Managing Allies and Adversaries: A Critique of U.S. National Security Policy

Susan E. Rice
Susan E. Rice Former Brookings Expert, Distinguished Visiting Research Fellow - School of International Service, American University

November 19, 2002

Good Evening, Ladies and Gentlemen. Thank you to the University of Delaware for welcoming me so warmly. Thanks especially to Ralph Begleiter, for inviting me to join you this evening, despite my rather precarious state. It takes a brave man to schedule a speech by a pregnant woman two weeks before her delivery date, and perhaps a foolish woman to accept. But, it is nevertheless a great pleasure to be with you tonight.

I have been asked to critique current U.S. national security policy—in short, to address the question: are we on the right track? Let me begin by acknowledging that it is impossible to do this topic justice in an evening’s speech. I will not pretend to be comprehensive, but rather focus on what I believe to be the most salient issues at present. Nor will I pretend to be entirely unbiased. While I do not view myself as a partisan when it comes to national security affairs, I did serve in the previous Administration. And, as you will see, I do have significant policy differences with the current one. However, I think the critique I will present tonight is anything but partisan. In fact, it reflects what I believe are many concerns now shared broadly among a cross-section of national security experts from both political parties.

Tonight, I’d like to address our subject in three parts: first, to consider what track we are on, and is it the right one? Second, how did we get here? And third, where do we go from here?