By DONNA URSCHEL
George P. Shultz, secretary of state for eight years during President Ronald Reagan's administration, said in a major Library address that the war in Iraq was necessary because Iraq was a rogue state under former President Saddam Hussein, a dictator who violated the laws and principles of the international system of states.
"All through the years between 1998 and 2002, Saddam continued to act and speak and to rule Iraq as a rogue state," said Shultz in a speech titled "A Changed World," which examined the erosion of the state system and the rise in terrorism in recent years.
"There has never been a clearer case of a rogue state using its privileges of statehood to advance its dictator's interests in ways that defy and endanger the international state system," he said. "The question of Iraq's presumed stockpile of weapons will be answered, but that answer, however it comes out, will not affect the full, justifiable and necessary action that the coalition has undertaken to bring an end to Saddam Hussein's rule over Iraq."
Shultz, who is the Thomas W. and Susan B. Ford Distinguished Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, gave the third annual Henry Alfred Kissinger Lecture at the Library on Feb. 11. Kissinger and his wife, Nancy, attended the lecture, which drew a large crowd in the Coolidge Auditorium.
Kissinger himself delivered the inaugural lecture in October 2001 to mark the establishment at the Library of the Kissinger Chair in Foreign Policy and International Relations in the Kluge Center. The program, endowed by friends of Kissinger, includes an annual lecture by a foreign policy expert and the annual appointment of a senior research scholar to use the Library's international collections. Valéry Giscard d'Estaing, the former president of France and the president of the Convention on the Future of Europe, delivered the second annual lecture in February 2003.
"We are at one of those special moments in history: the topic of the
day is Iraq and weapons not accounted for, but the implications of
action in Iraq for the world and for our future go far beyond this
immediate case," Shultz said.
He recounted the past quarter-century of terrorism, describing how the United States had defended itself against the emerging problem by reinforcing embassies and increasing intelligence efforts. In the 1990s, he said, the problem of terrorism began to appear more menacing, although the nature of the threat was not comprehended and U.S. efforts to combat it were ineffective.
"Terrorism was regarded as a law enforcement problem and terrorists as criminals," Shultz said. "Terrorism is not a matter that can be left to law enforcement, with its deliberative process, built-in delays and safeguards that may let the prisoner go free on procedural grounds."
Terrorism, he said, is "the method of choice of an extensive, internationally connected, ideological movement dedicated to the destruction of our international system of cooperation and progress." Shultz said terrorist activities ranging from the 1981 assassination of Egyptian President Anwar Sadat to the 2001 destruction of the World Trade Center, as well as scores of terrorist attacks in between and in many countries, "were carried out by one part or another of this movement."
"And the movement is connected to states that develop awesome weaponry … or … expertise for sale," he said.
Shultz said the answer to fighting terrorism is to "shore up the state system." For the past three centuries, he said, the world has worked with the sovereign state as the basic operating entity, accountable to its citizens and responsible for their well-being. In this system, nation states interact with one another.
But, increasingly, the state system has been eroding, according to Shultz. "Terrorists have been burrowing into the state system in order to attack it," he said. For example, state authorities in Somalia and Afghanistan fell apart, providing an ideal environment for Islamic extremists to take control and for terrorists to plan and train.
Of concern is control of a state by criminals, gangsters or warlords, he said. "Saddam Hussein was one example. Kim Jong-Il of North Korea is another. They seize control of state power and use that power to enhance their wealth, consolidate their rule and develop their weaponry," he said. "For decades these thugs have gotten away with it. And the leading nations of the world have let them get away with it."
"I see our great task as restoring the vitality of the state system," Shultz said. "All established states should stand up to their responsibilities in the fight against our common enemy: terror."
Shultz said a preemptive strike to take the offense against terrorism is justifiable. "The civilized world has a common stake in defeating the terrorists. We now call this what it is: a war on terrorism. In war, you have to act on both offense and defense. You have to hit the enemy before the enemy hits you. The diplomacy of incentives, containment, deterrence and prevention are all made more effective by the demonstrated possibility of forceful preemption," Shultz said. "And with the consequences of a terrorist attack as hideous as they are, the U.S. must be ready to preempt identified threats."
Shultz outlined the case against Iraq: Saddam's aggressions against Iran and Kuwait and his failure to comply with a long line of United Nations Security Council resolutions regarding weapons of mass destruction.
"The international legal case against Saddam—17 resolutions—was unprecedented. The intelligence services of all involved nations and the U.N. inspectors for more than a decade all agreed that Saddam possessed weapons of mass destruction. Saddam had years to augment, conceal, disperse or otherwise deal with his arsenal, and he used every means to avoid cooperating or explaining what he had done with them. This refusal in itself was, under U.N. resolutions, adequate grounds for resuming the military operation against him that had been put in abeyance in 1991 pending his compliance," Shultz said.
"Above all, and in the long run, the most important aspect of the Iraq war will be what it means for the integrity of the international system and for the effort to deal effectively with terrorism," Shultz concluded.
Shultz also briefly discussed the Middle East in general, including the Israeli-Palestinian problem. "What we are witnessing is nothing short of a civil war in the Arab-Islamic world. On one side are those who, for reasons they ascribe to their version of Islam, reject the international system of states, reject international law and organization, reject international values and principles such as human rights, and reject diplomacy as a means to work through problems.
"On the other side of the civil war are those regimes in the Arab-Islamic
world that, however much they may have appeased, bought out or propagandized
the terrorists, have nonetheless now recognized that they are members
of the international system of states and must find a way to reconcile
their Islamic beliefs and practices to it," Shultz said.
Shultz thinks the war in Iraq will have an impact all across the region. "As Iraq stabilizes, people in the Middle East will see that change for the better is possible."
Nonetheless, Shultz urges America to seek alternative sources of energy because the nation's strength and security are vitally affected by U.S. dependence on oil, most of which comes from the most unstable part of the world: the Middle East. He said former President Dwight Eisenhower warned that foreign oil should not exceed 20 percent of the country's consumption. "The number is now pushing 60 percent and rising," Shultz said.
He listed a number of possible sources for future energy. "Now is the time to push hard for research and development on sequestration, electrolysis and fuel cells. We can enhance America's security and simultaneously improve our environment," he said.
After the lecture, Shultz answered several questions from the audience. When asked whether the United States should stay in the United Nations, Shultz answered an unequivocal yes. He said the United States should stay and try to improve the organization.
Asked his opinion about reforms in China, Shultz said he was impressed with the economic progress in China. He also said China needs to take more responsibility for dealing with the North Korean problem. "China has all the power in that area," Shultz said.
Donna Urschel is a freelance writer in the Washington area.