meeting to strengthen incentives to work with the private sector on common goals for fighting these diseases.
Responding to Threats and Crises
Because our shaping efforts alone cannot guarantee the international security environment we seek, the United States must be able to respond at home and abroad to the full spectrum of threats and crises that may arise. Our resources are finite, so we must be selective in our responses, focusing on challenges that most directly affect our interests and engaging where we can make the most difference. We must use the most appropriate tool or combination of tools – diplomacy, public diplomacy, economic measures, law enforcement, military operations, and others. We act in alliance or partnership when others share our interests, but unilaterally when compelling national interests so demand. Efforts to deter an adversary – be it an aggressor nation, terrorist group or criminal organization – can become the leading edge of crisis response. In this sense, deterrence straddles the line between shaping the international environment and responding to crises. Deterrence in crisis generally involves signaling the United States’ commitment to a particular country or interest by enhancing our warfighting capability in the theater. We may also choose to make additional statements to communicate the costs of aggression or coercion to an adversary, and in some cases may choose to employ U.S. forces to underline the message and deter further adventurism.
Transnational threats include terrorism, drug trafficking and other international crime, and illegal trade in fissile materials and other dangerous substances.
The United States has made concerted efforts to deter and punish terrorists, and remains determined to apprehend and bring to justice those who terrorize American citizens. We make no concessions to terrorists. We fully exploit all available legal mechanisms to punish international terrorists, eliminate foreign terrorists and their support networks in our country, and extend the reach of financial sanctions to international terrorist support networks. And we seek to eliminate terrorist sanctuaries overseas, counter state support for terrorism, and help other governments improve their capabilities to combat terrorism.
To respond to terrorism incidents overseas, the State Department leads an interagency team, the Foreign Emergency Support Team (FEST), which is prepared to deploy on short notice to the scene of an incident. FEST teams are tailored to the nature of the event and include personnel from the State Department, Defense Department, FBI, and other agencies as appropriate. Additionally, the FBI has five Rapid Deployment Teams ready to respond quickly to terrorist events anywhere in the world. The State Department is also working on agreements with other nations on response to WMD incidents overseas.
Whenever possible, we use law enforcement and diplomatic tools to wage the fight against terrorism. But there have been, and will be, times when those tools are not enough. As long as terrorists continue to target American citizens, we reserve the right to act in self-defense by striking at their bases and those who sponsor, assist or actively support them.
On August 20, 1998, acting on convincing information from a variety of reliable sources that the network of radical groups affiliated with Osama bin Laden had planned, financed and carried out the bombings of our embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam, and planned future attacks against Americans, the U.S. Armed Forces carried out strikes on one of the most active terrorist bases in the world. Located in Afghanistan, it contained key elements of the bin Laden network’s infrastructure and has served as a training camp for literally thousands of terrorists from around the globe. We also struck a plant in Khartoum, Sudan, that was linked by intelligence information to chemical weapons and to the bin Laden terror network. The strikes were a necessary and proportionate response to the imminent threat of further terrorist attacks against U.S. personnel and facilities, and demonstrated that no country can be a safe haven for terrorists.
Drug Trafficking and Other International Crime
A broad range of criminal activities emanating from overseas threatens the safety and well-being of the American people.
Drug Trafficking. We have shown that with determined and relentless efforts, we can make significant progress against the scourge of drug abuse and drug trafficking. For much of this century, organized crime leaders inside the United States controlled America’s drug trade. Aggressive law enforcement efforts have dramatically weakened U.S. crime syndicates. But international trade in drugs persists; now led by criminals based in foreign countries. International drug syndicates, especially those based in Mexico and Colombia, continue to diversify and seek new markets in the United States – moving beyond large cities into smaller communities and rural towns. The aim of our drug control strategy is to cut illegal drug use and availability in the United States by 50 percent by 2007 – and reduce the health and social consequences of drug use and trafficking by 25 percent over the same period, through expanded prevention efforts, improved treatment programs, strengthened law enforcement and tougher interdiction. Our strategy recognizes that, at home and abroad, prevention, treatment and economic alternatives must be integrated with intelligence collection, law enforcement and interdiction efforts.
Domestically, we seek to educate and enable America’s youth to reject illegal drugs, increase the safety of America’s citizens by substantially reducing drug-related crime and violence, reduce health and social costs to the public of illegal drug use, reduce domestic cultivation of cannabis and production of methamphetamines and other synthetic drugs, and shield America’s air, land and sea frontiers from the drug threat. Concerted efforts by the public, all levels of government and the private sector together with other governments, private groups and international organizations will be required for our strategy to succeed.