New Security Challenges and U.S.-Japan Relations

Ambassador Howard H. Baker, Jr.'s Remarks to the Research Institute for Peace and Security

As prepared for delivery
Feb. 10, 2003

Thank you, President Watanabe, for that kind introduction. It is a distinct honor to speak to this distinguished audience. Let me thank you all for giving up some of your afternoon so that you could be here with us. You know, having reached a certain point in life, I understand that some among us may look forward to this time of day as nap time. I promise I will do my best to avoid putting you all to sleep.

My friends, all of us involved in international affairs owe a debt of gratitude to the Research Institute for Peace and Security. For many years, RIPS has played an important role in educating the general public and promoting dialogue among specialists about the vital security issues of the day. RIPS has made sometimes arcane topics more understandable while bridging the many political and cultural barriers between nations, thereby truly fulfilling its mandate as an institute that seeks to promote peace and security.

This afternoon, I'd like to talk with you briefly about the new security challenges that face the United States, Japan, and the other free nations of the world. I want to sketch out for my country's overall security strategy. I'd like to touch on how we are dealing with the threats posed by Iraq and North Korea. And finally, I'd like to highlight the vital role of the United States-Japan relationship in countering the current threats to world peace.

None of us will ever forget that terrible day of September 11, 2001. Perhaps it's not quite accurate to say that the world changed that day, but it is certainly true to say that our way of understanding the world did. The brutal murders of over 3000 men, women, and children from some 90 countries - including 24 sons and daughters of Japan - brought home to Americans, and to all people on earth, the chilling fact that none of us is safe from groups of extremists or rogue states determined to use terror to attain their twisted political ends. We had all looked forward to enjoying the gpeace dividendh accruing from the end of the cold war. After 9/11, however, we understood that Americans and all free peoples are threatened by a new and insidious enemy. And we understood that we must rise and join together with other nations to meet this new threat.

The threats posed by terrorism and rogue states are of a wholly new and different order than the threats we faced during the cold war. During the cold war, the Soviet Union and its satellites at least recognized international agreements. While constrained by our policy of political containment and military deterrence, they adhered to a basic moral prohibition against the indiscriminate targeting of innocent civilians. And though it was not easy - and I speak from first-hand experience - we could and did successfully negotiate with our Soviet adversaries.

In contrast, our new enemies recognize no bounds of geography or morality as they plot their evil schemes of terror. Their demands are non-negotiable. This is an unpleasant truth, but we must not shrink from recognizing it.

The White House National Security Strategy, published last September, responds to this new situation. It is based on the premise that, and I quote: "America is now threatened less by conquering states than we are by failing ones. We are menaced less by fleets and armies than by catastrophic technologies in the hands of the embittered few." President Bush summed up our thinking in a recent speech when he said, and again I quote: "those who hate America are willing to crash airplanes into buildings full of innocent people. Our enemies would be no less willing c to use a biological, chemical, or nuclear weapon." I think we can all agree that this is in fact the terrible reality we face.

When we released our new Strategy, most attention focused on the doctrine of preemptive attack, but this is only a small element of our much larger, more comprehensive and, ultimately, optimistic policy. Our strategy is indeed optimistic, as it is animated by our hopeful vision of a better world: a vision of a prosperous, peaceful, and democratic global community free from the threat of terrorism and weapons of mass destruction.

To achieve this end, the National Security Strategy of the United States rests on four main pillars. First, we will strengthen alliances with like-minded nations. Second, we will work with others to solve regional conflicts. Third, we will prevent our enemies from threatening the U.S. and our allies with weapons of mass destruction. Finally, we will foster global economic growth and development.

But as we pursue an enduring peace, our first priority is to protect innocent people in America, Japan, and around the world from those who would do them harm. America is accordingly building new institutions to counter these new threats. Indeed, we have recently implemented the most sweeping changes to our national security organization since the late 1940's. We established the Department of Homeland Security, which will coordinate the activities of the many U.S. agencies devoted to various aspects of our homeland security. We also set up an entirely new military command - the Northern Command - to defend our home territory. And we are devising ways in which our intelligence community can better coordinate its activities so that we will know beforehand who would mount an attack against us. These are profound changes and they signal our determination to take up the gauntlet that history has thrown before us.

But another part of this effort to protect our peoples is to seek peaceful solutions through multilateral diplomatic efforts, backed up, when all else fails, by resolute force. This, my friends, is precisely what we are doing in the cases of Iraq and North Korea.

For twelve years now, since the end of the Gulf War, the international community has given Iraq chance after chance to comply with its obligation to disarm and destroy its weapons of mass destruction. Finally, exasperated by these many years of Iraqi denial and deception, three months ago the U.N. Security Council adopted UNSC Resolution 1441 by a unanimous vote of 15 to zero. The world thus proclaimed loudly and unambiguously that Iraq continued to pose a threat to international peace and security, and that Iraq had been and remained in material breach of its disarmament obligations.

The United States sponsored 1441 not in order to go to war. We sponsored 1441 to try to preserve the peace. We sought to strengthen the authority of the Security Council to enforce its mandates, and prevent the United Nations from falling into powerless irrelevance, like the League of Nations. We wanted to give Iraq one last chance. Unfortunately, as Secretary of State Powell last week so compellingly showed, Iraq continues to defy the Security Council and lie to the world. After twelve years, diplomacy has run its course. Allowing the dictator Saddam Hussein to stockpile weapons of mass destruction and harbor terrorists is not an option. The final choice for war or peace is his. He will disarm immediately, truly and verifiably, or be disarmed by force.

In the case of North Korea, there can be no doubt about the gravity of the situation. But the United States believes there is still room for diplomacy. As with Iraq, from the beginning we have sought to deal with this outlaw regime multilaterally, through the United Nations and its specialized agencies, and in close collaboration with Japan, South Korea and the other nations of the region. We will continue to work with all interested parties to counter the threats posed by this regime's unacceptable and illegal nuclear weapons program - a program which they have been secretly pursuing for years in egregious violation of their international obligations.

We have stated publicly that we have no intention of invading the North, and that we are prepared to have direct talks with them, provided they modify their threatening behavior. We are willing to build a new relationship with Pyongyang. But our position is clear about the steps North Korea must take, and in this the United States and Japan are in full agreement: North Korea must freeze activities at its plutonium complex and dismantle its enriched uranium program to develop nuclear weapons. In addition, North Korea must cooperate fully with the International Atomic Energy Agency and must comply with the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and adhere to the safeguards agreement that is part of that treaty.

No peaceful nation wants to see a North Korea bristling with nuclear missiles. This is not a bilateral issue between that country and the United States, but an issue between that country and the entire world. My government will continue to consult particularly closely with Japan and South Korea as we spare no effort to find a peaceful, diplomatic resolution to this new challenge.

My friends, in these perilous times, the partnership between our two countries is more important than ever. I am pleased to say that the Government of Japan has been one of our staunchest allies in the struggle against terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. In diplomacy, information sharing, attacking terrorist financing, and the rear-area support of the Maritime Self-Defense Forces, Japan has been front and center in rising to the challenges of the moment.

Our partnership is strong not because we have common enemies, but because we share common values and interests. Our countries both have a vital stake in the integrity of multilateral institutions and international agreements. In countering the clear and specific threats posed by Iraq and North Korea, we are united in our awareness of the seriousness of the situation, and of the necessity to take forceful action to restore global peace and security.

My friends, I am by nature an optimist. While I am fully aware that we live in uncertain and dangerous times, I also know that free peoples, by joining together, can overcome the most daunting of challenges. History has made the United States and Japan the world's two richest and most influential nations at this time of great peril - and great promise. It is our unshirkable obligation to accept the calling of history and work together as partners - and as friends - and lead the world toward our common vision of liberty, peace and prosperity.

Thank you very much.