of State Colin Powell
Speech at Business Event
October 18, 2001
U.S. CHAMBER OF COMMERCE REPRESENTATIVE: Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen.
It is a pleasure for all of us to be here. This event never would have happened
without the full cooperation of each member of the US-APEC Business Coalition,
the US-China Business Council, the Pacific Basin Economic Council, the National
Center for APEC, the US-ASEAN Business Council, and the US National Committee
for Pacific Economic Cooperation. The Chamber is privileged to be a member of
such a prestigious group. I have the distinct pleasure of welcoming a very special
guest this afternoon, one of President Bushs most trusted advisors and
a leader in this world in the fight against terrorism.
Secretary Colin Powell needs no formal introduction to the people in this room.
A Vietnam War hero, a mastermind of the quick and decisive Persian Gulf War,
Secretary Powell spent the better part of his life protecting freedom, democracy
and free enterprise. Once again, in a time of need, the country has called upon
the Secretary for his leadership in the war against terrorism and he has not
let us down. He has demonstrated that diplomacy is every bit as important as
political issues and his intelligence in law enforcement and financial and military
tools required for this new type of warfare. The effort to capture terrorists
requires a coordinated campaign, not only within the US government, but also
with government and law enforcement officials in countries all around the world.
And only a man with the respect and admiration that the Secretary enjoys around
the world is able to so quickly bring the different nations together in pursuit
of a common goal.
Mr. Secretary, I want to assure you that the US business community and our colleagues
around the world stand one hundred percent behind the Administrations
efforts to eliminate terrorism and bring these criminals to justice. Just as
business responded to the tragedy of September 11, with donations and reconstruction
efforts and relief for victims and their families, we stand united with government
in a response to terrorism and to the strengthening of our economy. At home
the business community strongly supports the efforts to bolster national defense
and homeland security, to beef up our intelligence capabilities and to improve
airline security. Outside of our borders, we support the deployment of US troops
in the use of any and all force required to snuff out terrorism. With President
Bush, Colin Powell and the rest of the Presidents cabinet leading the
way, we know we can win this battle.
And on a personal level, let me express my respect and my appreciation for your
support and friendship and your encouragement for the Chamber and perhaps more
important than all of this, your long encouragement for the young people of
our country. It came in a little red wagon. It is my honor, ladies and gentlemen,
to introduce the Secretary of State of the United States, Colin Powell.
SECRETARY POWELL: Thank you very much. Thank you very much ladies and gentlemen.
Thank you, Tom, for that very kind and generous introduction. I especially thank
you for the endorsement that you gave on behalf of your colleagues to the efforts
of President Bush and the members of his team and to this grand coalition we
are forming to pursue terrorism and to win this battle, because it is a battle
that is worthy of being fought and it is a battle that we must win. I especially
thank you for your personal friendship over the years and as you said a nice
word about what I was doing for young people, you and your organization were
right there with us and I deeply appreciate that as well.
It is very nice to look out over this audience and see so many friendly faces
and welcome to all of you and thank you for having me here for just a short
period of time. What I would like to do is just talk for a little bit and then
we will turn it over to questions and answers for most of the time we have available.
I am pleased to be here as sort of the advance guard for President Bush. He
is winging his way here as we sit, and I know that everybodys looking
forward to seeing him as he makes his first visit to Asia as President.
For me to be back in Shanghai is a very exciting experience. I first came to
this city in 1973. I was a young lieutenant colonel in the United States Army.
It was a few months after President Nixon had made his historic visit to China
and I was one of the first Army officers of the United States Armed Forces who
was allowed back into China. There were six military officers in my group --
three Army, three Air Force and we were something of a curiosity in China
at that time as you can well imagine, and we were very well escorted, I might
also say, at that time (Laughter). But to come back now and to land as I did
last night and to drive into the city and to see what has happened, not in the
past 28 or 29 years, but really just in the last 12 or 13 years, is absolutely
remarkable. To think back to 1973 as a young lieutenant colonel and talking
to many Chinese citizens who we had some access to and asking them what their
greatest ambition was, what their aspiration was for their families, for their
children, for their future, and they said, a sewing machine, a bicycle, and
an AM radio. That was it. They were all on bicycles.
I remember going up into the mountains way north of here and meeting with a
group of villagers who were taking this terraced hill and fixing it, just terracing
it, so they could grow a little bit of rice. The rains would come unexpectedly
and wash it all back down, and the next day they would start up again, just
stacking rocks one on top of the other. And then going on the other side of
the mountain and bringing soil over to this side of the mountain. This driving
spirit that was there and has been in this country for so many, many years,
waiting to be released, waiting to be turned loose, waiting for the opportunities
to do great things for this country. And to come back here some almost 30 years
later Ive only been back once in those intervening 30 years
to come back here this long time later and to see whats been accomplished
is just remarkable.
It has been accomplished by enlightened political leadership. It has been accomplished
by enlightened economic policy. It has been accomplished by the driving spirit
of the Chinese people. It has been accomplished by leaders such as you. Business
leaders such as you, who are willing to come here and to see the possibilities,
see the prospects, see the opportunities, and invest. It was also accomplished,
never let us forget, by American consumers. American consumers who need the
products that come from China. American consumers who are not in the upper salary
levels, but who are making 20, 25, 30 thousand dollars a year and go into
I will not name individual chains because it always gets me in trouble, either
because I have named or because I did not name you, but who go into stores
that cater to them and will sell them products that they can afford that will
help them make their ends meet. And so it works both ways.
This city has been built by Chinese labor and Chinese creativity and Chinese
energy, but also because lines of trade and lines of communication and this
economic openness existed between our two nations which allowed American consumers
and consumers elsewhere in the world to benefit from what is happening here
in Shanghai and in so many other parts of China, as well. It benefits all of
us, and it has to be pressed and pursued and continued in every possible way
to make sure that the wealth we see in Shanghai and some of the other cities
in China is expanded throughout the society.
The Chinese leadership cannot rest and we cannot rest along with them until
what we see here really is reflected throughout the entire society of 1.2 or
three billion people. What they have learned, and what we have known all along,
is that when you generate wealth, when you create wealth, that wealth can be
used not only to build great cities, but to provide an education for rural children,
to provide a roof over someones head, a school, a well, an opportunity
to perhaps put in a more efficient crop or rotate crops. All kinds of things
can happen but only if you have the wealth that will allow you to do that.
So I congratulate you for what you have done, and I certainly congratulate the
Chinese leadership for what they have accomplished in these years. We have an
excellent relationship with China right now and I think as a result of President
Bushs visit the relationship will grow and improve and thrive. He is very
much looking forward to meeting with President Jiang Zemin tomorrow.
People have tried to capture this relationship in one or two specific terms.
Are they an enemy to be? Are they a strategic competitor? And what I discovered
early on in my tenure as Secretary of State, I think all of us in the Administration
now understand that the relationship is much too complex to try to capture in
a single term or slogan that everybody can use say, aha, thats it. No,
that is not it. Much too complex. The basis of the relationship, I think, is
increasingly of an economic nature. When people say to me, what is the most
important thing going on with China right now -- 40 percent of their exports
are coming through the United States of America. That is something that they
will think twice about with respect to putting that at risk. Does that mean
that all is well, that we share all their values, and we have no disagreements
with them? Of course not. It means that two strong, powerful nations, both of
which have a place in this world, both of which are Asia-Pacific nations, can
talk to one another, and if there is a basis of trust, if there is a common
understanding of each others interests, we can pursue those areas where
we arent in agreement and make good things happen. And when we disagree
we can disagree openly and candidly, face-to-face.
So we are not reluctant to say to the Chinese government that we have concerns
about human rights issues in China. We will always express those concerns to
you because that is part of our value system and we would not be Americans if
we did not try to convey to you what we feel strongly about, what our value
systems about. We also are going to talk to you about issues having to
do with proliferation of certain kinds of materials or weapons to other nations
where we think this is not in the best interest of our relationship, not in
the best interest of the world community. It would be irresponsible of us to
be reluctant to speak to you candidly about that if we are going to have the
kind of relationship that allows us to move forward as two responsible nations
So there is no reason for us to become enemies. The United States is not looking
for enemies. We dont want any enemies, dont need any enemies. By
heavens when they show up we will protect ourselves and we will defend ourselves
and we will defeat our enemies.
We meet at an interesting time, some five weeks after the tragedy that took
place in New York and Washington and in a field in Pennsylvania. Five weeks
after we saw thousands of our fellow Americans killed, but we also saw hundreds
and hundreds of non-Americans killed at the World Trade Center. It was a World
Trade Center. And some 80 countries lost citizens. Five hundred Muslims were
killed in the World Trade Center on the 11th of September. For anyone to say,
well it was just at attack against America. Wrong. It was an attack against
the world. It was an attack against civilization. It was an attack against the
values that we believe in -- those basic human values. Anybody perpetrating
such an act cannot be seen as a hero, cannot be seen as someone who believes
in a faith or is practicing any known faith. There is no faith on the face of
the earth that tolerates such action and would endorse such action. America
and the grand coalition that has formed around President Bushs leadership,
is making this case to the world. I think we are making it rather effectively.
We have known about terrorism before. We have seen it as something that happens
elsewhere happens in the Middle East all the time and we saw it
tragically happen again yesterday. It happens in far away places and we can
see it on our television sets and then it started to get a little closer to
home. It happened in Oklahoma City, and it wasnt some foreigner, it was
one of our own. An American who did that and killed so many of his fellow Americans
out of some weird sense of lack of accountability. Who knows what went through
Timothy McVeighs mind as he went through the process of deciding this
is something that he should do? We will defend ourselves, and we will defeat
our enemies. We saw it also at the World Trade Center back in 1993.
This time it was foreigners who were coming to us, but we have never seen anything
quite like this. We have never seen anything quite like this which brought it
home to us in such a powerful and tragic way, and which had effect beyond, well
beyond, just the incident. Who would have thought that a terrorist act, or three
terrorist acts on that one day could affect the entire worlds economy?
Yet that is what is happening.
Look what else has happened that causes us to tremble and be concerned. We all
worry about cyber-terrorism. If I went around the room and asked each and every
one of you, how much have you spent on protecting yourself from cyber-terrorism?
-- Im sure Id come up with a figure that was in the hundreds of
millions of dollars. What did they get us with? The mail system. The mail system!
Anthrax or just talcum powder. It causes panic. The mail system doesnt
need the airways to get to you, and it goes to every single home, every single
office, every single place on earth. Now we are concerned about that. And so,
we are in a new era of terrorism.
The 11th of September will always be known as a unique day in history. It was
before 9/11 and after 9/11. I was in Lima, Peru when it happened. I was with
President Toledo getting ready for a meeting of the Organization of American
States when the note was handed to me. I looked at it and realized that this
was not an accident. Got on my plane and flew back to the United States, arriving
seven hours later and meeting with the President immediately. By the middle
of the next day we knew that we had to respond to this terrible, terrible day
not just by going after the perpetrators of events of that day, but by going
after terrorism. President Bush understood early on that once we started down
this road we had to stay on this road, and we have to go after terrorism wherever
it existed around the world. It couldnt just be the terrorism that came
to America on that day. It had to be the terrorism that exists throughout the
world. The coalition hes pulling together is for that purpose.
I cannot tell you how pleased we are at the response we received from the international
community. Today, earlier this morning at the APEC meeting, I got a resounding
signal of support from all the members present, and President Bush will get
the same signal when he meets with those leaders over the weekend. Im
enormously pleased about the way in which the United Nations responded, almost
immediately, with a resolution out of the Security Council and a resolution
out of the General Assembly, saying that this is unacceptable, we condemn it,
and we will now take action against it.
NATO, for the first time in its history, invoking Article 5, which says that
an attack against one is an attack against all, and we will all respond in a
manner that each of us finds appropriate. The Rio Treaty invoked, the ANZUS
Treaty invoked, the Organization of African Unity, the Organization of the Islamic
Conference just the other day. Fifty-six Islamic countries coming together and
condemning this, not saying that it is some manifestation of Islam, its
saying quite the contrary, Islam does not support anything like this, Usama
bin Laden is a criminal and is to be seen as a criminal, not as some sort of
a hero or freedom fighter.
So this coalition came together and then the work began. The work began with,
lets make sure that we understand we are going to attack on a broad front.
It is going to be financial -- go after the money that funds these people, start
to cut it off. The UN responded quickly, the President signed an Executive Order
and that work is well underway.
Some one hundred countries have now committed themselves to doing what is necessary
to stop terrorist funding, and more will come along as we go forward. There
is a legal aspect to it; making sure that we have laws in place that bring these
kinds of people to justice quickly, and that we have empowered our law enforcement
officials so that they can take on this new threat.
There is an intelligence component to this campaign, making sure that all the
nations of the world that have information about these individuals start to
share it in a more effective way, and I can tell you that after one month we
have seen an enormous, enormous degree of success with this; with people being
picked up, people being stopped. People that we didnt know about suddenly
being identified for us by other nations and allowing us to take action against
them. Many of these stories I cannot describe to you because of the way in which
they were done, maybe later, but not right now. And so theres been a great
response on the intelligence-sharing aspect of it. Public diplomacy, political
action and, of course, military action.
Right now, we are watching as our proud men and women in uniform both from the
United States, the United Kingdom, and other nations joining the military part
of the campaign and taking the battle to Al Qaeda and Usama bin Laden in Afghanistan.
And taking the battle to the Taliban regime, which has given them haven, which
has given them support, which has given them the friendly sea they needed in
which to swim.
These people are invaders in Afghanistan. They didnt come to Afghanistan
to help the people of Afghanistan. They didnt come to Afghanistan so they
could bring money to Afghanistan, and then use that money to help impoverished
Muslims in other parts of the world. No, they came to Afghanistan for one single
purpose; to invade that country, be a foreign presence, a hostile presence in
Afghanistan so they could conduct terrorist activities around the world. Theyve
got to be stopped. The military campaign will be pursued until we do that.
But it is not just Afghanistan. Weve got to rip up all elements of the
Al Qaeda network. And were going to do that. But its going to take
time. As President Bush has said repeatedly, he intends to be patient, he intends
to be persistent, he understands that this is a battle that is going to take
a long time to unfold. It is a campaign that will take a long time to execute.
It is a war in which we have to have patience. Sometimes there will be immediate
great successes, and sometimes there will be quiet successes you know nothing
about. But the one thing I am absolutely sure of is the President is determined,
and he is encouraged and given greater inspiration in his determination by the
responses he has received from leaders around the world.
In this tragedy, there are also opportunities. We are going to try to make the
best of those opportunities. Nobodys calling us unilateral anymore. Thats
kind of gone away for the time being. Were so multilateral it keeps me
up twenty-four hours a day checking on everybody (Laughter). Nobody accuses
of that anymore. They can see that America is prepared to be a leader in this
new campaign against a threat that is against all of civilization.
But you know we will come back from this. We will prevail. We cant let
this kind of activity hold us back or hold us down. We are better than that.
We are stronger than that. We have spines of steel. We have been challenged
before and overcome those challenges. We will overcome those challenges now.
And you have to do your job. We have to restore confidence in our economies.
We have to make sure our people understand that they have to get on with life.
We cant walk around afraid. Were not an afraid people.
So it is so important for you to keep doing what youre doing; keep investing,
keep opening up avenues of opportunities for increased trade, keep destroying
barriers. Lets move quickly. We want to see China and Taiwan enter the
World Trade Organization. We need to see the next round get started or launched.
We need to keep moving forward. We need to restore confidence in the worlds
economies, but especially in the American economy. We have a strong economy;
it will come back. It may take a little bit of time, but it will come back.
It will come back because of who we are. People who believe in themselves, people
who believe in the promise of democracy and the free enterprise system, and
believe in the fundamental values of human rights and human dignity. A value
system that is increasingly being copied by nations around the world, at their
own pace and in their own manner, and consistent with their own history and
culture over time.
China has seen what can happen when you start to move in this direction. I am
one of those who firmly believe the more they see of it, the more they will
gain an appreciation for the rule of law and fundamental human rights for all
citizens, and they will be encouraged to continue moving in that direction.
The nations of the world that adopt these values, consistent with their own
history and culture, respecting the rights of their people, taking care of their
people, investing in their people, getting ready for this twenty first century
world, those nations will progress and move forward. Those that do not, the
Iraqs of the world, the North Koreas of the world, remaining transfixed in some
past life, will find themselves being left further and further behind.
The Russian president will be coming this weekend. Yesterday, he announced that
they are going to get rid of the listening station in Cuba, and their base in
Cam Ranh Bay. Not only is the Cold War over, the post-Cold War period is also
over. As part of the new strategic opportunity, theres a new strategic
opportunity to work with Russia.
And so I think at this time of tragedy, at this time of anxiety, we should see
the promise that is before us. Im absolutely convinced that to achieve
this promise will require the work not just of politicians and diplomats, not
just of strong-bodied workers around the world, but of creative leaders such
as you, who are continuing to spread the word about free-market economics, spread
the word about free trade, spread the word about dropping barriers, spread the
word about what good can come from open access to information, to markets, and
the ability to take a chance, the ability to take risk, the ability to go as
far as you can go, limited only by your own ambitions and your willingness to
work. Thats what we hope for all societies, and I can assure you that
America will continue to try to be that model for the world as my old
boss and buddy Ronald Reagan used to say, "that shining city on the hill,"
an inspiration for all nations who wish to share in the kind of success and
wealth that we have enjoyed.