Remarks at the United States Institute of Peace
Secretary of State
This is an audience that has many familiar faces in it, people who have been on the frontlines of American foreign policy on conflict resolution and so many specific issues. And I want to particularly just thank two people who have really stepped up to assume new responsibilities on behalf of the Obama Administration, someone who was on the board of USIP, now Under Secretary Maria Otero, and also Under Secretary Ellen Tauscher who – both of whom I’m delighted are part of the team at the State Department. (Applause.) And sitting right there in the front row is one of my role models, Betty Bumpers, who started beating the drums for world peace and for an end to much of the behavior that is so troublesome and threatening between nations. And I am so pleased to see her.
It’s an honor to have been asked to give this second annual Dean Acheson lecture. The Institute has many friends at the State Department and we’re looking forward to the day when we’re not only friends, but neighbors. I know that your new building across the street will allow for even closer cooperation as we work together to build peace and end conflict. I also know that Monday marked your 25th anniversary, and I thank you for the extraordinary work and leadership you’ve provided over the last two and a half decades, including the work you’ve done to review our nuclear posture.
The Institute has helped drive the foreign policy debate on nuclear weapons, on conflict prevention and many other critical issues, and you are continuing that essential role. Now, some of you may recall that Secretary Gates’ remarks on this occasion last year when he argued eloquently – and I might add, very convincingly – for providing additional resources to the State Department was a signal event. To have the Secretary of Defense come before a distinguished audience like this and to argue very forcefully on behalf of our civilian capacity is still reverberating throughout Washington.
In advocating a budget increase for a department other than his own, Secretary Gates said he was returning a favor, because as Secretary of State, Dean Acheson had argued that the United States needed a strong military when cutbacks threatened to gut U.S. forces after the Second World War. Acheson was involved in another vital foreign policy issue where his position transcended bureaucratic allegiances, and his actions provide a useful historical backdrop for my subject today.
At the close of World War II, Acheson was serving as Under Secretary of State. Secretary of State – or Secretary of War Henry Stimson was the country’s leading advocate for nuclear arms control. But Stimson had a tough opponent in then-Secretary of State James F. Byrnes, who wanted to leverage the United States’s nuclear advantage to the maximum extent possible. Acheson looked beyond the confines of his bureaucracy and joined with the Secretary of War in favor of arms control. He recognized that the world was at a crossroads. And he saw that the United States had an obligation and an interest in working with other nations to curb the spread of the most dangerous weapons in history.
Well, today, we find ourselves at yet another crossroads. During the Cold War, we feared an all-out nuclear exchange between the United States and the Soviet Union. And in October 1962, the world came close. But President Kennedy realized that a nuclear war was profoundly unwinnable. And over time, he and successive administrations took steps to mitigate that risk and curtail the spread of nuclear weapons.
We now face a different kind of threat, a threat that is more diffuse and perhaps even more dangerous. The range and intensity of current nuclear proliferation challenges is alarming. The international community failed to prevent North Korea from developing nuclear weapons. We are now engaged in diplomatic efforts to roll back this development. Iran continues to ignore resolutions from the United Nations Security Council demanding that it suspend its enrichment activities and live up to those international obligations.
The International Atomic Energy Agency doesn’t have the tools or authority to carry out its mission effectively. We saw this in the institution’s failure to detect Iran’s covert enrichment plant and Syria’s reactor project. Illicit state and non-state proliferation networks are engaging in sensitive nuclear trade and circumventing laws designed to protect us against the export and import of nuclear materials.
Working through Senator Lugar’s Cooperative Threat Reduction Program, we have deactivated or destroyed thousands of nuclear weapons. But vast stocks of potentially dangerous nuclear materials remain vulnerable to theft or diversion. With growing global energy needs and the threat of climate change, the demand for nuclear power is expanding, and we do need to continue to facilitate the legitimate peaceful use of nuclear energy. Yet, this expansion has not been accompanied by corresponding measures that could reduce the risks of nuclear weapons proliferation.
We also know that unless these trends are reversed, and reversed soon, we will find ourselves in a world with a steadily growing number of nuclear-armed states, and increasing likelihood of terrorists getting their hands on nuclear weapons.
President Obama recognizes this danger. In April, in Prague, he presented the United States’ vision for how to meet these challenges. He reinforced the core bargain of the global nonproliferation regime, calling on all states to live up to their responsibilities and put down a marker for every nation when he called for a world free of nuclear weapons. And last month, when President Obama became the first United States President to chair a session of the United Nations Security Council, he presided over the unanimous passage of a resolution that set forth a robust nonproliferation and arms control agenda.
Pursuing these goals is not an act of starry-eyed idealism or blind allegiance to principle. It is about taking responsibility to prevent the use of the world’s most dangerous weapons, and holding others accountable as well. The policies that take us there must be up to the task: tough, smart, and driven by the core interests of the United States. As the President has acknowledged, we might not achieve the ambition of a world without nuclear weapons in our lifetime or successive lifetimes. But we believe that pursuing this vision will enhance our national security and international stability.
We also believe that the United States must maintain a safe, secure, and effective nuclear arsenal to deter any adversary and guarantee the defense of our allies and partners while we pursue our vision.
All countries have an obligation to help address the challenges posed by nuclear weapons, beginning with the nuclear weapons states. As the permanent members of the Security Council and the only nuclear weapon states recognized by the NPT, we all have a responsibility to stop the erosion of the nonproliferation regime and to address the current crisis of compliance in which some countries apparently feel they can violate their obligations and defy the Security Council with impunity.
The non-nuclear weapon states also have a responsibility to work to prevent further proliferation. That responsibility does not end with their decision to forgo their own weapons ambitions and accept safeguards to demonstrate the sincerity of that decision. It must continue with active participation in resolute efforts to impede additional countries from crossing the nuclear threshold, because their own security and well-being are profoundly affected by the outcome of such efforts.
All states with nuclear materials or technology have a responsibility to protect them against theft or illicit transfer. Now if all countries step up to these responsibilities, as we are doing, we can revitalize the nonproliferation regime for decades to come. The cornerstone of that regime, the NPT, remains sound and need not be altered. But as we have done for 40 years, we must build on that essential foundation by supplementing the treaty and updating the overall regime with measures designed to confront emerging challenges.
The Administration’s blueprint for our efforts is based on the hard, day-to-day work of active diplomacy – confronting proliferators, strengthening the capabilities of the IAEA and ensuring that all nations abide by the rights and obligations of the nonproliferation regime, negotiating a new treaty with Russia to reduce our nuclear arsenal, seeking ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty and prompt negotiation of a Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty, undertaking a review of the role of nuclear weapons in the United States’s defense strategy, and supporting budgetary priorities that guarantee the safety and effectiveness of our deterrent.
Now, I am well aware of the difficult road ahead to uphold the NPT, restore the international nonproliferation consensus, and reinvigorate the global nonproliferation regime. Progress will not be easy. At times, our achievements may seen incomplete and unsatisfying, but we are committed to seeing this through, and we believe the world is depending on our success. The reality is that the nuclear threat cannot be checked by us acting alone. Whether we seek to prevent the smuggling of dangerous nuclear materials, establish a new international framework for civil nuclear energy cooperation, increase the IAEA’s budget, or persuade governments with nuclear weapons ambitions to abandon their quest, we can only achieve our goals through cooperation with others. In recent years, however, polarization within the international community on proliferation issues between states with nuclear weapons and those without have created obstacles to the cooperation that is needed.
Overcoming these obstacles must start from the premise that the nuclear threat is a danger that all nations face together, and that preventing the spread of nuclear weapons is not just in the interests of the existing nuclear weapon states, as it is sometimes asserted. Indeed, the non-nuclear weapon states have as much or more to lose if these weapons spread or are ever used again. The same logic applies to our work to combat the threat of nuclear terrorism. A nuclear terrorist bomb detonated anywhere in the world would have vast economic, political, ecological and social consequences everywhere in the world.
It’s easy to advocate a go-it-alone approach that ignores the cooperation needed to address universal challenges. But we have seen the failed results of this approach. The more difficult, but more productive path is to engage our allies and partners around the world in that hard work of diplomacy. Because as President Obama has said, we must pursue a path that is grounded in the rights and responsibilities of all nations. We must continue to strengthen each of the three mutually reinforcing pillars of global nonproliferation – preventing the spread of nuclear weapons, promoting disarmament, and facilitating the peaceful use of nuclear energy. And to those three pillars, we should add a fourth: preventing nuclear terrorism. Stopping terrorists from acquiring the ultimate weapon was not a central preoccupation when the NPT was negotiated, but today, it is, and it must remain at the top of our national security priorities.
As we advance this agenda, we can reduce the size and scope of the proliferation threat to our nation, our children, and future generations. The U.S.-led diplomatic campaign began with countering immediate proliferation threats, and will seek over time to improve verification, stiffen penalties, disrupt illicit proliferation networks, reduce the threat of nuclear terrorism, and allow nations to enjoy the peaceful benefits of nuclear power, while deploying safeguards against proliferation.
Thwarting the nuclear ambitions of North Korea and Iran is critical to shoring up the nonproliferation regime. Within the framework of the six-party talks, we are prepared to meet bilaterally with North Korea, but North Korea’s return to the negotiating table is not enough. Current sanctions will not be relaxed until Pyongyang takes verifiable, irreversible steps toward complete denuclearization. Its leaders should be under no illusion that the United States will ever have normal, sanctions-free relations with a nuclear armed North Korea.
Together with the other permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany, the United States is pursuing a dual-track approach toward Iran. If Iran is serious about taking practical steps to address the international community’s deep concerns about its nuclear program, we will continue to engage both multilaterally and bilaterally to discuss the full range of issues that have divided Iran and the United States for too long. The door is open to a better future for Iran, but the process of engagement cannot be open-ended. We are not prepared to talk just for the sake of talking.
As President Obama noted after the October 1st meeting in Geneva, we appear to have made a constructive beginning, but that needs to be followed up by constructive actions. In particular, prompt action is needed on implementing the plan to use Iran’s own low-enriched uranium to refuel the Tehran research reactor, which is used to produce medical isotopes.
Enhancing the IAEA’s capabilities to verify whether states are engaging in illicit nuclear activity is essential to strengthening the nonproliferation regime. The IAEA’s additional protocol, which allows for more aggressive, short-notice inspections should be made universal, through concerted efforts to persuade key holdout states to join.
Our experience with Iraq’s nuclear program before the 1991 Gulf War showed that the IAEA’s rights and resources needed upgrading. The additional protocol is the embodiment of those lessons. A failure to make this protocol the global standard means the world will have failed to heed the lessons of history at our collective peril. The IAEA should make full use of existing verification authorities, including special inspections. But it should also be given new authorities, including the ability to investigate suspected nuclear weapons-related activities even when no nuclear materials are present. And if we expect the IAEA to be a bulwark of the nonproliferation regime, we must give it the resources necessary to do the job.
Improving the IAEA’s ability to detect safeguard violations is not enough. Potential violators must know that if they are caught, they will pay a high price. That is certainly not the case today. Despite American efforts, the international community’s record of enforcing compliance in recent years is unacceptable. Compliance mechanisms and procedures must be improved. We should consider adopting automatic penalties for violation of safeguards agreements; for example, suspending all international nuclear cooperation, or IAEA technical cooperation projects until compliance has been restored.
And because the role of the Security Council is so important on compliance issues, we are working to rebuild the consensus among the five permanent members on NPT enforcement.
We must also use financial and legal tools to better disrupt illicit proliferation networks. This will mean tightening controls on transshipment, a key source of illicit trade, and strengthening Nuclear Suppliers Group restrictions on transfers of enrichment and reprocessing technology. A reinvigorated nonproliferation regime should enable countries, especially developing countries, to enjoy the peaceful benefits of nuclear energy, while providing incentives for them not to build their own enrichment or reprocessing facilities. These facilities are inherently capable of producing both fuel for nuclear reactors and the fissile cores of nuclear weapons and should not be allowed to proliferate.
But we need to ensure that states have access to nuclear fuel, a right guaranteed under the NPT. The best way to accomplish this goal is by expanding fuel cycle options. Multilateral fuel supply assurances, international fuel banks, and spent fuel repositories can enhance the confidence of states embarking on or expanding their nuclear power programs. These initiatives will encourage countries to pursue legitimate civil nuclear plans without assuming the risk and expense of constructing their own fuel cycle facilities. So we will support international fuel banks and effective fuel service arrangements as key components of our nonproliferation policy.
Now, we cannot divorce nonproliferation efforts from the challenge of reducing existing nuclear arsenals, both are part of the core bargain of the NPT. All countries face a common danger from nuclear weapons, but the nuclear arms states, and especially the United States and Russia, have an obligation to reduce their weapons stockpiles. And the Obama Administration is actively pursuing these steps. We are negotiating an agreement with the Russians that will succeed the soon-to-expire START treaty, and significantly reduce the nuclear forces of both sides. It will also set the stage for even deeper cuts in the future.
Let me be clear: the United States is interested in a new START agreement because it will bolster our national security. We and Russia deploy far more nuclear weapons than we need or could ever potentially use without destroying our ways of life. We can reduce our stockpiles of nuclear weapons without posing any risk to our homeland, our deployed troops or our allies.
Clinging to nuclear weapons in excess of our security needs does not make the United States safer. And the nuclear status quo is neither desirable nor sustainable. It gives other countries the motivation or the excuse to pursue their own nuclear options.
The right way to reduce our excess nuclear forces is in parallel with Russia. Verifiable mutual reductions through a new START treaty will help us build trust and avoid surprises. We are working hard to ensure that the new agreement will continue to allow for inspections and other mechanisms that allow us to build confidence. We are under no illusions that the START agreement will persuade Iran and North Korea to end their illicit nuclear activities. But it will demonstrate that the United States is living up to its Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty obligation to work toward nuclear disarmament. In doing so, it will help convince the rest of the international community to strengthen nonproliferation controls and tighten the screws on states that flout that their nonproliferation commitments.
For the same reason, the United States seeks to begin negotiations as soon as possible on a Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty with appropriate monitoring and verification provisions. A universal FMCT will halt the production of plutonium and highly enriched uranium for weapons purposes, capping the size of existing arsenals, and reducing the risk that terrorist groups will one day gain access to stockpiles of fissile materials.
But we must do more than reduce the numbers of our nuclear weapons. We must also reduce the role they play in our security. In this regard, the ongoing Nuclear Posture Review will be a key milestone. It will more accurately calibrate the role, size, and composition of our nuclear stockpile to the current and future international threat environments. And it will provide a fundamental reassessment of U.S. nuclear force posture, levels, and doctrine. Carried out in consultation with our allies, it will examine the role of nuclear weapons in deterring today’s threats and review our declaratory policies with respect to the circumstances in which the United States would consider using nuclear weapons.
As part of the NPR, the Nuclear Posture Review, we are grappling with key questions: What is the fundamental purpose of the U.S. nuclear weapons arsenal? Will our deterrence posture help the United States encourage others to reduce their arsenals and advance our nonproliferation agenda? How can we provide reassurance to our allies in a manner that reinforces our nonproliferation objectives?
We believe now is the time for a look – a fresh look at the views on the role of the United States nuclear weapons arsenal. We can’t afford to continue relying on recycled Cold War thinking. We are sincere in our pursuit of a secure peaceful world without nuclear weapons. But until we reach that point of the horizon where the last nuclear weapon has been eliminated, we need to reinforce the domestic consensus that America will maintain the nuclear infrastructure needed to sustain a safe and effective deterrent without nuclear testing.
So in addition to supporting a robust nuclear complex budget in 2011, we will also support a new Stockpile Management Program that would focus on sustaining capabilities. This is what the military leaders, charged with responsibility for our strategic deterrent, need in order to defend our country. General Chilton, Commander of U.S. STRATCOM, has said repeatedly that he doesn’t need new nuclear weapons capabilities – but he must be confident in the capabilities that we have.
As we establish that confidence through Stockpile Management, we are making preparations for securing Senate approval for the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty and working globally to convince other hold-out states to bring that treaty into force. Bringing the treaty into force will strengthen and reenergize the global nonproliferation regime and, in doing so, enhance our own security.
For almost two decades, and over four successive administrations, the United States has observed a moratorium on nuclear testing. So we are already honoring the fundamental obligation of the treaty. A test ban treaty that has entered into force will allow the United States and others to challenge states engaged in suspicious testing activities – including the option of calling on-site inspections to be sure that no testing occurs anywhere. CTBT ratification would also encourage the international community to move forward with other essential nonproliferation steps. And make no mistake, other states – rightly or wrongly – view American ratification of the CTBT as a sign of our commitment to the nonproliferation consensus.
In coming months, several important events can accelerate progress on our nonproliferation and arms control agenda. In April, President Obama will host a global summit on nuclear security, an unprecedented gathering that will help promote a common understanding of the threat of nuclear terrorism and build international support for effective means of countering that threat. The following month, the NPT Review Conference, held every five years, will seek a consensus among NPT parties on a program of work for strengthening the NPT regime. We hope that these meetings will provide a launching pad for our global efforts to address this challenge.
The nuclear threats facing the international community today cannot be overstated. They pose a grave challenge. And as with other global threats, most notably climate change, we are all in the same boat. Unless we act decisively and act now, the situation may deteriorate catastrophically and irreversibly.
Some experts looking at current nuclear threats and the pressures bearing down on the global nonproliferation regime have come to pessimistic conclusions about our nuclear future. They talk about nuclear cascades and terrorists getting their hands on the bomb. According to them, future proliferation is inevitable; stopping it is futile.
Further proliferation and nuclear terrorism are not foregone conclusions. These dangers can be impeded and even prevented. But countering these threats requires us to realize that all states have a common interest in reinvigorating the nonproliferation regime – and that all states bear a responsibility in advancing that effort.
Dean Acheson recognized these truths in his day. They have not dimmed with the passage of time. And the United States will do all it can to carry on this work, and ensure that our efforts succeed.
As we stand at this new crossroads our path forward is clear. It is a path that leads from the streets of Prague, through the milestones I’ve spoken of today, and eventually, some day, to a world without nuclear weapons.
Just as Acheson did in his time, we must meet this challenge by acting boldly, wisely, hopefully, and in concert with other nations. And once again, if we do so, American leadership will ensure our security and the peace of future generations.
Thank you all very much. (Applause.)
MODERATOR: Thank you so much, Secretary Clinton. I think we will have time for a couple of questions. And I would like to invite USIP fellows and scholars and experts who barely get a chance to ask questions directly of the Secretary of State to make their way to microphones. Please make the questions short. And if you wouldn’t mind identifying yourselves, that would be helpful. And we will start on this side and then go to this side.
QUESTION: Secretary Clinton, I’m Abi Williams, Vice President of the Center for Conflict Analysis and Prevention at the Institute. Thank you for spending time with us this morning.
You mentioned that President Obama is committed to a world free of nuclear weapons. And clearly, this can’t be achieved overnight nor with U.S. leadership alone. So I was wondering what you saw as the major obstacles towards reaching a new START agreement, and your assessment of the commitment of Russia to this goal, which the President has outlined.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, we are moving forward toward a new START agreement with the Russians. Our negotiators in Geneva are making progress. When I was in Moscow last week, President Medvedev committed to seeing this through and aiming, with us, toward the December 5th deadline when the current agreement expires. In fact, President Medvedev said that he thought we should lock our negotiators in a room in Geneva and not let them out until they had reached a new START agreement. We haven’t done that yet, but I’m glad to have his full concurrence if that turns out to be necessary.
So we feel that we are progressing. And we have several issues that are still to be decided, but I think we can move toward the deadline. And Under Secretary Tauscher and I were just talking about this on the ride over from Foggy Bottom, and we’re going to press just as hard as we can with our Russian counterparts to get this done and then present it to the Senate for ratification.
QUESTION: Thank you, Secretary Clinton. Alex Thier, the Director for Afghanistan and Pakistan at the U.S. Institute of Peace. Thanks for coming today and inspiring us.
I wanted to ask you a question about Pakistan. With the combination of militancy – and we even saw an attack on Pakistan’s pentagon last week – together with the A.Q. Khan network, there are continuing proliferation concerns coming out of Pakistan. The recent Kerry-Lugar legislation requires verification that the proliferation network established by A.Q. Khan, has been stopped. And the way it’s worded suggests that there might be doubts, at least within the Congress, that that has, in fact, been stopped.
And so I was hoping you could talk to us about how you’re planning to address this issue in Pakistan, both in terms of the security due to militancy, but also the ongoing proliferation threat from those directly engaged in their weapons programs.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, those two concerns are part of each and every engagement that we have. We have been reassured about the security of the nuclear weapons stockpiles and facilities. But it is obviously a matter that we are watching very closely for the very reasons that you mention: first, the continuing threat of proliferation, which we watch and try to monitor any signs of, and the Pakistani Government and military know of our continuing questions about that; and of course, the militant attack that we saw last week and the continuing organized attacks on government targets, including the military itself and the intelligence services by Taliban, al-Qaida, and related extremists.
We don’t think that those attacks pose a threat to the nuclear command and control or access. But we have certainly made our views known and asked a lot of questions and are supporting the Pakistani Government in their courageous efforts against these extremists, which, to us, is one of the most important steps they can take to make sure that these questions that you raise are going to be answered satisfactorily.
QUESTION: Bruce MacDonald with the Strategic Posture Review Commission at the Institute of Peace. Thank you, Madame Secretary, for your leadership over the years on all these issues. I wanted to ask you – you touched a little bit on the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. In its work, the Strategic Posture Review Commission tackled a number of very thorny issues, and surprisingly reached consensus on virtually every one they tackled with one exception, and that was on the question of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.
Could you share with us a little bit of your thinking about – you touched some on the impact on the U.S. nonproliferation objectives – if you might muse on that a little more? And also maybe address the question of the impact if the U.S. Senate chooses not to ratify the CTBT, the impact on U.S. nonproliferation objections?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, we are well aware that we have our work cut out for us. The CTBT was rejected 10 years ago, and it has not been brought up since then. So we do have a lot of outreach and very intensive consultations to engage in with the Senate. I think that having been honored to serve in the Senate, I think every senator has a right to ask whatever questions and raise whatever concerns he or she might have.
But the fact is we’ve essentially had a moratorium on testing. It’s been bipartisan through these four administrations over these last 20 years. And we recognize the legitimate questions that some in the Senate have posed about how we take steps to ensure the sustainability and effectiveness of our nuclear stockpile without testing. We believe we have technical answers to that, and that we will be discussing those in greater depth.
But from our perspective, the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty sets out a global standard that we would like to be part of, and it gives us the tools that we could use to go to other countries that have not signed up to the CTBT and have the same in-depth discussion as to why we believe it’s not necessary for any further testing – atmospheric, underground, both.
So our view is that it’s the right thing to do, it reflects already existing policy in our country, that there are technical fixes to having to test that will guarantee us the stewardship of the stockpile that we are putting forth, and that it will give us the opportunity to make our case with other nations.
MODERATOR: Time for two more. We’ll take them on this side.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Okay.
QUESTION: (Inaudible), I’m a (inaudible) fellow here at the Institute. My question is somehow related to what Alex raised about Pakistan, because I’m from Pakistan. I’m happy and I appreciate the Administration is talking about the long-term relationship with Pakistan. But back home, the overwhelming majority of the people believe that the U.S. presence in the region is all about the Pakistan nukes; that the Administration has made efforts, yet these efforts are countering to – the propaganda. And the widespread impression on the ground is that the Blackwaters are there, the Marines are in the Embassy, and they’re all just to take the Pakistani nukes.
I understand that the U.S. Ambassador in Pakistan and special envoy, from time to time, they interact with the Pakistani media. But by the time they interact with the media, the conventional wisdom had solidified. So – and related to this is the Kerry-Lugar bill issue. It seems to me that there is lack of coordination between the State Department and Congress when it comes to the Kerry-Lugar bill. You may call it a historical step towards enhancing relationship with Pakistan, but the bitter reality is that back home, it is considered a big fiasco.
I just want your comments on two questions: How to increase the speed of your counter-propaganda in Pakistan, and second is to coordinate across the whole government to ensure continuity and cohesion of approach? Thank you.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Okay. Well, I’m actually very glad that you raised your questions and made your comment, because I think we have, as a government, not done a very good job in responding to what you rightly call propaganda, misinformation, even in some instances disinformation, about our motivations and our actions in Pakistan. That became clear to me as we were doing our review, and I saw how often there were stories in the Pakistani media that were totally untrue, but we were not responding as effectively as we need to.
We have, under Judith McHale, our Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy, undertaken a very thorough analysis of what better we could do, and we are moving very rapidly to try to fill that void. We have a new team going in to Pakistan. A Public Affairs officer may be already there. We have adopted a new approach, which is we do not leave any misstatement or inaccuracy unanswered. It may be that people won’t believe it at first, but we intend to counter a lot of this propaganda with the best weapon we have; namely, the truth. And we’re going to be much more aggressive in interacting with the Pakistani media.
It is unfortunate that there is a lot of mistrust that has built up with respect to the United States. And I think we saw that in some of the reaction on the Kerry-Lugar legislation, which we’d been working on and consulting with the Government of Pakistan for many, many months. And the ultimate passage of it we saw as a great milestone in our relationship, and we were very concerned when the reaction was so volatile and negative.
I believe we have gone a long way in answering and putting to rest a lot of those misperceptions. As you know, Foreign Minister Qureshi made a special trip here last week and met with members of Congress, certainly Senator Kerry and Congressman Berman and others, to make clear what the intent of the legislation was. And on his recent trip in the region, Senator Kerry, in between helping us very significantly answer concerns raised in Afghanistan, made a trip to Islamabad where he reiterated our approach.
This is going to take time. This is not something you can fix in a news cycle or by just snapping your fingers and asking people to believe you. You have to go at it day in and day out. And I was, frankly, quite surprised that we had not done much of this in an effective manner. But we’re going to remedy that. And there’s no guarantee that people will pay more attention to what we say, but at least we’re going to be in the mix and we’re going to be in the mix every day in getting out information that can be used by those who understand that the United States is hoping to be a good partner for not just the Government of Pakistan, but more importantly, the people of Pakistan.
MODERATOR: Last question.
QUESTION: Good morning, Madame Secretary. Thank you for coming to speak with us today. My name is Emmanuel Teitelbaum. I’m a Jennings Randolph Senior Fellow here at the U.S. Institute of Peace. And I have another question about South Asia, but this time about India. Specifically, I’m interested to get your perspective on the nuclear accord that we entered into with India under the previous administration.
First, what, if anything, will the current Administration do differently from the Bush Administration in terms of the implementation of the Indo-U.S. Civilian Nuclear Accord? And second, I’m curious to know how you think the Indo-U.S. accord might influence negotiations with other countries like Iran. In your opinion, does the accord serve as a template for such negotiations, or does it set precedents that might serve to complicate negotiations?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, first, let me begin by responding that the nuclear accord, which we support – I supported it as a senator, the Obama Administration supports it as a government – is embedded in a broader strategic dialogue that we are engaged in with the Indians. We view our relationship as one that is comprehensive and very deep in terms of the issues that we wish to explore with our Indian counterparts and the areas where we are either already or look to cooperate. I think it is very significant that the first official visit in the Obama Administration will be in November when Prime Minister Singh arrives.
The agreement is one that reflects the negotiations between India and the United States. We’re not going to claim or use it as a template in its specifics. But in general, the kind of efforts to offer peaceful nuclear energy, while at the same time having safeguards and verification that will prevent others from going beyond the peaceful use of nuclear energy, is something that we are looking at very closely. The so-called 123 agreements that have been negotiated or are in the midst of being negotiated with other countries raise a lot of the same issues.
So as I said in my remarks earlier, the goal here is to create a better verification and safeguard regime to look for ways to provide the fuel cycle that doesn’t spin into its use for non-peaceful purposes. Obviously, we have a lot of confidence in the Indians and a lot of confidence in their approach. And we are going to be working closely with them, including American companies that will be part of implementing the reactor sites that are part of the agreement.
But we want India to be part of our overall nonproliferation efforts. And we want them to really be a major player at the table in trying to figure out how, starting from where we are right now, we go forward in an effective, verifiable manner to reinstate a nonproliferation regime that can prevent further countries acquiring nuclear weapons, or even peaceful nuclear capacity without the safeguards that we envision. So – India we see as a full partner in this effort, and we look forward to working with them as we try to come up with the 21st century version of the NPT.
Thank you all very much. (Applause.)
MODERATOR: Thank you so much, Secretary Clinton. (Applause.) On behalf of the Institute of Peace and our board, we thank you ever so much for being here. I would ask people to please remain in their seats while the Secretary and her entourage depart.
SECRETARY CLINTON: It’s just me. I’m here. Bye. (Laughter.)