Worldwide Threat -
Converging Dangers in a Post 9/11 World
Testimony of Director of Central Intelligence
George J. Tenet
Senate Select Committee on Intelligence
(as prepared for
6 February 2002
Mr. Chairman, I appear before you this year under circumstances that
are extraordinary and historic for reasons I need not recount. Never
before has the subject of this annual threat briefing had more immediate
resonance. Never before have the dangers been more clear or more present.
September 11 brought together and brought homeliterallyseveral
vital threats to the United States and its interests that we have long
been aware of. It is the convergence of these threats that I want to
emphasize with you today: the connection between terrorists and other
enemies of this country; the weapons of mass destruction they seek to
use against us; and the social, economic, and political tensions across
the world that they exploit in mobilizing their followers. September
11 demonstrated the dangers that arise when these threats convergeand
it reminds us that we overlook at our own peril the impact of crises
in remote parts of the world.
This convergence of threats has created the world
I will present to you todaya world in which dangers exist not
only in those places where we have most often focused our attention,
but also in other areas that demand it:
- In places like Somalia, where the absence of a national government
has created an environment in which groups sympathetic to al-Qaida
have offered terrorists an operational base and potential haven.
- In places like Indonesia, where political instability, separatist
and ethnic tensions, and protracted violence are hampering economic
recovery and fueling Islamic extremism.
- In places like Colombia, where leftist insurgents who make much
of their money from drug trafficking are escalating their assault
on the governmentfurther undermining economic prospects and
fueling a cycle of violence.
- And finally, Mr. Chairman, in places like Connecticut, where the
death of a 94-year-old woman in her own home of anthrax poisoning
can arouse our worst fears about what our enemies might try to do
These threats demand our utmost response. The United States has clearly
demonstrated since September 11 that it is up to the challenge. But
make no mistake: despite the battles we have won in Afghanistan, we
remain a nation at war.
Last year I told you that Usama Bin Ladin and the al-Qaida network
were the most immediate and serious threat this country faced. This
remains true today despite the progress we have made in Afghanistan
and in disrupting the network elsewhere. We assess that Al-Qaida
and other terrorist groups will continue to plan to attack this country
and its interests abroad. Their modus operandi
is to have multiple attack plans in the works simultaneously, and to
have al-Qaida cells in place to conduct them.
- We know that terrorists have considered attacks in the US against
high-profile government or private facilities, famous landmarks, and
US infrastructure nodes such as airports, bridges, harbors, and dams.
High profile events such as the Olympics or last weekends Super
Bowl also fit the terrorists interest in striking another blow
within the United States that would command worldwide media attention.
- Al-Qaida also has plans to strike against US and allied targets
in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and Southeast Asia. American
diplomatic and military installations are at high riskespecially
in East Africa, Israel, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey.
- Operations against US targets could be launched by al-Qaida
cells already in place in major cities in Europe and the Middle East.
Al-Qaida can also exploit its presence or connections to other
groups in such countries as Somalia, Yemen, Indonesia, and the Philippines.
Although the September 11 attacks suggest that al-Qaida and other
terrorists will continue to use conventional weapons, one of our highest
concerns is their stated readiness to attempt unconventional attacks
against us. As early as 1998, Bin Ladin publicly declared that acquiring
unconventional weapons was a religious duty.
- Terrorist groups worldwide have ready access to information on
chemical, biological, and even nuclear weapons via the Internet, and
we know that al-Qaida was working to acquire some of the most
dangerous chemical agents and toxins. Documents recovered from al-Qaida
facilities in Afghanistan show that Bin Ladin was pursuing a sophisticated
biological weapons research program.
- We also believe that Bin Ladin was seeking to acquire or develop
a nuclear device. Al-Qaida may be pursuing a radioactive dispersal
devicewhat some call a dirty bomb.
- Alternatively, al-Qaida or other terrorist groups might also
try to launch conventional attacks against the chemical or nuclear
industrial infrastructure of the United States to cause widespread
toxic or radiological damage.
We are also alert to the possibility of cyber warfare attack by terrorists.
September 11 demonstrated our dependence on critical infrastructure
systems that rely on electronic and computer networks. Attacks of this
nature will become an increasingly viable option for terrorists as they
and other foreign adversaries become more familiar with these targets,
and the technologies required to attack them.
The terrorist threat goes well beyond al-Qaida. The situation
in the Middle East continues to fuel terrorism and anti-US sentiment
worldwide. Groups like the Palestine Islamic Jihad (PIJ) and HAMAS
have escalated their violence against Israel, and the intifada has rejuvenated
once-dormant groups like the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.
If these groups feel that US actions are threatening their existence,
they may begin targeting Americans directlyas Hizballahs
terrorist wing already does.
- The terrorist threat also goes beyond Islamic extremists and the
Muslim world. The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) poses
a serious threat to US interests in Latin America because it associates
us with the government it is fighting against.
- The same is true in Turkey, where the Revolutionary Peoples
Liberation Party/Front has publicly criticized the United States and
our operations in Afghanistan.
- We are also watching states like Iran and Iraq
that continue to support terrorist groups.
- Iran continues to provide supportincluding arms transfersto
Palestinian rejectionist groups and Hizballah. Tehran has also failed
to move decisively against al-Qaida members who have relocated
to Iran from Afghanistan.
- Iraq has a long history of supporting terrorists, including giving
sanctuary to Abu Nidal.
The war on terrorism has dealt severe blows to al-Qaida and its
leadership. The group has been denied its safehaven and strategic command
center in Afghanistan. Drawing on both our own assets and increased
cooperation from allies around the world, we are uncovering terrorists
plans and breaking up their cells. These efforts have yielded the arrest
of nearly 1,000 al-Qaida operatives in over 60 countries, and
have disrupted terrorist operations and potential terrorist attacks.
Mr. Chairman, Bin Ladin did not believe that we would invade his sanctuary.
He saw the United States as soft, impatient, unprepared, and fearful
of a long, bloody war of attrition. He did not count on the fact that
we had lined up allies that could help us overcome barriers of terrain
and culture. He did not know about the collection and operational initiatives
that would allow us to strikewith great accuracyat the heart
of the Taliban and al-Qaida. He underestimated our capabilities,
our readiness, and our resolve.
That said, I must repeat that al-Qaida has not yet been destroyed.
It and other like-minded groups remain willing and able to strike us.
Al-Qaida leaders still at large are working to reconstitute the
organization and to resume its terrorist operations. We must eradicate
these organizations by denying them their sources of financing and eliminating
their ability to hijack charitable organizations for their terrorist
purposes. We must be prepared for a long war, and we must not falter.
Mr. Chairman, we must also look beyond the immediate danger of terrorist
attacks to the conditions that allow terrorism to take root around the
world. These conditions are no less threatening to US national security
than terrorism itself. The problems that terrorists exploitpoverty,
alienation, and ethnic tensionswill grow more acute over the next
decade. This will especially be the case in those parts of the world
that have served as the most fertile recruiting grounds for Islamic
- We have already seenin Afghanistan and
elsewherethat domestic unrest and conflict in weak states is
one of the factors that create an environment conducive to terrorism.
- More importantly, demographic trends tell us that the worlds
poorest and most politically unstable regionswhich include parts
of the Middle East and Sub-Saharan Africawill have the largest
youth populations in the world over the next two decades and beyond.
Most of these countries will lack the economic institutions or resources
to effectively integrate these youth into society.
THE MUSLIM WORLD
All of these challenges come together in parts of the Muslim world,
and let me give you just one example. One of the places where they
converge that has the greatest long-term impact on any society is its
educational system. Primary and secondary education in parts of the
Muslim world is often dominated by an interpretation of Islam that teaches
intolerance and hatred. The graduates of these schoolsmadrasasprovide
the foot soldiers for many of the Islamic militant groups that operate
throughout the Muslim world.
Let me underscore what the President has affirmed: Islam itself is
neither an enemy nor a threat to the United States. But the increasing
anger toward the Westand toward governments friendly to usamong
Islamic extremists and their sympathizers clearly is a threat to us.
We have seenand continue to seethese dynamics play out across
the Muslim world. Let me briefly address their manifestation in several
Our campaign in Afghanistan has made great progress, but the
road ahead is fraught with challenges. The Afghan people, with international
assistance, are working to overcome a traditionally weak central government,
a devastated infrastructure, a grave humanitarian crisis, and ethnic
divisions that deepened over the last 20 years of conflict. The next
few months will be an especially fragile period.
- Interim authority chief Hamid Karzai will have to play a delicate
balancing game domestically. Remaining al Qaida fighters in
the eastern provinces, and ongoing power struggles among Pashtun leaders
there underscore the volatility of tribal and personal relations that
Karzai must navigate.
- Taliban elements still at large and remaining pockets of Arab fighters
could also threaten the security of those involved in reconstruction
and humanitarian operations. Some leaders in the new political order
may allow the continuation of opium cultivation to secure advantages
against their rivals for power.
Let me move next to Pakistan. September 11 and the US
response to it were the most profound external events for Pakistan since
the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979, and the US response to that.
The Musharraf governments alignment with the USand its abandonment
of nearly a decade of support for the Talibanrepresent a fundamental
political shift with inherent political risks because of the militant
Islamic and anti-American sentiments that exist within Pakistan.
President Musharrafs intention to establish a moderate, tolerant
Islamic stateas outlined in his 12 January speechis being
welcomed by most Pakistanis, but he will still have to confront major
vested interests. The speech is energizing debate across the Muslim
world about which vision of Islam is the right one for the future of
the Islamic community.
- Musharaff established a clear and forceful distinction between a
narrow, intolerant, and conflict-ridden vision of the past and an
inclusive, tolerant, and peace-oriented vision of the future.
- The speech also addressed the jihad issue by citing the distinction
the Prophet Muhammad made between the smaller jihad involving
violence and the greater jihad that focuses on eliminating
poverty and helping the needy.
Although September 11 highlighted the challenges that India-Pakistan
relations pose for US policy, the attack on the Indian parliament on
December 13 was even more destabilizingresulting as it did in
new calls for military action against Pakistan, and subsequent mobilization
on both sides. The chance of war between these two nuclear-armed states
is higher than at any point since 1971. If India were to conduct large
scale offensive operations into Pakistani Kashmir, Pakistan might retaliate
with strikes of its own in the belief that its nuclear deterrent would
limit the scope of an Indian counterattack.
- Both India and Pakistan are publicly downplaying
the risks of nuclear conflict in the current crisis. We are deeply
concerned, however, that a conventional waronce beguncould
escalate into a nuclear confrontation.
Let me turn now to Iraq. Saddam has responded to our progress
in Afghanistan with a political and diplomatic charm offensive to make
it appear that Baghdad is becoming more flexible on UN sanctions and
inspections issues. Last month he sent Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz
to Moscow and Beijing to profess Iraqs new openness to meet its
UN obligations and to seek their support.
Baghdads international isolation is also decreasing as support
for the sanctions regime erodes among other states in the region. Saddam
has carefully cultivated neighboring states, drawing them into economically
dependent relationships in hopes of further undermining their support
for the sanctions. The profits he gains from these relationships provide
him the means to reward key supporters and, more importantly, to fund
his pursuit of WMD. His calculus is never about bettering or
helping the Iraqi people.
Let me be clear: Saddam remains a threat. He is determined to thwart
UN sanctions, press ahead with weapons of mass destruction, and resurrect
the military force he had before the Gulf war. Today, he maintains
his vise grip on the levers of power through a pervasive intelligence
and security apparatus, and even his reduced military forcewhich
is less than half its pre-war sizeremains capable of defeating
more poorly armed internal opposition groups and threatening Iraqs
As I said earlier, we continue to watch Iraqs involvement in
terrorist activities. Baghdad has a long history of supporting terrorism,
altering its targets to reflect changing priorities and goals. It has
also had contacts with al-Qaida. Their ties may be limited by
divergent ideologies, but the two sides mutual antipathy toward
the United States and the Saudi royal family suggests that tactical
cooperation between them is possibleeven though Saddam is well
aware that such activity would carry serious consequences.
In Iran, we are concerned that the reform movement may be losing
its momentum. For almost five years, President Khatami and his reformist
supporters have been stymied by Supreme Leader Khamenei and the hardliners.
- The hardliners have systematically used the unelected institutions
they controlthe security forces, the judiciary, and the Guardians
Councilto block reforms that challenge their entrenched interests.
They have closed newspapers, forced members of Khatamis cabinet
from office, and arrested those who have dared to speak out against
- Discontent with the current domestic situation is widespread and
cuts across the social spectrum. Complaints focus on the lack of pluralism
and government accountability, social restrictions, and poor economic
performance. Frustrations are growing as the populace sees elected
institutions such as the Majles and the Presidency unable to break
the hardliners hold on power.
The hardline regime appears secure for now because security forces
have easily contained dissenters and arrested potential opposition leaders.
No one has emerged to rally reformers into a forceful movement for change,
and the Iranian public appears to prefer gradual reform to another revolution.
But the equilibrium is fragile and could be upset by a miscalculation
by either the reformers or the hardline clerics.
For all of this, reform is not dead. We must remember that the people
of Iran have demonstrated in four national elections since 1997 that
they want change and have grown disillusioned with the promises of the
revolution. Social, intellectual, and political developments are proceeding,
civil institutions are growing, and new newspapers open as others are
The initial signs of Tehran's cooperation and common cause with us
in Afghanistan are being eclipsed by Iranian efforts to undermine US
influence there. While Iran's officials express a shared interest in
a stable government in Afghanistan, its security forces appear bent
on countering the US presence. This seeming contradiction in behavior
reflects deep-seated suspicions among Tehran's clerics that the United
States is committed to encircling and overthrowing thema fear
that could quickly erupt in attacks against our interests.
- We have seen little sign of a reduction in Irans support for
terrorism in the past year. Its participation in the attempt to transfer
arms to the Palestinian Authority via the Karine-A probably was intended
to escalate the violence of the intifada and strengthen the position
of Palestinian elements that prefer armed conflict with Israel.
The current conflict between Israel and the Palestinians has
been raging for almost a year and a half, and it continues to deteriorate.
The violence has hardened the publics positions on both sides
and increased the longstanding animosity between Israeli Prime Minister
Sharon and Palestinian leader Arafat. Although many Israelis and Palestinians
say they believe that ultimately the conflict can only be resolved through
negotiations, the absence of any meaningful security cooperation between
Israel and the Palestinian Authorityand the escalating and uncontrolled
activities of the Palestine Islamic Jihad and HAMASmake any progress
- We are concerned that this environment creates opportunities for
any number of playersmost notably Iranto take steps that
will result in further escalation of violence by radical Palestinian
- At the same time, the continued violence threatens to weaken the
political center in the Arab world, and increases the challenge for
our Arab allies to balance their support for us against the demands
of their publics.
I turn now to the subject of proliferation. I would like to
start by drawing your attention to several disturbing trends in this
important area. WMD programs are becoming more advanced and effective
as they mature, and as countries of concern become more aggressive in
pursuing them. This is exacerbated by the diffusion of technology over
timewhich enables proliferators to draw on the experience of others
and to develop more advanced weapons more quickly than they could otherwise.
Proliferators are also becoming more self-sufficient. And they are
taking advantage of the dual-use nature of WMD- and missile-related
technologies to establish advanced production capabilities and to conduct
WMD- and missile-related research under the guise of legitimate commercial
or scientific activity.
Let me address in turn the primary categories of WMD proliferation,
starting with chemical and biological weapons. The CBW threat
continues to grow for a variety of reasons, and to present us with monitoring
challenges. The dual-use nature of many CW and BW agents complicates
our assessment of offensive programs. Many CW and BW production capabilities
are hidden in plants that are virtually indistinguishable from genuine
commercial facilities. And the technology behind CW and BW agents is
spreading. We assess there is a significant risk within the next few
years that we could confront an adversaryeither terrorists or
a rogue statewho possesses them.
On the nuclear side, we are concerned about the possibility
of significant nuclear technology transfers going undetected. This
reinforces our need to more closely examine emerging nuclear programs
for sudden leaps in capability. Factors working against us include
the difficulty of monitoring and controlling technology transfers, the
emergence of new suppliers to covert nuclear weapons programs, and the
possibility of illicitly acquiring fissile material. All of these can
shorten timelines and increase the chances of proliferation surprise.
On the missile side, the proliferation of ICBM and cruise missile
designs and technology has raised the threat to the US from WMD delivery
systems to a critical threshold. As outlined in our recent National
Intelligence Estimate on the subject, most Intelligence Community agencies
project that by 2015 the US most likely will face ICBM threats from
North Korea and Iran, and possibly from Iraq. This is in addition to
the longstanding missile forces of Russia and China. Short- and medium-range
ballistic missiles pose a significant threat now.
- Several countries of concern are also increasingly interested in
acquiring a land-attack cruise missile (LACM) capability. By the
end of the decade, LACMs could pose a serious threat to not only our
deployed forces, but possibly even the US mainland.
Russian entities continue to provide other countries
with technology and expertise applicable to CW, BW, nuclear, and ballistic
and cruise missile projects. Russia appears to be the first choice
of proliferant states seeking the most advanced technology and training.
These sales are a major source of funds for Russian commercial and defense
industries and military R&D.
- Russia continues to supply significant assistance on nearly all
aspects of Tehrans nuclear program. It is also providing Iran
assistance on long-range ballistic missile programs.
Chinese firms remain key suppliers of missile-related technologies
to Pakistan, Iran, and several other countries. This is in spite of
Beijings November 2000 missile pledge not to assist in any way
countries seeking to develop nuclear-capable ballistic missiles. Most
of Chinas efforts involve solid-propellant ballistic missile development
for countries that are largely dependent on Chinese expertise and materials,
but it has also sold cruise missiles to countries of concern such as
- We are closely watching Beijings compliance with its bilateral
commitment in 1996 not to assist unsafeguarded nuclear facilities,
and its pledge in 1997 not to provide any new nuclear cooperation
- Chinese firms have in the past supplied dual-use CW-related production
equipment and technology to Iran. We remain concerned that they may
try to circumvent the CW-related export controls that Beijing has
promulgated since acceding to the CWC and the nuclear Nonproliferation
North Korea continues to export complete ballistic missiles
and production capabilities along with related raw materials, components,
and expertise. Profits from these sales help Pyongyang to support
its missileand probably other WMDdevelopment programs, and
in turn generate new products to offer to its customersprimarily
Iran, Libya, Syria, and Egypt. North Korea continues to comply with
the terms of the Agreed Framework that are directly related to the freeze
on its reactor program, but Pyongyang has warned that it is prepared
to walk away from the agreement if it concluded that the United States
was not living up to its end of the deal.
Iraq continues to build and expand an infrastructure capable
of producing WMD. Baghdad is expanding its civilian chemical industry
in ways that could be diverted quickly to CW production. We believe
it also maintains an active and capable BW program; Iraq told UNSCOM
it had worked with several BW agents.
- We believe Baghdad continues to pursue ballistic missile capabilities
that exceed the restrictions imposed by UN resolutions. With substantial
foreign assistance, it could flight-test a longer-range ballistic
missile within the next five years. It may also have retained the
capability to deliver BW or CW agents using modified aircraft or other
unmanned aerial vehicles.
- We believe Saddam never abandoned his nuclear weapons program.
Iraq retains a significant number of nuclear scientists, program documentation,
and probably some dual-use manufacturing infrastructure that could
support a reinvigorated nuclear weapons program. Baghdads access
to foreign expertise could support a rejuvenated program, but our
major near-term concern is the possibility that Saddam might gain
access to fissile material.
Iran remains a serious concern because of its across-the-board
pursuit of WMD and missile capabilities. Tehran may be able to indigenously
produce enough fissile material for a nuclear weapon by late this decade.
Obtaining material from outside could cut years from this estimate.
Iran may also flight-test an ICBM later this decade, using either Russian
or North Korean assistance. Having already deployed several types of
UAVsincluding some in an attack roleIran may seek to develop
or otherwise acquire more sophisticated LACMs. It also continues to
pursue dual-use equipment and expertise that could help to expand its
BW arsenal, and to maintain a large CW stockpile.
Both India and Pakistan are working on the doctrine and
tactics for more advanced nuclear weapons, producing fissile material,
and increasing their nuclear stockpiles. We have continuing concerns
that both sides may not be done with nuclear testing. Nor can we rule
out the possibility that either country could deploy their most advanced
nuclear weapons without additional testing. Both countries also continue
development of long-range nuclear-capable ballistic missiles, and plan
to field cruise missiles with a land-attack capability.
As I have mentioned in years past, we face several unique challenges
in trying to detect WMD acquisition by proliferant states and non-state
actors. Their use of denial and deception tactics, and their access
to a tremendous amount of information in open sources about WMD production,
complicate our efforts. So does their exploitation of space. The unique
spaceborne advantage that the US has enjoyed over the past few decades
is eroding as more countriesincluding China and Indiafield
increasingly sophisticated reconnaissance satellites. Today there are
three commercial satellites collecting high-resolution imagery, much
of it openly marketed. Foreign military, intelligence, and terrorist
organizations are exploiting thisalong with commercially available
navigation and communications servicesto enhance the planning
and conduct of their operations.
Let me mention here another danger that is closely related to proliferation:
the changing character of warfare itself. As demonstrated by September
11, we increasingly are facing real or potential adversaries whose main
goal is to cause the United States pain and suffering, rather than to
achieve traditional military objectives. Their inability to match US
military power is driving some to invest in asymmetric niche
capabilities. We must remain alert to indications that our adversaries
are pursuing such capabilities against us.
Mr. Chairman, let me turn now to other areas of the world where the
US has key interests, beginning with Russia. The most striking
development regarding Russia over the past year has been Moscows
greater engagement with the United States. Even before September 11,
President Putin had moved to engage the US as part of a broader effort
to integrate Russia more fully into the West, modernize its economy,
and regain international status and influence. This strategic shift
away from a zero-sum view of relations with the United States is consistent
with Putins stated desire to address the many socioeconomic problems
that cloud Russias future.
During his second year in office, Putin moved strongly to advance his
policy agenda. He pushed the Duma to pass key economic legislation
on budget reform, legitimizing urban property sales, flattening and
simplifying tax rates, and reducing red tape for small businesses.
His support for his economic team and its fiscal rigor positioned Russia
to pay back wages and pensions to state workers, amass a post-Soviet
high of almost $39 billion in reserves, and meet the major foreign debt
coming due this year (about $14 billion) and next (about $16 billion).
- He reinvigorated military reform by placing
his top lieutenant atop the Defense Ministry and increasing military
spending for the second straight yeareven as he forced tough
decisions on de-emphasizing strategic forces, and pushing for a leaner,
better-equipped conventional military force.
This progress is promising, and Putin is trying to build a strong Presidency
that can ensure these reforms are implemented across Russiawhile
managing a fragmented bureaucracy beset by informal networks that serve
private interests. In his quest to build a strong state, however, he
is trying to establish parameters within which political forces must
operate. This managed democracy is illustrated by his continuing
moves against independent national television companies.
- On the economic front, Putin will have to take on bank reform, overhaul
of Russias entrenched monopolies, and judicial reform to move
the country closer to a Western-style market economy and attract much-needed
Putin has made no headway in Chechnya. Despite his hint in September
of a possible dialogue with Chechen moderates, the fighting has intensified
in recent months, and thousands of Chechen guerrillasand their
fellow Arab mujahedeen fightersremain. Moscow seems unwilling
to consider the compromises necessary to reach a settlement, while divisions
among the Chechens make it hard to find a representative interlocutor.
The war, meanwhile, threatens to spill over into neighboring Georgia.
After September 11, Putin emphatically chose to join us in the fight
against terrorism. The Kremlin blames Islamic radicalism for the conflict
in Chechnya and believes it to be a serious threat to Russia. Moscow
sees the US-led counterterrorism effortparticularly the demise
of the Taliban regimeas an important gain in countering the radical
Islamic threat to Russia and Central Asia.
So far, Putins outreach to the United States has incurred little
political damage, largely because of his strong domestic standing.
Recent Russian media polls show his public approval ratings at around
80 percent. The depth of support within key elites, however, is unclearparticularly
within the military and security services. Public comments by some
senior military officers indicate that elements of the military doubt
that the international situation has changed sufficiently to overcome
deeply rooted suspicions of US intentions.
Moscow retains fundamental differences with
Washington on key issues, and suspicion about US motives persists among
Russian conservativesespecially within the military and security
services. Putin has called the intended US withdrawal from the ABM
treaty a mistake, but has downplayed its impact on Russia.
At the same time, Moscow is likely to pursue a variety
of countermeasures and new weapons systems to defeat a deployed US missile
I turn next to China. Last year I told you that Chinas
drive to become a great power was coming more sharply into focus. The
challenge, I said, was that Beijing saw the United States as the primary
obstacle to its realization of that goal. This was in spite of the
fact that Chinese leaders at the same time judged that they needed to
maintain good ties with Washington. A lot has happened in US-China
relations over the past year, from the tenseness of the EP-3 episode
in April to the positive image of President Bush and Jiang Zemin standing
together in Shanghai last fall, highlighting our shared fight against
September 11 changed the context of Chinas approach to us, but
it did not change the fundamentals. China is developing an increasingly
competitive economy and building a modern military force with the ultimate
objective of asserting itself as a great power in East Asia. And although
Beijing joined the coalition against terrorism, it remains deeply skeptical
of US intentions in Central and South Asia. It fears that we are gaining
regional influence at Chinas expense, and it views our encouragement
of a Japanese military role in counterterrorism as support for Japanese
rearmamentsomething the Chinese firmly oppose.
As always, Beijings approach to the United States must be viewed
against the backdrop of Chinas domestic politics. I told you
last year that the approach of a major leadership transition and Chinas
accession to WTO would soon be coloring all of Beijings actions.
Both of those benchmarks are now upon us. The 16th Communist
Party Congress will be held this fall, and China is now confronting
the obligations of WTO membership.
On the leadership side, Beijing is likely to be preoccupied this year
with succession jockeying, as top leaders decide who will get what positionsand
who will retireat the Party Congress and in the changeover in
government positions that will follow next spring. This preoccupation
is likely to translate into a cautious and defensive approach on most
policy issues. It probably also translates into a persistently nationalist
foreign policy, as each of the contenders in the succession contest
will be obliged to avoid any hint of being soft on the United
Chinas entry into the WTO underscores the trepidation the succession
contenders will have about maintaining internal stability. WTO membership
is a major challenge to Chinese stability because the economic requirements
of accession will upset already disaffected sectors of the population
and increase unemployment. If Chinas leaders stumble in WTO implementationand
even if they succeedthey will face rising socioeconomic tensions
at a time when the stakes in the succession contest are pushing them
toward a cautious response to problems. In the case of social unrest,
that response is more likely to be harsh than accommodative toward the
population at large.
The Taiwan issue remains central. Cross-strait relations remain at
a stalemate, but there are competing trend lines behind that. Chinese
leaders seemed somewhat complacent last year that the growing economic
integration across the Taiwan Strait was boosting Beijings long-term
leverage. The results of Taiwans legislative elections in December,
however, strengthened President Chens hand domestically. Although
Beijings latest policy statementinviting members of Chens
party to visit the mainlandwas designed as a conciliatory gesture,
Beijing might resume a more confrontational stance if it suspects him
of using his electoral mandate to move toward independence.
Taiwan also remains the focus of Chinas military modernization
programs. Over the past year, Beijings military training exercises
have taken on an increasingly real-world focus, emphasizing rigorous
practice in operational capabilities and improving the militarys
actual ability to use force. This is aimed not only at Taiwan but also
at increasing the risk to the United States itself in any future Taiwan
contingency. China also continues to upgrade and expand the conventional
short-range ballistic missile force it has arrayed against Taiwan.
Beijing also continues to make progress towards fielding its first
generation of road mobile strategic missilesthe DF-31. A longer-range
version capable of reaching targets in the US will become operational
later in the decade.
Staying within East Asia for a moment, let me update you on North
Korea. The suspension last year of engagement between Pyongyang,
Seoul, and Washington reinforced the concerns I cited last year about
Kim Chong-ils intentions toward us and our allies in Northeast
Asia. Kims reluctance to pursue constructive dialogue with the
South or to undertake meaningful reforms suggests that he remains focused
on maintaining internal controlat the expense of addressing the
fundamental economic failures that keep the North mired in poverty and
pose a long-term threat to the countrys stability. North Koreas
large standing army continues to be a priority claimant on scarce resources,
and we have seen no evidence that Pyongyang has abandoned its
goal of eventual reunification of the Peninsula under the Norths
The cumulative effects of prolonged economic mismanagement have left
the country increasingly susceptible to the possibility of state failure.
North Korea faces deepening economic deprivation and the return of famine
in the absence of fundamental economic reforms and the large-scale international
humanitarian assistance it receivesan annual average of 1 million
metric tons of food aid over the last five years. It has ignored international
efforts to address the systemic agricultural problems that exacerbate
the Norths chronic food shortages. Grain production appears to
have roughly stabilized, but it still falls far short of the level required
to meet minimum nutritional needs for the population. Large numbers
of North Koreans face long-term health damage as a result of prolonged
malnutrition and collapse of the public health network.
Other important regions of the developing world are test cases for
many of the political, social, and demographic trends I identified earliertrends
that pose latent or growing challenges to US interests, and sometimes
fuel terrorists. I have already mentioned Southeast Asia in
this respect, citing the rise of Islamic extremism in Indonesia and
terrorist links in the Philippines.
Latin America is becoming increasingly volatile as the potential
for instability there grows. The region has been whipsawed by five
economic crises in as many years, and the economic impact of September
11 worsened an already bleak outlook for regional economies as the global
slump reduces demand for exports.
In this context, I am particularly concerned about Venezuela,
our third largest supplier of petroleum. Domestic unhappiness with
President Chavezs Bolivarian revolution is growing,
economic conditions have deteriorated with the fall in oil prices, and
the crisis atmosphere is likely to worsen. In Argentina,
President Duhalde is trying to maintain public order while putting into
place the groundwork for recovery from economic collapse, but his support
base is thin.
Colombia too remains highly volatile. The peace process there
faces many obstacles, and a significant increase in violenceespecially
from the FARCmay be in the offing. Colombias tenuous security
situation is taking a toll on the economy and increasing the dangers
for US military advisers in the country. Together, the difficult security
and economic conditions have hampered Bogotas ability to implement
Plan Colombias counterdrug and social programs. Colombia remains
the cornerstone of the worlds cocaine trade, and the largest source
of heroin for the US market.
The chronic problems of Sub-Saharan Africa make it, too, fertile
ground for direct and indirect threats to US interests. Governments
without accountability and natural disasters have left Africa with the
highest concentration of human misery in the world. It is the only
region where average incomes have declined since 1970, and Africans
have the worlds lowest life expectancy at birth. These problems
have been compounded by the HIV/AIDS pandemic, which will kill more
than 2 million Africans this year, making it the leading source of mortality
in the region.
Given these grim facts, the risk of state failures in Sub-Saharan Africa
will remain high. In the past decade, the collapse of governments in
Somalia, Liberia, Rwanda, Congo-Kinshasa, and elsewhere has led the
United States and other international partners to provide hundreds of
millions of dollars worth of aid, and to deploy thousands of peacekeepers.
A number of other African statesincluding Zimbabwe and
Liberiaare poised to follow the same downward spiral.
In Zimbabwe, President Mugabe's attempts to rig the presidential election
scheduled for next month increases the chances of a collapse in law
and order that could spill over into South Africa and other neighbors.
The UN-monitored truce between Ethiopia and Eritrea also
Finally, let me briefly mention the Balkans, the importance
of which is underlined by the continuing US military presence there.
International peacekeeping troops, with a crucial core from NATO, are
key to maintaining stability in the region.
In Macedonia, the Framework Agreement brokered by the United
States and the EU has eased tensions by increasing the ethnic Albanians
political role, but it remains fragile and most of the agreement has
yet to be implemented. Ethnic Slavs are worried about losing their
dominance in the country. If they obstruct implementation of the accord,
many Albanians could decide that the Slav-dominated governmentand
by extension the international communitycannot be trusted.
US and other international forces are most at risk in Bosnia,
where Islamic extremists from outside the region played an important
role in the ethnic conflicts of the 1990s. There is considerable sympathy
for international Islamic causes among the Muslim community in Bosnia.
Some of the mujahedin who fought in the Bosnian wars of the early 1990s
stayed there. These factors combine with others present throughout
the Balkansweak border controls, large amounts of weapons, and
pervasive corruption and organized crimeto sustain an ongoing
threat to US forces there.
Mr. Chairman, I want to end my presentation by reaffirming what the
President has said on many occasions regarding the threats we face from
terrorists and other adversaries. We cannotand will notrelax
our guard against these enemies. If we did so, the terrorists would
have won. And that will not happen. The terrorists, rather, should
stand warned that we will not falter in our efforts, and in our commitment,
until the threat they pose to us has been eliminated.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I welcome any questions you and your colleagues
have for me.