From remarks by national security adviser Samuel R. Berger at a National Press Club luncheon yesterday:
Nineteen-ninety-nine was a busy, intensive and generally successful year for American foreign policy:
. . . A revitalized Middle East peace process, with the Wye Accords being implemented; genuine engagement between Israel and Syria and the Palestinians on peace. The defeat of ethnic cleansing in Kosovo, with NATO united, Russia helping us to make and keep the peace, and Balkan integration into Europe now high on the international agenda. A WTO agreement with China. Economic recovery in Asia.
. . . With the democratic transitions in Nigeria and Indonesia, the passage of more people to freedom in 1999 than in 1989, the year the Berlin Wall fell. Independence for East Timor after a quarter-century of conflict. . . . An historic debt relief initiative for the poorest countries of the developing world.
Imagine the questions that you would be asking me today had we made a different set of choices last year. You'd want to know how we could justify letting a million Kosovars spend the winter despairing in refugee camps. . . .
We had our share of disappointments last year too, from CTBT [Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty] to Seattle. But I am pleased with the progress we have made, and satisfied that an active year in foreign policy has sparked a discussion about America's role in the world.