Remarks at the Ceremony Renaming the National Foreign Affairs Training Center to the George P. Shultz
National Foreign Affairs Training Center
Secretary Colin L. Powell
May 29, 2002
SECRETARY POWELL: Thank you very much, Kathy, and it's a great pleasure for me to be here this morning. And I want to thank Vice President Cheney for being with us today. It shows how much he values the role of the Foreign Service in America's international affairs and diplomatic efforts. And Mr. Vice President, I thank you once again for the support that you have provided us since you came into office, sir. Thank you again, sir.
And it's a pleasure to share the stage with so many of my predecessors. I regret that two of them were not able to be here today, and they do express their regrets at their inability to attend. Jim Baker, as well as Larry Eagleburger, are certainly here with us in spirit.
And of course let me take note of two of my distinguished sponsors and buddies over the years, Cap Weinberger and Frank Carlucci, who meddled in my career repeatedly over a number of years. And I kept warning both of them that they were going to foul up my military career if they didn't stop it. Fortunately, they
ignored my advice.
And I am pleased to be here especially at what we used to call Arlington Hall Station back in my Army career days, and I can not think of a more fitting use to which it has been put, and really it has come about as a result of George Shultz's energy and dedication. And a special welcome to Charlotte Shultz and all the
members of the Shultz family who are here this morning.
It is an honor to welcome all of you to this great campus. And this is a campus, and this setting reminds me of a commencement. And exactly that's what it is -- a commencement -- because henceforth and forever more we will commence to call this wonderful institution the George P. Shultz National Foreign Affairs Training Center.
I know I speak for the congressional sponsors of the legislation and all the others who made this day possible when I say that it is not we who honor George Shultz by naming this center after him, rather it is George Shultz who honors us and all who will pass through these halls by lending his name to this facility. (Applause.)
His is a name that the American people connect with selfless public service and solid integrity, a name that is synonymous with American statesmanship, a name that people all over the world recognize and which they associate with principled international engagement.
Many months ago as I was looking forward to today's naming ceremony, and right after I had notified George that we were going to do this, he wrote me a marvelous letter which I will always cherish, because it contains insights of leadership that I don't ever want to lose sight of. His letter read, in part, "I am always amazed at the way people presumed leaders in government focus almost exclusively on policy problems and their own ups and downs, but leadership is about the people under your charge. A real leader is conscious of what kind of institutional quality he leaves behind."
George, for six historic years, from 1982 to 1989, with dear, dear Obie at your side, you led the men and women of the State Department with great wisdom and with great warmth. You and Obie embraced our extended State Department family as your very own. To this day, our people hold Obie's memory in their hearts, and they will always hold you in their deepest affection. And to this very day, years after your inspired service as Secretary of State, you continue to be a passionate and effective advocate for the men and women of our Foreign and Civil Services. We deeply appreciate your continued dedication to their well-being. (Applause.)
This superb training center would not have been built except for you, George. It simply would not exist if you hadn't persevered against all the doubters and pushed so hard and so long against the daunting budget constraints that you faced. These state-of-the-art facilities are your vision come to life. You were among
the first world leaders to see the implications of the Information Age and the end of Cold War and what that would mean to the practice of foreign policy and diplomacy. And thanks in large measure to you today, this center prepares America's foreign affairs professionals for the challenges of diplomacy in the 21st century.
Since 1993, the Foreign Service Institute has been housed here, and it now conducts 400 courses and trains more than 43,000 students a year from 40 different government agencies. It offers video teleconferencing, information technology training, and multimedia language labs. Here students learn Arabic and Pashtun
and Portuguese, Farsi and French, Tajiki and Swahili and much, much more. Beyond the technical and language instruction, the Foreign Service Institute offers seminars on the compelling issues of our day.
The Center also provides instruction in leadership, a skill and art so fundamental to the success of our diplomatic mission. As George Shultz teaches us, true leaders don't just lead institutions; they lead the people in them; they give them opportunities to develop and to advance. Leaders do not just demand excellence;
they help others excel. In short, they empower the men and women they lead to become leaders themselves.
Our new leadership and management school at the Shultz Center will help us provide mandatory leadership training to Foreign and Civil Service employees throughout their State Department careers. It has been said that diplomacy, like politics, is the art of the possible. At its finest, American diplomacy extends the
possible; it is the statesmanship that we need that we place in the service of freedom and the service of our nation. That is the kind of diplomacy epitomized by George Shultz, and to which the Shultz Center is dedicated.
This is the time of extraordinary opportunity for America. I see in front of me so many students of the Center that will seize that opportunity for America and for our values around the world. The very real peril from terrorism should not obscure the unprecedented opportunities we have as a country to advance democracy,
prosperity and peace all around the globe. And the training each of the students receives here will give them the tools that they will need to help America work with other nations to build a better future for us all.
George Shultz is a student of history, and he has made quite a bit of it himself. We have always known George to be a man keenly focused on the future, especially on preparing the rising generation for service to the country.
And so I wanted to address a few words in closing to 12 very important young people. In fact, they are the youngest in the audience: the Shultz grandchildren. Your presence here today means a lot to your grandfather, and I know that you are very proud of him. Your grandfather's name is already in the history books, but now on this campus his name will forever be inscribed on these walls and shine for all to see, and these buildings will stand here as a monument to him when your grandchildren are old enough to join the State Department.
But if I know your grandfather, and I think I do, I think I know him well, the place he already has secured in history is not as important to him as the contributions he will continue to make himself in the future. I am talking first and foremost about his living legacy; first and foremost that living legacy is you, his grandchildren,
and the contributions he will expect you to make.
But it is also the new generations of men and women who will pass through the Shultz Center's gates and go on to accomplish wonderful things for our country, and for the world that we live in.
George, I know that I speak for President Bush and Vice President Cheney and for everyone here today when I express our deepest gratitude to you for all that you have given and all that you will continue to give to the State Department, to our country, and to the world.
George is wearing a tie this morning that you're not close enough to see very well, but it's a striped tie, and there are words on the stripes as they go around the tie. And what those words say is, "Democracy is not a spectator sport." You've got to get involved. So George continues to inspire, he continues to teach, he
continues to show us the way.
And so, ladies and gentlemen, we are all here today to honor him, to honor his legacy, and to honor what his future contributions will be. And it is now my great pleasure to formally and forever dedicate this wonderful campus as the George P. Shultz National Foreign Affairs Training Center. And I would ask Vice President
Cheney and Ambassador Peterson to assist me in the unveiling.
(The plaque is unveiled.)
SECRETARY POWELL: And now, ladies and gentlemen, it is my great pleasure to present the Honorable George P. Shultz.
FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE SHULTZ: Thank you so much. Thank you, Mr. Secretary, Mr. Vice President. I see so many people here that I had the privilege of serving with. I am just blown away by this event, and I am sure you can tell that. It was so wonderful that my grandchildren came, and children, and we are just very, very thrilled.
It is a profound compliment for me, and not only from the wonderful colleagues with whom I served in the State Department, but also from that long line of strong and creative men and women who have served our country's diplomacy across the generations. So I am humbly grateful for the tribute you offer me today, and I might say particularly here are my predecessors and successors and people that I served with and I know pretty well, and it's wonderful of you all to be here.
I came into office as Secretary of State with a war going on in the Middle East and a bigger war, the Cold War, keeping the world in turmoil and keeping me busy to an extent I could hardly have imagined. When I answered President Reagan's call to serve, I also brought to the job a way of thinking, as Colin mentioned, developed from years of experience in government, business and universities. I knew I would be dealing with many crises on a day-to-day basis, and that for American foreign policy to succeed over time I would have to pay attention to long-term issues.
But my experience also taught me that to succeed in these efforts I would need the help and support of the people who were devoting their careers to the understanding and conduct of diplomacy. So I would try to strengthen the institution, to make the best use of its people, to pay attention to their careers and their
aspirations to serve their country. I wanted to leave the Department of State and the Foreign Service in better shape than I found them.
In the process, I learned a few things. The Foreign Service is the custodian of our country's diplomatic experience in the world -- not theories or abstractions, but actual experience. Recognizing the importance of experience, I decided as Secretary of State to pull together a collection of books about American diplomacy.
That collection is still up there in Colin Powell's office, and I know from my tenure in that office that he doesn't have time to read those books. (Laughter.)
So the Foreign Service Institute should be the center for such works that record our nation's diplomatic experience, ideas written down that get into people's heads and can make a practical difference.
The conduct of diplomacy requires a clear understanding of what is happening, and the ability to make a clear record of it and report it honestly and in depth. This may seem obvious and easy; it is not. It requires exceptional intellectual skills and qualities of character and discipline. As former Senator Daniel Patrick
Moynihan describes, "The true diplomatist is aware of how much subsequently depends on what clearly can be established to have taken place. If it seems simple in the archives, try it in a maelstrom."
Fast-moving media coverage, impressive though it may often be, is almost inevitably focused on what is newsworthy. The United States must conduct diplomacy on a global scale, clearly dependent on careful reporting from posts around the world and interpretations by people on the ground who speak the language and understand cultural nuances. And of course results of discussions need to be written down immediately. Memories are all too often faulty or self-serving.
So we need to encourage careful record-keeping, and teach and nurture that skill in the Foreign Service. This is no mere technical matter. In these times it takes courage, and issues of national interest may be at stake. Even in my time, if a cable came in from an ambassador with a highly critical or sensitive set of observations about the country where the ambassador was stationed, the existence of that cable would often become subject of rumor. Relentless demands would come about for that cable. I fought those pressures, and I am sure all my predecessors and successors did the same because it's obvious that the ambassador's role would be diminished, and sometimes even ended, if they were released.
Nonetheless, the pulling and hauling has an impact. Candor in cables inevitably suffers. Reliance on telephone diplomacy increases, with all its imprecision, vulnerability to misunderstanding and loss to the vital diplomatic record.
More broadly in our society, whether in business or government, there is now a widespread and conscious reluctance to create records, and a disposition to destroy them if made. What I worry about is our ability to conduct our affairs with precision and to portray history accurately if such records are not at hand and
the statesman tries to rely on his or her own memory, which invariably is flawed in significant ways. A living history requires tools of remembrance. Moreover, so much of what we do today depends upon our understanding of the past. Each generation creates the record of the past for succeeding generations. If we lose that past, we are also going to lose an important key to the future. So members of the Foreign Service, keep records. (Laughter.)
The ability to comprehend other cultures must be central to our diplomacy. This is an area of comparative advantage for the Foreign Service. Even in this age of globalizing influences, we are finding that traditional cultures not only continue to exist, but in many places are gaining greater influence. Sometimes they serve a
useful role as ballast in the rough weather of globalization. At other times, they are used -- sometimes badly misused -- in the interests of some cause or grievance. I do not need to tell you that those who speak the local language have a greater sensitivity to cultural variations, a greater ability to comprehend mood and nuance, and a heightened capacity to convey those realities back to Washington. So the Foreign Service Institute's world class capacity to teach language skills must be nourished and used.
We also know that language study is not enough. The field of area studies, once regarded as essential but later disparaged, needs to be given new life. When I was a dean at the University of Chicago, I developed a strong point of view about the value of experience. Yes, experience is a great teacher, so formal education should develop the ability to learn from that experience. We have all seen instances when four or five people share an experience but only one or maybe two of them learn much from it. For the others, the experience might just as well not have happened.
So a key objective for the Foreign Service Institute is to provide our people with the language, analytical and area skills they need in order to be the ones best able to learn from their experiences out there in the world.
America's need for a seasoned Foreign Service and the intelligent management of Foreign Service careers are inextricably bound together. Half of the career service will retire in the next six years. State and other Departments, with the exception of the Department of Defense, have never handled the problem of intake
well. Secretary Powell tells me that applications for the Foreign Service, including lots of strong minority candidates, are two to three times what they were in recent years. So here's a chance to get it right.
Good training is essential, at the beginning and throughout a productive career. The Foreign Service Institute provides a real advantage as a place where careers can be developed, enhanced through training, and provided with substantive depth. Then there is career structure, particularly the length of the Foreign Service
career. We need to preserve access to senior positions so that our finest people do not resign or retire to start their next careers just when they are coming into the peak years of performance at the top of the Service.
Careers in the Foreign Service have their risks. You can get shot at. On opposite walls of the entry hall to the Main State Building are two lists of names of Officers killed in the line of duty, covering the years of 1780 to 2002. We lost 209 Officers. In the first 187 years of our history, we lost 83 Officers. In the most recent 35 years, we have lost 126. The losses per year are now almost nine times as great as in earlier times.
All too many of those casualties were the result of acts of terror, a reality that today confronts us in more urgent terms and in greater magnitude than ever before. I want to say a few words about this acute problem, one on which I worked hard and endured the frustration and agonies that come with death and destruction. I
remember so well flying back from Pakistan on August 21, 1988, with the remains of a talented and beloved Foreign Service Officer, Ambassador Arnie Raphel. That was a sad and moving day.
The tragedy of September 11 was a riveting wake-up call for the people of America. Stunned and horrified, we saw in a flash our vulnerability. As we reacted, we also saw our strengths, and we experienced a renewal of patriotism and national pride. We deepened our realization of how closely intertwined our fortunes are
with developments elsewhere, sometimes far away culturally, as well as geographically.
That attack was also a transforming event here and in many places throughout the world in attitudes toward terrorism. For decades, terrorism has been all too frequent, mostly in the Middle East, but also in Europe and Asia, often aimed at Americans. We saw our share of it in the 1980s, when I was in office. The pace
picked up in the 1990s, by which time the capabilities and intentions of Usama bin Laden and his al-Qaida network were well known.
I said in 1984 we cannot allow ourselves to become the hamlet of nations, worrying endlessly over whether and how to respond. But for whatever reasons, we did not respond effectively during those past two decades. Face it: the lack of effective response encourages terrorism, not the other way around.
But now, opinion has changed. When in that same 1984 speech following terrorist attacks on our Embassy and on the Marine barracks in Beirut, and the IRA effort to blow up Margaret Thatcher in Brighton, I called for active prevention, preemption and retaliation and said we must be willing to use military force. I was disowned and dismissed by official Washington and on leading editorial pages. I was relieved after I had a chance to go over my thinking carefully with President Reagan; he said he agreed with me.
By contrast, we all cheered, I at the top of my voice, when Secretary of Defense Don Rumsfeld said on the Jim Lehrer Newshour on February 4 of this year, "If you think about it, we have no choice. A terrorist can attack at any time, at any place, using a range of techniques. It is physically impossible to defend at every time
in every location against every conceivable technique of terrorism. Therefore, if your goal is to stop it, you cannot stop it by defense. You can only stop it by taking the battle to the terrorists where they are and going after them. What must we do, just sit here and take the blows like the World Trade Center, take the blows that biological weapons would pose for us? The answer is no. You have a responsibility to defend your country."
So preemption with military force is now an operative idea with wide support. That is essential. But continuing threats are all too real, so we must not flag or be distracted in our efforts to end the use of this terrible and unacceptable weapon, terrorism.
President Bush has given us the concepts we need. This is a war, not a matter of law enforcement. States that support terror are as guilty as the terrorists. They are in the cross hairs, and the principle of state accountability is being established. Our goal is not primarily to punish and retaliate, but to prevent acts of
terror through intelligence that enables us to preempt and ultimately to eliminate the source.
These are big and far-reaching ideas that must be kept front and center. This is war; states must be accountable. We are calling on states to step up their internal responsibilities to end any terrorist presence, while saying that we also reserve, within the framework of our right to self-defense, the right to preempt
terrorist threats within a state's borders. Not just hot pursuit; hot preemption.
The juxtaposition of these ideas calls for sophisticated diplomacy, clear intelligence, and the will to act with the courage of our convictions. The war is of worldwide dimensions and must be fought on many fronts. I'll identify six of them.
First, we have the front of the hinterlands, those places around the world where states have failed or where no state authority reaches. In these places, terrorists find sanctuary where they can train and plan and can emerge to strike again. Afghanistan was the main such area, but it's not the only place. You can name
them as well as I, and you need more than the fingers on your two hands.
We have conducted a brilliant campaign on the Afghanistan front. Afghanistan cannot now serve as a terrorist refuge and staging area. But an enormous task remains to be completed there. The fires still burn. A state must be built from the ground up and attain the legitimacy and authority to prevent the country from sliding back into terrorist hands.
Another front is in Europe, and to a degree in our own country. In the liberal, open, welcoming democracies of the West, terrorists have been able to establish themselves, move about easily, communicate and develop their plans with little interference from the authorities, particularly in many European countries. The terrorists know that they can enjoy and employ the freedoms offered by the democratic West to plan the destruction of our liberal institutions and societies.
This, too, is a matter of making the state, the democratic state, effective and accountable. We in the democratic West have to get ourselves in order. We must enhance and better coordinate our investigative capabilities. We must change our mindset. Our task is to prevent criminal acts, not just catch and punish after the damage is done.
Through intensive intelligence-sharing and cooperative police work, the war on this front can and must be fought effectively, and within the framework of protective civil rights and proper judicial procedures.
Another front that needs our attention is that of the regimes of Arab and Islamic countries. Over the years, in the knowledge that many of the terrorists seek their overthrow above all else, these regimes have, each in its own way, made their deals with the terrorists. They have paid them off, propagandized them to focus on
external enemies, or sought to use them to build up the religious legitimacy of those regimes. They have created a monster. They may have bought some time for themselves, but they are sealing their own doom if they keep on this path.
Since September 11th, some of them have come to their senses. These regimes have to take responsibility as states, and they must be held accountable. They have to stop playing the double game. They should be encouraged and supported if they work seriously to put their states and societies on the right track.
But I have to say, when money is collected to reward the families of suicide bombers, that is support for terrorism. There is no other way to describe it.
We must also look at the front where terrorists are pushing out to radicalize countries that previously had escaped the terrorist scourge. Most prominent and critical here is Indonesia, where jihadists have in the last several years become more visible, active and intimidating to the population.
In the southern islands of the Philippines, terrorists have become more daring and outrageous in their hostage-taking and murders year by year. In Singapore, the discovery of a sophisticated al-Qaida network shocked everyone, because we consider Singapore to be one of the most tightly run states in the world. Jihadist terrorism no doubt has plans for the new countries of Central Asia and for China as well.
Kashmir presents compelling issues, especially since nuclear weapons lurk in the background. The outline of a potential settlement is much easier to identify than is the process by which to get there. As elsewhere, the starting point is to hit hard against terrorism as the method of influencing policy on any side of the problem.
And now we come to the front of the Israelis and Palestinians, who confront each other violently and whose conflict captures attention virtually throughout the world. We can see the terrorist extremists have gotten their hands around the throat of the Palestinian movement. Those hands need to be wrenched away so that people with determined but constructive attitudes can emerge to take over leadership in a restructured Palestinian Authority. Strength and diplomacy must go hand in hand. Fight terrorism relentlessly, even as negotiations for peace get started again.
We now have some developments to work with, but nothing comes easily. I offer three thoughts. First, in Negotiation 101, we teach a negotiator to study his opposition. You want counterparts capable of taking yes for an answer and of delivering on tough commitments. Saudi Arabia has led Arab states into an initiative on behalf of the Palestinians. For the first time since King Hussein bowed out in 1988, states on the Arab side are involved. So I welcome the President's and the Secretary's effort to move this initiative forward and bring this potentially important measure of state-based competence to the negotiating
Realists recognize that progress will only come with emerging experience of commitments that are not only made but kept. Whatever the vision of a final settlement, that vision will come into being through a step-by-step process.
Second, declare a commitment to an eventual Palestinian state up front, but make clear that a proclamation does not create a functioning state. Patterns of government must be created and legitimacy of leaders established so that properly made sovereign decisions are effective, and means of accountability for policy
decisions and for handling funds are instituted.
If a Palestinian state were to be established without a far-reaching reform of the present Palestinian Authority, it would be a failed state at birth. And just as a Palestinian state can hardly even begin to function effectively where citizens cannot move about from one urban center to another, so the state of Israel cannot agree to anything other than its own secure, defensible and internationally recognized borders.
Third, realize that transformation in this tiny area is a necessity. Palestinians and others in the region now lead miserable lives, without the light of hope for a better future. Israelis continue to live within the lethal environment of a hostile neighborhood. A major effort is imperative to improve the quality of life in the region
-- security, water, education, health, the opportunity to create the jobs on which standards of living depend. Help in the form or private as well as public initiatives is critically needed. So there is lots of work to do.
Finally, there is the most important problem of all. What is in the minds of the world's people? There are still those who profess not to know the difference between a terrorist and a freedom fighter. The difference is clear; the definition of terrorism is simple and unmistakable. Terrorists use random violence on as large a scale as possible against civilian populations to make their points or get their way. Anyone who claims to be confused at this point in history will have to face up to being known as an apologist for terrorism.
We have a war to win. Every tool available must be used aggressively. The message of the great seal of our republic is front and center once more. The eagle faces the olive branches to show that the United States always seeks peace, but holds onto the arrows to show that the United States understands that if we are
to be effective in seeking peace, we must be strong. The message comes from the earliest days of our republic: strength and diplomacy go together.
The end of World War II brought a compelling opportunity to put in place a new vision of how the world would work. Looking back at that remarkably creative response to that opportunity, we see Foreign Service Officers -- George Kennan, Chip Bohlen, Foy Kohler and others, notably Paul Nitze, who is here -- as well as
the soldier-statesman of that time, George C. Marshall developing the ideas and the institutions that shaped the way one American generation after another engaged the world during the dangerous Cold War years.
Once again, with the huge changes in world affairs since those days, punctuated by the trauma of September 11 and the shifts in attitude towards state accountability and rights to preemption, the times demand a new burst of creativity and sustained efforts to achieve a needed transformation.
Now the ball is in the hands of a new generation of Foreign Service Officers, under Colin Powell, today's distinguished soldier statesman, able to work with a President, George W. Bush, who is decisive, bold and resolute.
So I salute the members of the Foreign Service, and this Center for learning the practice of diplomacy. We are lucky that you and your leaders are strong, experienced and wise. You have lots of work to do.
Let me conclude with a story from my time in office. When an ambassador had made it through the hurdles of nomination and confirmation, I invited him or her to my office and said, "Before you can leave, you have one more test. Go over to that globe and show me that you can identify your country." (Laughter.) Without exception, the ambassador-to-be spun the globe and located the country to which he would be posted.
One day, the late Mike Mansfield, already many years our Ambassador to Japan and an old friend from my previous times in the Cabinet, came in for a visit just before he was to return to Tokyo. I told him about my little test and said, "Mike, how about you?" He and I laughed. And he went to the globe. Mike put his hand on the United States and said, "Here's my country."
In this setting, dedicated to representation, always remember Mike's words. Be proud to be a citizen, let alone a representative, of the greatest country ever, the United States of America. (Applause.)