Work with others to Defuse Regional Conflicts
"We build a world of justice, or we will live
in a world of coercion. The magnitude of our shared responsibilities
makes our disagreements look so small."
May 23, 2002
Concerned nations must remain actively engaged in critical regional
disputes to avoid explosive escalation and minimize human suffering.
In an increasingly interconnected world, regional crisis can strain
our alliances, rekindle rivalries among the major powers, and create
horrifying affronts to human dignity.When violence erupts and states
falter, the United States will work with friends and partners to
alleviate suffering and restore stability.
No doctrine can anticipate every circumstance in which U.S. actiondirect
or indirectis warranted.We have finite political, economic,
and military resources to meet our global priorities. The United
States will approach each case with these strategic principles
- The United States should invest time and resources into building
international relationships and institutions that can help manage
local crises when they emerge.
- The United States should be realistic about its ability to
help those who are unwilling or unready to help themselves.Where
and when people are ready to do their part, we will be willing
to move decisively.
The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is critical because of the toll
of human suffering, because of Americas close relationship
with the state of Israel and key Arab states, and because of that
regions importance to other global priorities of the United
States. There can be no peace for either side without freedom for
both sides. America stands committed to an independent and democratic
Palestine, living beside Israel in peace and security. Like all
other people, Palestinians deserve a government that serves their
interests and listens to their voices. The United States will continue
to encourage all parties to step up to their responsibilities as
we seek a just and comprehensive settlement to the conflict.
The United States, the international donor community, and the
World Bank stand ready to work with a reformed Palestinian government
on economic development, increased humanitarian assistance, and
a program to establish, finance, and monitor a truly independent
judiciary. If Palestinians embrace democracy, and the rule of law,
confront corruption, and firmly reject terror, they can count on
American support for the creation of a Palestinian state.
Israel also has a large stake in the success of a democratic Palestine.
Permanent occupation threatens Israels identity and democracy.
So the United States continues to challenge Israeli leaders to
take concrete steps to support the emergence of a viable, credible
Palestinian state. As there is progress towards security, Israel
forces need to withdraw fully to positions they held prior to September
28, 2000. And consistent with the recommendations of the Mitchell
Committee, Israeli settlement activity in the occupied territories
must stop. As violence subsides, freedom of movement should be
restored, permitting innocent Palestinians to resume work and normal
life. The United States can play a crucial role but, ultimately,
lasting peace can only come when Israelis and Palestinians resolve
the issues and end the conflict between them.
In South Asia, the United States has also emphasized the need
for India and Pakistan to resolve their disputes. This Administration
invested time and resources building strong bilateral relations
with India and Pakistan. These strong relations then gave us leverage
to play a constructive role when tensions in the region became
acute.With Pakistan, our bilateral relations have been bolstered
by Pakistans choice to join the war against terror and move
toward building a more open and tolerant society. The Administration
sees Indias potential to become one of the great democratic
powers of the twentyfirst century and has worked hard to transform
our relationship accordingly. Our involvement in this regional
dispute, building on earlier investments in bilateral relations,
looks first to concrete steps by India and Pakistan that can help
defuse military confrontation.
Indonesia took courageous steps to create a working democracy
and respect for the rule of law. By tolerating ethnic minorities,
respecting the rule of law, and accepting open markets, Indonesia
may be able to employ the engine of opportunity that has helped
lift some of its neighbors out of poverty and desperation. It is
the initiative by Indonesia that allows U.S. assistance to make
In the Western Hemisphere we have formed flexible coalitions with
countries that share our priorities, particularly Mexico, Brazil,
Canada, Chile, and Colombia. Together we will promote a truly democratic
hemisphere where our integration advances security, prosperity,
opportunity, and hope.We will work with regional institutions,
such as the Summit of the Americas process, the Organization of
American States (OAS), and the Defense Ministerial of the Americas
for the benefit of the entire hemisphere.
Parts of Latin America confront regional conflict, especially
arising from the violence of drug cartels and their accomplices.
This conflict and unrestrained narcotics trafficking could imperil
the health and security of the United States. Therefore we have
developed an active strategy to help the Andean nations adjust
their economies, enforce their laws, defeat terrorist organizations,
and cut off the supply of drugs, whileas importantwe
work to reduce the demand for drugs in our own country.
In Colombia, we recognize the link between terrorist and extremist
groups that challenge the security of the state and drug trafficking
activities that help finance the operations of such groups. We
are working to help Colombia defend its democratic institutions
and defeat illegal armed groups of both the left and right by extending
effective sovereignty over the entire national territory and provide
basic security to the Colombian people.
In Africa, promise and opportunity sit side by side with disease,
war, and desperate poverty. This threatens both a core value of
the United States preserving human dignityand our strategic
prioritycombating global terror. American interests and American
principles, therefore, lead in the same direction: we will work
with others for an African continent that lives in liberty, peace,
and growing prosperity. Together with our European allies, we must
help strengthen Africas fragile states, help build indigenous
capability to secure porous borders, and help build up the law
enforcement and intelligence infrastructure to deny havens for
An ever more lethal environment exists in Africa as local civil
wars spread beyond borders to create regional war zones. Forming
coalitions of the willing and cooperative security arrangements
are key to confronting these emerging transnational threats.
Africas great size and diversity requires a security strategy
that focuses on bilateral engagement and builds coalitions of the
willing. This Administration will focus on three interlocking strategies
for the region:
- countries with major impact on their neighborhood such as South
Africa, Nigeria, Kenya, and Ethiopia are anchors for regional
engagement and require focused attention;
- coordination with European allies and international institutions
is essential for constructive conflict mediation and successful
peace operations; and
- Africas capable reforming states and sub-regional organizations
must be strengthened as the primary means to address transnational
threats on a sustained basis.
Ultimately the path of political and economic freedom presents
the surest route to progress in sub-Saharan Africa, where most
wars are conflicts over material resources and political access
often tragically waged on the basis of ethnic and religious difference.
The transition to the African Union with its stated commitment
to good governance and a common responsibility for democratic political
systems offers opportunities to strengthen democracy on the continent.
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