September 13, 2002

Richard N. Haass , Director, Policy Planning Staff

Remarks to International Institute for Strategic Studies' 2002 Annual Conference, London

It is a pleasure to be back at the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), a place I first came to know well as a research associate 25 years ago. The Institute holds many good memories and is still home to many good friends. Having spent the bulk of my 2 1/2 years in residence at the IISS offices on Adam Street, I confess to still thinking of the "new" building as the one on Tavistock Street. Worse yet, I can remember when the IISS was only the ISS. A quarter century has passed, but some things haven't changed most notably the seminal role of the IISS as a forum for serious foreign and security policy thinking. I want to applaud the Institute and its director, Dr. John Chipman, on the establishment of the "Shangri-La Dialogue," which provides a much-needed setting to discuss Asia-Pacific security matters. I'd also like to congratulate the Institute on its recent publication of a net assessment of Iraq s weapons of mass destruction, which provides extremely useful background on Iraq's Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) programs and the history of international efforts to control them.
I am delighted to be here today to share some thoughts on where we find ourselves, just one year after the tragic events of September 11, 2001.
It is tempting particularly for Americans to attribute most of what we see in the world today to the events of last September and their aftermath. 9/11 was a terrible day by any measure. There is no question that it had a dramatic and lasting impact on how Americans think of the world and our place in it. It is indisputable, too, that 9/11 has shaped how the United States conducts itself in both the domestic and international arenas. And there is no doubt that the U.S. response to 9/11 is still evolving.
Many people have spoken out or written on September 11th and its consequences. This first anniversary of 9/11 provides additional opportunity for reflection. Enough perspective exist to begin to assess how lasting are the effects and how fundamental are the changes that 9/11 wrought. How much has the world really been transformed? How different is American foreign policy as a result? What have we learned in the past year and what lessons have we not yet fully come to terms with?
Today, I would like to address some of these questions. I won't claim to have the definitive answers. 367 days is too short a time to fully absorb the impact of 9/11 or to completely separate out the permanent changes from the transitory blips. Don't worry, I won't quote Zhou Enlai on the French Revolution. What I will do, though, is highlight a dozen or so reactions to and lessons of 9/11 that I see as the most salient.

Final Reflections

Exactly one year has passed since the awful devastation of September 11, 2001. These past twelve months have not been enough time to heal, but they have provided enough time to learn some important lessons about how best to deal with the challenge of modern terrorism. And the lessons are clear. The war against terrorism is a fundamentally different kind of war. It is a war against multiple foes. It is a war without clear battlefields or fronts. It is a war that must often be fought with weapons other than bombs and bullets. It is a war that cannot be waged and won by any single country.

The task is enormous, and it is open-ended. None of us can be complacent about the threat of terrorism or the work that needs to be done to build and solidify new international norms and arrangements critical to combating terror. Yet, it would be misleading to say that fighting terrorism has replaced containing communism as the defining foreign policy challenge of this era.

The battle against communism was an ideological, economic, diplomatic, and military struggle waged in every corner of the globe. Counterterrorism, by contrast, is a priority, not an organizing principle for American foreign policy. It will influence the focus of attention and resources and will require that we address other foreign policy challenges such as state failure and nation building. But counterterrorism cannot be a doctrine. There are simply too many critical issues for which opposition to terrorism provides little or no direction, including implementing a new global trade agenda, building civil societies or advancing democracy around the world, meeting the transnational challenges from infectious disease to climate change that increasingly define this era, or integrating China, Russia, India and others into the major undertakings of this era.

Successful counterterrorism will, however, be a necessary precondition of a broader foreign policy agenda. If we are under constant attack from terrorists or are consumed with our own personal and national security, we will be unable to advance a more positive international agenda. We need to combat terrorism with the help of friends and allies but not simply as an end itself. Instead, we will fight terrorism so we can make the most of our unusual status as the world's only superpower and to ensure that globalization is harnessed more for good than evil. We will fight terrorism to increase the prospects for peace in Colombia, the Middle East, and South Asia. And we will fight terrorism to create the space in which we can promote our values, build a peaceful international order, and create global opportunities for economic growth and personal freedom. Making opportunity of adversity has always been an American quality. That has not changed since September 11th.

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