Economic Development and Security Are Two Sides of the Same Coin
Development and Security Are Two Sides of the Same Coin
Remarks of the Secretary of the Navy
The Honorable Gordon R. England at the Asia Pacific Security Conference,
Singapore Conference theme: Security Challenges in Asian Pacific. February 23,
Source: Navy Office of Information, Washington D.C.
Distinguished Guests All.
Thank you for that introduction … and thank you for the opportunity to be here
today to participate in this important and quiet intriguing conference. I
congratulate the panels on their stimulating discussions.
It is a
distinct pleasure to be back in the Lion City … one of the world's pre-eminent
cities and one of the United States' strongest allies. I was last here exactly
two years ago … to the day … just six months after the defining events of 9/11.
It was reassuring then … just as it is reassuring now … to have strong economic
and security bonds between the United States and the Asia Pacific region. The
U.S. Navy makes over 700 port calls each year to this region … almost 200 of
them right here in Singapore … for logistics, repair, and support. Such access
is, and will remain, a cornerstone of our naval forward presence and strategy. I
thank the countries in the region for your cooperation and friendship.
I can assure
you that the U.S. Navy values this relationship, and with your continued
cooperation we will continue to strengthen our presence, security ties and
commitment in the region.
Just a few
months ago … I was in the Arabian Gulf visiting our Sailors and Marines and was
pleased to see the RSS Endurance in action - one of Singapore's newest LST's. By
all accounts …the reports I received were that the crew of Endurance was highly
professional, well-trained, and well-equipped … everyone in Singapore should
certainly be proud of the RSS Endurance and her crew.
I thank the
crew for their service in the world fight against terror. I also thank the
Singaporean government for their steadfast support and participation in the OIF
coalition to reconstruct Iraq and to combat global terrorism.
As a "naval
person", a moniker coined by the indomitable Winston Churchill, I'm forever
awestruck by the importance of the sea to the prosperity of the world. Around
this peninsula flows the commerce of the world and with it the future of
globalization. Consider the following data, indicative of the importance and
economic vitality of this region.
Pacific nations account for 34% of the world's GDP - adding the U.S.'s
contribution makes for 55% of the world's economic power.
* More than
half the world's commerce passes through this intersection -- the Straits of
* Oil flow is
3 times greater here than through the Suez Canal … and 15 times greater than
through the Panama Canal.
* The region
accounts for 35% of U.S. trade, over $550 billion (US) … in contrast to only 19%
with the European Union; 20% with Canada; and 17% with Latin America.
especially noteworthy… many economists predict that the Asia-Pacific region will
be the source of the most of the world's economic growth for the foreseeable
week, The Wall Street Journal reported on Japan's recent strong GDP expansion -
the best showing in 13 years - a reflection of the economic recovery and growth
in the region.
while the recent economic data is positive this is not a time to be complacent.
The economy of this region and the economies of the world are quite fragile in
this era of global commerce … but also in this era of global terrorism….a post
9-11 world, a more dangerous world…not of our choosing. There is no going back.
No way to put close Pandora's Box. Never forget that Al-Qaida has publicly
stated, "We will strike at the nodes of your economy."
strong security foundation is critically essential for regions like Asia-Pacific
to continue strong economic growth.
address here in Singapore two years ago, Dr. Tony Tan stated that economic
development and security are two sides of the same coin….and he's right.
essential to have security for continued economic development and, in turn,
economic development is necessary to ensure long-term security. But the first
requirement is security and if security is lost, or perceived to be weak, the
shift from economic growth to economic decline will inevitably result with all
the aftermath of 9-11-01 is not completely forgotten. The economic loss to the
world after 9-11-01 is estimated in trillions of US dollars and the world is
only now fully recovering. In our highly integrated world economy, and
especially in this region, no country can take a pass on the war on terrorism.
Security in the Asia-Pacific region will always depend on the willingness of all
nations in the region to take responsibility for their neighborhood.
endeavor, you have the friendship and cooperation of the United States. As
President Bush said while in the region last October, "We will continue to work
together … with our friends in Southeast Asia … to dismantle Jamaah Islamiya -
the terrorist network, as well as other groups that traffic in violence and
chaos. As we fight the terrorists, we're also determined to end conflicts that
spread hopelessness and feed terror."
vision of the Asia-Pacific region is based upon the principles of shared
strength … shared prosperity … and shared commitment to values. Of the United
States' seven active defense treaties … five are here in Asia Pacific alone .…
and we are committed to a wide variety of bi-lateral, multi-lateral, joint and
combined exercises in the region.
goal should not be just the avoidance of another 9/11 2001, but also a freedom
from the fear of another 9/11 anywhere in the world.
post-September 11 world, we must conclude that we are not dealing with rational
political enemies in the traditional sense but rather enemies with decidedly
non-political but very malignant and violent fantasies.
As writer Lee
Harris wrote more than a year ago in The Wall Street Journal, an article I
commend to all of you, the terrorist objective seems to be a radical religious
fantasy in which violent acts substitute for symbols and rituals, martyrdom
equates with heroism and heaven. Suicide bombers are a perfect example of this
fantasy ideology taken to its extreme end.
What we must
accept is the terrorists cannot be reasoned with, persuaded, or appeased.
Negotiating with them is not an option. Changing the way we live or what we
believe is not an option; most importantly, it would not stop them from living
out their fantasy. Ending their reign of terror, with military force as needed,
is the only solution open to the world.
We are now
joined in battle and together, we can prevail. We can prevail, but only with
action - action geared to prevention and the disruption of terror networks.
President said recently on Meet The Press: "it is essential ….that when we see a
threat, we deal with those threats before the become imminent. It's too late if
they become imminent. It's too late in this new kind of war."
President understands that tracking down terrorists who operate in the shadows
through transnational networks makes perfect intelligence nearly impossible.
because of the importance of the region … the United States is reviewing, and
will be revitalizing our presence in the Pacific region … home to our largest
combatant command. Our command and control organization and presence in Asia
Pacific is in need of updating…and is being updated. While this study is still
in process, the likely outcome will be increased presence in the region.
thanks to the Institute of Defense and Strategic Studies for the opportunity to
express my views here today. Thanks to all of you for your commitment to
security in the region and for the privilege and honor to be with you.