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Citadel News Service
8 Dec 2001

Marc Grossman: The Transformational Aspects of Sep 11

PhotoThank you Ambassador Lader for that introduction and for the opportunity to visit your beautiful city and campus.

One of my goals for years has been to visit The Citadel. Your great institution has produced many distinguished alumni, including generals, governors, senators and famous authors. The profession of diplomacy too has benefited from your focus on education, knowledge and service to our country. John C. West, in addition to being a former governor of South Carolina, is also a former Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, and my good friend and teacher Langhorne (Tony) Motley, class of 1960, is a former Ambassador to Brazil, as well as a former Assistant Secretary of State.

As I considered my talk today, I kept clearly in mind that many of you will be entering military service, some in as few as six months. The events of September 11 have affected every American. They affect you in particular.

The obvious topic for today is the campaign against terrorism. But, you don’t need a news report from me; we have all watched enough news in recent weeks. My goal today is to discuss the context of our actions in Afghanistan and what we can do to make America’s future more secure.

So let us focus today on the opportunities for the future. Don’t get me wrong, I wish as much as anyone else September 11 had never occurred. But it did. As we fight to win in Afghanistan -- and we will win-- we need to consider what monument we want to build after the murders at the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and a field in Pennsylvania.

Since September 11, the United States must:

    • Secure the United States and its interests against terrorism.
    • Identify, isolate, and defeat terrorist networks of global reach.
    • Deny terrorist access to weapons of mass destruction.
    • Deny sanctuary, support, or other assistance to terrorists.

Since the 11th of September, I have kept a list on my desk of all the things that could change for the better for the United States in this world if we make the right decisions today.

Here are four we might discuss today:

    • First, we should talk about the future of Afghanistan and how the United States and the international community can work to create a brighter future for that country.
    • Second, we should talk about the future of the NATO Alliance. Just a few years ago some people questioned the value of the organization’s continued existence, calling NATO a Cold War relic. No one can believe that today.
    • Third, what about the US-Russia relationship? On May 1, President Bush laid out a vision for a new relationship with Russia. Could the attacks against the United States on September 11 really change the political context of our relationship with Russia? The atmosphere and accomplishments last month at the summit meeting between Presidents Bush and Putin in Crawford are signs of progress.
    • Finally, I want to talk about diplomacy and how we can transform the State Department in order to build a successful diplomacy for the 21st Century.


Afghanistan is a country ravaged.

By over two decades of war.

By drought.

By Taliban oppression.

By the foreign invasion of Usama Bin Laden and Al Qaida.

According to UN estimates, there were over a million displaced people in Afghanistan prior to September 11. Today, there are six million people in Afghanistan and 3.5 million Afghan refugees dependent on international relief programs for assistance.

The average Afghan man makes less than $200 a year. The odds are one in six that his child will die before his or her first birthday. The average Afghan woman faces the highest odds in the world of dying in childbirth. The rehabilitation of Afghanistan must begin as soon as possible.

U.S. policy regarding Afghanistan has three elements:

    • eradication of terrorism
    • humanitarian assistance and reconstruction,
    • And the creation of a peaceful Afghanistan.

Eliminating Usama Bin Laden and his associates from Afghanistan is the required first step. War has been declared on us by Al Qaida and the Taliban. We will defend ourselves. We defend by our fight the civilized world, and values common to the West, to Asia, and to Islam. Today, American service members risk their lives in Afghanistan to defend our fundamental values of freedom and democracy. We support them completely.

The second element in our Afghan strategy is reconstruction and humanitarian aid. The Afghan people are victims of the Taliban and Al Qaida; our fight is not with them.

At the same time we are waging war against Al Qaida and the Taliban, we are also providing much needed humanitarian assistance to the people of Afghanistan.

Even before September 11, The United States was the largest donor of humanitarian aid to Afghanistan. In FY 2001, we provided $179 million in aid. On October 4, President Bush authorized an additional $320 million.

Since mid-October, The World Food Program has sent more than 52,000 metric tons of food to Afghanistan, enough to feed six million hungry Afghans for one month. American contributions to the World Food Program account for 80% of all food aid provided to Afghanistan. In addition to the World Food Program aid, the U.S. Department of Defense has airdropped over 2 million humanitarian rations into Afghanistan since the military campaign began.

The third part of our strategy is to do what we can to create an Afghanistan that will never again be a base for attacks on the US, our allies and our friends. It is past time for the Afghan people to have a government that they believe in, that they have put in power and that they can have faith in.

As Secretary Powell said, "We have an enormous obligation—not only the United States, but the whole international community – an enormous obligation not to leave the people of Afghanistan in the lurch, to not walk away as has been done in the past."

The agreement reached this week in Bonn is a powerful start. I salute our representatives to those talks: Ambassador Jim Dobbins and his team. Beginning on Dec 22, the interim authority established at the Bonn conference will begin handling the day to day conduct of the affairs of state for six months. There will be ups and downs before then, but the interim government will cooperate with the international community in the fight against terrorism, drugs, and organized crime, and will maintain the right relations with neighboring countries.

We are especially pleased by the inclusion of women in the interim authority. Women will hold two cabinet positions – the vice chair for women’s affairs and public health. Women must play a key role in the political and economic recovery of Afghanistan. As the First Lady recently framed it, "The stability of Afghanistan, the stability of the region is very dependent on making sure that human rights are a clear part of the new government. And of course, human rights include the rights of women and children."

The sustained effort to ensure Afghanistan’s rehabilitation is of course not a job for the U.S. alone. Indeed, it may not primarily a job for the U.S. at all. The international community must provide Afghanistan with the tools necessary to succeed.

The World Bank and the UN, Japan, the EU and others need to commit over a period of years the resources needed to the rehabilitation of Afghanistan.


Just as the events of September 11 have allowed us the opportunity to transform Afghanistan, there may also be an opportunity to further adapt the NATO Alliance to today’s challenges.

Created in 1949 to counter the threat from the Soviet Union, NATO has continually adapted itself to new missions and new challenges ever since. Throughout the Cold War, it responded to dilemmas and crises from the rearmament of Germany, differences over force levels in the 1960s, and détente and Vietnam in the 1970’s, to the INF debates of the 1980’s and the collapse of the Warsaw Pact in the 1990s.

Since the early 1990s, NATO has adapted to a New World and new threats. Our agenda has been focused on new members and new missions. We had begun to recognize and prepare to meet new threats to our territory and to our interests, but September 11 says that we have to rededicate ourselves to this new purpose.

At the 1999 Washington Summit, NATO leaders continued this evolution in preparing NATO to meet new strategic circumstances. Leaders recognized that the old East-West conflict had been brought to a peaceful end. European integration was advancing, patterns of political and economic cooperation were firmly entrenched and the first new members from the former Warsaw Pact had integrated quickly and effectively in NATO and quickly proved their worth in the Kosovo campaign. But listen to this: The 1999 Strategic Concept nevertheless cautioned that "the security of the Alliance remains subject to a wide variety of military and non-military risks which are multi-directional and often difficult to predict… including acts of terrorism, sabotage and organized crime."

Few would have predicted in 1999 that NATO would in 2001 invoke Article 5 for the first time in its history—and would do so in defense of the United States.

Our NATO allies have matched their strong words with deeds. Some have committed forces to serving alongside us in Operation Enduring Freedom. And, today, NATO AWACs manned by Danes, Germans, Italians and other nationalities are patrolling American skies, protecting our airspace.

Secretary Powell observed "that the value of NATO can be seen by the fact that ten years after the Cold War, nations still seek to join the alliance, not leave it."

As we look to the future of NATO and the question of new members, we should be led by President Bush’s statement in Warsaw earlier this year: "I believe in NATO membership for all of Europe’s democracies…. The question of "when" may still be up for debate in NATO, but the question of "whether" should not be…. As we plan the Prague Summit, we should not calculate how little we can get away with, but how much we can do to expand the cause of freedom. The expansion of NATO has fulfilled NATO’s promise. And that promise now leads eastward and southward, northward and onward."


As we move ahead in building the new Europe and making common cause against the terrorist threat, we must be open to new ways of doing business with Russia. Just as September 11 has refocused U.S. – European relations, it is possible that it could prove a turning point in our relationship with Russia, which has already evolved in ways many considered unimaginable a little over ten years ago.

At Crawford, President Bush explained that "The United States and Russia are in the midst of a transformation of a relationship that will yield peace and progress. We’re transforming our relationship from one of hostility and suspicion to one based on cooperation and trust that will enhance opportunities for peace and progress for our citizens and for people all around the world."

One of the results of Crawford may have been to break the US-Russia impasse over new, smart, tougher sanctions on Iraq. Just last week, Russia and the United States agreed on a framework for restructuring sanctions. This agreement restored unanimity in the Security Council, which will increase pressure on Iraq to comply with UN weapons inspections.

As we look at opportunities for improvement in US Russia relations, we should also be open to the potential for improvement in Russia-NATO.

Just yesterday in Brussels, Secretary Powell explained "The September 11 tragedies have created a unique occasion where NATO and Russian can – and should – reinforce our willingness and ability to work together."

The NAC’s Final Communiqué was issued yesterday. It outlined a goal of creating a new NATO- Russia Council to facilitate broader cooperation and joint action between NATO and Russia, while maintaining its prerogative of independent action on all issues consistent with its obligations and responsibilities.


On September 11, the world changed. Now it’s time to change our world. Secretary Powell has charged us at the State Department to create a diplomacy for the 21st Century. He wants us to have a vision of diplomatic service to our country, which will guide us not only through this campaign against terrorism, but beyond.

Like many of you, I would imagine, I have been reading David McCullough’s magnificent biography of John Adams. McCullough describes Adams’ first years as Minister to England after our revolution; received coolly by the Crown, ostracized by British society, vilified by the Loyalists.

One particular critic wrote of Adams, who along with Franklin and Jefferson, were America’s first diplomats, that he is "not qualified by nature or education to shine in courts. His abilities are undoubtedly equal to the mechanical parts of his business as Ambassador; but this is not enough. He cannot dance, drink, flatter, promise, dress, swear with the gentlemen, and small talk and flirt with the ladies; in short, he has none of the essential art or ornament which constitute the courtier."


Adams did not meet those atavistic standards of diplomacy, because he set out in London to represent a new country and a new ideal in a new way.

The country Adams represented is now the most powerful nation on Earth. Our diplomacy has also changed to reflect that reality.

The State Department is changing from an organization whose main job it was to observe and report into an organization that tells America’s story, promotes America’s interests, and confronts new dangers to our democracy.

I am reminded of a speech that a friend and colleague, Ambassador Craig Johnstone, gave at the State Department some years ago. Craig said that for 50 years the job of the State Department and most of the officers in it was to write the talking points the Secretary of State might use with the Soviet Foreign Minister. Everybody’s effort was used to have the Secretary of State say exactly the right thing to the other man.

But Ambassador Johnstone asked, what is the job today? It’s to fight drugs, to fight crime, to stop trafficking in women and children, to end regional conflicts, to stop weapons of mass destruction. These are the jobs that the President and the Secretary of State give us to do. We must be active. We are more than ever on the front line.

The profession we call diplomacy is changing before our eyes. When I packed my few books and record albums (remember record albums?) and went as a junior officer to Pakistan in 1977, American diplomacy, like the Secretary of State was focused on the Soviet Union. Today, global trends and global issues also define America’s strategic challenges and strategic goals. Vital to our ability to achieve these goals will be an ability to create – and, if we are lucky- lead a diplomacy for the 21st Century.

Just as the issues we are dealing with are not the same as those we were dealing with 25 or 30 years ago, the expectations we have for the people who are becoming diplomats today are not the same as those when I took the oath of office 25 years ago.

Here’s my job description for a 21st century diplomat:

  • A 21st Century Diplomat must not only be proficient in languages, but in intercultural communication.
  • They must understand the global issues.
  • They must understand the important role that public diplomacy plays in our dealings with the established and emerging democracies around the world.
  • They must have the negotiating skills to deal effectively with governments, the media, NGOs and the private sector.
  • They must understand preventive diplomacy and international peace operations.
  • And they must be comfortable with the latest technologies, which will be changing in ways we cannot even imagine today.

To build this 21st Century diplomacy requires resources. From his first day at State, Secretary Powell has been committed to getting the International Affairs resources required for our national security. Secretary Powell explained it to State Department employees like this:

"This world is changing so much. And I have got to make sure that the State Department is on top of it. I have got to make sure I am pedaling as fast as the corporate world is pedaling, the non-profit world is pedaling, the advocacy world is pedaling."

International Affairs funding is not foreign aid. It is a critical investment in the future of the United States. At the end of the day, it benefits the American people, whether in accounts that support the operations of the State Department and the Agency for International Development, or in accounts that supply vital assistance to our friends and allies.

After the tragic events of September 11, we re-examined and re-prioritized the budget to ensure that it will meet the President’s and the Secretary’s top foreign policy goal of defeating global terror.

Without International Affairs resources, the United States cannot lead this effort. Without resources, we cannot provide the leadership the American people expect and deserve.

I cannot conceive of a successful America in the 21st century without a successful diplomacy for the 21st century. Diplomacy matters more than ever.

I’d like to end with a quote from Secretary Powell, "Democracy and free markets work, and the world knows it. And there is no finer example of this than America and her allies, who together comprise the strongest economy in the world, helping to reshape the entire world by willing to trade openly and encourage others to do likewise. And there should be no question in any world leader’s mind that the first and most essential ingredient for success in the 21st century is a free people and a government that derives its right to govern from the consent of such people."

That was our goal on September 10 and it remains our goal today.

Thank you.

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