A World Without Israel

Imagine that Israel never existed. Would the economic malaise and political repression that drive angry young men to become suicide bombers vanish? Would the Palestinians have an independent state? Would the United States, freed of its burdensome ally, suddenly find itself beloved throughout the Muslim world? Wishful thinking. Far from creating tensions, Israel actually contains more antagonisms than it causes.

Since World War II, no state has suffered so cruel a reversal of fortunes as Israel. Admired all the way into the 1970s as the state of "those plucky Jews" who survived against all odds and made democracy and the desert bloom in a climate hostile to both liberty and greenery, Israel has become the target of creeping delegitimization. The denigration comes in two guises. The first, the soft version, blames Israel first and most for whatever ails the Middle East, and for having corrupted U.S. foreign policy. It is the standard fare of editorials around the world, not to mention the sheer venom oozing from the pages of the Arab-Islamic press. The more recent hard version zeroes in on Israel's very existence. According to this dispensation, it is Israel as such, and not its behavior, that lies at the root of troubles in the Middle East. Hence the "statocidal" conclusion that Israel's birth, midwifed by both the United States and the Soviet Union in 1948, was a grievous mistake, grandiose and worthy as it may have been at the time.

The soft version is familiar enough. One motif is the "wagging the dog" theory. Thus, in the United States, the "Jewish lobby" and a cabal of neoconservatives have bamboozled the Bush administration into a mindless pro-Israel policy inimical to the national interest. This view attributes, as has happened so often in history, too much clout to the Jews. And behind this charge lurks a more general one -- that it is somehow antidemocratic for subnational groups to throw themselves into the hurly-burly of politics when it comes to foreign policy. But let us count the ways in which subnational entities battle over the national interest: unions and corporations clamor for tariffs and tax loopholes; nongovernmental organizations agitate for humanitarian intervention; and Cuban Americans keep us from smoking cheroots from the Vuelta Abajo. In previous years, Poles militated in favor of Solidarity, African Americans against Apartheid South Africa, and Latvians against the Soviet Union. In other words, the democratic melee has never stopped at the water's edge.

Another soft version is the "root-cause" theory in its many variations. Because the "obstinate" and "recalcitrant" Israelis are the main culprits, they must be punished and pushed back for the sake of peace. "Put pressure on Israel"; "cut economic and military aid"; "serve them notice that we will not condone their brutalities" -- these have been the boilerplate homilies, indeed the obsessions, of the chattering classes and the foreign-office establishment for decades. Yet, as Sigmund Freud reminded us, obsessions tend to spread. And so there are ever more creative addenda to the well-wrought root-cause theory. Anatol Lieven of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace argues that what is happening between Israelis and Palestinians is a "tremendous obstacle to democratization because it inflames all the worst, most regressive aspects of Arab nationalism and Arab culture." In other words, the conflict drives the pathology, and not the other way around -- which is like the streetfighter explaining to the police: "It all started when this guy hit back."

The problem with this root-cause argument is threefold: It blurs, if not reverses, cause and effect. It ignores a myriad of conflicts unrelated to Israel. And it absolves the Arabs of culpability, shifting the blame to you know whom. If one believes former U.N. weapons inspector Scott Ritter, the Arab-Islamic quest for weapons of mass destruction, and by extension the war against Iraq, are also Made in Israel. "[A]s long as Israel has nuclear weapons," Ritter opines, "it has chosen to take a path that is inherently confrontational.… Now the Arab countries, the Muslim world, is not about to sit back and let this happen, so they will seek their own deterrent. We saw this in Iraq, not only with a nuclear deterrent but also with a biological weapons deterrent… that the Iraqis were developing to offset the Israeli nuclear superiority."

This theory would be engaging if it did not collide with some inconvenient facts. Iraqis didn't use their weapons of mass destruction against the Israeli usurper but against fellow Muslims during the Iran-Iraq War, and against fellow Iraqis in the poison-gas attack against Kurds in Halabja in 1988 -- neither of whom were brandishing any nuclear weapons. As for the Iraqi nuclear program, we now have the "Duelfer Report," based on the debriefing of Iraqi regime loyalists, which concluded: "Iran was the pre-eminent motivator of this policy. All senior-level Iraqi officials considered Iran to be Iraq's principal enemy in the region. The wish to balance Israel and acquire status and influence in the Arab world were also considerations, but secondary."

Now to the hard version. Ever so subtly, a more baleful tone slips into this narrative: Israel is not merely an unruly neighbor but an unwelcome intruder. Still timidly uttered outside the Arab world, this version's proponents in the West bestride the stage as truth-sayers who dare to defy taboo. Thus, the British writer A.N. Wilson declares that he has reluctantly come to the conclusion that Israel, through its own actions, has proven it does not have the right to exist. And, following Sept. 11, 2001, Brazilian scholar Jose Arthur Giannotti said: "Let us agree that the history of the Middle East would be entirely different without the State of Israel, which opened a wound between Islam and the West. Can you get rid of Muslim terrorism without getting rid of this wound which is the source of the frustration of potential terrorists?"

The very idea of a Jewish state is an "anachronism," argues Tony Judt, a professor and director of the Remarque Institute at New York University. It resembles a "late-nineteenth-century separatist project" that has "no place" in this wondrous new world moving toward the teleological perfection of multiethnic and multicultural togetherness bound together by international law. The time has come to "think the unthinkable," hence, to ditch this Jewish state for a binational one, guaranteed, of course, by international force.

So let us assume that Israel is an anachronism and a historical mistake without which the Arab-Islamic world stretching from Algeria to Egypt, from Syria to Pakistan, would be a far happier place, above all because the original sin, the establishment of Israel, never would have been committed. Then let's move from the past to the present, pretending that we could wave a mighty magic wand, and "poof," Israel disappears from the map.

Civilization of Clashes
Let us start the what-if procession in 1948, when Israel was born in war. Would stillbirth have nipped the Palestinian problem in the bud? Not quite. Egypt, Transjordan (now Jordan), Syria, Iraq, and Lebanon marched on Haifa and Tel Aviv not to liberate Palestine, but to grab it. The invasion was a textbook competitive power play by neighboring states intent on acquiring territory for themselves. If they had been victorious, a Palestinian state would not have emerged, and there still would have been plenty of refugees. (Recall that half the population of Kuwait fled Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein's "liberation" of that country in 1990.) Indeed, assuming that Palestinian nationalism had awakened when it did in the late 1960s and 1970s, the Palestinians might now be dispatching suicide bombers to Egypt, Syria, and elsewhere.

Let us imagine Israel had disappeared in 1967, instead of occupying the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, which were held, respectively, by Jordan's King Hussein and Egypt's President Gamal Abdel Nasser. Would they have relinquished their possessions to Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat and thrown in Haifa and Tel Aviv for good measure? Not likely. The two potentates, enemies in all but name, were united only by their common hatred and fear of Arafat, the founder of Fatah (the Palestine National Liberation Movement) and rightly suspected of plotting against Arab regimes. In short, the "root cause" of Palestinian statelessness would have persisted, even in Israel's absence.

Let us finally assume, through a thought experiment, that Israel goes "poof" today. How would this development affect the political pathologies of the Middle East? Only those who think the Palestinian issue is at the core of the Middle East conflict would lightly predict a happy career for this most dysfunctional region once Israel vanishes. For there is no such thing as "the" conflict. A quick count reveals five ways in which the region's fortunes would remain stunted -- or worse:

States vs. States: Israel's elimination from the regional balance would hardly bolster intra-Arab amity. The retraction of the colonial powers, Britain and France, in the mid-20th century left behind a bunch of young Arab states seeking to redraw the map of the region. From the very beginning, Syria laid claim to Lebanon. In 1970, only the Israeli military deterred Damascus from invading Jordan under the pretext of supporting a Palestinian uprising. Throughout the 1950s and 1960s, Nasser's Egypt proclaimed itself the avatar of pan-Arabism, intervening in Yemen during the 1960s. Nasser's successor, President Anwar Sadat, was embroiled in on-and-off clashes with Libya throughout the late 1970s. Syria marched into Lebanon in 1976 and then effectively annexed the country 15 years later, and Iraq launched two wars against fellow Muslim states: Iran in 1980, Kuwait in 1990. The war against Iran was the longest conventional war of the 20th century. None of these conflicts is related to the Israeli-Palestinian one. Indeed, Israel's disappearance would only liberate military assets for use in such internal rivalries.

Believers vs. Believers: Those who think that the Middle East conflict is a "Muslim-Jewish thing" had better take a closer look at the score card: 14 years of sectarian bloodshed in Lebanon; Saddam's campaign of extinction against the Shia in the aftermath of the first Gulf War; Syria's massacre of 20,000 people in the Muslim Brotherhood stronghold of Hama in 1982; and terrorist violence against Egyptian Christians in the 1990s. Add to this tally intraconfessional oppression, such as in Saudi Arabia, where the fundamentalist Wahhabi sect wields the truncheon of state power to inflict its dour lifestyle on the less devout.

Ideologies vs. Ideologies: Zionism is not the only "ism" in the region, which is rife with competing ideologies. Even though the Baathist parties in Syria and Iraq sprang from the same fascist European roots, both have vied for precedence in the Middle East. Nasser wielded pan-Arabism-cum-socialism against the Arab nation-state. And both Baathists and Nasserites have opposed the monarchies, such as in Jordan. Khomeinist Iran and Wahhabite Saudi Arabia remain mortal enemies. What is the connection to the Arab-Israeli conflict? Nil, with the exception of Hamas, a terror army of the faithful once supported by Israel as a rival to the Palestine Liberation Organization and now responsible for many suicide bombings in Israel. But will Hamas disband once Israel is gone? Hardly. Hamas has bigger ambitions than eliminating the "Zionist entity." The organization seeks nothing less than a unified Arab state under a regime of God.

Reactionary Utopia vs. Modernity: A common enmity toward Israel is the only thing that prevents Arab modernizers and traditionalists from tearing their societies apart. Fundamentalists vie against secularists and reformist Muslims for the fusion of mosque and state under the green flag of the Prophet. And a barely concealed class struggle pits a minuscule bourgeoisie and millions of unemployed young men against the power structure, usually a form of statist cronyism that controls the means of production. Far from creating tensions, Israel actually contains the antagonisms in the world around it.

Regimes vs. Peoples: The existence of Israel cannot explain the breadth and depth of the Mukhabarat states (secret police states) throughout the Middle East. With the exceptions of Jordan, Morocco, and the Gulf sheikdoms, which gingerly practice an enlightened monarchism, all Arab countries (plus Iran and Pakistan) are but variations of despotism -- from the dynastic dictatorship of Syria to the authoritarianism of Egypt. Intranational strife in Algeria has killed nearly 100,000, with no letup in sight. Saddam's victims are said to number 300,000. After the Khomeinists took power in 1979, Iran was embroiled not only in the Iran-Iraq War but also in barely contained civil unrest into the 1980s. Pakistan is an explosion waiting to happen. Ruthless suppression is the price of stability in this region.

Again, it would take a florid imagination to surmise that factoring Israel out of the Middle East equation would produce liberal democracy in the region. It might be plausible to argue that the dialectic of enmity somehow favors dictatorship in "frontline states" such as Egypt and Syria -- governments that invoke the proximity of the "Zionist threat" as a pretext to suppress dissent. But how then to explain the mayhem in faraway Algeria, the bizarre cult-of-personality regime in Libya, the pious kleptocracy of Saudi Arabia, the clerical despotism of Iran, or democracy's enduring failure to take root in Pakistan? Did Israel somehow cause the various putsches that produced the republic of fear in Iraq? If Jordan, the state sharing the longest border with Israel, can experiment with constitutional monarchy, why not Syria?

It won't do to lay the democracy and development deficits of the Arab world on the doorstep of the Jewish state. Israel is a pretext, not a cause, and therefore its dispatch will not heal the self-inflicted wounds of the Arab-Islamic world. Nor will the mild version of "statocide," a binational state, do the trick -- not in view of the "civilization of clashes" (to borrow a term from British historian Niall Ferguson) that is the hallmark of Arab political culture. The mortal struggle between Israelis and Palestinians would simply shift from the outside to the inside.

My Enemy, Myself
Can anybody proclaim in good conscience that these dysfunctionalities of the Arab world would vanish along with Israel? Two U.N. "Arab Human Development Reports," written by Arab authors, say no. The calamities are homemade. Stagnation and hopelessness have three root causes. The first is lack of freedom. The United Nations cites the persistence of absolute autocracies, bogus elections, judiciaries beholden to executives, and constraints on civil society. Freedom of expression and association are also sharply limited. The second root cause is lack of knowledge: Sixty-five million adults are illiterate, and some 10 million children have no schooling at all. As such, the Arab world is dropping ever further behind in scientific research and the development of information technology. Third, female participation in political and economic life is the lowest in the world. Economic growth will continue to lag as long as the potential of half the population remains largely untapped.

Will all of this right itself when that Judeo-Western insult to Arab pride finally vanishes? Will the millions of unemployed and bored young men, cannon fodder for the terrorists, vanish as well -- along with one-party rule, corruption, and closed economies? This notion makes sense only if one cherishes single-cause explanations or, worse, harbors a particular animus against the Jewish state and its refusal to behave like Sweden. (Come to think of it, Sweden would not be Sweden either if it lived in the Hobbesian world of the Middle East.)

Finally, the most popular what-if issue of them all: Would the Islamic world hate the United States less if Israel vanished? Like all what-if queries, this one, too, admits only suggestive evidence. To begin, the notion that 5 million Jews are solely responsible for the rage of 1 billion or so Muslims cannot carry the weight assigned to it. Second, Arab-Islamic hatreds of the United States preceded the conquest of the West Bank and Gaza. Recall the loathing left behind by the U.S.-managed coup that restored the shah's rule in Tehran in 1953, or the U.S. intervention in Lebanon in 1958. As soon as Britain and France left the Middle East, the United States became the dominant power and the No. 1 target. Another bit of suggestive evidence is that the fiercest (unofficial) anti-Americanism emanates from Washington's self-styled allies in the Arab Middle East, Egypt and Saudi Arabia. Is this situation because of Israel -- or because it is so convenient for these regimes to "busy giddy minds with foreign quarrels" (as Shakespeare's Henry IV put it) to distract their populations from their dependence on the "Great Satan"?

Take the Cairo Declaration against "U.S. hegemony," endorsed by 400 delegates from across the Middle East and the West in December 2002. The lengthy indictment mentions Palestine only peripherally. The central condemnation, uttered in profuse variation, targets the United States for monopolizing power "within the framework of capitalist globalization," for reinstating "colonialism," and for blocking the "emergence of forces that would shift the balance of power toward multi-polarity." In short, Global America is responsible for all the afflictions of the Arab world, with Israel coming in a distant second.

This familiar tale has an ironic twist: One of the key signers is Nader Fergany, lead author of the 2002 U.N. Arab Human Development Report. So even those who confess to the internal failures of the Arab world end up blaming "the Other." Given the enormity of the indictment, ditching Israel will not absolve the United States. Iran's Khomeinists have it right, so to speak, when they denounce America as the "Great Satan" and Israel only as the "Little Satan," a handmaiden of U.S. power. What really riles America-haters in the Middle East is Washington's intrusion into their affairs, be it for reasons of oil, terrorism, or weapons of mass destruction. This fact is why Osama bin Laden, having attached himself to the Palestinian cause only as an afterthought, calls the Americans the new crusaders, and the Jews their imperialist stand-ins.

None of this is to argue in favor of Israel's continued occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, nor to excuse the cruel hardship it imposes on the Palestinians, which is pernicious, even for Israel's own soul. But as this analysis suggests, the real source of Arab angst is the West as a palpable symbol of misery and an irresistible target of what noted Middle East scholar Fouad Ajami has called "Arab rage." The puzzle is why so many Westerners, like those who signed the Cairo Declaration, believe otherwise.

Is this anti-Semitism, as so many Jews are quick to suspect? No, but denying Israel's legitimacy bears an uncanny resemblance to some central features of this darkest of creeds. Accordingly, the Jews are omnipotent, ubiquitous, and thus responsible for the evils of the world. Today, Israel finds itself in an analogous position, either as handmaiden or manipulator of U.S. might. The soft version sighs: "If only Israel were more reasonable…" The semihard version demands that "the United States pull the rug out from under Israel" to impose the pliancy that comes from impotence. And the hard-hard version dreams about salvation springing from Israel's disappearance.

Why, sure -- if it weren't for that old joke from Israel's War of Independence: While the bullets were whistling overhead and the two Jews in their foxhole were running out of rounds, one griped, "If the Brits had to give us a country not their own, why couldn't they have given us Switzerland?" Alas, Israel is just a strip of land in the world's most noxious neighborhood, and the cleanup hasn't even begun.


No Country Left Behind

Development is not a "soft" policy goal, but a core national security issue, says Colin Powell, as he draws the main lessons of his four years as U.S. secretary of state. However, contrary to what critics say, the best way to lift millions out of poverty is not to increase levels of foreign aid. Instead, the United States must engage in tough love and demand that corrupt, autocratic regimes change their ways.

As the first George W. Bush administration moved toward its conclusion, many people asked me to sum up the president’s foreign-policy record of the last four years. Almost invariably, their questions focused on September 11 and the war on terrorism, developments in Iraq and Afghanistan, the state of trans-Atlantic relations, or the difficulties of the intelligence craft. Almost invariably, my answers have keyed on distinguishing between issues such as these that tend to dominate the headlines, and issues of equal or greater long-term strategic significance that rarely generate as much interest.

Among these latter issues, none is more important than economic development in the world's poorest societies. As the president wrote in the National Security Strategy in September 2002, "A world where some live in comfort and plenty, while half of the human race lives on less than $2 a day, is neither just nor stable." No issue has consumed more of the administration's concern and energy. And now that George W. Bush has a mandate for a second term, he intends to pursue his goals for economic development with the same determination that made possible the liberation of Iraq and Afghanistan. The president has said that he intends to spend the political capital he earned in winning the trust of the American people, and the world can be assured that much of that capital will be spent helping the poorest of its citizens.

In doing so, the president is building upon the legacy of President John F. Kennedy, who established the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) in 1961. Helping poor societies to prosper has long been part of our international goals. Achieving broad and sustained success, however, has proven more difficult than most diplomats and economists envisioned at the time.

We have come to understand that development assistance does not work well when it is conceived and pursued as a narrow economic exercise. It has become ever clearer that political attitudes and cultural predispositions affect the economic behavior of individuals, and that history has shaped the economic institutions of societies. External factors, including security conditions, also play a role in determining economic progress, especially as globalization weaves together the fate of nations.

The first George W. Bush administration took these lessons to heart. We see development, democracy, and security as inextricably linked. We recognize that poverty alleviation cannot succeed without sustained economic growth, which requires that policymakers take seriously the challenge of good governance. At the same time, new and often fragile democracies cannot be reliably sustained, and democratic values cannot be spread further, unless we work hard and wisely at economic development. And no nation, no matter how powerful, can assure the safety of its people as long as economic desperation and injustice can mingle with tyranny and fanaticism.

Development is not a "soft" policy issue, but a core national security issue. Although we see a link between terrorism and poverty, we do not believe that poverty directly causes terrorism. Few terrorists are poor. The leaders of the September 11 group were all well-educated men, far from the bottom rungs of their societies. Poverty breeds frustration and resentment, which ideological entrepreneurs can turn into support for -- or acquiescence to -- terrorism, particularly in those countries in which poverty is coupled with a lack of political rights and basic freedoms.

The connection between poverty and the absence of freedom is not an incidental one. Although resource endowments shape development, poverty is not inevitable in countries that possess few natural resources. After all, Holland and Venice in days gone by, and Singapore and Israel today, are small territories without significant natural resources -- but they have not suffered from poverty and powerlessness.

The root cause of poverty is social injustice and the bad government that abets it. Poverty arises and persists where corruption is endemic and enterprise is stifled, where basic fairness provided by the rule of law is absent. In such circumstances, poverty is an assault against human dignity, and in that assault lies the natural seed of human anger.

The United States cannot win the war on terrorism unless we confront the social and political roots of poverty. We want to bring people to justice if they commit acts of terrorism, but we also want to bring justice to people. We want to help others achieve representative government that provides opportunity and fairness. We want to unshackle the human spirit so that entrepreneurship, investment, and trade can flourish. This goal is the indispensable social and political precondition for sustainable development; it is the means by which we will uproot the social support structures of terrorism.

Development is not only a difficult and complex job; it is also a very big one. Half the people on this planet, about 3 billion human beings, live in destitute poverty. More than a billion people lack clean water. Two billion lack adequate sanitation and electrical power. However complex and massive it is, we have embraced the challenge head-on, and to do so, we have joined with other countries in reshaping development policy worldwide. The Financing for Development Summit held in Monterrey, Mexico, in 2002 reached a new consensus on development. It is a consensus we fully share, one with three central pillars: a shared commitment to private sector-led economic growth; social development; and the sound stewardship of natural resources, built on a foundation of good governance and the rule of law.

Market Incentives
Economic systems work best when access to opportunity is fair, when free people can use their talents to help themselves and others to prosper. Aid can be a catalyst for development, but the real engines of growth are entrepreneurship, investment, and trade. They are what produce jobs, and a job is the most important social safety net for any family. If economic aid to developing countries is to succeed, it must be part of an incentive system for good governance. Foreign aid that succeeds is foreign aid that makes itself obsolete. If a country needs aid year after year, decade after decade, it will develop a dependency on outside assistance.

Indeed, foreign aid to undemocratic regimes can be counterproductive in that it increases the longevity of the ruling autocracy by making it easier for despots to keep their small clique of supporters happy. Foreign aid will not make a real difference if markets are manipulated by autocrats who control access to credit, licenses, and jobs. Foreign aid will not generate growth if sound banking institutions cannot arise, because transparency exposes nepotism and other forms of corruption. Foreign aid does not work if the heavy hand of authoritarianism crushes individual initiative.

Ultimately, it is not possible to separate economics from politics. We should not expect democracy to work in places where there is blatant economic injustice. We should not expect sustained economic success in places where political life remains shackled. This symbiosis between political and economic freedom is the basis for the Millennium Challenge Account (MCA), which offers a contract modeled on the free market itself -- that is its genius. Recipients of MCA money have to meet a set of eligibility requirements before they get a nickel. Governments must already have in place effective policies to rule justly, invest in their people, and promote economic freedom. They must also agree to achieve measurable results from aid assistance in terms of reducing poverty and generating broad economic growth.

Put a little differently, the MCA is an incentive system to reward the spread of freedom of speech and assembly; broader access to credit so that people can start new businesses; adherence to the rule of law to protect private property and enforce the sanctity of contracts. It is an incentive system for countries to provide their people with the basic tools for their own prosperity.

The power of the MCA was evident even before it became law. For example, one country passed and enforced four pieces of anticorruption legislation in order to become eligible for MCA funds. Now that the MCA is up and running with 17 countries eligible for funding, its influence will spread rapidly as funds for the program grow. The U.S. Congress appropriated $1 billion for the first year. The administration asked for $2.5 billion this fiscal year, and we hope funding levels will increase to $5 billion a year by fiscal year 2006.

Of course, not every country will be eligible for the MCA soon. Not every autocratic government will risk its grip on power to help their people. And the persistence of bad governance will continue to generate political instability and the humanitarian crises that usually go with it. We will continue to help alleviate those crises when we can. We will not punish people for the actions of bad governments over which they have little or no control. The work of USAID is critical in this regard. But humanitarian assistance is a stopgap measure. Our true aim is to eradicate poverty by challenging the leaderships of developing countries to take their nations' futures into their own hands. They are ultimately responsible for the success or failure of their own development efforts.

We believe that no country is excluded from this responsibility, and the benign possibilities that arise from it. Just as the president believes that no child should be left behind in education, that every child can learn, he believes that no nation should be left behind in development, that every nation can prosper. Phase by phase, one country at a time, for as long as it takes, the president aims to bring every poor society along -- with USAID pushing from one end as the MCA pulls from the other.

In the meantime, we can help empower individual men and women worldwide. The international community needs to do better at matching people who want to work with markets that need their labor. At least 180 million people worldwide do not reside in their countries of birth. Some are political refugees, but the vast majority are migrants, legal and illegal. People want a better life, and they are often willing to take daunting risks to achieve it for the sake of their families' future.

Those risks are yielding rewards. Remittances sent home by migrant laborers have become a financial lifeline for developing countries, totaling around $93 billion dollars in 2003, compared to total official development aid of $77 billion. More people would migrate toward hospitable labor markets if the barriers to doing so legally were reduced. Remittances could double, or even triple. Yet there is no effective multilateral mechanism in the world today to handle these issues, nor any effective international regime to reduce the human costs of illegal migration.

The president's global initiatives on trafficking in persons -- which seek to end forced prostitution, forced labor, and child soldiers -- is a part of our effort to deal with illegal migration. The administration is also acting to reduce the costs of sending remittances from the United States. Most important in this regard, however, was President Bush's proposal last year of a new partnership with Mexico, calling for a temporary worker program that can match labor with markets. The president proposed a way to transform a process that is too often illegal, inefficient, and inhumane into one that respects the law, works economically, and understands that laborers are, above all, human beings.

These principles need not be limited to our own borders. Wherever it occurs, illegal migration undermines the rule of law, poses public health and security risks, and ruins lives. Illegal migration also sustains organized criminals, who peddle people with no more scruples than they peddle drugs and weapons. The deaths of desperate people suffocated in cargo containers, in the back of unventilated trucks, and in the filthy holds of cargo ships tell us what is at stake here. Illegal migration is a global challenge, so it must be dealt with on a global scale. We must redouble our efforts to form international partnerships to deal with this pressing issue.

The Health of Nations
Sound economic and political institutions cannot work unless people are healthy and educated enough to take advantage of them. So we fight hunger and malnutrition through the Food for Peace program, which makes commodity donations and emergency food assistance available for developing countries facing food crises. We support poorer countries that invest in their own people, especially in education.

We also try to spur business development through programs such as the Digital Freedom Initiative, which helps make new information and communications technologies accessible to entrepreneurs and small businesses throughout the developing world. We are conducting pilot information technology-development projects in Senegal, Indonesia, Peru, and Jordan. If these projects work as we hope, we aim to involve at least 16 more countries over the next four years.

Above all, we see the achievement of basic health and sanitation as the key prerequisite for development, and we see clean water as central to this task. Growing populations and increased economic activity in many parts of the world have made access to clean water harder for millions of people. The United Nations Chidren's Fund estimates that 6,000 children die each day from water-related diseases, such as diarrhea, which are a consequence of poor sanitation. Our Water for the Poor Initiative, which helps partnering countries better manage their water supply and prevent the pollution of precious fresh water supplies, will help ensure that every person, particularly every child, can look forward to a world where the simple act of drinking a glass of water is not a life-threatening risk. With $970 million as seed capital, we are trying to leverage at least $1.6 billion worldwide for this purpose.

We are fighting disease on many other fronts. Along with the Group of Eight industrialized countries (G-8), we are determined to eradicate polio once and for all. To this end, the G-8 -- with public and private partners -- has pledged $3.48 billion. We are also combating malaria and drug-resistant tuberculosis. And we are dedicated to improving the global public health system, because, as the SARS epidemic revealed, infectious diseases know no borders.

Above all, we are fighting the scourge of HIV/AIDS. President Bush sees the struggle against this pandemic as a moral imperative, but he also sees the ravages that HIV imposes on development. Its victims include not just those who become ill but whole societies held hostage by this tragedy. The president's emergency AIDS fund devotes $15 billion over five years to prevent new infections, to treat millions already infected, and to care for the orphans the dead leave behind. Under President Bush's leadership, the United States spends nearly twice as much as the rest of the world's donor governments on fighting AIDS.

Here, too, fighting disease as a part of our development strategy cannot be separated from its political and security dimensions. AIDS is more than a medical problem, and money alone won't cure it. It is a problem with social roots, and political obstacles still loom large in some countries. Our world will be less secure if we fail this test before us.

Compassionate Conservationism
To be sustainable, development must be a process that invests and pays dividends, plants as well as harvests. We believe deeply in the sound stewardship of natural resources, as the organic connection between the words "conservation" and "conservative" suggest. It was, after all, a Republican president, Theodore Roosevelt, who pioneered the modern concept of conservation nearly a century ago. No one should be surprised, therefore, that the first George W. Bush administration initiated or joined 20 major programs promoting sustainable development.

For example, in 2002, during the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, I launched the Congo Basin Forest Partnership. That program is a coalition of 13 governments, 3 international organizations, and 10 civil society groups united to protect the world's second-largest tropical forest. We want to protect it because it is beautiful and irreplaceable, but also because it provides a livelihood to millions of people by being a key source of natural resources and tourism. In 2003, the president presented his initiative against illegal logging worldwide. Poachers who chop down and sell timber harm the environment, the legal lumber business, and consumers by making the sound use of scarce resources far more difficult. We are organizing ourselves and others to put a stop to this form of environmental desecration and theft.

Also at the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development, the United States joined the Global Village Energy Partnership. This public-private partnership that started with just over 70 entities now encompasses more than 300 governments, international organizations, and business and civil society groups. It is devoted to shaping national and regional energy strategies that balance development needs with resources, and it is starting to yield results. In the first six months of 2004, for example, USAID spent upward of $7.2 million to provide more than half a million people with access to clean, efficient, and healthy forms of energy in areas either not served or underserved by current energy delivery systems.

We also need to better husband ocean resources for sustainable development, and to that end the Bush administration helped launch the White Water to Blue Water program. This project has already mobilized more than $3 million to create or support over a hundred partnerships for watershed and marine ecosystem management in the wider Caribbean area.

We live in a world in which our own self-interest depends on advancing the interests of others. Key environmental goals, such as ensuring biodiversity, affect all people in all nations. So we have shared our experience and our technology, and we have used our wealth to help others grow and develop. By helping others, we help ourselves.

A Mandate for Hope
Our goal is to eradicate poverty. The president has a vision of how to achieve that goal: enabling the spread of political systems where access to opportunity is fair, and where democracy and the rule of law enable free people to use their God-given talents to prosper. And we have a strategy that sees economics, politics, and security as three parts of a whole -- a strategy that combines growth methods that work with social development and sound environmental stewardship.

We have a goal, a vision, and a strategy, but we also have something else of supreme importance: faith in the capacity of human beings to care about one another. After all, most people do not work to get rich; their labor is an act of love. They work to provide for spouses, children, and grandchildren, sometimes parents, grandparents, and other family members and dear friends. When we realize this underlying truth, then the all-important moral dimension of what we're striving for stands out -- and that provides both our highest motivation and our greatest hope.

As President Bush begins his second term in office, the United States now has an unprecedented opportunity to translate our hopes into lasting achievements. Americans have been telling people around the world for many years that representative government and market systems are the best means to unleash the energy that produces prosperity. Through our words and deeds, we have demonstrated that respect for human dignity empowers people, motivating them to dream and to work toward those dreams.

Today, just a dozen or so years after the Cold War, more people who believe in these principles can act on their beliefs. More national leaders accept these tenets. More societies are embracing freedom. But this task is not easy; results do not spring up overnight. The path to reform and development has many obstacles. The United States has a particular moral obligation to help overcome those difficulties, and we are doing so through the most creative development policies since the birth of USAID and that will be, if fully funded by congress, the most generous since the Marshall Plan. By 2006, U.S. government assistance will have doubled since 2000, and its trajectory remains upward. If one combines official development assistance, U.S. imports from poorer countries, and voluntary philanthropic grants from private citizens and foundations, the United States alone accounts for more than 65 percent of all Group of Seven economic development activities.

Yes, development is a big job, but it is a crucial one. What is at stake is whether globalization can be made to work for enough people, in enough ways, to produce a world that is both stable and prosperous. We believe it can, and we are determined to ensure that outcome, for ourselves and for others.