'We Will Not Be Intimidated'

By Albright, Madeleine K. | Newsweek, August 24, 1998 | Go to article overview
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'We Will Not Be Intimidated'


Albright, Madeleine K., Newsweek


The U.S. secretary of State says the best way to fight terrorism is to spread democracy. And that costs money.

The bombings of american embassies in africa on Aug. 7 inflicted terrible suffering on Kenya and Tanzania, while robbing us of beloved colleagues, family members and friends. The world--and the terrorists--are watching now to see whether America retreats or continues to lead.

Let them have no illusions. We will not be intimidated. We will maintain our diplomatic presence in Africa and wherever we have interests to defend. We will meet our commitments. And we will do all we can to see that those who perpetrated these deadly acts are held responsible.

That said, we too must have no illusions. As the world's most powerful democracy, America will continue to be targeted by those who respect neither freedom, nor law nor life. To give in to terror, or hide from it, is not an option. Terror is not a legitimate form of political expression or a manifestation of religious faith. It is murder. And those who perpetrate it, finance it or otherwise support it must be opposed.

Organized terrorist groups have become a major threat to our security. As President Clinton has said, the same forces of technology that offer new economic and social opportunities also create new dangers. Terrorists are now more mobile, their weapons more powerful, their methods more sophisticated. To counter and defeat them, we must employ every foreign-policy tool we have. Since the Beirut bombings 15 years ago, the security of U.S. diplomatic installations--which serve America's citizens and interests overseas--has been a bipartisan priority. More than $1 billion has been spent on building and upgrading facilities, but it remains a work in progress. We have simply not had the time or the money to bring more than a fraction of our embassies up to optimal security standards.

But the safety of our people depends on more than security professionals and infrastructure. It also depends on the success of our efforts to promote democracy, sound economic practices and respect for the rule of law. If we make headway with these efforts, terrorists will have a narrower base of material support, fewer places to hide and more difficulty in persuading the gullible and desperate to join their cause. If our efforts stall or fail, we may face a future in which entire countries and regions become incubators of terror.

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