III. Integrated Regional Approaches
The United States is a genuinely global power. Our policy toward each of the world’s regions reflects our overall strategy tailored to their unique challenges and opportunities. This section highlights the application of our strategy to each of the world’s regions; our broad objectives and thrust, rather than an exhaustive list of all our policies and interests. It illustrates how we integrate our commitment to the promotion of democracy and the enhancement of American prosperity with our security requirements to produce a mutually reinforcing policy.
Europe and Eurasia
Our strategy of engagement and enlargement is central to U.S. policy toward Europe. European stability is vital to our own security, a lesson we have learned twice at great cost this century. Vibrant European economies mean more jobs for Americans at home and investment opportunities abroad. With the collapse of the Soviet empire and the emergence of many new democratizing states in its wake, the United States has an unparalleled opportunity to contribute toward a free and undivided Europe. Our goal is an integrated democratic Europe cooperating with the United States to keep the peace and promote prosperity.
The first and most important element of our strategy in Europe must be security through military strength and cooperation. The Cold War is over, but war itself is not over.
We must work with our allies to ensure that the hard-won peace in the former Yugoslavia will survive and flourish after four years of war. U.S. policy is focused on five goals: sustaining a political settlement in Bosnia that preserves the country’s erritorial integrity and provides a viable future for all its peoples; preventing the spread of the conflict into a broader Balkan war that could threaten both allies and the stability of new democratic states in Central and Eastern Europe; stemming the destabilizing flow of refugees from the conflict; halting the slaughter of innocents; and helping to support NATO’s central role in Europe while maintaining our role in shaping Europe’s security architecture.
Our leadership paved the way to NATO’s February 1994 ultimatum that ended the heavy Serb bombardment of Sarajevo, Bosnia’s capital. Our diplomatic leadership then brought an end to the fighting between the Muslims and Croats in Bosnia and helped establish a bicommunal Bosnian-Croat Federation. In April 1994, we began working with the warring parties through the Contact Group (United States, Russia, United Kingdom, France and Germany) to help the parties reach a negotiated settlement.
This past summer, following Bosnian Serb attacks on the safe areas of Srebrenica and Zepa and in response to the brutal shelling of Sarajevo, the United States led NATOs heavy and continuous air strikes. At the same time, President Clinton launched a new diplomatic initiative aimed at ending the conflict for good. Intensive diplomatic efforts by our negotiators forged a Bosnia-wide cease-fire and got the parties to agree to the basic principles of peace. Three dedicated American diplomats -- Robert Frasure, Joseph Kruzel and Nelson Drew -- lost their lives in that effort.
Three intensive weeks of negotiations, led by the United States last November, produced the Dayton Peace Agreement. In the agreement, the parties committed to put down their guns; to preserve Bosnia as a single state; to investigate and prosecute war criminals; to protect the human rights of all citizens; and to try to build a peaceful, democratic future. And they asked for help from the United States and the international community in implementing the peace agreement.
Following the signature of the peace agreement in Paris on December 14, U.S. forces deployed to Bosnia as part of a NATO-led peace implementation force (IFOR). These forces, along with those of some 25 other nations, including all of our NATO allies, are working to ensure a stable and secure environment so that the parties have the confidence to carry out their obligations under the Dayton agreement. IFOR’s task is limited to assisting the parties in implementing the military aspects of the peace agreement, including monitoring the cease-fire, monitoring and enforcing the withdrawal of forces and establishing and manning the zone of separation.
We anticipate a one-year mission for IFOR in Bosnia. The parties to the agreement have specific dates by which each stage of their obligations must be carried out, starting with the separation of forces within 30 days after IFOR assumes authority from UNPROFOR, continuing with the removal of forces and heavy weapons to garrisons within 120 days.
During the second six months, IFOR will continue to maintain a stable and secure environment and prepare for and undertake an orderly drawdown of forces, while the parties themselves will continue to work with the international community to carry out the nonmilitary activities called for by the agreement. We believe that by the end of the first year we will have helped create a secure environment so that the people of Bosnia can travel freely throughout the country, vote in free elections and begin to rebuild their lives.
Civilian tasks of rebuilding, reconstruction, return of refugees and human rights monitoring, which are absolutely essential to making the peace endure, have been undertaken by the entire international community under civilian coordination. International aid agencies are helping the people of Bosnia rebuild to meet the immediate needs of survival. There also is a long-term international reconstruction effort to repair the devastation brought about by years of war. This broad civilian effort is helping the people of Bosnia to rebuild, reuniting children with their parents and families with their homes and will allow the Bosnian people to choose freely their own leaders. It will give them a much greater stake in peace than war, so that peace takes on a life and a logic of its own.
We expect to contribute some $600 million over the next 3-4 years to reconstruction and relief funding. In view of the large role that U.S. forces are playing in implementing the military aspects of the agreement, we believe it is appropriate for Europe to contribute the largest share of the funds for reconstruction. The European Union has taken the lead in these efforts in tandem with the international financial institutions, in particular the World Bank. The Japanese and Islamic countries also are prepared to make significant contributions.
An important element of our exit strategy for IFOR is our commitment to achieving a stable military balance within Bosnia and among the states of the former Yugoslavia by the time IFOR withdraws. This balance will help reduce the incentives of the parties to return to war. This balance should be achieved, to the extent possible, through arms limitations and reductions, and the Dayton agreement contains significant measures in this regard.
But even with the implementation of the arms control provisions, the armed forces of the Federation, which have been the most severely constrained by the arms embargo, will still be at a disadvantage. Accordingly, we have made a commitment to the Bosnian government that we will play a leadership role in ensuring that the Federation receives the assistance necessary to adequately defend itself when IFOR leaves. However, because we want to assure the impartiality of IFOR, providing arms and training to Federation forces will not be done by either IFOR or U.S. military forces. The approach we intend to pursue for the United States is to coordinate the efforts of third countries and to lead an international effort, with U.S. involvement in the execution of the program to be done by contractors.
Our efforts in this connection already have begun. An assessment team to evaluate the needs of the Federation visited Bosnia in November and made recommendations regarding the Federation’s defense requirements. A special task force has been established at the Department of State to work with other interested states and to identify the best sources of essential equipment and training. We will proceed with this effort in a manner that is consistent with the UN resolution lifting the arms embargo, which allows planning and training to proceed immediately but prohibits the introduction of weapons to the region for three months and the transfer of heavy weapons for six months.
As we work to resolve the tragedy of Bosnia and ease the suffering of its victims, we also need to transform European and transatlantic institutions so they can better address such conflicts and advance Europe’s integration. Many institutions will play arole, including the European Union (EU), the Western European Union (WEU), the Council of Europe (CE), the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and the United Nations. But NATO, history’s greatest political-military alliance, must be central to that process.
The NATO alliance will remain the anchor of American engagement in Europe and the linchpin of transatlantic security. That is why we must keep it strong, vital and relevant. For the United States and its allies, NATO has always been far more than a transitory response to a temporary threat. It has been a guarantor of European democracy and a force for European stability. That is why its mission endures even though the Cold War has receded into the past. And that is why its benefits are so clear to Europe’s new democracies.
Only NATO has the military forces, the integrated command structure, the broad legitimacy and the habits of cooperation that are essential to draw in new participants and respond to new challenges. One of the deepest transformations within the transatlantic community over the past half-century occurred because the armed forces of our respective nations trained, studied and marched through their careers together. It is not only the compatibility of our weapons but the camaraderie of our warriors that provide the sinews behind our mutual security guarantees and our best hope for peace. In this regard, we applaud France’s decision to resume its participation in NATO’s defense councils.
The United States has significantly reduced the level of U.S. military forces stationed in Europe. We have determined that a force of roughly 100,000 U.S. military personnel assigned to the U.S. European Command will preserve U.S. influence and leadership in NATO and provide a deterrent posture that is visible to all Europeans. While we continue to examine the proper mix of forces, this level of permanent presence, augmented by forward deployed naval forces and reinforcements available from the United States, is sufficient to respond to plausible crises and contributes to stability in the region. Such a force level also provides a sound basis for U.S. participation in multinational training and preserves the capability to deter or respond to larger threats in Europe and to support limited NATO operations out of area.
NATO’s mission is evolving, and the Alliance will continue to adapt to the many changes brought about in the aftermath of the end of the Cold War. Today, NATO plays a crucial role helping to manage ethnic and national conflict in Europe. With U.S. leadership, NATO has provided the muscle behind efforts to bring about a peaceful settlement in the former Yugoslavia. NATO air power enforced the UN-mandated no-fly zone and provided support to UN peacekeepers. NATO is now helping to implement the peace after the parties reached an agreement.
With the adoption of the U.S. initiative, Partnership for Peace, at the January 1994 summit, NATO is playing an increasingly important role in our strategy of European integration, extending the scope of our security cooperation to the new democracies of Central and Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. Twenty-seven nations, including Russia, have already joined the Partnership, which will pave the way for a growing program of military cooperation and political consultation. Partner countries are sending representatives to NATO headquarters near Brussels and to a military coordination cell at Mons -- the site of Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE). Combined exercises have taken place in virtually all of the Partners’ countries and NAT nations. In keeping with our strategy of enlargement, PFP is open to all former members of the Warsaw Pact as well as other European states. Each partner will set the scope and pace of its cooperation with NATO. To facilitate progress toward PFP objectives, the U.S. Warsaw Initiative Program is directing $100 million to Partner nations this year.
The success of NATO’s Partnership for Peace process and the increasing links developed between NATO and Partner nations have also begun to lay the foundation for the Partners to contribute to real-world NATO missions such as the IFOR operation, Joint Endeavor. The participation of over a dozen Partner nations in IFOR demonstrates the value of our efforts to date and will contribute to the further integration of Europe.
The North Atlantic Treaty has always been open to the addition of members who shared the Alliance’s purposes and its values, its commitment to respect borders and international law and who could add to its strength; indeed, NATO has expanded three times since its creation. In January 1994, President Clinton made it plain that “the question is no longer whether NATO will take on new members but when and how we will do so.” The following December, we and our Allies began a steady, measured and transparent process that will lead to NATO enlargement. During 1995, the Alliance carried out the first phase in this process, by conducting a study of the process and principles that would guide the bringing in of new members. This enlargement study was completed in September and presented to interested members of the Partnership for Peace (PFP).
At its December 1995 foreign ministers meeting in Brussels, NATO announced the launching of the second phase of the enlargement process. All interested members of the Partnership for Peace will be invited, beginning in early 1996, to participate in intensive bilateral consultations with NATO aimed at helping them prepare for possible NATO membership. Participation will not guarantee that a participant will be invited to begin accession talks with NATO. Any such decision will be taken by NATO at a time of its own choosing, based on an overall assessment of Alliance security and interests. As part of this phase, NATO will also expand and deepen the Partnership for Peace, both as a means to further the enlargement process, but also to intensify relations between NATO and all members of the PFP. The second phase in the enlargement process will continue through 1996 and be reviewed and assessed by NATO foreign ministers at their December 1996 meeting.
Enlarging the Alliance will promote our interests by reducing the risk of instability or conflict in Europe’s eastern half -- the region where two world wars and the Cold War began. It will help assure that no part of Europe will revert to a zone of great power competition or a sphere of influence. It will build confidence and give new democracies a powerful incentive to consolidate their reforms. And each potential member will be judged according to the strength of its democratic institutions and its capacity to contribute to the goals of the Alliance.
As the President has made clear, NATO enlargement will not be aimed at replacing one division of Europe with a new one; rather, its purpose is to enhance the security of all European states, members and nonmembers alike. In this regard, we have a major stake in ensuring that Russia is engaged as a vital participant in European security affairs. We are committed to a growing, healthy NATO-Russia relationship, including a mechanism for regular consultations on common concerns. The current NATO-Russia cooperation on Bosnia is a great stride forward. Also, we want to see Russia closely involved in the Partnership for Peace. Recognizing that no single institution can meet every challenge to peace and stability in Europe, we have begun a process that will strengthen the OSCE and enhance its conflict prevention and peacekeeping capabilities.
The second element of the new strategy for Europe is economic. The United States seeks to build on vibrant and open-market economies, the engines that have given us the greatest prosperity in human history over the last several decades in Europe and in the United States. To this end, we strongly support the process of European integration embodied in the European Union and seek to deepen our partnership with the EU in support of our economic goals, but also commit ourselves to the encouragement of bilateral trade and investment in countries not part of the EU. The United States supports appropriate enlargement of the European Union and welcomes the European Union’s Customs Union with Turkey.
The nations of the European Union face particularly significant economic challenges with nearly 20 million people unemployed and, in Germany’ scase, the extraordinarily high costs of unification. Among the Atlantic nations, economic stagnation has clearly eroded public support in finances for outward-looking foreign policies and for greater integration. We are working closely with our West European partners to expand employment and promote long-term growth, building on the results of the Detroit Jobs Conference and the Naples G-7 Summit in 1994. In December 1995, the U.S. and EU launched the New Transatlantic Agenda, which moves the U.S.-EU relationship from consultation to joint action on a range of shared interests, including promoting peace, stability, democracy and development; responding to global challenges; and contributing to the expansion of world trade and closer economic relations.
In Northern Ireland, the Administration is implementing a package of initiatives to promote the peace process, including a successful trade mission, a management intern exchange program and cooperation to promote tourism. The White House Conference on Trade and Investment, held in May 1995, has led to new partnerships between firms in the United States and Northern Ireland that benefit both economies. The President’s visit to Northern Ireland in November 1995, the first ever by an American President, drew an unprecedented wave of popular support for peace. We are continuing our support for investment and trade in Northern Ireland to create jobs that will underpin hopes for peace and reconciliation.
As we work to strengthen our own economies, we must know that we serve our own prosperity and our security by helping the new market reforms in the new democracies in Europe’s East, which will help to deflate the region’s demagogues. It will help ease ethnic tensions; it will help new democracies take root.
In Russia, Ukraine and the other new independent states of the former Soviet Union, the economic transformation they are undertaking is historical. The Russian Government has made substantial progress toward privatizing the economy (over 60 percent of the Russian Gross Domestic Product is now generated by the private sector) and reducing inflation, and Ukraine has taken bold steps of its own to institute much-needed economic reforms. But much remains to be done to build on the reform momentum to assure durable economic recovery and social protection. President Clinton has given strong and consistent support to this unprecedented reform effort and has mobilized the international community to provide structural economic assistance; for example, by securing agreement by the G-7 to make available four billion dollars in grants and loans as Ukraine has implemented economic reform. Through the Gore-Chernomyrdin Commission, the United States is working closely with Russia in priority areas, including defense, trade and science and technology.
The short-term difficulties of taking Central and Eastern Europe into Western economic institutions will be more than rewarded if they succeed and if they are customers for America’s and Western Europe’s goods and services tomorrow. That is why this Administration has been committed to increase support substantially for market reforms in the new states of the former Soviet Union and why we have continued our support for economic transition in Central and Eastern Europe, while also paying attention to measures that can overcome the social dislocations which have resulted largely from the collapse of the Soviet-dominated regional trading system. One step was a White House sponsored Trade and Investment Conference for Central and Eastern Europe, which took place in Cleveland in January, 1995.
Ultimately, the success of market reforms to the East will depend more on trade and investment than official aid. No one nation has enough resources to markedly change the future of those countries as they move to free market systems. One of our priorities, therefore, is to reduce trade barriers with the former communist states.
The third and final imperative of this new strategy is to support the growth of democracy and individual freedoms that has begun in Russia, the nations of the former Soviet Union and Europe’s former communist states. The success of these democratic reforms makes us all more secure; they are the best answer to the aggressive nationalism and ethnic hatreds unleashed by the end of the Cold War. Nowhere is democracy’s success more important to us all than in these countries.
This will be the work of generations. There will be wrong turns and even reversals, as there have been in all countries throughout history. But as long as these states continue their progress toward democracy and respect the rights of their own and other people, and they understand the rights of their minorities and their neighbors, we will support their progress with a steady patience.
East Asia and the Pacific
East Asia is a region of growing importance for U.S. security and prosperity; nowhere are the strands of our three-pronged strategy more intertwined nor is the need for continued U.S. engagement more evident. Now more than ever, security, open markets and democracy go hand in hand in our approach to this dynamic region. In 1993, President Clinton laid out an integrated strategy -- a New Pacific Community -- which links security requirements with economic realities and our concern for democracy and human rights.
In thinking about Asia, we must remember that security is the first pillar of our new Pacific community. The United States is a Pacific nation. We have fought three wars there in this century. To deter regional aggression and secure our own interests, we will maintain an active presence, and we will continue to lead. Our deep, bilateral ties with such allies as Japan, South Korea, Australia, Thailand and the Philippines, and a continued American military presence will serve as the foundation for America’s security role in the region. Currently, our forces number nearly 100,000 personnel in East Asia. In addition to performing the general forward deployment functions outlined above, they contribute to regional stability by deterring aggression and adventurism.
As a key element of our strategic commitment to the region, we are pursuing stronger efforts to combat the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction on the Korean Peninsula. In October 1994, we reached an important Agreed Framework committing North Korea to halt and eventually eliminate, its existing, dangerous nuclear program -- and an agreement with China, restricting the transfer of ballistic missiles.
Another example of our security commitment to the Asia Pacific region in this decade is our effort to develop multiple new arrangements to meet multiple threats and opportunities. We have supported new regional dialogues -- such as the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) -- on the full range of common security challenges. The second ARF Ministerial, held in August 1995, made significant progress in addressing key security issues such as the Korean Peninsula and the South China Sea. It also agreed to intersessional meetings on confidence-building measures such as search and rescue cooperation and peacekeeping. Such regional arrangements can enhance regional security and understanding through improved confidence and transparency. These regional exchanges are grounded on the strong network of bilateral relationships that exist today.
The continuing tensions on the Korean Peninsula remain the principal threat to the peace and stability of the Asian region. We have worked diligently with our South Korean and Japanese allies, with the People’s Republic of China and with Russia, and with various UN organizations to resolve the problem of North Korea’ snuclear program. Throughout 1995, we successfully took the initial steps to implement the U.S.-North Korea nuclear agreement, beginning with IAEA monitoring of the North Korean nuclear freeze of its plutonium reprocessing plant and of its construction of two larger plants and an expanded reprocessing facility. In March 1995, a U.S.-led effort with Japan and the Republic of Korea successfully established the Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization (KEDO), which will finance and supply the light-water reactor project to North Korea. The reactor will, over a ten-year period, replace North Korea’s more dangerous, plutonium producing reactors. In December 1995, KEDO and North Korea reached agreement on a comprehensive supply contract for the light-water reactor project as part of the overall plan to replace North Korea’s existing, dangerous nuclear program. KEDO also supplied heavy fuel oil to offset the energy from the frozen reactor projects and took measures to safely store spent nuclear fuel in North Korea, pending its final removal under the terms of the Agreed Framework. That effort will be accompanied by a willingness to improve bilateral political and economic ties with the North, commensurate with their continued cooperation to resolve the nuclear issue and to make progress on other issues of concern, such as improved North-South Korean relations and missile proliferation. Our goal remains a non-nuclear, peacefully reunified Korean Peninsula. Our strong and active commitment to our South Korean allies and to the region is the foundation of this effort.
A stable, open, prosperous and strong China is important to the United States and to our friends and allies in the region. A stable and open China is more likely to work cooperatively with others and to contribute positively to peace in the region and to respect the rights and interests of its people. A prosperous China will provide an expanding market for American goods and services. We have a profound stake in helping to ensure that China pursues its modernization in ways that contribute to the overall security and prosperity of the Asia Pacific region. To that end, we strongly promote China’s participation in regional security mechanisms to reassure its neighbors and assuage its own security concerns.
In support of these objectives, we have adopted a policy of comprehensive engagement designed to integrate China into the international community as a responsible member and to foster bilateral cooperation in areas of common interest. At the same time, we are seeking to resolve important differences in areas of concern to the United States, such as human rights, proliferation and trade. The United States continues to follow its long-standing “one China” poly; at the same time, we maintain fruitful unofficial relations with the people in Taiwan, a policy that contributes to regional security and economic dynamism. We have made clear that the resolution of issues between Taiwan and the PRC should be peaceful.
On July 11, 1995, the President normalized relations with Vietnam. This step was taken in recognition of the progress that had been made in accounting for missing Americans from the Vietnam war and to encourage continued progress by Vietnam in the accounting process. This action also served to help bring Vietnam into the community of nations. Vietnam’s strategic position in Southeast Asia makes it a pivotal player in ensuring a stable and peaceful region. In expanding dialogue with Vietnam, the United States will continue to encourage it along the path toward economic reform and democracy, with its entry into ASEAN a move along this path.
The second pillar of our engagement in Asia is our commitment to continuing and enhancing the economic prosperity that has characterized the region. Opportunities for economic progress continue to abound in Asia and underlie our strong commitment to multilateral economic cooperation, principally through APEC. Today, the 18 member states of APEC -- comprising about one-third of the world’s population, including Mexico and Canada -- produce $13 trillion and export $1.7 trillion of goods annually, about one-half of the world’s totals. U.S. exports to Asian economies reached $150 billion in 1994, supporting nearly 2.9 million American jobs. U.S. direct investments in Asia totaled over $108 billion -- about one-fifth of total U.S. direct foreign investment.
A prosperous and open Asia Pacific is key to the economic health of the United States. Annual APEC leaders meetings, initiated in 1993 by President Clinton, are vivid testimonies to the possibilities of stimulating regional economic cooperation. As confidence in APEC’s potential grows, it will pay additional dividends in enhancing political and security ties within the region.
We are also working with our major bilateral trade partners to improve trade relations. The U.S. and Japan have successfully completed 20 bilateral trade agreements in the wake of the 1993 Framework Agreement, designed to open Japan’s markets more to copetitive U.S. goods and reduce the U.S. trade deficit. As U.S.-China trade continues to grow significantly, we must work closely with Beijing to resolve remaining bilateral and multilateral trade problems, such as intellectual property rights and market access. In February 1995, the United States reached a bilateral agreement with China on intellectual property rights, potentially saving U.S. companies billions of dollars in revenues lost because of piracy. China’s accession to the WTO is also an importat objective for the United States. The United States and other WTO members have made it clear that China must join the WTO on commercial terms.
The third pillar of our policy in building a new Pacific community is to support democratic reform in the region. The new democratic states of Asia will have our strong support as they move forward to consolidate and expand democratic reforms.
Some have argued that democracy is somehow unsuited for Asia or at least for some Asian nations -- that human rights are relative and that they simply mask Western cultural imperialism. These arguments are wrong. It is not Western imperialism but the aspirations of Asian peoples themselves that explain the growing number of democracies and the growing strength of democracy movements everywhere in Asia. We support those aspirations and those movements.
Each nation must find its own form of democracy, and we respect the variety of democratic institutions that have grown in Asia. But there is no cultural justification for torture or tyranny. Nor do we accept repression cloaked in moral relativism. Democracy and human rights are universal yearnings and universal norms, just as powerful in Asia as elsewhere. We will continue to press for improved respect for human rights in such countries as China, Vietnam and Burma.
he Western Hemisphere
The Western Hemisphere, too, is a fertile field for a strategy of engagement and enlargement. Sustained improvements in the security situation there, including the resolution of border tensions, control of insurgencies and containment of pressures for arms proliferation, will be an essential underpinning of political and economic progress in the hemisphere.
The unprecedented triumph of democracy and market economies throughout the region offers an unparalleled opportunity to secure the benefits of peace and stability and to promote economic growth and trade. At the Summit of the Americas, which President Clinton hosted in December 1994, the 34 democratic nations of the hemisphere committed themselves for the first time to the goal of free trade in the region by 2005. They also agreed to a detailed plan of cooperative action in such diverse fields as health, education, science and technology, environmental protection and the strengthening of democratic institutions. A series of follow-on ministerial meetings have already begun the important work of implementing an action plan, with the active participation of the Organization of American States and the Inter-American Development Bank. Over the last year Summit partners have worked together to improve regional security, block the activities of international criminals, counter corruption and increase opportunities for health, education and prosperity for residents of the hemisphere. The Summit ushered in a new era of hemispheric cooperation that would not have been possible without U.S. leadership and commitment.
NAFTA, ratified in December 1994, has strengthened economic ties, with substantial increases in U.S. exports to both Mexico and Canada, creating new jobs and new opportunities for American workers and business. We have also begun negotiations with Chile to join NAFTA. And in the security sphere, negotiations with Canada will extend the North American Air Defense (NORAD) Agreement through 2001.
We remain committed to extending democracy to all of the region’s peope still blocked from controlling their own destinies. Our overarching objective is to preserve and defend civilian-elected governments and strengthen democratic practices respectful of human rights. Working with the international community, we succeeded in reversing the coup in Haiti and restoring the democratically elected president and government. Over the past year, the United States and the international community have helped the people of Haiti consolidate their hard-won democracy and organize free and fair elections at all levels. Haitians were able to choose their representatives in the Senate, the Chamber of Deputies and at the local level. And, for the first time in its history, Haiti experienced a peaceful transition between two democratically elected presidents.
With the restoration of democracy in Haiti, Cuba is the only country in the hemisphere still ruled by a dictator. The Cuban Democracy Act remains the framework for our policy toward Cuba; our goal is the peaceful establishment of democratic governance for the people of Cuba. In October, the United States took steps to invigorate our efforts to promote the cause of peaceful change in Cuba. These measures tighten the enforcement of our economic embargo against the Cuban regime and enhance our contacts with the Cuban people through an increase in the free flow of information and ideas. By reaching out to nongovernmental organizations, churches, human rights groups and other elements of Cuba’s civil society, we will strengthen the agents of peaceful chage.
We are working with our neighbors through various hemispheric organizations, including the OAS, to invigorate regional cooperation. Both bilaterally and regionally, we seek to eliminate the scourge of drug trafficking, which poses a serious threat to democracy and security. We also seek to strengthen norms for defense establishments that are supportive of democracy, respect for human rights and civilian control in defense matters. The Defense Ministerial of the Americas hosted by the United States in July 1995, and “The Williamsburg Principles” which resulted from it, were a significant step in this effort. Working with our Latin American partners who make up the “guarantor countries”, we also began to move toward a permanent resolution of the Peru-Ecuador border dispute. In addition, a highly successful Organization of American States conference on regional Confidence and Security Building Measures was held in Santiago, Chile.
Protecting the region’s precious environmental resources is also an important priority.
he Middle East, Southwest and South Asia
The United States has enduring interests in the Middle East, especially in pursuing a lasting and comprehensive Middle East peace, assuring the security of Israel and our Arab friends and maintaining the free flow of oil at reasonable prices. Our strategy is harnessed to the unique characteristics of the region and our vital interests there, as we work to extend the range of peace and stability.
We have made solid progress in the past three years. The President’s efforts helped bring about many historic firsts -- the handshake of peace between Prime Minister Rabin and Chairman Arafat on the White House lawn has been followed by the Jordan-Israel peace treaty, the Israeli-Palestinian Interim Agreement, progress on eliminating the Arab boycott of Israel and the establishment of ties between Israel and an increasing number of its Arab neighbors. But our efforts have not stopped there; on other bilateral tracks and through regional dialogue we are working to foster a durable peace and a comprehensive settlement, while our support for economic development can bring hope to all the peoples of the region.
In Southwest Asia, the United States remains focused on deterring threats to regional stability, particularly from Iraq and Iran as long as those states pose a threat to U.S. interests, to other states in the region and to their own citizens. We have in place a dual containment strategy aimed at these two states and will maintain our long-standing presence, which has been centered on naval vessels in and near the Persian Gulf and prepositioned combat equipment. Since Operation Desert Storm, temporary deployments of land-based aviation forces, ground forces and amphibious units have supplemented our posture in the Gulf region. The October 1994 deployment for Operation Vigilant Warrior demonstrated again our ability to rapidly reinforce the region in time of crisis and respond quickly to threats to our allies.
We have made clear that Iraq must comply with all the relevant Security Council resolutions. We also remain committed to preventing the oppression of Iraq’s people through Operations Provide Comfort and Southern Watch. Our policy is directed not against the people of Iraq but against the aggressive behavior of the government.
Our policy toward Iran is aimed at changing the behavior of the Iranian government in several key areas, including Iran’s efforts to obtain weapons of mass destruction and missiles, its support for terrorism and groups that oppose the peace process, its attempts to undermine friendly governments in the region and its dismal human rights record. We remain willing to enter into an authoritative dialogue with Iran to discuss the differences between us.
A key objective of our policy in the Gulf is to reduce the chances that another aggressor will emerge who would threaten the independence of existing states. Therefore, we will continue to encourage members of the Gulf Cooperation Council to work closely on collective defense and security arrangements, help individual GCC states meet their appropriate defense requirements and maintain our bilateral defense agreements.
South Asia has experienced an important expansion of democracy and economic reform, and our strategy is designed to help the peoples of that region enjoy the fruits of democracy and greater stability through efforts aimed at resolving long-standing conflict and implementing confidence-building measures. The United States has engaged India and Pakistan in seeking agreement on steps to cap, reduce and ultimately eliminate their capabilities for weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missiles. Regional stability and improved bilateral ties are also important for America’s economic interest in a region that contains a quarter of the world’s population and one of its most important emerging markets.
In both the Middle East and South Asia, the pressure of expanding populations on natural resources is enormous. Growing desertification in the Middle East has strained relations over arable land. Pollution of the coastal areas in the Eastern Mediterranean, the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aqaba has degraded fish catches and hindered development. Water shortages stemming from overuse, contaminated water aquifers and riparian disputes threaten regional relations. In South Asia, high population densities and rampant pollution have exacted a tremendous toll on forests, biodiversity and the local environment.
Africa poses one of our greatest challenges and opportunities to enlarge the community of market democracies. Significant changes have been made in Africa in recent years: multi-party systems have become more common; new constitutions have been promulgated; elections have become more open; the press generally has more freedom today; and the need for budgetary and financial discipline is better understood. Throughout Africa, U.S. policies have supported these developments. Specifically, our policies have promoted democracy, respect for human rights, sustainable economic development and resolution of conflicts through negotiation, diplomacy and peacekeeping. New policies will strengthen civil societies and mechanisms for conflict resolution, particularly where ethnic, religious and political tensions are acute. In particular, we will seek to identify and address the root causes of conflicts and disasters before they erupt.
The compounding of economic, political, social, ethnic and environmental challenges facing Africa can lead to a sense of ’Afro-pessimism.’ However, if we can simultaneously address these challenges, we create a synergy that can stimulate development, resurrect societies and build hope. We encourage democratic reform in nations like Zaire and Sudan to allow the people of these countries to enjoy responsive government. In Nigeria, we have strongly condemned the government’s brutal human rights violations and support efforts to help encourage a return to democratic rule. In Mozambique and Angola, we have played a leading role in bringing an end to two decades of civil war and promoting national reconciliation. For the first time, there is the prospect that all of southern Africa could enjoy the fruits of peace and prosperity. Throughout the continent -- in Rwanda, Burundi, Liberia, Sudan and elsewhere -- we work with the UN and regional organizations to encourage peaceful resolution of internal disputes.
In 1994, South Africa held its first non-racial elections and created a Government of National Unity. Local government elections throughout most of the country in November 1995 marked the near-end of the process of political transformation. The adoption of a final constitution now remains.
Vice President Gore recently completed his second trip to the African continent and to South Africa, where he conducted the first formal meeting of the U.S.-South Africa Binational Commission formed during the October 1994 state visit of President Mandela. We remain committed to addressing the socio-economic legacies of apartheid, and we view U.S. support for economic advancement and democratization in South Africa as mutually reinforcing.
It is not just in South Africa that we are witnessing democratization. In quieter but no less dramatic ways in countries like Benin, Congo, Malawi, Mali, Namibia and Zambia, we are seeing democratic revolutions in need of our support. We want to encourage the creation of cultures of tolerance, flowering of civil society and the protection of human rights and dignity.
Our humanitarian interventions, along with the international community, will address the grave circumstances in several nations on the continent. USAID’s new “Greater Horn of Africa” Initiative is building a foundation for food security and crisis prevention in the Greater Horn of Africa. This initiative has now moved beyond relief to support reconstruction and sustainable development. In Somalia, our forces broke through the chaos that prevented the introduction of relief supplies. U.S. forces prevented the death of hundreds of thousands of Somalis and then turned over the mission to UN peacekeepers from over a score of nations. In Rwanda, Sudan, Angola, Sierra Leone and Liberia, we have taken an active role in providing humanitarian relief to those displaced by violence.
Such efforts by the United States and the international community must be limited in duration and designed to give the peoples of a nation the opportunity to put their own house in order. In the final analysis, the responsibility for the fate of a nation rests with its own people.
We are also working with international financial institutions, regional organizations, private volunteer and nongovernmental organizations and governments throughout Africa to address the urgent issues of population growth, spreading disease (including AIDS), environmental decline, enhancing the role of women in development, eliminating support for terrorism, demobilization of bloated militaries, relieving burdensome debt and expanding trade and investment ties to the countries of Africa. The United States is working closely with other donors to implement wide ranging management and policy reforms at the African Development Bank (AfDB). The AfDB plays a key role in promoting sustainable development and poverty alleviation.
Central to all these efforts will be strengthening the American constituency for Africa, drawing on the knowledge, experience and commitment of millions of Americans to enhance our nation’s support for positive political, economic and social change in Africa. For example, the 1994 White House Conference on Africa, the first such gathering of regional experts ever sponsored by the White House, drew together more than 200 Americans from the Administration, Congress, business, labor, academia, religious groups, relief and development agencies, human rights groups and others to discuss Africa’s future and the role that the United States can play in it. The President, Vice President, Secretary of State and National Security Advisor all participated in the conference, which produced a wealth of new ideas and new commitment to Africa.