CONTACT: Sam Stratman,
For IMMEDIATE Release
(WASHINGTON) - Statement delivered today by U.S. Rep. Henry J. Hyde (R-IL), chairman of the House International Relations Committee, during debate in the House of Representatives on the Foreign Relations Authorization Act, H.R. 1646:"Standing at the edge of a new century, it is appropriate to pause and wonder what lies ahead for us, our descendents, and our country. For the United States, the century just past was one of unprecedented American triumph. So great was our prominence, so expansive our fortune, that it has been called "the American Century."
"For many others around the world, however, the experience of that same period of time was quite different. Universally hailed at its beginning as an era of peace and progress, the 20th Century proved to be the bloodiest and most savage in human history. Tens of millions perished; scores of cities were obliterated, continents were more thoroughly ravaged by modern warfare than any long-ago barbarian could have dreamed. In our present-day complacency, it is easy to forget how razor-thin were the margins by which our civilization survived, how close the enemies of the West came to winning.
"So, although it is right for us to be hopeful about the next century, we would do well to be mindful of these different experiences and to remember that we are guaranteed nothing.
"But neither are we at the mercy of chance. In large part, our fate will be determined by our own actions, both wise and foolish. Although we might wish by some simple strategem to guarantee our success and safety, easy answers promise only to lull us into a deadly sleep. The only certain advantage we can possess in meeting the future is to steel ourselves as best we can to meet its inevitable surprises. As the saying goes, fortune favors the well-prepared.
"If the United States were to advance confidently into the future, we require a sober foreign policy that rests upon a solid foundation, one whose prescriptions are rooted in reality. On that score, there is much to be done. One area in particular that I intend to emphasize is the need to shift our policies away from an excessive focus on short-term problems and recast them toward the achievement of long-term goals. But that is a different task than that which engages us here today. First, we must start with laying a strong foundation. That process begins with this bill. -MORE-
"The Presidents budget request for the main State Department operating accounts identifies new priorities which support the U.S. State Department and its foreign policy platform. Notably the budget increases focus on the Administration of Foreign Affairs accounts which reflect a 19 percent increase over the current fiscal year. I note that the accounts covered in this bill are funded at or above the Presidents request.
"Among the bills principal features:
"These are some of the key aspects of this bill. Let me conclude by emphasizing one in particular, namely that of security. The most important concerns the security of our people and diplomatic facilities around the world. The State Department states that last year alone there were over 50 "significant incidents" involving violence or intrusion at our diplomatic facilities. As the technologies of destruction available to the worlds terrorists continue to grow, we cannot stand idly by, waiting for our self-declared enemies to finalize preparations for their next attack, which is certain to happen somewhere. The men and women of the Department of State and other agencies serving their country far away from home in difficult and often dangerous conditions deserve the fullest protection we can provide them and their families. We owe them at least that and much more.
"For that reason, as well as the many others I have laid before you, I urge my colleagues to support H.R. 1646 so that we may get on with the great task of preparing our foreign policy for the new century."