This is not about singling out individual nations – it is about the responsibilities of all nations. If we fail to stand together, then the NPT and the Security Council will lose credibility, and international law will give way to the law of the jungle. That benefits no one. As I said in Prague, rules must be binding. Violations must be punished. Words must mean something.
The successful enforcement of these rules will remove causes of disagreement. I know Russia opposes the planned configuration for missile defense in Europe. My Administration is reviewing these plans to enhance the security of America, Europe and the world. I have made it clear that this system is directed at preventing a potential attack from Iran, and has nothing to do with Russia. In fact, I want us to work together on a missile defense architecture that makes us all safer. But if the threat from Iran’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs is eliminated, the driving force for missile defense in Europe will be eliminated. That is in our mutual interest.
In addition to securing the world’s most dangerous weapons, a second area where America has a critical national interest is in isolating and defeating violent extremists.
For years, al Qaeda and its affiliates have defiled a great religion of peace and justice, and ruthlessly murdered men, women and children of all nationalities and faiths. Indeed, above all, they have murdered Muslims. These extremists have killed in Amman and Bali; Islamabad and Kabul; and they have the blood of Americans and Russians on their hands. They are plotting to kill more of our people, and they benefit from safe-havens that allow them to train and operate – particularly along the border of Pakistan and Afghanistan.
That is why America has a clear goal: to disrupt, dismantle, and defeat al Qaeda and its allies in Afghanistan and Pakistan. We seek no bases, nor do we want to control these nations. Instead, we want to work with international partners to help Afghans and Pakistanis advance their own security and prosperity. That is why I’m pleased that Russia has agreed to allow the United States to supply our coalition forces through your territory. Neither America nor Russia has an interest in an Afghanistan or Pakistan governed by the Taliban. It is time to work together on behalf of a different future – a future in which we leave behind the great game of the past and the conflict of the present; a future in which all of us contribute to the security of Central Asia.
Beyond Afghanistan, America is committed to promoting the opportunity that will isolate extremists. We are helping the Iraqi people build a better future, and leaving Iraq to Iraqis. We are pursuing the goal of two states, Israel and Palestine, living in peace and security. And we are partnering with Muslim communities around the world to advance education, health and economic development. In each of these endeavors, I believe that the Russian people share our goals, and will benefit from success.