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Hearing on U.S. Security Strategy Post-9/11
Testimony before House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform
November 6, 2007
Joseph Nye Jr.
Sultan of Oman Professor of International Relations
John F Kennedy School of Government
Former Deputy Secretary of State
Joseph Nye Jr.
Former Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs
University Professor, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University
Committee Chairman: Rep. John Tierney (D-MA)
TIERNEY: Good afternoon. A quorum being present, the Subcommittee on National Security and Foreign Affairs hearing entitled, "Six Years Later, Part Two: Smart Power and the United States Strategy for Security in the Post-9/11 World," will come to order.
The members will be allotted five minutes to give their opening statements, if the so choose; at which point we will move to opening statements from our witnesses.
I ask unanimous consent that the gentleman from Texas, Congressman Mack Thornberry, be allowed to participate in this hearing.
In accordance with the committee's rules, he'll be allowed to question the witnesses after all officials members of the subcommittee have had their first turn.
Without objection, so ordered.
I ask unanimous consent that the hearing record be kept open for five business days, so that members of the subcommittee will be allowed to submit a written statement for the record.
And, without objection, so ordered as well.
I want to just welcome and thank everybody for attending the important discussion that we're going to have here today. The Subcommittee on National Security and Foreign Affairs conducts our second hearing of a series focused on long-term United States national security strategy, six years after 9/11.
We are very fortunate today to engage in what I hope will be a robust and thoughtful and thought-provoking discussion with Secretary Armitage and Dean Nye.
I thank both you gentlemen for joining us today.
Thank you also to all the member of the CSIS Commission on Smart Power, including subcommittee member Betty McCollum and our guest, Representative Mac Thornberry.
Thank you for the talents and experience you poured into the report, and for the issues being discussed today.
What truly was an august commission was comprised of leaders from all three branches of government, from nonprofits, academia and the business community. I found the report to be insightful, and I think it will serve as a good jumping-off point for our discussion today.
And in the interest of spending as much time engaging in that robust discussion as possible, I'm going to try to keep my remarks on the brief side.
As I noted during the first hearing in this series, even with the amazing amount of money and energy expended -- and, more importantly, the lives lost -- so far our military engagement and homeland security and intelligence since September 11, 2001, there remains an inescapable sense that ours is a national security policy adrift.
Unfortunately, I can't report progress in the intervening weeks since that first hearing. In fact, the world, more that ever, seems to be slipping away from our influence.
A nuclear and extremist infected Pakistan is in full-blown crisis. It's path toward democracy has been barricaded by military rule -- suspension of the Pakistani constitution and the suppression of civil institutions capable of dissent.
TIERNEY: U.S./Iran relations are at a nadir and the Bush administration has ratcheted up its saber rattling rhetoric, an issue that tomorrow, the subcommittee will continue to explore in depth in our series, "Iran: Reality, Options and Consequences."
The prospect of a Turkish invasion into the Kurdish region of Northern Iraq conjures disastrous images of Turkish, U.S. and Iraqi forces that cross purposes on a single battlefield.
In the words of a panelist from our first hearing, "We have yet to act with the burst of creativity that was the trademark of the United States at the beginning of the Cold War."
Secretary Armitage and Dean Nye, the report you are issuing today will, I hope, help fill in this void.
The 9/11 Commission rightly concluded, and I quote, "Long-term success demands the use of all elements of national power." Not only does your report offer concrete and innovative ways to do just that; it also does something else that I think is incredibly helpful.
Your report spells out the path for our country to get back on the offensive. And, by that, I don't mean in the military sense.
You noted the very first paragraph of your executive summary, and I quote, "The United States must move from eliciting fear and anger to inspiring optimism and hope."
And we've had a lot of the fear-mongering and the anger going on, and I think it's being reinforced everyday. It was refreshing to read the charge, "To inspire optimism and hope."
In the words of CSIS President and CEO John Hamre, "This means going back to the root of what makes America great -- the fact that we are a country of both big ideas and common sense, that our country has a unique blend of optimism and pragmatism.
These are the ideals that I think have made our country as great as it is today, the ideals that make Americans proud to be Americans, and the ideals that cause the rest of the world to want to follow us."
And Secretary Armitage and Dean Nye, as you rightly point out, these are the ideals, when pragmatically implemented, will, in the long-term, best secure the safety our nation for us, for our children and for our grandchildren.
We live in a dangerous world desperate for positive United States leadership; leadership borne on a coherent, effective and honorable national security strategy.
TIERNEY: And I have no doubt that, at our core, the American people have the heart, the fortitude, and the imagination to overcome current challenges.
In 1963, Martin Luther King, Jr. reminded us of the fierce urgency of now. It's well past time that we heed that call. And I thank you for your contribution to that, with your report.
SHAYS: Thank you, Chairman Tierney, for holding this second hearing examining U.S. national security strategies.
This subcommittee began looking at this issue even before September 11, 2001. So I'm pleased we are continuing this important work.
Today we are joined by two very distinguished witnesses, Joseph Nye and Richard Armitage, co-chairs of the Center for Strategic and International Studies's commission on smart power.
I will leave it to the commissioners to explain their project, but I would like to go on record that I agree with its conclusion, quote, "Americans must revitalize its ability to inspire and persuade, rather than merely rely upon its military might," end of quote.
That is true, because today we face a different type of enemy. And we have been slow to react to this new threat.
In 1985 President Ronald Reagan recalled the horrors of the Iranian hostage crisis and the bombing of the U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut.
He said, quote, "There is a temptation to see the terrorist acts as simply the erratic work of a small group of fanatics. We make this mistake at great peril, for the attacks on America, her citizens, her allies, and other democratic nations, in recent years, do form a pattern of terrorism that has strategic implications and political goals."
In that statement, President Reagan described what has become an overriding concern for the United States and its allies: terrorism.
President Reagan foresaw what the world saw unfold on September 11, 2001, that terrorists would not be deterred by geographic, political, or moral borders.
President Reagan understood terrorists had their own political philosophy that makes them inherently at war with nations that subscribe to democracy and freedom.
And he predicted the failure to take seriously the warped ideology of Islamic fundamentalists would lead to dire consequences for this nation and our allies.
During President Clinton's administration, several commissions, Bremer, Gilmore and Hart-Rudman concluded we needed to recognize the threat. We needed to recognize the threat, develop a comprehensive strategy to confront that threat, and improve, reorganize our government structure to implement the strategy.
President Bush inherited a loose collection of presidential directives and law enforcement plans from President Clinton that proved to be dramatically flawed.
Regretfully, before September 11, 2001, the Bush administration did not address these flaws.
The bottom line, at the time of the 2001 attacks, the United States had been operating, for years, without a comprehensive strategy to protect us from our enemies.
The current U.S. national security strategy acknowledges -- reaffirmed the reality that, when all other methods fail, our leaders must have the option to proactively use force to protect the lives of our citizens.
What we have learned, over the past three decades, is our strategies cannot be based on the naive assumption that governments and particularly groups committed to both sponsoring terrorism and acquiring weapons of mass destruction won't use them.
September 11 taught us there is no red line that terrorist won't cross. We need to keep in mind, no matter how many incentives or disincentives we develop, some terrorists are intent on our destruction, no matter the cost. Diplomacy which is not backed up by military might is meaningless.
However, as the commission points out, we may have been relying too much on military power and have neglected traditional instruments of soft power, such as intense dialogue and diplomacy.
SHAYS: With this in mind, I look forward to the testimony from our distinguished witnesses.
And I hope, Mr. Chairman, you will hear from other groups and commissions about -- in fact, I know you will.
I thank you for your intent to hear from other groups and commissions about their views on how to improve our national strategy in an environment where terrorist cells may be more of a threat than unfriendly nations.
TIERNEY: Ms. McCollum, recognized for five minutes.
MCCOLLUM: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. And I won't take all five because I'm hoping we will have an opportunity for robust questions.
Mr. Chairman, I want to thank you for your kind words and let you know that it's been an honor to serve as a member of the Smart Power Commission, along with our House colleague, Mac Thornberry, who's here with us today.
And I want to publicly thank our witnesses today, Richard Armitage and Joseph Nye, for their leadership as co-chairs of the commission.
The Center for Strategic and International Studies took the challenge of exploring America's current standing in the world and how to put forward a concrete recommendation to restore America's leadership using all the tools in our strategic and foreign policy toolbox.
I want to stress again: This study looked at America's standing in the world and what we need to do to change America's standing in the world to where it was only a few short years ago. One of respect. One of hope. One of optimism.
We are the world's largest military power. We are the world's greatest military power. We are the world's greatest economic power. Yet, in January 2009, the next president who will be leading our nation will face tremendous challenges in this world.
The world community wants U.S. leadership, not unilateral power where we dictate and expect other countries to yield to our policies.
The Smart Power report makes recommendations for America's re- engagement in the world, using our capacity to improve lives. And by doing so, we'd create security and inspire hope.
In short, again, we must use our power to once again become the world that America -- in which America is admired, a world in which America once again is respected and wanted as a partner.
Mr. Chairman, I hope my colleagues in Congress will take this report seriously next year, as we commence looking at the physical -- fiscal year 2009 the new president will inherit.
I hope these recommendations are carefully considered in the future by this Congress, and I thank you so much again for having this hearing, but including the Smart Power report as part of it.
TIERNEY: Thank you, Ms. McCollum. Because your colleagues are taking this seriously, they're going to all forgo their statements. They have five days to place their statement on the record, and would like to go right to witnesses.
If we could, I want to begin by introducing our panel.
The Honorable Richard L. Armitage: Secretary Armitage has a distinguished record of service in our country, including as a decorated Vietnam veteran, as an assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs from 1983 to 1989, and as deputy secretary of state from 2001 to 2005. Secretary Armitage is currently president of Armitage International.
And Joseph S. Nye Jr., Ph.D.: Dr. Nye, Dean Nye, served our county as chairman of the National Intelligence Council from 1993 to 1994, and as assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs from 1994 to 1995.
He has also served as dean of Harvard's Kennedy School of Government. Dean Nye is one of the foremost foreign policy authors of our day, having written books such as, "Soft Power: the Means to Success in World Politics."
Welcome to you both.
It's the policy of our subcommittee to swear you in before you testify, so if you will please rise and raise your right hand.
Do you solemnly swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth?
The record will please reflect that both witness answered in the affirmative.
SHAYS: Would we note that Mr. Armitage was slow in getting out of his chair?
TIERNEY: He's bigger than I am. You can note it if you want.
Your records will -- your full written reports will be put on the record. And I believe, with unanimous consent, we can put a copy of the entire pre-publication report in as well.
We'll give you five minutes, but we'd like to be a little flexible on that. We understand this report is very important, and we'd like very much to hear from each of you, so please proceed.
ARMITAGE: Chairman, I'm delighted. I'll take two minutes rather than the five. I'm delighted to again to be in front of Mr. Shays, a man of great conscience. I know from my own personal experience with him during the run-up and aftermath of Iraq, the way he did his business was a great lesson to me in how to be involved in good governance.
Ms. McCollum and Mr. Thornberry, it's been spending the day with you, and I'm the better for it.
Mr. Chairman, let me tell you what this report's about. This report is about prolonging and preserving our American preeminence as a force for good as long as is humanly possible.
ARMITAGE: It's a report about how to complement U.S. military and economic might, which must not only be maintained, but strengthened, with greater focus on American soft power, which, in our view of the commission has atrophied in recent years.
Mr. Chairman, as you mentioned, after 9/11, we started exporting something that was not -- that was foreign to us, it was strange. We were exporting our fear and our anger, showing a sort of snarling face to the world, rather than the more traditional exports that Ms. McCollum spoke about, of hope, of optimism and opportunity.
Now, we on the commission believe that at the core of the problem is that we have made the war on terror the central component of our global organization. To be sure, terrorism is real, and it's a growing threat. But the fact of the matter remains that absent access to WMD, the terrorists do not pose an existential threat to our way of life.
They can hurt us. They have hurt us. They will try to hurt us again. But they can't change our way of life. However, we can change our way of life by the way we react to them.
If we react through the excessive use of force or the rejection of policies that are important to our friends and to our allies, if we appear to put ourselves above international legal norms, that encourages rather than counters terrorist recruitment overseas.
Through some of our counterterrorism policies, we've established a reputation for holding a double standard. That, indeed, has hurt our ability to engage certain partners and allies.
We've got to strike that balance between the use of force against violent extremism and other means of combating terrorism.
Today, more than ever, after six years of war, our military is overstretched, and they're weary. Our military is still the best in the world, but it needs to be reset.
However, investments in our military should not come at the expense of investments in our civilian tools of power, nor vice versa. I guess what I'm saying is we need guns and butter.
I'll stop there, Mr. Chairman, and turn it over to you.
TIERNEY: Thank you very much, Mr. Secretary.
NYE: Well, thank you, Mr. Chairman. It's a pleasure to be able to address you and your distinguished colleagues on the Subcommittee on National Security and Foreign Affairs of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, and a particular pleasure to see on the panel in front of us two of the distinguished members of our Smart Power Commission -- Representative Thornberry, Representative McCollum, who were major contributors.
But that's not to implicate them. They can still ask hostile questions, if they wish.
NYE: In any case, what I'd like to do is pick up where Rich left off. This report is about power. And what we're trying to do in the report is widen the focus.
Whoever is elected president next year is going to have a series of problems -- Iraq, Iran, Pakistan -- with which we are all daily preoccupied in the press and in the various conversations we have.
But our feeling about the report was we needed to put these in a larger, longer-term context, which I gather is what you've been trying to do with these hearings of your committee.
When I say that it's about power, I mean that the United States is going to be the world's leading power for the next several decades. But how we use that power in a world in which we're confronted with the rise of Asia and with a generation-long problem of terrorists in extremis is going to be a key problem for us, and that's what we're trying to address.
When we talk about power, we simply mean the ability to influence others to get the outcomes that one wants. And you can influence others in two ways. You can do it through hard power, which is carrots and sticks, threats or payments. You can do it through soft power, which is the ability to attract.
And when we talk about smart power, it's the ability to combine those two instruments into a single coherent strategy.
If you look back historically, we did this very well as a country during the Cold War. We, in fact, were able to deter Soviet aggression by our military capacity. At the same time, we were able to each away belief in communism behind the Iron Curtain by the quality of our ideas, our public diplomacy, so that when the Berlin Wall fell, it fell not to an artillery barrage, but to the onset of hammers and bulldozers.
That was a smart power strategy, and we're going to need a strategy like that if we're to deal with the types of problems that I mentioned, the generation-long struggle against extremists, terrorists, and the issues of rise of new nations, as well as a series of transnational challenges.
Basically the United States, because it will be the biggest, will always have a certain degree of problem of being resented.
NYE: The big kid on the block always has a bit of envy and a bit of resistance. But it matters a lot whether the big kid on the block is seen as a bully or as a friend.
And I think what we need to do is get in front of the world the positive views of how we can be seen as a friend -- as Rich said, exporting hope rather than fear.
If you look back at the experience of Britain in the 19th century, Britain was the largest country. And what it did was provide a series of international public goods, things that were good for Britain, but good for others as well.
And that essentially made British power more acceptable, such things as freedom of the seas, an open international trading system, a stable international monetary system. These were, if you want, in the public good.
The United States, as the leading country, has the capacity to serve that public good. As we do so, we serve our own interests, but we also make our interests legitimate in the eyes of others, and therefore increase our soft power. In that sense, it's a two-for-one proposition for us.
What we argued in the report was that we needed to put these various problems that we face, which are very real problems, in that larger context, in which the United States is seen as a country which is promoting a public good.
In that sense, we believe that we need -- we had five major headings in the report that fit under this category. We felt that it was important to invigorate alliances and institutions, that we have a long history, since the end of World War II, as being leaders in this area, that we need to reinvigorate that.
One example that we gave for that was that it might be wise for us to ratify the Law of the Sea Treaty, but that's one of a number of examples.
We also felt, second, that we should place development in a higher priority in our foreign policy. Development aligns our aspirations with the aspirations of others.
And of the dimensions of development that we thought were most important, we focused on public health, and a particular initiative on public health which would allow us to not only do ourselves good, by improving the public health conditions in poor countries, which reduces the dangers of pandemics and the dangers or at least the benefits of early information about them, but also helps people in those countries.
And in that area, which Congresswoman McCallum, who is very good on in our commission, I think we have something very useful to say.
NEY: The third heading was "Public Diplomacy," particularly focusing on the fact that public diplomacy is more than broadcasting, which tends to be one way; but that the real value in public diplomacy is what Edward R. Murrow called "the last three feet," face-to-face communications which is two-way.
And there we felt that the fact that there are 500,000 foreign students in the United States was a major gain for us in soft power, but the fact that you now have 200,000 American students going overseas is equally important.
And we felt that that could be illustrated perhaps with one specific recommendation in the report which is that we ought to double the size of the Fulbright Program.
A fourth area was to maintain an open international economy. Globalization produces problems for many people. But, on the larger picture, globalization provides opportunities for development and growth. And if we turn away from globalization, we will in fact be hurting ourselves, as well as poor people in poor countries.
We need to foster an open international economy, as we have in our own past, and do that in the context of taking care of those who don't benefit quite as much as others from that opening. As, an example there, we felt that moving ahead with the Doha Round and completing it was a concrete case.
Finally, we felt that the, if we look at the large challenges we face in the areas of climate change and energy security, that we have a great deal to contribute here in our tradition of innovation.
NYE: American technology and innovation can make major contributions. One example that we came to was the problem of coal- burning in China.
China is adding about two coal-burning plants a week. That puts as much CO2 into the atmosphere -- or all Chinese plants that burn coal put as much CO2 into the atmosphere as we do in our transportation system in a year.
We can't stop China from doing that. This is a case where hard power instruments won't do any good. But if we were to develop the capacity to set up a new institution which used or tapped into our technological innovation to help China develop cleaner coal itself, we could benefit Chinese, benefit ourselves, and benefit the rest of the world.
That's another good example, if you want, of being able to provide global public goods.
So those were the five areas that we used as examples of how you could try to put America into this larger perspective, which makes us a friend, as the big kid on the block, rather than the bully, as the big kid on the block.
But, finally, we ended by saying that one of the problems we face is how to put our house in order. And there are a number of dimensions to that, but if you think about the way the U.S. government is organized, both in the executive branch and the Congress, we're not organized to integrate the tools in our tool box of power.
We don't know how to relate the hard power and soft power tools into a smart power strategy.
We spend $750 billion, more or less, on defense. We spend about $1.5 billion on public diplomacy.
But even within those numbers, there are problems about trade- offs. For example, if the Broadcasting Board of Governors wants to save tens of millions of dollars by stopping shortwave broadcasts in English, that's a tiny sum compared to the larger questions in the defense budget.
NYE: But there's no place in the U.S. government where you can trade off, where you can have a strategy which asks: Is this a wise decision or that a wide decision?
And we recommended in that sense that there should be a new deputy to the president on the National Security Council, dual-hatted with the organization of management and budget, to establish a quadrennial smart power review, like the QDR in the Defense Department of defense hard power alone, and to have the job of constantly updating it and implementing it to make sure that agency budgets and strategies fit within it.
We also felt that it's important to realize that much of America's soft power and impact on the rest of the world is not produced by the government, but produced by our civil society. An example would be the Gates Foundation work on HIV and other diseases in Africa.
But there are many smaller, nonprofit organizations and foundations which could benefit from some help here in terms of contacts with other parts of the world.
And we felt that a government fund or institution which would have government funding but a fire wall of independent directors, who would then support but not control American private actors in their face-to-face relations with peoples in other countries, would be a very useful additional innovation in the area which your committee is concerned with.
So these are some examples of the types of things that are in the report. Obviously, in this short presentation we can't possibly touch all the material that's there, but we did want to give you the general flavor of what we mean when we talk about widening the lens and putting our overwhelming current problems in a broader and longer-term perspective.
Thank you very much.
TIERNEY: Thank you very much.
Thank both of you for that.
Let me start the questioning if I can. And I'm not sure how to phrase this as eloquently as I'd like.
But I think you make the point in your report very succinctly that this idea of this war on terror being the central premise of our foreign policy needs to be replaced. And I think, in the current political climate, I want to know what your response is to those that seem to be just beating that drum (inaudible) that it's always the war on terror, the war on terror (inaudible) focuses on something else is weak on defense, is weak on our security issue.
And can you just talk a little bit more about putting into perspective the issue of terror amongst all of the other long-term strategies that we need to deal with in terms of good, solid foreign policy?
What would you say to those, on both sides of the aisle, marching down to the presidential thing, trying to out-tough one another by focusing only on the so-called war on terror and not broadening it out, as you recommend?
ARMITAGE: Well, I'd start with the obvious, that a nation as great as ours ought to be able to do two or more things at once.
Second, that this single focus on the global war on terror to a large extent, in my view, is taking our gaze off where our long-term national equities are.
For instance, the whole center of gravity of the world is moving to Asia, whether you look in terms of size of population, size of military, size of GDPs, everything, it' shifting.
And whether we're able to take advantage of that shift is a real question because we're spending all our time on the central organizing principle of the war on terror.
I'm not arguing, none of us in this commission would argue that terrorism isn't real and, as I said, a growing threat. But absence WMD, it's not an existential threat, it's not like fascism was in the '30s and '40s. It wasn't like communism was throughout the Cold War. This was a different phenomenon, and we ought to be able to do two things at once.
TIERNEY: Thank you.
NYE: I agree with that. And I don't think that one should read the commission recommendation here as saying we should let down our vigilance in the struggle against terrorism.
What we've seen over the 20th century is that terrorist movement generally tend to last a generation. We're not done with this.
But what we've also seen is that they burn themselves out over time if you don't overreact to them.
Terrorism is a little bit like jujitsu. You have a weak player who can only defeat a large player by using the strength of the large player against himself.
So what we do to ourself is often more important than what they do to us directly. And that means that we have to be very careful how we react. For example, if we, after a 9/11, cut out visas for foreign students, we're serving their interests, not ours.
Terrorism is about fear, about their gaining attention. To the extension which we give that attention, they gain, not we.
If we also think of the fact that the words "war on terrorism" as a narrative have been interpreted in much of the world as war against Islam, that's clearly not our intent, but that may be the effect, as public opinion polls show.
So what we're arguing in the commission report is not to let down our guard one iota in a struggle -- a generation-long struggle against terrorism, but to be more careful in our narrative and presenting to the world a much broader picture, which is what we're recommending in the commission report, and not just a short-run slogan.
TIERNEY: Thank you.
I was looking at some of the language in your report. I thought it was well done. Power is the ability to influence the behavior of others to get a desired outcome. Soft power is the ability to attract people to our side without coercion.
TIERNEY: Legitimacy is central to soft power and, if America's objective are believed to be legitimate, we're likely to persuade people to our view.
Victory depends on attracting foreign populations to our side and helping them build capable democratic states. I thought that was a good choice of words -- the populations, not foreign government, necessarily.
Can you discuss those concepts in the context of the United States role and what's going on in Pakistan today?
ARMITAGE: All right. I was asked a similar question earlier at lunch today, Mr. Chairman. It was: If we'd have had all these recommendations and smart power in place today, would Pakistan be in this position?
Well, my answer was: If we'd have had all these recommendations in place, oh, say, 1990, we may be in a much better position in Pakistan. And the reason I say that is, one of the things we're wrestling with now is that we've got a gap of about 10 or maybe 12 years of no interaction with Pakistan military officers and no meaningful interaction with government figures.
And so we've really cut ourselves out of the game for a while. So the people who are going to be sort pivotal in the next few years in Pakistan, we have no knowledge of.
So I would argue that smart power is something that's going to only be -- can be judged over a significant period of time. It can't solely be judged by opinion polls or how much affection the United States is held in.
It's somewhat like what (inaudible) famously responded to when asked if the French Revolution was successful, and he says, "Too soon to tell."
That's kind of a smart power for one, two, three years -- it's going to be too soon to tell.
TIERNEY: I guess part of my point was, you know, we have a situation over there now where the middle class -- lawyers, judges, the business people, or whatever -- seem to be on one side of the fence, and the military establishment on the other.
And I would guess that we have to be real careful about whether or not we side with the people of Pakistan, or are perceived to be siding with or against them on this. And it's going to be a real delicate use of smart power in that situation.
ARMITAGE: I think the question of Pakistan is so complicated. You're right: People seem to be on one side -- and the military, and I would say the elite, on the other side with President Musharraf.
ARMITAGE: The question then is: What happens with our involvement in this? Do we actually add to the situation in a positive way by publicly being seen as promoting Mrs. Bhutto? I think opinion polls would say no, we've actually had the reverse phenomenon. We've actually hurt here. So she's seen to some extent as an American girl.
TIERNEY: So if we supported just her, and not supported the democratic process and let it go wherever it goes...
ARMITAGE: And you'll notice our ambassador today made a very graphic point of going with a CBS camera crew to the electoral commission to make the point: We want elections -- democratic, open and fair.
TIERNEY: Thank you. And we've been after them to make that statement months and months and months ago. Today's as good as any day, I guess.
PLATTS: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I appreciate you and the ranking member hosting the hearing.
And to both of our witnesses, thank you for your many years of dedicated service to our nation, including with this commission.
Actually, the chairman touched on the first issue I wanted to raise with you, is trying to apply the principles espoused in the report to the current environment, both Pakistan and Afghanistan, kind of interrelated. And mainly I think one of the very important points that you make is when we talk about soft power that that legitimacy is critical to being able to invoke soft power, be successful.
How do you think -- in Afghanistan, one of the issues, having just returned with my colleague Steve Lynch from Massachusetts a couple months back, the drug trade in Pakistan -- I mean, Afghanistan, huge problem. And from individuals serving there, both military and civilian that I've met with there or here, that our legitimacy within the populace of Afghanistan is diminished because of the drug issue. And we're saying what we want and hope that President Karzai will do, but we're standing by while nothing happens.
And a similar issue in Pakistan, where we're working with Musharraf, President Musharraf, while he's cracking down now, as the chairman referenced, throwing lawyers and others in jail.
Both of those issues to me seem to undercut our legitimacy to build relationships with the people of those nations for them to then be with us in the war on terror.
So that would be the first question, and then I have a follow-up. So thank you.
ARMITAGE: Thank you, sir.
I think the two are somewhat different. The legitimacy in Afghanistan, I think we're certainly there. Immediately following our invasion -- it certainly, the hopes were high and there wasn't any question about the speed and the agility of the U.S. forces to bring about a change of a hated regime.
What has -- where we've begun to be questioned is whether we're competent enough -- competent enough to actually follow through on this. And that's where, in Afghanistan, I believe our legitimacy begins to be questioned.
In Pakistan, I think it's slightly different. It's quite clear -- I, personally, have a high regard for President Musharraf and what he's done, what he's personally suffered, and, by the way, what his country has suffered in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas -- 800 or so killed, now 300 other soldiers captured and missing.
So he's sacrificed a good bit.
Having said that, however, if he's not able and we're not able to make him live up to the word he gave us, then if -- we have to hammer him, I'm afraid.
Now, I think there are two ways to do it. You can just stand up and make a declaratory policy, or you can say you think he's wrong; he's made a bad error; and we wish, as a friend, that he'd correct that error. And I think that's the way to handle this initially.
The accusation will be is that we're weak and sort of a little weasel-worded. The stakes are too high in Pakistan for all of us, I think, to be too declaratory at this early a stage.
He's moved a bit back to, as I understand it, having elections in January, thank goodness. I think the next move is to get him to, again, say he'll get out of uniform, start letting these folks out of jail, and jail terrorists and extremists, and not legitimate opposition.
NYE: I agree with what Rich said. On Afghanistan, the drug problem's a very severe problem. On the other hand, unless we do something on security first and economic opportunities other than drugs, we're going to have to solve the drug problem.
I think the success in Afghanistan is going to be absolutely crucial. We're not only invested there in the terms of the legitimacy of why we went in, but we're invested there in the sense that we have our NATO alliance heavily involved.
This is crucial, that we not lose that. And that's probably going to take more military force from the American side. But it's also going to take more resources to provide the economic development components that we call soft power.
That would be a smart strategy there.
On the Pakistan case, I agree with that as well, with what Rich said. I think we should be pressing very hard for General Musharraf to get out of uniform and to hold elections. And, if not, I think we have to ask ourselves whether we need to reassess.
PLATTS: A quick follow-up: Dean, your answer about Afghanistan and the humanitarian, or the nonmilitary investment is my follow-up.
In the big picture, not just Afghanistan and Pakistan, because, to be able to do what the commission recommends or the principles espoused, having our public support is critical.
How do we better get the American public to understand that investing in USAID projects, investing in humanitarian assistance, all of the nonmilitary assistance around the world, is equally important to the military investment we make in, protecting us?
Because, you know, in central Pennsylvania, I never have a problem with a vote for military. When I vote for foreign aid, you know, the public at large doesn't yet understand the importance of that.
Is there any suggestions how to better educate the public how they are directly connected?
NYE: Well, I think it's a tough sell, as you know better than I. But, on the other hand, the extent to which we can explain to the public that this is in our interest; in other words, that, for American security, we need to make sure that things are changing there.
Remember when the Cold War was on, when the Russians were in Afghanistan, Afghanistan got a lot of attention, a lot of money. The Soviets withdraw; Afghanistan goes off our radar.
And if you said to an American, why should I spend money on anything for aid in Afghanistan, the answer would have been, it's too bad for the Afghans what's going on there, but what difference does it make to us?
NYE: On 9/11, we found out that bad conditions in a poor country halfway around the world can make a huge difference to us.
NYE: I think that's the kind of argument we need to make, to show your constituents and our fellow citizens that it's in our interests, as well as the interests of the others, to do something about this.
ARMITAGE: Congressman, not having to stand, it's much easier for us to answer your question than perhaps for you and your colleagues. But I've always found it somewhat effective to be absolutely frank. Dr. Nye and I aren't professional do-gooders.
We are fellows who pride ourselves, to the extent we can, on being realists and people who practice, sort of, cold calculations of national security. And I would argue that many of the elements of smart power that we talk about are not a matter of philanthropy; it's a matter of cold, calculations of national security.
Now, that's rather dramatic talk and dramatic -- florid language to use, but I find that, actually, putting it in those terms, you get a slightly different reception. This is not a matter of, sort of, an airy, fairy, well, let's all feel good and sing kumbaya. This is cold calculations of national security.
PLATTS: Thank you both.
And, Mr. Chairman, thanks for your...
TIERNEY: Ms. McCollum, you're recognized for five minutes.
MCCOLLUM: Thank you, Mr. Chair.
One of the smart powers recommendations that I'd like to highlight and I also strongly endorse is the creation of a Cabinet- level department of international development, to bring an integrated, coherent strategy and structure to our foreign assistance.
MALONEY: In light of what we'd seen happen where there was very little oversight input from the Congress, I would like you gentlemen to elaborate on -- do a recommendation why you think this is a smart use of power.
And I would just add, I think, the VOA, Voices of America, and some of the programming that is being cut over there probably might not be looked at being cut if we had a Cabinet level where we're looking at an integrated approach.
ARMITAGE: Thank you, Ms. McCollum.
I think it's a good recommendation if you don't take the point of view that Washington can solver the problems and a Cabinet-level office has to look like Homeland Security or one of these other organizations.
In fact, I would say that our studies showed that the burden should be to push things out into the field. So I would argue that this is not a large bureaucracy, but it's a operational bureaucracy in Washington that pushes things out to the field and it's an excellent idea.
NYE: I think what we concluded was that you needed, in addition to these better integration devices in the field at the embassy team level.
You needed to have a voice around the Oval Office who could speak for development. Secretary of state has a lot of things on her plate or his plate, and you need somebody who can also speak with authority about the importance of development issues.
NYE: We also felt -- or I felt, rather -- it's not -- I think Rich and I feel, but it's not official in the commission report, that the abolition of the U.S. Information Agency was a mistake, that its absorption into the State Department actually did not raise its capacity, but lowered our capacity of public diplomacy.
In the commission report, as you know, we didn't quite recommend the re-creation of the USIA. Some commissioners didn't want to go that far. But we did say that something should be done to raise the prominence of this public diplomacy function.
So both the development voice and the public diplomacy voice need better representation at higher levels. There are still some differences in detail about exactly how that should be accomplished.
TIERNEY: Thank you, Ms. McCollum.
Mr. Turner, you are recognized for five minutes.
TURNER: Thank you so much.
Mr. Chairman, thank you for having this hearing.
And I also want to thank our two panel members for your efforts in bringing this report forward.
I think almost everybody, upon reading this report, will agree with the sort of sense that you've given of our current status, of where we are and the real importance of addressing it.
The how-to, I appreciate your recommendations and also some of the focus that you've given. I'd note you indicate there's no silver bullet, so it -- as we look at these, it is one of those hard-to- define areas as to how do we move forward and how do we know that we're being successful?
One of the things that is recognized in your report that I find is a conflict in our view of how we're perceived internationally is that you acknowledge that America is still viewed as the land of opportunity, that people still look to us as an opportunity for them.
And you go on then to say that as a land of opportunity, we must lead.
But I want to tell you a story. I recently was in Poland, and I was talking to a woman about the time when Poland was free of communism and had begun to set a new course. And I asked her to speak about it, and speak about how exciting that must have been -- to get their country back and freedom and what the future held.
And she said, "Well, I didn't think about it much at the time. I thought about, well, now I can go to America."
And I thought that was interesting, because here I'm asking her to speak of her own nationalism and of the opportunities, and her translation to freedom after all these years was and now I want to go to America.
How is it that we can be perceived so poorly, but yet still be that symbol of where people want to go to when they think of their own freedom?
NYE: Well, one of the interesting things about soft power, our ability to attract, is that it grows out of our culture, out of our values and out of our policies.
And when we ask people in public opinion polls why we've lost that attraction, it tends to be disagreement with our policies, not with our values and culture. That's good news. Policies can change. Values and cultures don't.
The fact that the United States still is seen as a land of opportunity, a land of openness, means that a great deal of our soft power is produced by our civil society, not by the government. And the great danger we have is to make sure that in response to terrorist incidents or other such things, that we don't cut ourselves off from that value of openness, that openness of opportunity -- others can come here, others can study here, this is a land of opportunity. That's attractive to the others.
NYE: If we get ourselves into a mentality of cutting back -- no visas, no immigrants, no trade -- that would be this example of Jujitsu that I mentioned in which the terrorist our using our strength against ourselves. And your Polish woman example is a perfect case of that.
ARMITAGE: Congressman, I think that story makes me very proud. And It's indicative of the fact, I think, that most nations, most, really want us to be what Ronald Reagan would say, "that shinning city on the hill".
But where the disappointment comes in is when our actions don't meet our words. And then we introduce the possibility that we're living a double standard, or that we're two-faced, et cetera. And that brings in this cynicism about us and our motives.
I think we ought to -- we were talking a lot about the low esteem in which we're held in some parts of the world. We also ought to recognize that in place like the African continent, we're not in that bad of shape throughout the continent. And certainly, in Asia, we're in somewhat better shape.
So this is a mixed picture. I think we ought look at what's going right in terms of public opinion in Asia and Africa, and ask our questions of why. One of the reasons in Africa is very clearly the PEPFAR initiatives on infectious diseases and HIV/AIDS. It's very well recognized, although the president doesn't get much credit for it.
TURNER: China is another area -- if I might, Mr. Chairman -- you could comment on. You recognize the rise of China's influence through using of soft power and smart influence.
Would you please comment on that for a moment?
NYE: Well, China has been very adept in combining the rise of its hard power, seen in its economy and military investments, with soft power, which is diplomacy and investment in culture and efforts to present a smiling face to the rest of the world.
That's a smart strategy. If you're a rising power, the last thing you want to do is create fear in other people to ally against you.
You want to combine soft power with your hard power as a smart power. And I think China, as they at their own 17th Party Congress a week or so ago, China realizes that soft power is in its interest.
TIERNEY: We have four votes that are coming up. The first one is a 15-minute vote. The subsequent ones are five minutes. We're going to run up as close as we can to the line. We promise to keep our word, and have you gentleman both out of here well before 4 o'clock. So we'll run down, we'll vote. It may take 25, 30 minutes, then come back if we can.
Mr. Higgins, you're recognized for five minutes.
HIGGINS: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I just wanted to -- Mr. Armitage, you had said that the military has to be reset, which got me thinking. On a recent trip to Afghanistan and Pakistan with Congressman Lynch and Platts, the one hopeful sign was the attitude of the American military.
In the most difficult places along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border, it was the military folks who were emphasizing that this is equal parts -- their mission is equal parts military, equal parts humanitarian.
And what we had observed was, you know, the medics, for example, doing surgery on a young boy who had -- his fingers were fused together. This is what they did, in addition to treating injured soldiers, which was promoting good will amongst the folks in these very remote Afghan villages.
So my question is, in resetting the military, is it a integration of humanitarian work within the military or is it a greater emphasis on humanitarian work as separate and distinct from the military operation?
ARMITAGE: First off, there's no question, Congressman Higgins, that the military can and does participate in soft power activities. You mentioned one, on the Afghan-Pakistan border. There are many -- well, the tsunami relief in Indonesia, an application of soft power that dramatically changed the view of Indonesian citizenry toward the United States.
But I think there's a danger for all of us, and there's certainly a danger for our service men. We are calling on our service people, time and time again, to do things. Sometimes they are things they train for. And humanitarian assistance is one of the missions. We participated in it back in Vietnam.
But if we call on them, time and time again, because they're organized and they're used to making chicken salad out of you know what, we run the risk of having the other elements of our great bureaucracy become more and more incompetent to do a job that they should be paid to do.
We're arguing the military will do splendidly and will perform splendidly in any mission you give them. But we want other elements of our bureaucracy to perform equally splendidly alongside and integrated with them in a strategic way.
NYE: I would agree with what Rich just said. The military can contribute a great deal to our soft power. If you look at the role that the Navy is now playing, it's interesting how they're contributing in this way.
NYE: But they also have to be able to have the capacity to do their military job. And sometimes, because they're a well-functioning bureaucracy, in comparative terms, we turn to them to do more than they should.
And the answer, or remedy, for that, is to improve the capacities and resources for our civilian agencies.
SHAYS: Let me just -- a final thought on this. It seems as though, you know, perhaps what's needed in the post-post-9/11 era is the post-World War II American strategy, which, because of our great military and economic superiority, at the end of World War II, we had the world at our feet.
And as opposed to demonstrating arrogance, we traveled the world and demonstrated not only military superiority, not only economic superiority, but, more important than anything else, a generous spirit, and created international organizations which would become the forums or the jurisdictions within which international conflict would be resolved.
And it just seems to me that, you know, the past six years has been a meandering and a trial-and-error type of policy that finds us in a very, very difficult situation relative to isolation. The United States is isolated.
So what can we do at this point, given everything that's been done over the past six years, to strengthen these international organizations toward the goal of creating a greater emphasis on smart strategic power?
ARMITAGE: Well, there's no question, in our report, we want to have greater involvement in these international organizations. And at a minimum, let's face it, every suggestion that comes from an I.O. is not one that we necessarily will agree with -- and we shouldn't in many cases.
But it seems to me incumbent upon us, when we don't agree to offer an alternative. And I think that goes a long way in the international community. You are part of the team; you just don't agree with some of the aspects that the coach is trying to put into the game plan. So you have alternatives.
This is very much I think the way we should go.
There's a larger question, I think, sir, in your question, and that is: Have we been searching around for our purpose in the world? Some might say it is the global war on terror -- that's why we're here, for this one event.
I personally think it's quite a bit more than that. I think that -- I don't know why we're the sole superpower, why providence has granted this. But I know what it means. It means that we have, as a nation, interest in every part of the globe, and nothing really substantial is going to take part in any part of the globe unless we're somewhere involved.
Now, I think we ought to have a national dialogue on: If that is the case, if you accept that definition of a superpower, what is our purpose in the world?
ARMITAGE: I think, as we found out from what we called "A Dialogue with America" -- we sent teams out from CSIS in four different states and then went to universities and radio shows and everything, just meeting with normal folks.
And much to our surprise, my surprise, folks were not isolationists. I'd always thought they were reluctant internationalists. They were not reluctant at all. They didn't like to be held in low esteem. They wanted an America who was involved in the great activities of the day in a positive way.
And this was a very uplifting development for me, through the course of this.
TIERNEY: Thank you.
Mr. Shays, you're recognized for five minutes.
SHAYS: Thank you. I'm going to take some of Mr. Thornberry's time later, and yield him time.
TIERNEY: Mr. Thornberry, five minutes.
THORNBERRY: Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for allowing me to be here. I remember being down at that witness table in the spring of 2001, testifying about changing the structure of the government to better meet the threat posed by terrorism.
This subcommittee has often been on the cutting edge of changes that were needed. And I appreciate this hearing here today.
That's really what I want to ask you all, or invite you to address. This subcommittee involves government reform. Are we structured in a way to meet the challenges of the future?
Some people would say that it's a matter of personality. We're going to have a new administration. They're going to have new Cabinet officers. They can make it work.
I would invite you all's view about whether it is personality or whether more structural reform, whether it is organizational or authorities, might be considered by this subcommittee.
ARMITAGE: Well, I think any amount of changing the line diagram would fail if you have incompetent people in the major spots. So, to a large extent, personalities matter a lot.
Whenever, in our bureaucracy, there's talk about reform or changing the structure, there's a lot of neuralgia. Goldwater-Nichols was the last one.
ARMITAGE: I actually sat at his table and argued against it, along with the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, so I know about the sort of bureaucratic encrustations that act against any movement.
We were talking earlier about 1947: President Truman's dramatic decision to have the Department of Defense and the CIA -- did anyone like it at the time? Probably not too much. But it was necessary.
Our timing, as you know, Mr. Commissioner (sic), of this report is rather deliberate. We're trying to get this issue involved in the presidential debates. We're not naive; we're not en genus; we know that this is not going to be, in any way shape or form accepted wholeheartedly by anyone.
But if we can start this debate with pushes and shoves and whatnot, from the committee, then maybe we can get a little altitude on this thing.
NYE: Personality matters, but so does structures, and we're not structured now to use our full toolkit of power. We have the tools but we don't know how to put them together.
If we're going to have a serious strategy, it's going to require a much better integration of the tools that we have.
So I would argue that: Yes, we are going to need structural reforms.
SHAYS: I'm just going got ask one question and put it on the record. And then when my turn comes up -- I am uneasy with this concept of terrorism as if it is some ethereal being. The 9/11 Commission was very clear that we're confronting Islamist terrorist who would do us harm.
And I'm going to be asking why you just refer to it as terrorism in your conversation. I do agree with your basic point that hard power plus soft power equals smart power, but I just don't understand how we're leaving out the word "Islamist."
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
TIERNEY: Well, gentlemen, if you'll excuse us, then we'll come back in about 15 or 20 minutes if we're lucky and then get another 15, 20 minutes, and then let you people go. Thank you.
TIERNEY: Mr. Shays had a question hanging in the air, which you've now had all this time to get prepared for, so...
SHAYS: And the question was -- thank you, Mr. Chairman -- the question was, that: Why do we call it terrorism when the 9/11 Commission unanimously said this isn't terrorism; it's Islamist terrorists, and they'd been targeting us for years?
ARMITAGE: I asked Joe why he -- I think he used the term that you took issue with -- and he said he blew it. It was inadvertent. The near-term threat is Al Qaida, which is Islamist and that's what we have to concentrate on.
I take issue with the word "terrorism." It's the only time in my recorded history where Mr. Rumsfeld and I were on the same side of the issue.
Terrorism is a tactic, and so, I would prefer the Islamist extremists right now, and then there could be other extremists out in the future.
I mean, the lesson that people learned -- and there some funny people out there -- could be transported to other terrorist groups who don't happen to be Islamists. But you're exactly right; this is the present threat; this is -- a proper acknowledgment would be Islamist extremism or terrorists.
Well, you've got me to think about the term "terrorist" to radicals or extremists. And because you say terrorism is basically a tactic rather than a...
ARMITAGE: Yes. I just noted that we didn't have a war against Kamikazes; it was a tactic. You don't have a war against snipers; it's a tactic.
And that's what -- terrorism is a tactic, in my view. So, it's a semantic thing and it's probably not even important. It's just always occurred to me...
SHAY: One of the things that I wrestle with is, in the '50s, I grew up where I began to understand that we had to confront the Soviet threat and we basically contain, react and mutually assure destruction.
But the American people bought into that. I don't have a sense the American people have a sense of what the threat is and what our strategy is to deal with that threat, and I don't feel like we have debate about it in the public marketplace. I don't think our candidates talked about what our strategy needs to be.
And it just surprises me that we haven't had that.
And I just make another point to you -- I'm struck by the fact that even the strategy to deal with the Communist threat got changed a bit after Sputnik.
SHAYS: It was -- I felt it primarily was military, in the beginning. And then we said: My gosh, it's military, it's economic, it's technology. And, in the end, we probably beat them as much by technology and our economy as we did with our military might.
ARMITAGE: Well, indeed. I think we probably didn't get off to the right foot in the Cold War. But, you know, we did apply smart power.
And let me give you an example -- I was being facetious about the Chou En-lai French Revolution comment. But one of the advisers to Gorbachev was a fellow by the name of Yakovlev -- he's the fellow who came up with the term perestroika.
He actually, back in the bad days of the Cold War, when we were tightly constraining the number of Soviet citizens who might come here, he actually studied at Columbia. And he studied under a professor who taught him about pluralism.
And Yakovlev went back to the then-Soviet Union with an idea that pluralism could work. And 20 years later, he was the adviser. So it took a while to realize that investment, but we realized that investment.
SHAYS: Well, let me just thank you for all your good work to our country and service for so many years. You have been an adviser to so many people. And I appreciate all your input, whenever I've called on you.
ARMITAGE: Thank you, sir.
TIERNEY: Thank you, Mr. Secretary.
I'm going to ask you just one brief question. We had Walter Isaacson in, testifying on an earlier panel. And one of the things he was talking about was the creation of -- the possible creation of new treaty alliances.
ARMITAGE: For which -- I've left one year in Vietnam, so I'm having a little trouble.
TIERNEY: I don't know which side to talk to.
He talked about creating some new treaty alliances, the possibility of that. Do you foresee any of that, rearranging some of the alliances that we have or staying within the existing ones moving forward?
ARMITAGE: I don't see rearranging our existing alliances. We do see new structures.
For instance, sir, we've got a G-8 structure which we well know, we think we could add, usefully, five other members to that, for certain items, such as environment and things of that nature.
We envision making more use of the G-20, which, together, accounts for about 80 percent of the gross domestic product of the world and about 80 percent of the carbon emissions.
So there are new groupings that we can see, using some of the existing structures and expanding them.
TIERNEY: Mr. Secretary, is there anything you'd like to comment on, to leave us with today?
ARMITAGE: No. I very much appreciate you making the effort.
TIERNEY: Well, I appreciate you and Dean Nye coming forward today and appreciate the report and hard work of the entire commission and the two of you gentlemen. And appreciate again, as Mr. Shays said, all of your service to the country today.
ARMITAGE: A pleasure, sir.
TIERNEY: Mr. Shays wants to have the last word.
SHAYS: One last question. I don't want to get you in trouble, if this isn't a question you want to answer, but when I've gone to Iraq, I've been struck by the fact that had we had an embassy there, we would have known what a pathetic condition the economy was and so on. We just would have had people around.
SHAYS: And I'm just struck by the fact that we should have an embassy in North Korea, in Iran, in Cuba and not have politics play a role in whether or not we have a place.
ARMITAGE: Well, back in '91, when we still had an embassy there, we knew a lot. We didn't know, however, that Saddam Hussein was going to strike into Kuwait. So we'll know some things and not in others.
The broader point, from my point of view, we ought to be talking to our enemies as much as we're talking to our friends, and we ought to have the courage of our own convictions and confidence in our abilities to sit at a table with these characters and not have our pockets picked.
That's been lacking.
TIERNEY: Thank you very much, Mr. Secretary.