Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Remarks by US National Security Advisor on Foreign Policy [Bush team]

(Hadley highlights Bush's foreign policy challenges and accomplishments)

Office of the Press Secretary
January 7, 2009


In less than two weeks, a new President will take the oath of office. And a watching world will witness the greatest of democratic traditions - the peaceful transfer of power. President Bush's Administration has been working closely with the President-elect's team to make this transition the smoothest in history. The stakes are clear. America is a Nation at war. And in the post Nine-Eleven world, we face complex challenges that will not pause for a change in administrations.

Last month, President Bush delivered a series of speeches about how we have worked to confront these challenges over the past eight years. At the Saban Forum, the President discussed how our approach to the Middle East changed after Nine-Eleven. At West Point, the President explained how the military has transformed to meet the dangers of a new century. And at the Army War College, the President outlined the steps we have taken to keep America safe here at home, and to promote liberty abroad as the great alternative to terror.

Today I would like to talk to you about the core convictions that have formed the basis of President Bush's foreign policy -- what this Administration has accomplished in key regions of the world - and what opportunities and challenges await the next Administration.

Over the past eight years, President Bush's foreign policy has been guided by three firm convictions. The President believes that liberty is God's gift to every man, woman, and child ... that effective democratic states are the critical building blocks of a peaceful and prosperous international order ... and that America is called to lead this community of democracies.

Ultimately, people will make the best decisions for themselves and for their societies if given the political freedom to do so. But to exercise that freedom, they must also be free from violence and injustice - and be offered the means to overcome ignorance, want, and disease. Democratic states with effective institutions are best able to meet these needs and are our best partners in building a more peaceful and prosperous world. But these nations need American leadership. We are a wealthy and powerful nation with the capacity to make the world safer and better. And that imposes on us a moral obligation to do so. As President Bush often says, "To whom much is given, much is required."

These core convictions have helped President Bush steer his foreign policy through four popularly perceived but ultimately false choices.

The first false choice is between a "realistic" and an "idealistic" foreign policy. After Nine-Eleven, President Bush recognized that an idealistic foreign policy based on promoting liberty was the only realistic strategy for advancing America's fundamental interests. We are engaged in a great ideological struggle. And to prevail, we must counter the terrorists' dark ideology with a more hopeful alternative. As the President said in his Second Inaugural Address: "The best hope for peace in our world is the expansion of freedom in all the world ... [and so] America's vital interests and our deepest beliefs are now one."

The second false choice is between unilateralism and multilateralism. President Bush recognizes that the United States can rarely achieve its objectives by acting alone. So our preference is always to work with allies and partners. Yet international partnerships are not self-justifying. They must produce results. And when necessary, like every modern President before him, President Bush has been prepared to act alone to defend America's security.

The third false choice is between hard power and soft power, or military force and diplomacy. The President understands that we do not have to choose between these tools. Instead, we must integrate all elements of national power - including diplomatic, economic, and military - to advance our interests. When properly employed, these tools can be mutually reinforcing. Hard power makes soft power more effective. And by maintaining the credible threat of military force and economic sanctions, we add weight to our diplomacy.

The fourth false choice is between popularity and principle. America has always been defined by our ideals of liberty and justice. These ideals have made our Nation a beacon of hope and opportunity for people around the world. In the short run, acting on principle can be unpopular - because our principles challenge the world views of many, and our power thwarts the hegemonic ambitions of the few. But ultimately it is our principles that make us attractive to most of the world - and if we hold to them, the world will see, respect, and support us.

By defying these false choices, President Bush has pursued a foreign policy that has delivered results around the world.

In Europe, President Bush has worked to build a continent that is whole, free, and at peace ... that is united by common values ... and that joins with America to confront the challenges of the 21st century.

Under the President's leadership, America has helped consolidate post-Cold War democratic gains in Central and Eastern Europe. Today ten nations that were once behind the Iron Curtain are now members of Euro-Atlantic institutions. The people of Ukraine and Georgia have cast off tyranny and cast their votes in free elections. A reforming and democratic Turkey has a stronger relationship with the United States, and is moving closer to membership in the European Union. An expanded NATO Alliance is fighting terrorists in Afghanistan and transforming to conduct operations beyond its borders.

Our strong relations across Europe present the next Administration with many opportunities. Working with our European partners, the next Administration should be able to enforce tougher sanctions on Iran ... complete the integration of the Balkan states, including Kosovo and Serbia, into the transatlantic community ... bring freedom to Belarus ... and diversify the sources and routes of Europe's gas and oil supply.

On Russia, President Bush has worked to shift America's relationship from the rivalries of the Cold War to partnering with Russia in areas where we share common interests - while managing our differences in a frank, consistent, and transparent way.

Today Russia and America are partnering on many fronts. We are working together to reduce operationally deployed strategic nuclear warheads. We are working together to prevent nuclear materials and technologies from falling into the hands of terrorists. We are working together to ensure that Iran and North Korea cannot threaten their neighbors with nuclear weapons. And we are working together to support negotiations in the Holy Land for a Palestinian state and a durable peace.

At the same time, we understand that true partnerships depend on shared democratic values. And insofar as Russia falls short of respecting the rights and freedoms of its people and its neighbors, the scope of our partnership is necessarily and correspondingly limited. President Bush has made clear to Russia's leaders that the "great powers" of the 21st century cannot pursue the coercive policies of the 19th century. A Russia that continues to threaten its neighbors and manipulate their access to energy will compromise any aspirations for greater global influence. The next Administration will have the challenge of building on our cooperation with Russia while also confronting that nation's aggressiveness and uncertain intentions.

In the Middle East, President Bush emphatically rejected the widely-held view that the Arab world was unsuited for democracy and its people not ready for freedom. Instead, the President has promoted democracy, liberty, and tolerance throughout the region ... supported our friends and allies ... and confronted extremist states and groups. In many respects, the Middle East has become the center of gravity of American foreign policy - the principal theater of operations and deployment for our military ... the testing ground for the strength of our principles and ideals ... and the focus of our most important diplomacy.

Today, despite the violence in Gaza, there is the prospect of a freer and more hopeful future for the region. With help from the United States, our Gulf allies have greater defensive capabilities and more confidence in their ability to confront terrorism and other threats. Saudi Arabia - the birthplace of 15 of the Nine-Eleven hijackers - is one of America's most capable partners in counterterrorism operations. Libya has abandoned its dangerous weapons of mass destruction programs ... ended its support for terror ... paid more than one billion dollars to victims of past terrorist activities ... and welcomed its first U.S. ambassador in three decades. Lebanon has regained its independence, sovereignty, and democracy after nearly 30 years of Syrian occupation, thanks to the courage of its people and the joint diplomacy of France and the United States. And across the Middle East, more people participate in competitive elections - and more women vote and hold office - than ever before.

We also see reasons for hope in the Holy Land. Israelis and Palestinians have been negotiating the peace - with Arab support - based on a vision of two democratic states, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security. The United States is facilitating these talks. But we are not substituting ourselves for the parties or imposing our views on either side. In parallel with these negotiations, the United States is supporting Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad's efforts to build the security, economic, and political institutions of a democratic state.

For the next Administration, the biggest challenge in this region is Iran. Negotiations with Iran, as some have proposed, without leverage on Iran will not produce a change in Iranian behavior or advance U.S. interests. The outgoing Administration and its international partners will leave the incoming team with significantly increased leverage on Iran. The issue is how the new team will use this leverage to produce a different Iranian policy on its nuclear program, terrorism, and Middle East peace.

Perhaps surprisingly, the biggest opportunity for the new Administration may be Middle East peace. I hope the new team will not feel compelled to "reinvent the wheel," but will use the Annapolis process - which has been embraced by the states of the region and enshrined in United Nations Security Council Resolution 1850 - as an opportunity to advance the cause of peace. First and foremost, this means helping to complete the building of the democratic institutions of a Palestinian state. This work is critical to any future peace. Second, it means using the confidential bilateral negotiations between Palestinians and Israelis already underway to negotiate the peace - and build on the substantial progress that has already been made.

On Iraq, you have heard President Bush describe his strategy many times: to build a democratic Iraq that can govern itself ... defend itself ... sustain itself ... and be an ally in the war on terror. This goal has not changed. It has not been "dumbed-down" in response to hard going on the ground. And its realization is now in view.

It is in view because in January 2007, President Bush made the decision to "surge" additional forces into Iraq and give them a mission of securing the population. President Bush took this decision at a time when many government officials and military officers initially recommended against it ... when many in the intelligence community, Washington think tanks, and on the editorial pages thought Iraq was lost to civil war ... and Congress was trying to constrain funds for the effort. But events have vindicated the President's decision.

Today, violence is down across Iraq. The Iraqi people govern themselves under one of the most progressive constitutions in the Middle East. And for the first time in the region's history, Sunni, Shia, and Kurds are working together within a democratic framework to build a more hopeful future for their country.

As the "return on success" of its policies, the Administration has been reducing troops in Iraq from post-surge levels since the end of 2007. And we recently concluded agreements that envision the completion of the U.S. withdrawal by the end of 2011. As the members of the next Administration carry out the Status of Forces agreement, they will have the opportunity to successfully conclude the American effort in Iraq. And as they implement the companion Strategic Framework Agreement, America will gain a long-term democratic partner in the Middle East. Together, a democratic Iraq, a free Lebanon, and a democratic Palestinian state can be the keys to a transformed and more hopeful Middle East.

The Asia-Pacific is a region of increasing importance to America's security and economic well being. President Bush has strengthened the institutional relationships that will allow the new President the better to advance our interests there. President Bush's strategy has been to revitalize existing alliances ... establish new strategic partnerships ... bring China into the international system as a responsible player ... confront terrorist and proliferation threats ... and promote freedom and democracy.

America is helping the people of Afghanistan recover from years of tyranny under the Taliban - and build a more hopeful future of freedom. Today Afghanistan has a new democratic constitution ... an elected parliament and president ... more than 5 million children in school ... 8,000 kilometers of new paved roads ... and a growing military of 80,000 personnel.

We have maintained close relations with Afghanistan's neighbor - Pakistan. We recognize that Pakistan faces enormous economic, political, and security challenges. But we also understand that Pakistan has a better chance of successfully meeting these challenges with a freely elected democratic government. And today Pakistan has such a government thanks in no small part to President Bush's skillful diplomacy.

We have formed a new strategic partnership with the world's largest democracy - India. An historic agreement for civil nuclear cooperation has helped transform our relationship and make us global partners.

We have rebuilt relations with Indonesia - the nation with the largest Muslim population in the world. Indonesia has now ended the insurgency in Aceh and is combating the threat of terrorism.

We have revitalized our security alliances with Japan, South Korea, and Australia. We have realigned and repositioned our military forces in these nations - so we can better meet future challenges and reduce the burden on local populations. And we have joined with our democratic allies to create the Asia Pacific Democracy Partnership to strengthen freedom in the region.

We have built a stronger relationship with China based on cooperation where we agree and candor where we disagree. Tensions over Taiwan have eased considerably. And we continue to press China on human rights and religious freedom.

We have used the multilateral framework of the Six Party Talks to pressure North Korea to follow through on its agreements to abandon its nuclear weapons programs. These talks will be an early challenge for the incoming Administration. North Korea will test the new Administration by once again trying to split the six parties and renegotiate the deal. When its efforts to do so fail, North Korea will need to accept a verification agreement - so we can verify the disablement and then dismantlement of that country's nuclear capabilities. Without this verification agreement, there can be no progress. This is especially true because some in the intelligence community have increasing concerns that North Korea has an ongoing covert uranium enrichment program.

Afghanistan will be another early challenge for the new Administration. The Taliban remain a serious threat. Its fighters have found safe haven across the border in Pakistan. And if the extremists succeed in destabilizing Pakistan, the chaos will threaten peace and progress throughout the region. So stabilizing Pakistan must be a first priority for the new Administration -- as it has been one of ours.

The new Administration also has the opportunity to build on our efforts to link the countries of Central Asia with the nations of South Asia through a new axis of trade and energy. This axis can be the key to a more stable, prosperous, and democratic region.

And finally, I hope the new Administration will continue pushing the cause of human rights and freedom in Burma.

In the Western Hemisphere, President Bush confronted the challenges of a region where many had begun to doubt the benefits of democracy and freedom. The President's strategy has been to help democratic governments in the region better serve their people - and demonstrate that democracy can deliver and that freedom is the path to prosperity and a better life.

Under President Bush's leadership, the United States has renewed its commitment to social justice in the region. We have pledged two billion dollars for new initiatives to improve access to healthcare, education, affordable housing, and economic opportunity. We have helped lift the burden of more than 3 billion dollars of debt. We have negotiated free trade agreements with 10 nations, including two agreements awaiting approval from Congress. We have pledged 1.3 billion dollars to help Mexico and Central American nations fight organized crime networks and drug traffickers. We are helping Colombia defeat the FARC and other narco-terrorists. We have formed an important strategic partnership with Brazil. And we are working with states like Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Peru, and Uruguay to showcase the benefits of markets, democracy, and freedom - as the alternative to competing visions based on populist rhetoric, statist economies, and authoritarian politics.

The commitment of these states represents an important opportunity for the new Administration. As a good first step, the new Congress should approve the free trade agreements with Colombia and Panama - as well as South Korea. And the most dramatic opportunity for advancing America's agenda in this hemisphere would be for the new Administration to work with Congress to enact comprehensive immigration reform - and build an immigration system that is compassionate and fair.

As seen best in Africa, President Bush has followed an approach to development that embraces partnership instead of paternalism. We work with democracies that govern justly ... fight corruption ... invest in the health and education of their people ... embrace free trade and free markets to lift people out of poverty ... and achieve results. President Bush and Congress have backed this strategy with unprecedented resources. During the President's first term, our Nation tripled bilateral assistance to Sub-Saharan Africa. And we are on a pace to double our assistance again by 2010.

Across Africa, a new day of hope is dawning. Major conflicts have ended in Liberia, Angola, Sierra Leone, and Burundi. With American support, African leaders and regional organizations are stepping forward to help end violence in Darfur, Congo, and Somalia. Together, the countries of the G-8 have relieved 34 billion dollars of debt for 19 African countries. Through new initiatives, the United States is partnering with African nations to improve education ... promote free enterprise ... and combat the scourge of HIV/AIDS, malaria, and neglected tropical diseases through the international Global Fund and the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS relief. And through the Millennium Challenge Corporation, we have signed eleven compacts with African nations to help their people build a brighter future. The people of Africa have found a strong and reliable partner in the United States - and I hope the next Administration will continue this approach.

Finally, around the world, President Bush has led a global campaign against terror. After September 11th, 2001, President Bush recognized that terrorism was not just an issue of law enforcement, but a war to be won, a battle of both arms and ideas.

One of the President's most significant contributions has been to establish the basic principles for waging this struggle: We will not wait for new threats to gather. We will fight the terrorists abroad - so we do not have to face them here at home. We will make no distinctions between the terrorists and those who harbor them. We will counter the ideology of violent extremism with a more hopeful vision of tolerance and freedom. And we will make clear that violence against civilians is never justified - by any cause or creed.

We have seen the results of this approach. Together with a coalition of more than 90 nations, we have used all elements of our national power to kill and capture terrorist leaders ... deny them safe haven ... and choke off their financing. And thanks to the courage of the men and women who work day and night to defend our Nation, we have saved lives around the world - and have not experienced a terrorist attack on our soil for more than seven years.

The biggest threat to our Nation would be the world's most dangerous weapons falling into the hands of the world's most dangerous terrorists. President Bush has placed great emphasis on countering proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. He created the Proliferation Security Initiative, which now includes over 90 countries that cooperate together to interdict the movement of WMD materials and technology on land, at sea, and in the air. Through other initiatives, the Administration is helping to secure WMD materials and technology around the globe. And we have enhanced our defenses against the WMD threat. This includes building missile defenses that provide protection to the U.S. homeland, our deployed troops, and our allies from attacks by rogue states that might possess these weapons.

President Bush has put in place the tools that will permit future Presidents to succeed in the long struggle ahead. And I hope the next Administration will preserve these tools and use them effectively to defend our security and our freedom.

President Bush has led our Nation during a time of great consequence. Few presidents have faced more challenges. But when the history books are written, they will tell the story of a man who never wavered from his principles ... who kept our Nation safe ... and who helped spread the blessings of liberty to millions around the world.

As this Administration ends and a new one begins, we can have confidence in the future of our Nation -- because we can have confidence in the character of our people ... the power of our ideals ... and the enduring strength of our democracy. And along with every other American, I wish President-elect Obama all the best and every success. Thank you.