Saturday, February 17, 2007

World Famous Icon M16

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Weaponized Eye Candy #1988

GAU-12 25mm Equaliser
The GAU-12 25MM six-barrel gun pod can be mounted on the centerline of the Marine Corp's AV-8 Harrier. It has a 300 round capacity with a lead computing optical sight system (LCOSS) gunsight. The Marines use a 25mm depleted uranium [DU] round in the GAU-12 Gatling gun on AV-8 Harriers.

The Air Force Special Operations Command AC-130U Spectre gunship gunship represents a major-advancement over the two previous generation gunships, the AC-130A and the AC-130H.

Changes include enhancement and expansion of its attack sensor suite allowing the aircraft's electro-optic sensors and the All Light Level Television and Infrared Detection System to provide a full 360-degree field of vision; an APG-180 Strike Radar that will allow tracking of both fixed and moving targets through adverse weather; an adjustable GAU-12 25 mm Gatling gun and a Dual Target Attack mode which will allow the AC-130U to strike two targets simultaneously. Alliant Techsystems, Incorporated, Hopkins, Minnesota, manufactures rounds of 25 millimeter high explosive incendiary ammunition applicable to the GAU-12 autogun on the AC-130U aircraft.

In October 1983 the US Army Air Defense Board completed an evaluation of the US Army Armament Research and Development Center (ARDC) air defense gun/missile experiment known as ADGILE. The prototype of the hybrid system consisted of a 25mm GAU-12/U cannon and an engineering ATAS STINGER launcher. The experiment clearly demonstrated the feasibility of an integrated STINGER/gun hybrid system. In February 1985 The USMC evaluated their Light Armored Vehicle-Air Defense System at Eglin Air Force Base (AFB), Florida, using a 25mm GAU-12 cannon and an ATAS launcher.

The LAV-AD light armor vehicle air-defense variant features the Blazer turret, which includes a forward-looking infrared targeting sight, a laser rangefinder, and the option of employing either Stinger missiles or the rapid-fire GAU-12/U 25mm Gatling gun. Its primary mission is to provide low altitude air defense at ranges within the envelope of the Stinger Missiles and the 25mm ammunition. A secondary mission is to provide ground defense against light armored mechanized forces.

submitted by 'BeCcA

David's Democratic Imperative

The checks and balances of human rights and democratic governance are important for the security and development of any society: from established systems like ours to the new democracies of Eastern Europe and Africa to the emerging economies of China and the Middle East.

"According to global polling by Gallup, 8 out of 10 people want to live in a democracy, closer to 9 out of 10 in Africa. From Botswana to Indonesia, there are striking examples of successful representative democracies that demonstrate how universal values can be applied to diverse cultural, social and economic contexts.

"The belief in the equal worth of each human being, and the desire for people to have sovereignty over their own lives is not only enshrined in the Universal Declaration of human rights, it is lived out in all corners of the world. Tellingly, even where democracy is absent, dictators seek to describe their rule as ‘democratic’ to provide a veil of legitimacy for their regimes."

I have called this speech 'The Democratic Imperative' because I believe discussion about the Iraq war has clouded the debate about promoting democracy around the world. I understand the doubts about Iraq and Afghanistan, and the deep concerns at the mistakes made. But my plea is that we do not let divisions over those conflicts obscure our national interest, never mind our moral impulse, in supporting movements for democracy.

We must not be glib about what democracy means - it is far more than a five year ballot. We cannot be self satisfied about the state of our own democracy. We cannot impose democratic norms.

But we can be clear about the desirability of government by the people and clear that without hubris or sanctimony we can play a role in backing demands for democratic governance and all that goes with it. That is my focus today.

Victor Hugo said you can defeat armies, but you can't defeat ideas. Last September when so many people were prepared to risk their lives by coming out onto the streets of Rangoon, in what I would call a ‘civilian surge’, we saw that, for all its brutality and for all its corruption, the Military Junta in Burma has been unable to destroy the hope of a better and freer life. The people of Burma show that the hope for a life lived at liberty extends to all people in all parts of the world.

It is fitting, therefore, that I should make this speech in the Oxford College where Daw Aung San Suu Kyi not only undertook her undergraduate education but also met her late husband, the distinguished scholar, Dr Michael Aris.

Aung San Suu Kyi remains today what she has been for 20 years: a beacon of hope in the struggle for democracy in Burma. And a beacon of hope beyond Burma too - the civilian surge there is not an isolated phenomenon. It can be seen around the world. More literate, better informed citizens, more conscious of their rights, less deferential towards authority, more able to connect with each other through technology, are challenging incumbents.

But today, although we should be celebrating Burma’s 60th year as an independent nation, we are not. Instead, remind yourself that it is 18 years since Aung San Suu Kyi's party won 82% of the seats in Parliament, and almost 5 years since she began her latest stint of house arrest.

Thanks to the efforts of many people in this room, and many others around the world, Burma has not and will not be forgotten. The campaigns, the resolutions, the sanctions are in place. And the world community looks closely, with caution rather than expectation but hope as well as skepticism, at suggestions from the regime about how to achieve progress and reconciliation.

The regime has this week called a referendum for May on a new constitution and elections for 2010. For any process to have credibility two things must happen. First Aung San Suu Kyi must be released immediately and allowed to participate along with other political leaders and ethnic groups in drafting the constitution and in the subsequent referendum campaign. Second the UN Special Envoy Ibrahim Gambari should be allowed to return immediately to Burma to help facilitate the process.

I believe this is an important time to reflect on the situation in Burma and to think about what the international community can do there - and elsewhere – to help people fulfil their aspirations for democratic rule. There is a paradox here.

On the one hand the last 30 years have witnessed a remarkable "third wave of democracy". In the 1970s the collapse of authoritarian regimes led to the reestablishment of democracy in Portugal, Greece and Spain. But it was with the fall of the Berlin Wall and the crumbling of the Soviet Empire that the tide really turned. By the early 1990s most of the countries of Central and Eastern Europe had democratically elected governments and many were seeking reintegration into the European family.

At the same time, several authoritarian regimes in Asia - South Korea, Taiwan, the Philippines and Indonesia - converted to democracy. Much of Africa had also made the transition - the election of Nelson Mandela in 1994 was a defining moment. And by the end of the century, all of Latin America - except for Cuba - had established democratically elected governments. Today, there is only one region - the Middle-East - where democratic regimes remain the exception. According to Freedom House, in the early 1970s less than a quarter of the world's countries were democratic. Thirty years later, the figure stood at over 60%.

At the same time as this dramatic growth in democratic governance, the belief that there is an inevitable tide of history has been discredited. After the end of the cold war it was tempting to believe in "the end of history" – the inevitable progress of liberal democracy and capitalist economics. Now with the economic success of China, we can no longer take the forward march of democracy for granted. Since the millennium, there has been a pause in the democratic advance. T
he rise in the number of democracies has plateaued. Countries with new democratic systems are struggling to establish roots. Our own democratic institutions struggle to bride the gap between citizens and government.

This reality makes my argument today all the more important. I will argue that we should back demands among citizens for more freedom and power over their lives – whether that is reforming established democracies, or supporting transitions to democracy. We should be on the side of the civilian surge.

We must resist the arguments on both the left and the right to retreat into a world of realpolitik. The traditional conservative ‘realist position’ is to say that values and interests diverge, and interests should predominate. This will not do. Yet in the 1990s, something strange happened.

The neoconservative movement seemed to be most sure about spreading democracy around the world. The left seemed conflicted between the desirability of the goal and its qualms about the use of military means. In fact, the goal of spreading democracy should be a great progressive project; the means need to combine soft and hard power. We should not let the genuine debate about the ‘how’ of foreign policy obscure the clarity about the ‘what’.

I want to begin by talking about what we mean by democracy and why we should support the spread of democratic ideals and practices. I then want to discuss how we can do so in a way that recognizes both the diversity of cultures and the limits of our power and capacity to effect change.

Defining DemocracyDemocracy is plural not singular. There are many aspects to democracy and some countries are more democratic than others. It also makes sense to talk of the culture of democracy which is both a condition and a consequence of a democratic state.

But that doesn’t mean that nothing can be said. The root of the word is clear: government by the people. We can specify the indispensable conditions of a democracy – that the people choose the government, that they are free from arbitrary control and that the government respects the right of the people to dispense with it.

And I do not believe that this demand for civil recognition to be a curiosity of the modern West. There are very many forms of government by the people that are compatible with the demand for civil recognition. The demand itself I take to be universal. The checks and balances of human rights and democratic governance are important for the security and development of any society: from established systems like ours to the new democracies of Eastern Europe and Africa to the emerging economies of China and the Middle East.

According to global polling by Gallup, 8 out of 10 people want to live in a democracy, closer to 9 out of 10 in Africa. From Botswana to Indonesia, there are striking examples of successful representative democracies that demonstrate how universal values can be applied to diverse cultural, social and economic contexts.

The belief in the equal worth of each human being, and the desire for people to have sovereignty over their own lives is not only enshrined in the Universal Declaration of human rights, it is lived out in all corners of the world. Tellingly, even where democracy is absent, dictators seek to describe their rule as ‘democratic’ to provide a veil of legitimacy for their regimes.

Universal Values - This is a controversial case, I know. The claim that some values are universal is often thought to be a kind of intellectual imperialism. There are three schools of criticism of the case I have made. I want to dwell on each in turn.

First, the Asian values school. Spreading democracy, they say, is an attempt to impose Western values on countries with distinctive traditions and aspirations. Not so much intellectual imperialism as actual imperialism.

Lee Kuan Yew, Singapore's former prime minister, once characterised 'Asian values' as 'a certain attitude towards life which raises the interest of the community above that of the individual.’

In 1993, the Bangkok declaration of 34 Asian and Middle Eastern states supported the universality of human rights, but rejected the "imposition of incompatible values", emphasizing the importance of "national and regional particularities and various historical, cultural and religious backgrounds."

I have two responses to this. The first I borrow from Amartya Sen who has brilliantly shown, from the Buddhist councils in India to the society of the Ochollo in Southern Ethiopia, that people from all cultures came together to deliberate over their communal affairs centuries before the emergence of the Italian city-republics.

The second response is that it is precisely liberal democracies that are most hospitable to the variety of histories and heritages that are said to make democracy impossible. Indeed, the great variety of cultures and peoples contained in the idea of “Asian values” casts grave doubt on whether it means very much.

And even if something like “Asian values” can be adduced, they will find democracy a hospitable place. The kind of place that would welcome the “Asian values” of Aung San Suu Kyi, for example.

Values and Interests

The second critique is what we might call the school of realpolitik.

This is the charge that democracy is not always in the national interest.

Sometimes democracy is a luxury that nations cannot afford because either prosperity or security must be achieved first. Trade and investment before democracy; fighting terrorism trumps individual rights.

This is dangerously narrow and short-term, in my view. Democracy is the best custodian of trade. Free trade and investment rely on confidence that governments will protect property rights, operate in a transparent way, and avoid hidden subsidies and distortions.

I also believe that established democracies are less likely to fight each other. Their intentions and motives are more transparent. They are better able to build trust with other states.

But today, the main security threat, from terrorism and conflict, comes not from conflict between states, but within states. Local disputes and ethnic divisions escalate into wider regional conflicts. Groups that begin with local grievances increasingly become co-opted by Al Qaeda into global terrorism.

In weak states, there are no military solutions to the insecurity and injustice that helps to breed terrorism, only political solutions. Democracy provides a way of resolving competing interests and claims on resources in a peaceful way. Without democratic legitimacy, it is hard to sustain the increase in state capacity needed to maintain law and order.

In my mind there is no doubt: the rule of law in a democracy is the best long-term defense against global terrorism and conflict.

And in countries such as China seeking a stable path to political reform it’s important to recognise that democracy is not a threat to instability but a way to guarantee it. Globalization, and the increasing complexity of modern societies, has strengthened this truth.

Democracy Promotion The third school of opposition is more pragmatic. It asserts that our ability to promote democracy is limited because the transition to democracy is usually the result of national convulsions. Democracies usually emerge as part of a bargain between citizens and the state. Where the state requires more resources – taxes, or military conscription for war – citizens are granted more accountability over the state. Or a growing middle class demands political representation as a concomitant of its growing purchasing power.

This can involve violent rupture. When powerful political players - the tribal or dynastic leaders, warlords or the military - jostle for position and try to co-opt the system, the birth-pangs of democracy can be anything but democratic. We know this from our own histories in Europe and America.

But, however the change comes, it grows in the soil of the nation. The argument is that our capacity to create democracies from here is limited. As Fareed Zakaria has argued, democracy flourishes in societies that are already constitutionally liberal, and based on the rule of law and property rights.

This is a better response than the previous two. We need, of course, to be cautious about our capacity to change the world. But while we have less influence than we might hope, we have more than we might fear.

In an increasingly interdependent world, economic linkages mean countries care more about their external reputation and are increasingly subject to global rules and global institutions. International institutions – from the International Criminal Court and the World Trade Organization to the European Union – provide a framework of norms, incentives and sanctions.

And the revolution in media and communications enables new forms of global collective action, with government and global non-governmental organisations able to support bottom-up pressure from within countries.

So I am not persuaded that we should take a relativist view. I am quite comfortable asserting, to echo Churchill, that democracy is the least bad system of government we have yet devised. I am unapologetic about a mission to help democracy spread through the world – and by this I mean not just more elections, but the rule of law and economic freedoms which are the basis of liberal democracy. And while we must deploy different tools in different situations, flexibility of means must be combined with consistency in our goals.

The question, which is rightly raised by the pragmatic critique, is how should promote democracy? In the time I have left I’d like to point to five things we might do.

First, the civilian surge is being driven by more literate, better educated people, able to access information and communicate with others. Technology is playing a crucial role. The Gulf satellite channels Al-Jazeera and Al-Arabiyya are a departure for the region. Al-Jazeera's motto, roughly translated, is "the opinion and the other opinion." If it lives up to it, it will make a major contribution to the region. Bloggers in Iran are challenging the conservative order online.

Bloggers in Kuwait mobilized popular support for parliamentary reform in 2006.

We can and should support the creation of a free media and free debate. Last year, the BBC World service broadcast to 183 million people; and this year will see the launch not only of a 24-hour Arabic service but also a Farsi TV service - a source of genuinely independent reporting on world news and events. Through its education and cultural programs the British Council last year reached out to over 16 million people; that is why we are extending the British Council work in the Middle East, as well as Central and Southern Asia.

Britain has global reach in its media and through the networks of it NGOs. That is why the Foreign Office and DfID continue to invest in national and global NGOs that can open up debate and stimulate pressure from civil society.

Second, we have very important, and potentially influential, financial and economic links. The integration of India and China into the global economy has created unprecedented flows of people, money, and ideas across national boundaries.

Economic openness can drive political and social change. For example, as the UAE has become more integrated into the world economy, it has tackled corruption, increased transparency, and improved institutional and legal mechanisms.

China's incorporation into the global economy has brought radical social change - Chinese society is more mobile, vocal and diverse than in the pre-reform period. Arguably more people in China are freer today that they have been at any previous time in Chinese history. But people inside China and outside are rightly concerned about the next stages in political development. President Hu’s speech to his Party Congress shows that democracy is an issue for China’s leaders as well as its people. I will discuss this for myself during my visit to China the week after next.

Third, as a world leader in aid, we can ensure that aid supports democracy and good governance. We can directly influence the activities of EU and international donors. DfID’s investment in governance has increased markedly in recent years: from £85 million ($165.7 million) in 1997-98 to £322 million ($628 million) in 2005-06.

Aid has different objectives according to circumstance. In Ethiopia, DfID investment has helped to build the capacity of federal and regional parliaments. In Pakistan and Bangladesh, women have been supported to stand as candidates in local elections. In other countries, where the power of the state threatens to dominate, we need to use aid to support civil society, from trade unions to the media. For example, our aid in Nigeria has has supported the work of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, which has lead to 150 convictions and the recovery of $5 billion since 2002.

Fourth, the attraction of becoming members of ‘clubs’ such as the European Union, the World Trade Organization, and NATO, can act as a powerful way of establishing democratic norms. As Vaclav Havel said in December 2002, “the vision of becoming part of the EU was… the engine that drove the democratization and transformation of” Central and Eastern Europe.
Unless the offer of joining EU remains on the table, and unless we can forge a more attractive Near Neighborhood Policy, the EU will lose its power as a magnet for democratic reform. Nowhere is this more true than in the countries of the Western Balkans, where the prospect of EU membership is encouraging newly democratic regimes to bolster the rule of law and to ensure greater transparency and accountability. But we need to keep the door open to our Eastern neighbors and continue to deepen our ties with them, supporting those who filled the streets during the Rose Revolution in Georgia in 2003 or the Orange Revolution in Ukraine in 2004.

I also want the EU to engage more actively in promoting democracy beyond its immediate neighborhood. EU election monitoring in places like Pakistan and Nepal is a good step. But the EU should be clearer about what it understands by democracy. This would help give real meaning to the commitments to democracy in our partnerships with African, Caribbean and Pacific countries. And it would enable aid and trade more effectively to support democratization. An agreed EU position on democracy would also give the EU a clear basis for engaging with partner organizations, such as the African Union or ASEAN, and encouraging them to develop similar agreements around democracy and good governance.

Fifth and finally, there will be situations where the hard power of targeted sanctions, international criminal proceedings, security guarantees and military intervention will be necessary.

The UN has 13 sanctions regimes; the EU has eight. They are an imperfect instrument. But targeted sanctions can send a powerful signal about the legitimacy of a state’s actions, and offer substantive pressure for changes in behavior. The most famous example of success is South Africa where they helped persuade the white political establishment of the need to change and dismantle apartheid.

In some cases, sanctions are not enough. In extreme cases the failure of states to exercise their responsibility to protect their own civilians from genocide or ethnic cleansing warrant military intervention on humanitarian grounds.

Paul Collier argues in his forthcoming work on ‘democracy in dangerous places’, that the offer of a security guarantee to a new but fragile government, conditional on them abiding by democratic rules, could create a strong incentive for them to abide by the democratic process. To date, our only experience of security guarantees has been of the sort that NATO provides against external aggression.

There are a whole range of reasons why Collier's idea would be difficult. How would you judge which regimes merit the guarantee for instance? How would you avoid perverse incentives? Who would intervene to put down the coup and how would they avoid complicating or exacerbating political divisions?

But it is surely right that we consider carefully how best we can support fledgling, fragile democracies, as we are doing in Afghanistan, Iraq and Sierra Leone.

Democratic ConsolidationMost democracies that fail, do so during the first few electoral cycles. While fragile democracies are safer the year before an election, they are more at risk of violence the year after. Democracy needs to be nursed through its early years.

There is no single blueprint. But there are important lessons. In particular, we must strengthen the capacity of the state to enforce the rule of law, while extending accountability to citizens.

Three principles stand out.

First, at a national level, governments must ensure the plural distribution of power, with checks and balances between the executive, judiciary and legislature, and electoral systems that share power.

In Kenya for instance, we have seen how the 'winner takes all' system has raised the political stakes - all was seen to be lost if you 'lost' the race for state house. An arrangement which allows for power to be shared, however, could help to defuse tensions. This is why we are supporting Kofi Annan's efforts to mediate a solution.

In Pakistan, the path to democracy begins with free and fair elections, but it needs deeper roots: an independent judiciary, a commitment from the army to stay out of politics, and devolution of powers to states and local government.

The elections in Sierra Leone last year demonstrated the importance of a powerful and independent election commission. The Commission’s resistance to pressure and its determination to root out fraud and irregularities meant that the elections were among the most free and fair the continent has seen. Independent election observation can help to reinforce public confidence in the electoral process.

I regret in this context that Russia has acted to prevent OSCE experts and parliamentarians from observing its Presidential elections in March.

Second, fledgling democracies need to build the capacity of local as well as national institutions. As Tocqueville wrote "the strength of free peoples resides in the local community. Local institutions are to liberty what primary schools are to science; they put it within the people's reach; they teach people to appreciate its peaceful enjoyment and accustom them to make use of it."

Iraq is moving towards a new round of provincial elections. The Sunni and Sadrist boycott of the 2005 provincial elections left too many unrepresented and politically disempowered. But as the security situation has improved, former rejectionists accept that they have a stake in Iraq's future and want their voice to be heard.

In places such as Anbar in western Iraq which were previously dominated by Al Qaeda and other extremists, groups called "Concerned Local Citizens" are now conducting joint operations with the multi-national and Iraqi security forces, ousting Al Qaida and restoring stability. The Iraqi government must seize the opportunity to bind these people firmly into the legitimate state structures - creating legitimate employment opportunities, including by integrating some elements into the Iraqi Security Force and holding provincial elections to give their leadership a chance to play a role in the political mainstream.

Third, while in some countries we need to strengthen the capacity of the state so that militias and other coercive centres of power fall under the control of the state, in others it is the checks and balances of a sustainable democracy that need strengthening, and it is the role of civil society to provide a voice for popular will.

That is why, for example, we are supporting the International Labour Organization's work to strengthen national trade unions, particularly in Africa. It is why the work of NGOs is important. These are not alternatives to effective democracy; but they are essential to democracy’s effectiveness.

Conclusion - There are not many countries where democracy is achieved without a struggle. Nelson Mandela, Lech Walesa, Mahatma Ghandi, Rosa Parks, Shirin Ebadi, Aung San Suu Kyi and many other others have risked their lives and their liberty for it. Those are the names we know. Behind them are others, who, because they are not famous, are taking even greater risks.

In Burma:
Tin Oo, the National League for Democracy’s vice-chairman, who at 80 years old is under house arrest;
U Win Tin, the 78-year-old journalist who is the country's longest-serving political prisoner, having spent 19 years behind bars;
Min Ko Naing, Ko Ko Gyi and other student leaders from 1988, who have spent 15 years of their life in prison and are currently serving a third stint in detention;
Nay Myo Latt, one of Burma's best known bloggers, who was recently arrested at his home; and
U Htin Kyaw, who was arrested last year for protesting against the economic hardship faced by Burma under this leadership.

No one ever knows when the struggle will end. When they begin to crumble authoritarian regimes can collapse overnight. The fight needs uncompromising courage; but when it is over different qualities are needed: reason, patience, calm, a readiness to reconcile and forgive. Qualities that I find easy to associate with the patient suffering of Burmese men and women, and which Aung San Suu Kyi herself embodies.

When it awarded the Nobel peace prize to Aung San Suu Kyi, the Nobel Committee said in its citation that it wanted "to show its support for the many people through the world who are striving to attain democracy, human rights and ethnic conciliation by peaceful means."
I would like to echo that sentiment today.

I believe democracy can take root in all societies. I hope and believe that, in time, it will. The equal worth of human beings, their equal right to independence and self-government, requires no less.

And all those brave people who are fighting to gain tomorrow the democracies that we, in the lucky, rich nations of the world are blessed with today, deserve our support.

Not just in words, but in deeds.

submitted by DaViD

Monday, February 12, 2007


Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Uncle Tony

Members of Congress, I feel a most urgent sense of mission about today's world.

September 11 was not an isolated event, but a tragic prologue, Iraq another act, and many further struggles will be set upon this stage before it's over.

There never has been a time when the power of America was so necessary or so misunderstood, or when, except in the most general sense, a study of history provides so little instruction for our present day.

We were all reared on battles between great warriors, between great nations, between powerful forces and ideologies that dominated entire continents. And these were struggles for conquest, for land or money. And the wars were fought by massed armies, and the leaders were openly acknowledged, the outcomes decisive.

Today, none of us expect our soldiers to fight a war on our own territory. The immediate threat is not conflict between the world's most powerful nations.

And why? Because we all have too much to lose. Because technology, communication, trade and travel are bringing us ever closer together. Because in the last 50 years, countries like yours and mine have trebled their growth and standard of living.

Because even those powers like Russia, China or India can see the horizon of future wealth clearly and know they are on a steady road toward it. And because all nations that are free value that freedom, will defend it absolutely, but have no wish to trample on the freedom of others.

We are bound together as never before, and this coming together provides us with unprecedented opportunity, but also makes us uniquely vulnerable.

And the threat comes because in another part of our globe, there is shadow and darkness, where not all the world is free, where many millions suffer under brutal dictatorships, where a third of our planet lives in a poverty beyond anything even the poorest in our societies can imagine, and where a fanatical strain of religious extremism has arisen that is a mutation of the true and peaceful faith of Islam, and because in the combination of these afflictions, a new and deadly virus has emerged.

The virus is terrorism, whose intent to inflict destruction is unconstrained by human feeling and whose capacity to inflict it is enlarged by technology.

This is a battle that can't be fought or won only by armies. We are so much more powerful in all conventional ways than the terrorists. Yet even in all our might, we are taught humility. In the end, it is not our power alone that will defeat this evil. Our ultimate weapon is not our guns, but our beliefs.

There is a myth that though we love freedom, others don't; that our attachment to freedom is a product of our culture; that freedom, democracy, human rights, the rule of law are American values or Western values; that Afghan women were content under the lash of the Taliban; that Saddam was somehow beloved by his people; that Milosevic was Serbia's savior.

Members of Congress, ours are not Western values. They are the universal values of the human spirit, and anywhere--anywhere, anytime ordinary people are given the chance to choose, the choice is the same: freedom, not tyranny; democracy, not dictatorship; the rule of law, not the rule of the secret police.

The spread of freedom is the best security for the free. It is our last line of defense and our first line of attack.

And just as the terrorist seeks to divide humanity in hate, so we have to unify around an idea. And that idea is liberty.

We must find the strength to fight for this idea and the compassion to make it universal.

Abraham Lincoln said, "Those that deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves."

And it is this sense of justice that makes moral the love of liberty.

In some cases where our security is under direct threat, we will have recourse to arms. In others it will be by force of reason. But in all cases, to the same end, that the liberty we seek is not for some, but for all, for that is the only true path to victory in this struggle. But first we must explain the danger.

Our new world rests on order. The danger is disorder. And in today's world, it can now spread like contagion. The terrorists and the states that support them don't have large armies or precision weapons. They don't need them. Their weapon is chaos.

The purpose of terrorism is not the single act of wanton destruction, it is the reaction it seeks to provoke: economic collapse, the backlash, the hatred, the division, the elimination of tolerance, until societies cease to reconcile their differences and become defined by them. Kashmir, the Middle East, Chechnya, Indonesia, Africa--barely a continent or nation is unscathed.

The risk is that terrorism and states developing weapons of mass destruction come together, and when people say that risk is fanciful, I say we know the Taliban supported al Qaeda. We know Iraq, under Saddam, gave haven to and supported terrorists.

We know there are states in the Middle East now actively funding and helping people who regard it as God's will in the act of suicide to take as many innocent lives with them on their way to God's judgment. Some of these states are desperately trying to acquire nuclear weapons. We know that companies and individuals with expertise sell it to the highest bidder.

And we know that at least one state, North Korea, lets its people starve while spending billions of dollars on developing nuclear weapons and exporting the technology abroad. This isn't fantasy. It is 21st-century reality and it confronts us now.

Can we be sure that terrorism and weapons of mass destruction will join together? Let us say one thing: If we are wrong, we will have destroyed a threat that, at its least, is responsible for inhuman carnage and suffering. That is something I am confident history will forgive.

But if our critics are wrong, if we are right, as I believe with every fiber of instinct and conviction I have that we are, and we do not act, then we will have hesitated in the face of this menace when we should have given leadership.

That is something history will not forgive.

But precisely because the threat is new, it isn't obvious. It turns upside-down our concepts of how we should act and when, and it crosses the frontiers of many nations. So just as it redefines our notions of security, so it must refine our notions of diplomacy.

There is no more dangerous theory in international politics today than that we need to balance the power of America with other competitor powers, different poles around which nations gather. Such a theory may have made sense in 19th-century Europe.

It was perforce the position in the Cold War. Today it is an anachronism, to be discarded like traditional theories of security. And it is dangerous, because it is not rivalry, but partnership we need, a common will and a shared purpose in the face of a common threat.

And I believe any alliance must start with America and Europe. If Europe and America are together, the others will work with us. If we split, the rest will play around, play us off, and nothing but mischief will be the result of it.

You may think after recent disagreements it can't be done. But the debate in Europe is open. Iraq showed that when, never forget, many European nations supported our action. And it shows it still when those that didn't agreed [to] Resolution 1483 in the United Nations for Iraq's reconstruction.
Today, German soldiers lead in Afghanistan.

French soldiers lead in the Congo, where they stand between peace and a return to genocide. So we should not minimize the differences, but we should not let them confound us either.

You know, people ask me, after the past months--when, let's say, things were a trifle strained in Europe--"Why do you persist in wanting Britain at the center of Europe?" And I say, "Well, maybe if the U.K. were a group of islands 20 miles off Manhattan, I might feel differently. But actually, we're 20 miles off Calais and joined by a tunnel." We are part of Europe, and we want to be. But we also want to be part of changing Europe.

Europe has one potential for weakness. For reasons that are obvious--we spent roughly a thousand years killing each other in large numbers--the political culture of Europe is, inevitably, rightly based on compromise. Compromise is a fine thing, except when based on an illusion, and I don't believe you can compromise with this new form of terrorism.

But Europe has the strength. It is a formidable political achievement.

Think of the past and think of the unity today. Think of it preparing to reach out even to Turkey, a nation of vastly different culture, tradition, religion, and welcome it in. But my real point is this: Now Europe is at a point of transformation.

Next year 10 new countries will join. Romania and Bulgaria will follow. Why will these new European members transform Europe? Because their scars are recent, their memories strong, their relationship with freedom still one of passion, not comfortable familiarity. They believe in the trans-Atlantic alliance. They support economic reform. They want a Europe of nations, not a superstate. They are our allies, and they are yours.

So don't give up on Europe; work with it.

To be a serious partner, Europe must take on and defeat the anti-Americanism that sometimes passes for its political discourse. And what America must do is show that this is a partnership built on persuasion, not command.

Then the other great nations of our world, and the small, will gather around in one place, not many, and our understanding of this threat will become theirs.

And the United Nations can then become what it should be, an instrument of action as well as debate.

The Security Council should be reformed. We need a new international regime on the nonproliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

And we need to say clearly to United Nations members: If you engage in the systematic and gross abuse of human rights in defiance of the U.N. Charter, you cannot expect to enjoy the same privileges as those that conform to it.

I agree; it is not the coalition that determines the mission, but the mission the coalition. But let us start preferring a coalition and acting alone if we have to, not the other way round. True, winning wars is not easier that way, but winning the peace is. And we have to win both.

And you have an extraordinary record of doing so.

Who helped Japan renew or Germany reconstruct or Europe get back on its feet after World War II? America.

So when we invade Afghanistan or Iraq, our responsibility does not end with military victory. Finishing the fighting is not finishing the job. So if Afghanistan needs more troops from the international community to police outside Kabul, our duty is to get them.

Let us help them eradicate their dependency on the poppy, the crop whose wicked residue turns up on the streets of Britain as heroin, to destroy young British lives as much as their harvest warps the lives of Afghans.

We promised Iraq democratic government; we will deliver it. We promised them the chance to use their oil wealth to build prosperity for all their citizens, not a corrupt elite, and we will do so. We will stay with these people so in need of our help until the job is done.

And then reflect on this: How hollow would the charges of American imperialism be when these failed countries are and are seen to be transformed from states of terror to nations of prosperity, from governments of dictatorship to examples of democracy, from sources of instability to beacons of calm?

And how risible would be the claims that these were wars on Muslims if the world could see these Muslim nations still Muslim, but with some hope for the future, not shackled by brutal regimes whose principal victims were the very Muslims they pretended to protect?

It would be the most richly observed advertisement for the values of freedom we can imagine.

When we removed the Taliban and Saddam Hussein, this was not imperialism. For these oppressed people, it was their liberation.

And why can the terrorists even mount an argument in the Muslim world that it isn't? Because there is one cause terrorism rides upon, a cause they have no belief in but can manipulate.

I want to be very plain. This terrorism will not be defeated without peace in the Middle East between Israel and Palestine. Here it is that the poison is incubated. Here it is that the extremist is able to confuse in the mind of a frighteningly large number of people the case for a Palestinian state and the destruction of Israel, and to translate this, moreover, into a battle between East and West; Muslim, Jew and Christian.

We must never compromise the security of the state of Israel.

The state of Israel should be recognized by the entire Arab world, and the vile propaganda used to indoctrinate children not just against Israel but against Jews must cease. You cannot teach people hate and then ask them to practice peace. But neither can you teach people peace except by according them dignity and granting them hope.

Innocent Israelis suffer; so do innocent Palestinians. The ending of Saddam's regime in Iraq must be the starting point of a new dispensation for the Middle East: Iraq free and stable; Iran and Syria, who give succor to the rejectionist men of violence, made to realize that the world will no longer countenance it, that the hand of friendship can only be offered them if they resile completely from this malice, but that if they do, that hand will be there for them and their people; the whole of the region helped towards democracy; and to symbolize it all, the creation of an independent, viable and democratic Palestinian state side by side with the state of Israel.

What the president is doing in the Middle East is tough, but right. And let me at this point thank the president for his support, and that of President Clinton before him and the support of members of this Congress, for our attempts to bring peace to Northern Ireland.

You know, one thing I've learned about peace processes: They're always frustrating, they're often agonizing, and occasionally they seem hopeless; but for all that, having a peace process is better than not having one.

And why has the resolution of Palestine such a powerful appeal across the world? Because it embodies an evenhanded approach to justice, just as when this president recommended and this Congress supported a $15 billion increase in spending on the world's poorest nations to combat HIV/AIDS, it was a statement of concern that echoed rightly round the world.

There can be no freedom for Africa without justice and no justice without declaring war on Africa's poverty, disease and famine with as much vehemence as we remove the tyrant and the terrorist.

In Mexico in September, the world should unite and give us a trade round that opens up our markets. I'm for free trade, and I'll tell you why: because we can't say to the poorest people in the world, "We want you to be free, but just don't try to sell your goods in our market." And because ever since the world started to open up, it has prospered.

And that prosperity has to be environmentally sustainable, too. You know, I remember at one of our earliest international meetings a European prime minister telling President Bush that the solution was quite simple: just double the tax on American gasoline. Your president gave him a most eloquent look.

It reminded me of the first leader of my party, Kier Hardie, in the early part of the 20th century. And he was a man who used to correspond with the Pankhursts, the great campaigners for women's votes. And shortly before the election in June 1913, one of the Pankhurst sisters wrote to Hardy, saying she'd been studying Britain carefully, and that there was a worrying rise in sexual immorality linked to heavy drinking.

So she suggested he fight the election on the platform of votes for women, chastity for men and prohibition for all. He replied, saying, "Thank you for your advice, the electoral benefits of which are not immediately discernible." We all get that kind of advice, don't we?

But frankly, we need to go beyond even Kyoto. And science and technology is the way. Climate change, deforestation, the voracious drain on natural resources cannot be ignored. Unchecked, these forces will hinder the economic development of the most vulnerable nations first, and ultimately all nations.

So we must show the world that we are willing to step up to these challenges around the world and in our own backyards.

Members of Congress, if this seems a long way from the threat of terror and weapons of mass destruction, it is only to say again that the world's security cannot be protected without the world's heart being one. So America must listen as well as lead. But, members of Congress, don't ever apologize for your values.

Tell the world why you're proud of America. Tell them when "The Star-Spangled Banner" starts, Americans get to their feet--Hispanics, Irish, Italians, Central Europeans, East Europeans, Jews, Muslims, white, Asian, black, those who go back to the early settlers, and those whose English is the same as some New York cab drivers I've dealt with--but whose sons and daughters could run for this Congress.

Tell them why Americans, one and all, stand upright and respectful. Not because some state official told them to, but because whatever race, color, class or creed they are, being American means being free.

That's why they're proud.

As Britain knows, all predominant power seems for a time invincible, but in fact it is transient.

The question is, what do you leave behind? And what you can bequeath to this anxious world is the light of liberty. That is what this struggle against terrorist groups or states is about.

We're not fighting for domination.

We're not fighting for an American world, though we want a world in which America is at ease.

We're not fighting for Christianity, but against religious fanaticism of all kinds. And this is not a war of civilizations, because each civilization has a unique capacity to enrich the stock of human heritage.

We are fighting for the inalienable right of humankind--black or white; Christian or not; left, right or merely indifferent--to be free--free to raise a family in love and hope, free to earn a living and be rewarded by your own efforts, free not to bend your knee to any man in fear, free to be you, so long as being you does not impair the freedom of others.

That's what we're fighting for, and it's a battle worth fighting. And I know it's hard on America. And in some small corner of this vast country, out in Nevada or Idaho or these places I've never been to but always wanted to go--I know out there, there's a guy getting on with his life, perfectly happily, minding his own business, saying to you, the political leaders of this country, "Why me, and why us, and why America?"

And the only answer is because destiny put you in this place in history in this moment in time, and the task is yours to do.

And our job--my nation, that watched you grow, that you fought alongside and now fights alongside you, that takes enormous pride in our alliance and great affection in our common bond--our job is to be there with you. You're not going to be alone. We will be with you in this fight for liberty.

We will be with you in this fight for liberty.
And if our spirit is right and our courage firm, the world will be with us.