Assistant to the President for National Security
Marshall Legacy Symposium
January 8, 1996
As the general who helped lead us to victory in the most
devastating conflict the world had ever known, George Catlett
Marshall understood the horror of war better than anyone. And
along with statesmen like President Truman, Senator Arthur
Vandenberg, and Secretary of State Dean Acheson, he knew that
America's security -- and the well-being of our people -- cannot
be guaranteed in isolation from the world.
Those men had seen the cost of our retreat from the world
stage after World War I. They knew that if turmoil once again
swept across Europe, no part of the whole world would be safe.
And they recognized that to maintain peace, the United States
would have to preserve, protect, and ultimately extend democracy,
free markets, and security in Europe and beyond.
Together, these men faced down the isolationists in the
United States who would have had America shrink from its
responsibilities. They forged a bipartisan coalition to sustain
America's global leadership and to support economic recovery in
The Truman Doctrine, the Marshall Plan, the Atlantic
Alliance -- the great institutions of international cooperation -
- each reflected our nation's conviction that America's security
and prosperity were indivisible from Europe and that for America
to be strong at home, it had to be strong abroad.
Times have changed, but those principles absolutely endure
Today, in this wonderful new age of possibility, President
Clinton is working to build a safer world of open societies
linked and enriched by open markets -- a world where the benefits
of peace and security are shared and enjoyed by all. We are
enlarging the circle of common purpose -- opening the
institutions that were once called "the West" to the newly free
people who will live by its values.
Our policy is grounded in the firm belief -- a belief at the
heart of America's identity itself -- that our interests and our
ideals cannot be separated. Those who argue otherwise are caught
up in the precepts of 19th century diplomacy -- oblivious to the
reality of today's world. In an age where information and
finance can fly across borders at the touch of a computer key,
what happens within nations is just as important to global
stability as classic diplomatic relations among nations. It is
simply common sense that in the long run, our interests and our
ideals both serve to create a safer world for our people.
By supporting the tide of democracy, we help build a world
where peace is more likely to be preserved and human rights are
more likely to be protected. By encouraging the spread of open
markets, we advance the prosperity of our people and others. By
standing with those who take risks for peace -- from the Middle
East to Northern Ireland and now in Bosnia -- we lessen the
threat of conflicts that destroy lives and destabilize regions.
Our efforts to build a safer, more peaceful world are making
a difference in people's lives. These are not abstractions.
Today, parents in New York and Moscow can put their children to
bed knowing their nations' nuclear weapons are no longer pointed
at each other. Ukraine, Belarus, and Kazakhstan are giving up
nuclear weapons stationed on their soils. And together with our
friends in Central Europe and the former Soviet Union, we are
working to keep nuclear materials from falling into the wrong
By leading the global community in the fight against
international crime, drug trafficking, and terrorism, we are
making our neighborhoods safer for our families. Those forces of
destruction respect no borders; we must all work together to
Lower economic barriers and freer trade have meant millions
of new jobs for Americans and for others. In your countries,
growth has been the fastest where reform has moved the farthest.
The costs of economic transformation are real, but so are the
benefits: growing opportunity and rising standards of living for
your people, and expanding trade and investment throughout your
In short, nowhere are America's interests and ideals more
closely linked than in Europe. With the end of the Cold War, we
finally have an extraordinary chance to realize George Marshall's
vision of an undivided, democratic, prosperous Europe at peace.
Just think about it. As President Clinton has remarked many
times, this is the first time probably in human history that we
can, in fact, create such a Europe. And the Partnership for
Peace lies at the heart of that opportunity. But to succeed, we
must adapt. For if Marshall's generation was "present at the
creation" of the post-war transatlantic order, our generation has
been charged with its renewal and its extension.
Our strategy here must be no less ambitious than that great
goal. First, we must help Europe's newly free nations to
strengthen their democracies. Second, we must continue to
advance prosperity in Europe, America, and around the world. And
third, we must deepen our security cooperation -- not only with
our long-standing allies, but with others who share our values
and our vision of peace.
That is what this symposium is all about. We come together
at the second anniversary of the Partnership for Peace -- a
cornerstone of this new Europe. From the Black Sea waters of
Romania to the bayous of Louisiana, Partners and allies are
building bridges of friendship across what once were enemy lines.
These are not abstract slogans. In Bosnia, soldiers from at
least 13 new Partner states will serve side-by-side with NATO
troops in the most ambitious land operation in Europe since World
War II. One of those Partners, Hungary, is the major staging
ground for America's contribution to the NATO force. This was
the stuff that dreams were built of only two years ago -- yet the
Partnership for Peace and progress toward NATO's enlargement make
it seem natural today.
We should just pause for a moment and think of how the world
has changed when these things do seem natural.
For some countries, the Partnership will be the best path to
membership in NATO. For others, it will serve as the main link
to the Alliance. For all, it is a powerful incentive to deepen
the roots of democracy -- by consolidating democratic
institutions, establishing firm civilian control over military
forces, and being responsible members of the international
In fact, NATO has always been open to nations that shared
its values and could contribute to its goals. As the democratic
community grows across the former Cold War lines, NATO must grow
as well. This year, the Alliance will hold intensive
consultations with Partners who wish to join.
Russia has a critical contribution to make to Europe's
evolving security system, and we will continue to support its
integration. All of our nations have a stake in the success of
Russia's efforts to build a confident, stable democracy. Last
month's election in Russia in fact showed democracy at work.
While the vote reflected frustration with the social costs of
reform, it is clear that the majority of Russians do not want to
return to the past. The United States will do all we can to help
keep the process there moving forward.
NATO will continue to build strong ties with Russia,
including through the Partnership for Peace. Just last October,
Russian and American troops took part in a joint peacekeeping
exercise at Fort Riley, Kansas. Today, they are applying that
experience around Tuzla to help the people of Bosnia rebuild
their lives and rebuild their land. Together, two former
adversaries are helping transform what was once the starkest
symbol of Europe's post-Cold War disintegration into a striking
example of transatlantic cooperation.
The ties we are forging in Bosnia and Brussels rest on a
grassroots foundation. As many of you know from your own
experience, the National Guard State Partnerships are working
every day to build security cooperation. Albania and South
Carolina, Kyrgyzstan and Montana, Georgia and Georgia -- each of
these partnerships between America's citizen-soldiers and their
colleagues abroad is helping improve openness and mutual
understanding and supporting the process of democratic reform.
When George Marshall was Secretary of State, he was known
for reminding his staff, "Don't fight the problem. Decide it!"
Those must be our marching orders today. We have been blessed by
history with a great challenge and great responsibility, and we
owe it to our children to rise to the occasion as we build our
vision of the Europe that I described.
Over the course of the next week, you will contribute by
having the chance to discuss practical ways to deepen democracy,
bolster prosperity, promote security, and to strengthen our
transatlantic ties. So I urge you all to make the most of your
time together, to generate ideas, establish contacts, and lay the
groundwork for progress back home. Each of you will play an
important role in the direction your country takes in the years
ahead. The United States is proud to work with you to advance
the values and the interests that we share and to build a safer
world for all of our peoples.
And again, I welcome you here very, very much. Thank you.
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