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Sustaining Our Resolve

By George Shultz

We live at a time of unprecedented promise. Freer and more open economic and political systems of governance are gaining ground, and the evidence is clear that these developments lead to more prosperous and more hopeful lives.

But terrorist attacks on civilian targets in other countries remind us of our own 9/11, that a war is going on and that we in the United States are very much involved. Attention is focused on Iraq for understandable reasons, but the threat reaches far beyond that. Insecurity is the enemy of the promise and the hope. Recent events in different parts of the world, most prominently in the Middle East, underscore this point. So we must focus on the threat and deal with it effectively.

In my own thinking about this war, I find it useful to keep three ideas in mind. The first is symbolized in the Great Seal of our republic: The eagle holds in one talon an olive branch and in the other arrows, showing that the United States understands that if you are to be successful in seeking peace, you must have strength. Strength and diplomacy are complements rather than alternatives.

The second is to emphasize the reinforcing nature of political openness and increases in income per capita -- prosperity -- that come from use of the market, recognition of private property, and the rule of law. Democracy more likely takes hold when earned incomes are rising, and markets flourish best in open political environments.

The third is to recognize that this war has already gone through two quite different phases. Today a third phase is under way that also has different characteristics. This phase will continue to be with us and is the long war identified by the president and others even shortly after 9/11.

During the first phase of this war, going back certainly to the 1970s, we were essentially passive. We were hit by increasing numbers of terrorist acts, but, though there was a gradual buildup of concern, we did nothing significant in response to these attacks. Then September 11 woke America up. We reacted powerfully, putting in place a different philosophy and taking a great variety of actions to implement that philosophy. We are now nearly five years away from that calamitous event. The war continues, but the juices of reaction to 9/11 have subsided. We must now realize that the job in a third phase of the war -- necessary if we are to be successful -- is to put our efforts on a sustainable basis, gaining broad support at home and abroad. As in the Cold War, public understanding and support will be as crucial as persistent pressure and the will to win.

The passive phase

The war we are in started a long time ago, although we did not recognize its nature until recently. We witnessed the assassination of Israeli athletes at the Olympic games in Munich in 1972, the assault on our embassy in Tehran with Americans taken hostage in 1979, the assassination of President Sadat of Egypt in 1981, the car bomb that killed 243 U.S. Marines in Lebanon in 1983, the attack on the World Trade Center in 1993, the bombing of our embassies in Africa, and the attack on the USS Cole in the late 1990s. We made no serious response to any of these bloody assaults. In the Reagan, Bush 41, and Clinton years, we hit back once or twice with airstrikes or cruise missiles. The enemy was not impressed.

By the mid-1990s, we knew about Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda. Just as Hitler laid out his plans in Mein Kampf, Osama bin Laden made no secret of his program. As in the case of Hitler, his announced objectives were not taken seriously enough.

There was, however, a building concern about escalating terrorism. As a hawk on the subject in the Reagan era, my comments in a 1984 speech were nervously received. I said then that:

* We must reach a consensus in this country that our responses should go beyond passive defense to consider means of active prevention, preemption, and retaliation.

* The questions posed by terrorism involve our intelligence capability, the doctrine under which we would employ force, and, most important of all, our public's attitude toward this challenge. Our nation cannot summon the will to act without firm public understanding and support.

* We cannot allow ourselves to become the Hamlet of nations, worrying endlessly over whether and how to respond.

The monstrous acts of al Qaeda also drew a response from the U.N. Security Council. The principle of state accountability was embedded in the law of nations. After the bombings of our embassies in 1998, the Security Council stressed "that every Member State has the duty to refrain from organizing, instigating, assisting or participating in terrorist acts in another State or acquiescing in organized activities within its territory directed towards the commission of such acts. . . ." (RES. 1189)

On December 29, 2000, the Security Council strongly condemned "the continuing use of the areas of Afghanistan under the control of the Afghan faction known as Taliban . . . for the sheltering and training of terrorists and planning of terrorist acts. . . ." (Res. 1333) By the end of the 1990s, we had begun to glimpse the reality. And we were just beginning to understand that the threat was to far more than the Middle East. Looking back at all those terrorist attacks of the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s, we could see that our enemy targeted every aspect of the international system: tourism, commerce, air travel, world finance, the United Nations, embassies, the commitment to the principle of diplomatic immunity, and the sovereign and territorial integrity of states. This was Islamism -- a radical, aberrational deviation from Islam -- with an ideology that set itself violently against every element of the international state system, the centuries-old basis for a cooperative world order.

Nevertheless, in the first phase of this war, the terrorists had a completely free rein with no real effort made to carry the fight to them, let alone defend ourselves aggressively.

What can we learn from this experience? First, passivity does not lead to a cessation of attacks. On the contrary, passivity only encourages our adversaries to believe that they can do as they choose without consequences to themselves. The terrorists were getting a free ride from us even as their attacks grew greater in frequency and devastating power. Second, the concept of law enforcement, while important to maintain, is not nearly sufficient in an age of attacks, usually planned in and orchestrated from other countries, that have devastating consequences for us. Third, the attacks came with little or no warning, highlighting the importance of vastly improved intelligence capabilities. We learned that we must respond, and our responses must be effective.

The reactive phase

The second phase began on September 11, 2001. I was reminded of Admiral Yamamoto, who led the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and knew something about the United States: "We have awakened a sleeping giant," he said after the attack, "and instilled in it a terrible resolve." Osama bin Laden also awakened a sleeping giant.

We began, as a people and a government, to recognize the extent of the danger, to pull together our facts and assessments, and to describe the nature of the challenge as best we could. Still, we were hesitant. The president rightfully visited a mosque to show that we did not regard this as a religious war with the Muslim world. We did not know what to call it, even though we knew that as long ago as 1997 Osama bin Laden had issued a declaration of war on America and pronounced it every Muslim's religious duty to kill any and every American citizen. The president called it a war on terror. He would later say we were at war with "Taliban-like" radicals. Late last year the president decided to tell it like it is: a war waged by terror-using Islamists. And in his State of the Union message on January 31, 2006, President Bush said,

One of the main sources of reaction and opposition [to the spread of freedom] is radical Islam -- the perversion by a few of a noble faith into an ideology of terror and death. . . . Terrorists like bin Laden are serious about mass murder -- and all of us must take their declared intentions seriously.

We changed our mindset quickly after 9/11, switching to a war mentality. We understood that we would have to use force, and we summoned the will to do so. In war, you have an offense and a defense. You harden targets at home, and you use intelligence aggressively to find out about plots so that you can prevent them from succeeding. You have an offense designed to take the action to the enemy and put the fight in their territory.

The initial action in Afghanistan was widely supported, and we had the good sense early on to put a credible Afghan face on everything taking place. Afghanistan, a failed state seized in the 1990s by the Taliban and then commandeered by al Qaeda, has been returned to legitimacy as a sovereign state in the international system. Let us not kid ourselves. We and the Afghans have a big job to do on the economic as well as the political front. But the Taliban and al Qaeda, though they continue to cause trouble, are remnants of what they were. Our NATO allies have committed themselves to take over most of the security functions from American forces and increasingly are on the ground and engaged.

Iraq is a very different case -- complex, difficult, and at once discouraging and promising. Sectarian issues are fanned by violence fomented by Iraq's enemies and designed to create the constant danger of escalation. At the same time, there are many signs of progress which themselves put the objectives of the terrorists at risk. Progress is necessary for success and is therefore a prime target. The stakes could not be higher for them and for us.

In addition to actions in Afghanistan and Iraq, the idea of using force to prevent attacks, particularly in light of the destructive power of weapons of mass destruction, became a formal part of national security policy in the September 2002 National Security Strategy of the United States.

Our reaction to 9/11, then, produced many changes, but two of them stand out. Our adversary has been clearly identified: a radical brand of Islam ready to use the murderous weapon of terrorism. And our mindset has changed from passive reliance on law enforcement as our means of response to the emergence of a war mentality with an offense and a defense and a willingness to use force to prevent attacks on us and our allies.

The next phase

A lot has happened since 9/11, and a lot of progress has been made. Even as we reacted to 9/11, we could see that this war would go on for a long time. We are gradually moving toward emphasis on the sustainability necessary for victory. So let us now review some of the things that have happened already and that need to be extended and sustained.

Intelligence. We see the profound importance of an intense and sustained effort to improve our intelligence capability. The failure to find stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq has highlighted this necessity.[1] So, too, has retrospective analysis of the gaps in intelligence collection and the misreadings in our intelligence analysis in the period just before 9/11. Can't anyone recognize the dots, let alone connect them? The task is not easy. Major surprises dot the landscape of the twentieth century.[2] Remember Pearl Harbor. But, even more important, we are coming to realize that ever since the Vietnam-Watergate era, we ourselves have, piece by piece, denigrated, dismantled, or impeded our intelligence capabilities to a dangerous extent.

We must do a better job. The need is clearly recognized, and remedial action is apparently under way. Multiple sources and competitive analyses are among the watchwords. I am most impressed with the recognized need for capable and creative people and a realization of the importance of open information. The future of preventive action requires confidence that we have intelligence on which we can rely.

I believe an additional step is needed to help us take advantage, as much as we can, of everything that is openly available and to do it in a way that improves our ability to understand what that information means. We should increase, as Secretary Rice is trying to do, our foreign service resources and establish new, small consulates in key places around the world. We must recognize security concerns, as the loss of a foreign service officer in Karachi in March demonstrates. We need savvy people who speak the language and who come to know what is openly available. Call them diplomatic boots on the ground. Certainly people at the center must put the pieces together, but we need more people out around the world who understand what the individual pieces mean.

Finances. An aggressive effort continues, with leadership from the United States and the Treasury Department, to track down the sources of finance for the terrorists and to dry up their access to money. This financial effort has a direct impact, and it also has the indirect effect of putting potential financiers on notice that they are being watched. Tracking the money also helps us understand our adversary by learning who is talking to whom and which groups are involved with each other, and even to identify individuals or groups of terrorists. All this is taking place as an international effort and must be sustained that way for the effort to succeed. Unwarranted publicity about the workings of this program, as by the New York Times, are bound to damage its effectiveness and make these important efforts more difficult to sustain.

We must curtail the finances of terrorists. This is very tough at a time when oil prices are high and staggering revenues are flowing into countries that are clear enemies. For these and many, many other reasons, we should learn how to use less oil. A major national effort is called for. As the president put it in his State of the Union message: "America is addicted to oil, which is often imported from unstable parts of the world." He rightly proposed an Advanced Energy Initiative "to push for breakthroughs in two vital areas. To change how we power our homes and offices . . . and to change how we power our automobiles."

Sustained work on finance is essential to success in this area, and learning how to use less oil will help enormously. The push to find ways to use less oil needs to recognize that, as these efforts succeed, the price of oil may decline. Sustainability means alternatives must meet a tougher market test than that posed by a price of oil that is high.


The Pakistan-based worldwide black market in nuclear weapons components and know-how run by A.Q. Khan has been uncovered and eliminated: an intelligence and diplomatic triumph and a demonstration of willpower to confront Pakistan authorities even as we depend on their help. Our willingness to use force after 9/11 also influenced President Musharraf to come quickly to the side of the United States against the terrorists. Without our action, Pakistan might have fallen under Islamist terrorist rule with Pakistan's nuclear weapons arsenal under their control. Continued vigilance is essential.

Libya, in the context of all this, made the momentous decision to give up all its weapons of mass destruction: a triumph of intelligence and diplomacy backed by strength, including the preventive seizure of a vessel from North Korea. The amounts of material turned over to us far exceeded what we or the rest of the world believed Libya to possess: another spur to our need to improve our intelligence capabilities. With its decision, Libya now has a chance to rejoin the responsible international community. The decision would not have been made if U.S. strength and diplomacy had not impressed upon Libya the reality that any outlaw regime that attempts to gain WMD is on a losing path.

Iran, as does North Korea, now poses a great threat as it seeks to gain nuclear weapons capability. With U.S. help, the European Union and the International Atomic Energy Agency are actively engaged in the effort to turn Iran back from this course. All five UN Security Council permanent members voted in the IAEA to refer the Iran problem to the Security Council. Now the permanent five plus Germany have initiated inducements for change in Iran's nuclear program with at least implied sanctions should Iran remain defiant. What further action will be taken is uncertain as of this writing. Just as France declares without qualification that Iran seeks a nuclear weapon and the IAEA reports on multiple Iranian deceptions, China is negotiating a further deal for Iranian oil.

Iran seems convinced that its actions, as in restarting its enrichment facilities, will have no adverse consequences. It sees no strength behind the diplomacy. We must be ready to summon the will -- and persuade others to join us -- to use economic and political strength -- and ultimately force -- to deal with this situation if multilateral diplomacy and collective security are to be credible.

Beyond the problems presented by Iran and North Korea, an energetic and creative effort is needed in the area of nuclear weaponry. In addition to nonproliferation efforts currently under way, we should consider promoting the establishment of identified places that can enrich uranium. They could be operated by the countries involved with an international presence and a statement that any country wishing to have peaceful nuclear power can get enriched uranium at a reasonable price. The objective is to get control of the enrichment process on a world scale. Efforts in this direction are under way and they deserve support.

Movement in the Middle East

The study of demographics tells us a lot about where around the world frustrations almost inevitably come from. Countries in the Middle East have fertility rates that put their populations out of control, with huge numbers of young people who have nothing to do and whose lives are detached from the kind of reality that the act of working imparts. One of the reasons for this is the culture of denying women responsible and productive roles in the way society is operated. These regimes need to change, and the effort to bring more economic and political openness is a critical ingredient in this third stage of the war.

Indeed, all across the Middle East there are signs that the U.S. conviction that the region -- beset by dysfunction and the pathology of terrorism -- has to be transformed is having an effect. The Syrian regime has been unmasked as the oppressor of Lebanon; its troops have been pulled out of Lebanese territory. And its ruler, Bashar Assad, is feeling increasing international pressure over his regime's role in Mafia-style murders and intimidation in Lebanon.

Lebanon has been set on the road -- no doubt a road endangered by the armed and war-oriented presence of Hezbollah as a part of Lebanon's government -- to regaining its sovereign statehood. This has been a goal of the United States ever since Syrian troops occupied Lebanon in the late 1970s. Now, with the U.S. and France cooperating on a remarkable un Security Council Resolution (1559) in September 2004, Lebanon has hope again, despite Syrian efforts to disrupt progress. Lebanese leaders have said openly that this chance to restore Lebanon's sovereignty could not have happened if the United States had not gone into Iraq to depose Saddam Hussein and laid the foundation for Iraq itself to regain legitimacy in the international state system. The urgent task now is to insist that Hezbollah disarm in accordance with UN Resolution 1559.

Our policy has started to show results in its large strategic purpose: to help the decent elements in the Middle East bring about the transformation of the entire region. There has been a major shift in the last year or so, with the peoples of the region beginning to realize they must stop regarding themselves as victims of the outside, U.S.-led modern world and start dealing with their own terrorist, dictatorial, and fanatic religious elements and addressing their region's need for changes toward democracy, women's rights, and freedom of information.

There have been small but significant steps toward opening the political systems in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the Gulf states. For example, women can now vote and hold office in Kuwait, and when given the opportunity to vote in late June, they did so in large numbers. And progress in Jordan is apparent. The Israel-Palestine conflict has passed a turning point with Israel's unilateral ending of its occupation of Gaza. The Palestinians now face a defining moment: Can they put in place a government able to maintain security, stop corruption, and credibly continue peace talks with Israel? To date, the answer is "no." Gaza is in chaos, and Hamas, an Islamist terrorist faction dedicated to Israel's obliteration, has won an election and conducted an attack -- an act of war -- on Israeli armed forces. What will come next? Will the moment come when the Palestinian people face up to the reality that their use of terror leads to misery and hopelessness? Will they create conditions that make it possible to achieve a two-state solution for the conflict, a solution that would extend the international state system's presence in the region? Meanwhile, Israel must look to its own security.

The key to further positive developments in the Middle East, and more broadly, is Iraq. Can Iraq become a stable country with a representative government and an improving and healthy economy? The death of Abu Musab al-Zarkawi in June provided real hope, particularly because it exhibited the growing willingness of Iraqis to provide reliable and actionable intelligence to our forces. But a severe test remains before us. Sunni leaders must realize by now that they cannot win by violence, and Shia leaders that they cannot govern without an inclusive approach. An odd balance of blocking power may lead to a stable government of national unity, which is desperately needed. With due recognition of all the clear problems, Iraqi political leaders have a chance to consolidate a stable government that is democratically legitimate. Such a government can release the major potential of the economy by suppressing terrorist sabotage. We took far too long to put an Iraqi face on what we were doing in that beleaguered country, but Iraqis now have clear responsibilities. Our presence is there to support constructive efforts in a collaborative effort for success.

Meanwhile, we now know from the huge number of captured documents produced by Saddam Hussein's regime that in Iraq there were in existence three training centers for terrorists with apparently some 8,000 or so trainees. We must identify who the trainees are, learn the methods they have been trained to use and their connections to other countries, and, to the extent that these terrorists are operating in Iraq today, do everything possible to get them out of circulation before they go elsewhere.

The Middle East always captures the world's attention, and never more so than now. The problems have never been more clear. The stakes have never been higher. And with all due recognition of the difficulties, the possibilities for positive developments have never been greater. To succeed, we need efforts that are sustained, combining diplomacy with strength of all kinds and building on the interplay of open political and economic systems.

Communicating with the Islamic world

The extensive Muslim riots of early 2006, waged ostensibly in response to cartoons in a Danish newspaper published four months earlier, dramatize the importance of supporting mainstream Islam and preventing radicals from intimidating the mainstream. In addition, they show the dangerous tendencies of dictatorial regimes (Syria and Iran) to fan protests as a way to divert attention from their own deep deficiencies.

But they also underline another reality: our need to do a much better job of communicating with the world of Islam. Material from the archives of Radio Liberty and Radio Free Europe has much to teach us about this, including how to identify areas of relevance to today's very different problem of communication with the people of Islam. Among the lessons are these:

* Construct a realistic sense of mission. While radical Islam is in a sense the problem, the mission needs to focus on helping what may be called mainstream Muslims to address the issues and take on the radicals. In the end, it is the Islamic community itself that needs to engage in this battle, and we need to encourage that effort. We also know that radical Islamists cannot function without a surrounding population that acquiesces in, or can be frightened into, supporting or not opposing them. So our effort must be to dry up the sea of support in which terrorists swim. That is the mission.
* Study the target audiences carefully. We will need to differentiate among them. Words like "Arabs" or "Muslims" are deceptive because they conceal immense variety. Above all, pay attention to women. Because in some countries they are kept out of everyday life, they have huge amounts of time to watch tv at home where the morals police can't get at them. Women's-content programming is essential. Something similar, but with very different content, should be designed for another vast audience: unemployed males who sit around at the corner coffee houses all day. Alhurra tv and Radio Sawa are trying to do just that.

* While the broadcasters will need to undertake studies themselves, they will need a lot of help. Unfortunately, proficiency in languages and efforts at area studies have declined in the United States. What now passes for "Middle East Studies" at many universities is generally unsatisfactory. This means a major effort is necessary to encourage universities to undertake scholarship in this field and to preserve and enhance all the ways in which the relevant languages are acquired by at least a reasonable number of Americans.

* Beyond the broad sweep of programs such as those now sponsored by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, special efforts should be made to target audiences in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Iran, the Muslim communities in Western Europe, and possibly Pakistan. The history of radical movements shows that a high proportion of them originate in one form or another in these areas.

* Monitor what people say and be ready to interact. Much of what passes for commentary is altogether delusional. The Middle East, always remember, is the world center for conspiracy theories. So some sort of counter-conspiracy desk is needed. If we are candid, open, and factually correct, we have a platform for countering some of this delusional talk. Much of the world of Islam has lost contact with reality, with the relationship of cause to effect. Reality needs to be a centerpiece in what we talk about.

* As part of the effort to connect people with reality, emphasis can be placed on the importance and the virtues of work and, concomitantly, on the necessity of economic policies that lead to expanding economies. Among the problems in the European Muslim community is the fact that, as estimated for some urban areas, well over half the men of Moroccan origin over the age of 40 are living on welfare of one kind or another and have little expectation of working. Work connects people with reality.

* Put emphasis on the importance of education in the basic sense of the word. Too much of what passes for education in the world of Islam is simply propaganda and doesn't prepare people adequately for tasks of work and tasks of critical evaluation of what they are hearing. Special incentives might be developed to encourage people to learn the English language.

* No matter how impressive our effort, it will never succeed so long as Arab regimes continue to pump out tons of daily propaganda that over recent decades has driven ordinary Arabs into a perpetual condition of hyper-inflamed rage at outsiders, thus diverting the attention of Arab populations away from the regimes that rule them. A concerted effort is needed on this problem. We need to maintain the pressure on the rulers of Qatar over the content and programming of Al Jazeera. They own it and finance it, and by recent credible reports, the emir of Qatar and his principal aides have been made to understand by the administration that they can't befriend us while sponsoring this brand of journalism.

* Consider including in our media strategy material that deftly shows that the Arab-Islamic world needs to communicate with us in a far better way than it has done. Such material could show how awful it looks to the world when it appears to be saturated in hate, self-pity, intolerance, and slaughter.

* Our news content must be candid, tuned to local audiences, and remorselessly accurate. Credibility will emerge, and credibility is the name of the game. Major events always come along (the elections in Iraq, the Cedar Revolution, the tsunami tragedies, the earthquake around Kashmir), and credibility leads people to take our reports on such events as accurate. In the process, we discipline all the other outlets.

* Develop means of evaluating the effects of our efforts. This is essential in maintaining funding but also in the constant process of honing our messages so that they are as effective as possible.

Some version of ideas like these needs to be assembled and talked around within executive and congressional circles so that broad support can assure the necessary sustainability over many years.


Throughout this statement developing the importance of sustainability, I have referred to the need for strong support from countries throughout the world. The fact that the major attacks in the years since September 11, 2001, have been in other countries underlines the reality that the stake in victory in this war is global in scope, and the powerful rise in the economic growth of an increasing number of countries around the world shows how much everyone has to lose. Almost all of the steps needed to win this victory call for the concerned states to act collaboratively if the effort is to be fully effective.

When I was in office, I always emphasized the importance of what I call gardening: developing relationships around the world by working hard with people in ordinary times. The idea is to get out the weeds when they are small in order to develop an agenda of work that will be helpful to both parties. When you work with people when nothing critical is at stake, you lay the groundwork for collaborative efforts when extraordinary demands are made.

The amount of contact between U.S. officials and people in many other countries is extensive. The military-to-military contacts are widespread and fundamentally constructive. I remember well my visits with Admiral Crowe when he was Commander-in-Chief, Pacific (CINCPAC). When his ships moved around among the islands, they always carried Seabees on them. The idea was that when they made port, the Seabees would get in contact with local officials and put their services to good use. Seabees can fix anything and they made lots of friends.

We also need to emphasize the importance of exchange visits between the citizens of the U.S. and those of other countries. Exchange programs have been languishing, but we need to encourage their growth, just as we need to make our libraries as accessible as possible to people around the world.

All of this emphasizes the amount of work there is to do and the importance of strengthening our diplomatic corps. I believe we should be using our ingenuity to see that those foreign service officers with extraordinary capability and experience who tend to move on when they are in their early fifties are retained in some manner. These are experienced people who are able to command respect from heads of government and can help in the task of gardening.

The way ahead

The Islamist terrorist cause has been damaged extensively. The areas of the Middle East that served as safe havens and training grounds (Afghanistan, Yemen, and -- we now know -- Saddam's Iraq) have been taken away from them. They must not be allowed to gain control elsewhere. Their financial sources have been tracked down, and that effort must continue. We cannot permit them to raise support from around the world and move money across borders and continents as they wish. We must get serious about the urgent need to use less oil as oil revenues fuel our problems. Al Qaeda as the central, coordinating base for a globe-spanning terrorist network is no more, an undeniable advance on the movement as it was developing before 9/11. But we must not relax our efforts. In Somalia, Islamist forces have seized Mogadishu. Whatever their statements, we must be ready to ensure that they do not turn that ungoverned country over to al Qaeda as a new base to replace their former base in Afghanistan.

Our defenses must continue to be hardened. Our borders and ports remain, because of their vast extent, possible avenues for terrorists to damage our economy and to gain entrance to our country. The silver lining in the Dubai controversy of last February may be needed improvements in security at our ports. And we need to further enlarge and deepen our intelligence cooperation and exchanges with other services in countries around the world. Our collection techniques gain sustainability from well-understood and secretly conducted forms of oversight.

Recent events in the Middle East and Asia demonstrate the connections among all the main points of this article and show how great the challenges are to clear and positive developments. Iran and North Korea watch each other as actions labeled unacceptable are undertaken without adverse consequences. Immense oil revenues have emboldened Iran to step up its drive to acquire nuclear weapons and to extend its power and radical Islamist ideology across the region through its surrogates: the Syrian dictatorship of Bashar al Assad and the Islamist terrorist movements of Hamas in the West Bank and Gaza and Hezbollah in Lebanon. They, as political parties, have gained control over the Palestinian Authority (PA) and are the intimidating power within the government of Lebanon. Before this, the pa had been moving toward statehood through a negotiated "two-state solution" to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. And Lebanon, following the joint U.S.-French UN Security Council Resolution 1559 of 2004, and the U.S.-French-British Resolution 1680 of 2006, had hoped to regain its sovereign statehood and national integrity free from Syrian domination. These resolutions, which call for the disarmament of Hezbollah, are being ignored without follow-up from the UN Security Council. Now all these entities -- Iran, Syria, Lebanon, and the PA, all formerly legitimate -- must be considered as under the control of forces dedicated to terrorism and antagonistic to international peace and security.

Under all these circumstances, we must not let up on the reality that we are at war and will continue to be so for a long time to come. Some commentators have noted that the length of time from 9/11 to today is longer than World War ii. This is the wrong analogy; what we face is more akin to the decades-long struggle of the Cold War.

And being at war, we must retain the option and the will to use force -- even as we pair that option with intensive diplomacy. Given the ongoing military task we face in Iraq and the political pressure against President Bush, it is being assumed by many around the world, friends and enemies alike, that the United States cannot undertake another major military operation, let alone see the effort in Iraq through to success. This is a dangerous perception, one that will only heighten the likelihood of further warfare unless it is dispelled.

At the end of President Bush's first term it could be said, correctly, that now the United States could begin to make the transition from the first-term emphasis on strength to a second-term focus on diplomacy. In very large part we are doing that. But the option for military action on even a large scale, such as a sustained air campaign to cripple Iran's nuclear weapons program, must remain alive as a last resort. The more alive it is in the minds of our adversaries, the more likely it is that we never will have to use that military option.

The American eagle on the Great Seal must continue to look toward the olive branch but, just as important, must keep a powerful cluster of arrows in its grasp.

The world has never been in a situation of greater promise than now for improvements in the level of income and quality of life in countries that have been mired in poverty. Look at China. Look at India. The information age, combined with a realization of the magic of the marketplace, is creating new opportunities for growth and for rising standards of life. We can rally people all over the world to this banner: the benefits of economic and political openness and freedom. The terrorists must not be allowed to abort this opportunity. At the most fundamental level, we will win the war against them by action that helps people see improvements in the way they live.


1 We have also recognized that Saddam Hussein had WMD, had used WMD, and was successfully convincing the Iraqi people, other regimes in the region, and intelligence services of the world that he still possessed them -- even as he had turned to a "virtual" WMD program that quickly could have been reconstituted as soon as he gained international support for lifting sanctions against him.

2 See the informative discussions in Ephraim Kam, Surprise Attack: The Victim's Perspective (Harvard University Press, 1988).

George P. Shultz, the Thomas W. and Susan B. Ford distinguished fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, served as secretary of state from 1982 to 1989. This article is based on a speech he delivered at the Woodrow Wilson School, Princeton University.

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