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Mr. Chairman, as we face a new century, we face a new world. A world where technology, especially information technology, develops and spreads at lightning speedand becomes obsolete just as fast. A world of increasing economic integration, where a US company designs a product in Des Moines, makes it in Mumbai, and sells it in Sydney. A world where nation-states remain the most important and powerful players, but where multinational corporations, nongovernment organizations, and even individuals can have a dramatic impact.
This new world harbors the residual effects of the Cold Warwhich had frozen many traditional ethnic hatreds and conflicts within the global competition between two superpowers. Over the past 10 years they began to thaw in Africa, the Caucasus, and the Balkans, and we continue to see the results today.
It is against this backdrop that I want to describe the realities of our national security environment in the first year of the 21st century: where technology has enabled, driven, or magnified the threat to us; where age-old resentments threaten to spill-over into open violence; and where a growing perception of our so-called "hegemony" has become a lightning rod for the disaffected. Moreover, this environment of rapid change makes us even more vulnerable to sudden surprise.
Mr. Chairman, bearing these themes in mind, I would like to start with a survey of those issues that cross national borders. Let me begin with the proliferation weapons of mass destruction.
Mr. Chairman, on proliferation, the picture that I drew last year has become even more stark and worrisome. Transfers of enabling technologies to countries of proliferation concern have not abated. Many states in the next ten years will find it easier to obtain weapons of mass destruction and the means to deliver them. Let me underline three aspects of this important problem:
Let's look at the first issue, the growing threat to the United States. We're all familiar with Russian and Chinese capabilities to strike at military and civilian targets throughout the United States. To a large degree, we expect our mutual deterrent and diplomacy to help protect us from this, as they have for much of the last century.
Over the next 15 years, however, our cities will face ballistic missile threats from a wider variety of actorsNorth Korea, probably Iran, and possibly Iraq. In some cases, this is because of indigenous technological development, and in other cases, because of direct foreign assistance. And while the missile arsenals of these countries will be fewer in number, constrained to smaller payloads, and less reliable than those of the Russians and Chinese, they will still pose a lethal and less predictable threat.
These countries calculate that possession of ICBMs would enable them to complicate and increase the cost of US planning and intervention, enhance deterrence, build prestige, and improve their abilities to engage in coercive diplomacy.
Mr. Chairman, nowhere has the regional threat been more dramatically played out than in South Asia. Both Pakistan and India have intensified their missile and nuclear rivalry. Further nuclear testing is possible and both states have begun to develop nuclear-use doctrines and contingency planning. This is a clear sign of maturing WMD programs. I will discuss South Asia's broader problems later in my briefing.
Mr. Chairman, another sign that WMD programs are maturing is the emergence of secondary suppliers of weapons technology.
While Russia, China, and North Korea continue to be the main suppliers of ballistic missiles and related technology, long-standing recipientssuch as Iranmight become suppliers in their own right as they develop domestic production capabilities. Other countries that today import missile-related technology, such as Syria and Iraq, also may emerge in the next few years as suppliers.
Over the near term, we expect that most of their exports will be of shorter range ballistic missile-related equipment, components, and materials. But, as their domestic infrastructures and expertise develop, they will be able to offer a broader range of technologies that could include longer-range missiles and related technology.
Mr. Chairman, the problem may not be limited to missile sales; we also remain very concerned that new or nontraditional nuclear suppliers could emerge from this same pool.
This brings me to a new area of discussion: that more than ever we risk substantial surprise. This is not for a lack of effort on the part of the Intelligence Community; it results from significant effort on the part of proliferators.
There are four main reasons. First and most important, proliferators are showing greater proficiency in the use of denial and deception.
Second, the growing availability of dual-use technologiesincluding guidance and control equipment, electronic test equipment, and specialty materialsis making it easier for proliferators to obtain the materials they need.
Third, the potential for surprise is exacerbated by the growing capacity of countries seeking WMD to import talent that can help them make dramatic leaps on things like new chemical and biological agents and delivery systems. In short, they can buy the expertise that confers the advantage of technological surprise.
Finally, the accelerating pace of technological progress makes information and technology easier to obtain and in more advanced forms than when the weapons were initially developed.
We are making progress against these problems, Mr. Chairman, but I must tell you that the hill is getting steeper every year.
Let me now turn to another threat with worldwide reachterrorism.
Since July 1998, working with foreign governments worldwide, we have helped to render more than two dozen terrorists to justice. More than half were associates of Usama Bin Ladin's Al-Qa'ida organization. These renditions have shattered terrorist cells and networks, thwarted terrorist plans, and in some cases even prevented attacks from occurring.
Although 1999 did not witness the dramatic terrorist attacks that punctuated 1998, our profile in the world and thus our attraction as a terrorist target will not diminish any time soon.
We are learning more about the perpetrators every day, Mr. Chairman, and I can tell you that they are a diverse lot motivated by many causes.
Usama Bin Ladin is still foremost among these terrorists, because of the immediacy and seriousness of the threat he poses. Everything we have learned recently confirms our conviction that he wants to strike further blows against America. Despite some well-publicized disruptions, we believe he could still strike without additional warning. Indeed, Usama Bin Ladin's organization and other terrorist groups are placing increased emphasis on developing surrogates to carry out attacks in an effort to avoid detection. For example, the Egyptian Islamic Jihad (EIJ) is linked closely to Bin Ladin's organization and has operatives located around the worldincluding in Europe, Yemen, Pakistan, Lebanon, and Afghanistan. And, there is now an intricate web of alliances among Sunni extremists worldwide, including North Africans, radical Palestinians, Pakistanis, and Central Asians.
Some of these terrorists are actively sponsored by national governments that harbor great antipathy toward the United States. Iran, for one, remains the most active state sponsor. Although we have seen some moderating trends in Iranian domestic policy and even some public criticism of the security apparatus, the fact remains that the use of terrorism as a political tool by official Iranian organs has not changed since President Khatami took office in August 1997.
Mr. Chairman, we remain concerned that terrorist groups worldwide continue to explore how rapidly evolving and spreading technologies might enhance the lethality of their operations. Although terrorists we've preempted still appear to be relying on conventional weapons, we know that a number of these groups are seeking chemical, biological, radiological, or nuclear (CBRN) agents. We are aware of several instances in which terrorists have contemplated using these materials.
Terrorists also are embracing the opportunities offered by recent leaps in information technology. To a greater and greater degree, terrorist groups, including Hizballah, HAMAS, the Abu Nidal organization, and Bin Ladin's al Qa'ida organization are using computerized files, e-mail, and encryption to support their operations.
Mr. Chairman, to sum up this part of my briefing, we have had our share of successes, but I must be frank in saying that this has only succeeded in buying time against an increasingly dangerous threat. The difficulty in destroying this threat lies in the fact that our efforts will not be enough to overcome the fundamental causes of the phenomenonpoverty, alienation, disaffection, and ethnic hatreds deeply rooted in history. In the meantime, constant vigilance and timely intelligence are our best weapons.
Mr. Chairman, let me now turn to another threat that reaches across borders for its victims: narcotics. The problem we face has become considerably more global in scope and can be summed up like this: narcotics production is likely to rise dramatically in the next few years and worldwide trafficking involves more diverse and sophisticated groups.
On the first point, coca cultivation in Peru and Bolivia has continued to declinedue largely to successful eradication effortsbut that will probably be offset to some extent by increases in Colombian cultivation. More productive coca varieties and more efficient processing results in production of cocaine more than two and a half times that previously estimated.
On the other side of the world, a dramatic increase of opium and heroin production in Afghanistan is again a cause for concern. This year, Afghanistan's farmers harvested a crop with the potential to produce 167 tons of heroin, making Afghanistan the world's largest producer of opium. Burma, which has a serious drought, dropped to second place, but will likely rebound quickly when the weather improves.
INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZED CRIME
Mr. Chairman, let me turn now to the related issue of organized crime. Organized crime has become a serious international security issue. It not only can victimize individuals, but it also has the potential to retard or undermine the political and economic development of entire countries, especially newly independent ones or those moving from command systems to open societies.
The threat is quite apparent in Russia, where it has become a powerful and pervasive force. Crime groups there have been aggressive in gaining access to critical sectors of Russia's economyincluding strategic resources like the oil, coal, and aluminum industries.
Meanwhile, money is moving out of Russia on a large scale. Russian officials estimate that some $1.5 to $2 billion leaves the country monthly. Most is not derived from criminal activities but rather is sent abroad to avoid taxation and the country's economic instability. Still, Russian officials say that criminal activity may account for about one-third of the capital flight.
Finally Mr. Chairman, before I end this chapter on transnational issues, let me note the especially threatening nature of a relatively new phenomenoninformation warfare. I say especially threatening because as this century progresses our country's security will depend more and more on the unimpeded and secure flow of information. Any foreign adversary that develops the ability to interrupt that flow or shut it down will have the potential to weaken us dramatically or even render us helpless.
A surprising number of information warfare-related tools and "weapons" are available on the open market at relatively little cost. Indeed, the proliferation of personal computers, and the skills associated with them, has created millions of potential "information warriors".
Already, we see a number of countries expressing interest in information operations and information warfare as a means to counter US military superiority. Several key states are aggressively working to develop their IW capabilities and to incorporate these new tools into their warfighting doctrine.
This is one of the most complex issues I've put on the table, Mr. Chairman, but, simply put, information warfare has the potential to be a major force multiplier. And why is this?
All of this amounts to one of the "cutting edge" challenges for intelligence in the 21st century. We are working on means of prevention, warning, and detection, but as in so many areas in this technological age, Mr. Chairman, we are truly in a race with technology itself.
At this point, Mr. Chairman, I'd like to leave the transnational issues and turn briefly to some of the regions and critical states in the world.
We begin with Russia. As you know, we are now in the post-Yeltsin era, and difficult choices loom for the new president Russians will choose in exactly two months:
He will face three fundamental questions:
Russian polls indicate that Acting President Putin is the odds-on favorite to win the electionthough I must tell you, Mr. Chairman, that two months can be an eternity in Russia's turbulent political scene. Putin appears tough and pragmatic, but it is far from clear what he would do as president. If he can continue to consolidate elite and popular support, as president he may gain political capital that he could choose to spend on moving Russia further along the path toward economic recovery and democratic stability.
At least two factors will be pivotal in determining Russia's near-term trajectory:
Over the longer term, the new Russian president must be able to stabilize the political situation sufficiently to address structural problems in the Russian economy. He must also be willing to take on the crime and corruption problemboth of which impede foreign investment.
In the foreign policy arena, US-Russian relations will be tested on a number of fronts. Most immediately, Western criticism of the Chechen war has heightened Russian suspicions about US and Western activity in neighboring areas, be it energy pipeline decisions involving the Caucasus and Central Asia, NATO's continuing role in the Balkans, or NATO's relations with the Baltic states. Moscow's ties to Iran also will continue to complicate US-Russian relations, as will Russian objections to US plans for a National Missile Defense. There are, nonetheless, some issues that could move things in a more positive direction.
One of my biggest concernsregardless of the path that Russia choosesremains the security of its nuclear weapons and materials. Russia's economic difficulties continue to weaken the reliability of nuclear personnel and Russia's system for securing fissile material. We have no evidence that weapons are missing in Russia, but we remain concerned by reports of lax discipline, labor strikes, poor morale, and criminal activities at nuclear storage facilities.
THE CAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA
Mr. Chairman, earlier I mentioned the war in Chechnya in the context of Russia's domestic situation. Chechnya also has significance for the Caucasus and Central Asia, a part of the world that has the potential to become more volatile as it becomes more important to the United States.
As you know, the United States has expended great effort to support pipelines that will bring the Caspian's energy resources to Western markets. One oil pipeline is expected to pass through both Georgia and Azerbaijan. Western companies are trying to construct a gas pipeline under the Caspian Sea from Turkmenistan through Azerbaijan and Georgia en route to Turkey.
Although many of the leaders in the region through which the pipelines will flow view the United States as a friend, regime stability there is fragile.
Most economies are stagnating or growing very slowly, unemployment is rising, and poverty remains high. This creates opportunities for criminals, drug runners, and arms proliferators. It also means the region could become a breeding ground for a new generation of Islamic extremists, taking advantage of increasing dissatisfaction.
There is not much popular support for Islamic militancy anywhere in Central Asia or the Caucasus, but as militants are pushed out of Chechnya, they may seek refugeand stoke militancyin the South Caucasus and Central Asia.
THE MIDDLE EAST
Mr. Chairman, let me turn now to another region of the world where vital US interests are at stake: the strategically important Middle East. Many positive developments are apparent, most notably the new potential for progress on peace. But if we step back for a moment, it is clear that the Middle East is entering a major transition in many aspects of its political, economic, and security environment.
In addition to the leadership successions that have begun with the passing of King Hussein of Jordan, the Amir of Bahrain, and King Hassan of Morocco, there is the challenge of demographics. Many of the countries of the Middle East still have population growth rates among the highest in the world, significantly exceeding 3 percent, meaning that job markets will be severely challenged to create openings for the large mass of young people entering the labor force each year.
Another challenge is economic restructuring. There is a legacy of statist economic policies and an inadequate investment climate in most countries in the Middle East.
Finally, there is the information revolution. The rise of regional newspapers, satellite television, and the Internet are all reducing governments' control over information flows in the Middle East. Islamist groups, among others, already are taking advantage of these technologies to further their agendas.
What all of this means, Mr. Chairman, is that the Middle Easta region on which we will depend even more for oil a decade from now (40 percent compared to 26 percent today)is heading into a much less predictable period that will require even greater agility from the United States as it seeks to protect its vital interests there.
Turning now to Iran: Change in Iran is inevitable. Mr. Chairman. The election of President Khatami reflected the Iranian popular desire for change. He has used this mandate to put Iran on a path to a more open society. This path will be volatile at times as the factions struggle to control the pace and direction of political change.
A key indicator that the battle over change is heating up came last July when student protests erupted in 18 Iranian cities for several days. The coming year promises to be just as contentious as Iran elects a new Majles (Parliament) in February.
Former President Rafsanjani's decision to run for the Majlesapparently at the urging of the conservatives highlights the leadership's desire to bring the two factions back to the center. The conservatives are supportive of his candidacy, because they believe a centrist Rafsanjani is a more trustworthy alternative to the reformers.
Even if the elections produce a Majles dominated by Khatami's supporters, further progress on reform will remain erratic. Supreme Leader Khamenei and key institutions such as the Revolutionary Guard Corps and the large parastatal foundations will remain outside the authority of the Majles and in a position to fight a stubborn rearguard against political change.
The factional maneuvering probably means that foreign policy options will still be calculated first to prevent damage to the various leaders' domestic positions. This will inhibit politically risky departures from established policy. This means that Iran's foreign policy next year will still exhibit considerable hostility to US interests. This is most clearly demonstrated by Tehran's continued rejection of the Middle East peace process and its efforts to energize rejectionist Palestinian and Hizballah operations aimed at thwarting a negotiated Arab-Israeli peace. Iranian perceptions of increasing US influence in the Caucasusdemonstrated most recently by the signing of the Baku-Ceyhan pipeline agreementcould similarly motivate Iran to more aggressively seek to thwart what it regards as a US effort to encircle it to the north.
With regard to Iraq, Saddam faced a difficult start in 1999including the most serious Shia unrest since 1991 and significant economic difficulties.
Saddam has, however, shown himself to be politically agile enough to weather these challenges. He brutally suppressed the Shia uprisings of last spring and early summer. The regime is still gaining some revenue from illegal oil sales. Increased access to food and medical supplies through the oil for food program has improved living conditions in Baghdad.
A major worry is that Iraqi reconstruction of WMD-capable facilities damaged during Operation Desert Fox and continued work on delivery systems shows the priority Saddam continues to attach to preserving a WMD infrastructure. And Iraq's conventional military remains one of the largest in the Middle East, even though it is now less than half the size during the Gulf War.
In sum, to the extent that Saddam has had any successes in the last year, they have been largely tactical. In a strategic sense, he is still on a downward path. His economic infrastructure continues to deteriorate, the Kurdish-inhabited northern tier remains outside the grip of his army, and although many governments are sympathetic to the plight of the Iraqi people, few if any are willing to call Saddam an ally.
Mr. Chairman, looking briefly at the Balkans
Signs of positive long-term change are beginning to emerge there as the influence of the Milosevic regime in the region wanes in the wake of the Kosovo conflict and a new, more liberal government takes the reigns of power in Croatia. Political alternatives to the dominant ethnic parties in Bosnia also are beginning to develop, capitalizing on the vulnerability of old-line leaders to charges of corruption and economic mismanagement. Despite this progress, there is still a long way to go before the Balkans move beyond the ethnic hatreds and depressed economies that have produced so much turmoil and tragedy. Of the many threats to peace and stability in the year ahead, the greatest remains Slobodan Milosevicthe world's only sitting president indicted for crimes against humanity.
Milosevic's hold on power has not been seriously shaken in the past few months. He retains control of the security forces, military commands, and an effective media machine. His inner circle remains loyal or at least cowed. The political opposition has not yet developed a strategy to capitalize on public anger with Milosevic.
Milosevic has two problems that could still force him from powerthe economy and the Montenegrin challenge. The Serbian economy is in a virtual state of collapse, and Serbia is now the poorest country in Europe. Inflation and unemployment are rising, and the country is struggling to repair the damage to its infrastructure from NATO air strikes. The average wage is only $48 a month and even these salaries typically are several months in arrears. Basic subsistence is guaranteed only by unofficial economic activity and the traditional lifeline between urban dwellers and their relatives on the farms.
For its part, Montenegro may be heading toward independence, and tensions are certainly escalating as Montenegrin President Djukanovic continues to take steps that break ties to the federal government. Milosevic wants to crush Djukanovic, because he serves as an important symbol to the democratic opposition in Serbia and to the Serbian people that the regime can be successfully challenged. Djukanovic controls the largest independent media operation in Yugoslavia, which has strongly criticized the Milosevic regime over the past several years for the Kosovo conflict, political repression and official corruption. Both Milosevic and Djukanovic will try to avoid serious confrontation for now, but a final showdown will be difficult to avoid.
Regarding Kosovo, Mr. Chairman, the international presence has managed to restore a semblance of peace, but it is brittle. Large-scale inter-ethnic violence has vanished, but the UN Mission in Kosovo and K-FOR have been unable to stop daily small-scale attacks, mostly by Kosovar Albanians against ethnic Serbs. This chronic violence has caused most of the remaining 80,000-100,000 Serbs to congregate in enclaves in northern and eastern Kosovo, and they are organizing self-defense forces.
The campaign to disarm the former Kosovo Liberation Army has had success, but both sides continue to cache small arms and other ordnance. There is even a chance that fighting between Belgrade's security forces and ethnic Albanians will re-ignite should Belgrade continue to harass and intimidate the Albanian minority in southern Serbia, and should Kosovo Albanian extremists attempt to launch an insurgency aimed at annexing Southern Serbia into a greater Kosovo.
Mr. Chairman, let us now turn to East Asia, where China has entered the new century as the world's fastest rising power.
The leadership there is continuing its bold, 20-year-old effort to propel the nation's economy into the modern world, shedding the constraints of the old Communist central command system. The economy is the engine by which China seeks world prestige, global economic clout, and the funding for new military strength, thereby redressing what it often proclaims as a hundred years of humiliation at the hands of western powers. Domestically, it also was the engine that Deng Xiaoping and his successors calculated would enable the Party to deliver on its unspoken social contract with the Chinese people: monopoly of political power in exchange for a strong China with a higher standard of living for its citizens.
But events conspired last year to tarnish Beijing's achievements, to remind people that China had not yet arrived as a modern world power, and to make the leadership generally ill-at-ease:
Lee's statement has China deeply worried that Taiwan's return to Beijing rule is less likely than before. Chinese leaders act as if they believe that, at a minimum, a show of force is required if they are to preserve any hope of reunification.
Because of this, we see high potential for another military flare-up across the Taiwan Strait this year. The catalyst for these tensions is the Taiwan election on 18 March, which Beijing will be monitoring for signs that a new president will retreat from Lee Teng-hui's statementsor further extend the political distance from reunification
Although Beijing today still lacks the air and sealift capability to successfully invade Taiwan:
In the coming year, we expect to see an uncertain Chinese leadership launching the nation deeper into the uncharted waters of economic reform while trying to retain tight grip political control. Thus far, Beijing's approach has largely succeeded. But the question remains open whether, in the long run, a market economy and an authoritarian regime can co-exist successfully.
Looking further east, North Korea's propaganda declares 1999 the "year of the great turnaround." This is a view not supported by my analysts, however. Indeed, we see a North Korea continuing to suffer from serious economic problems, and we see a population, perhaps now including the elite, that is losing confidence in the regime. Mr. Chairman, sudden, radical, and possibly dangerous change remains a real possibility in North Korea, and that change could come at any time.
The North Korean economy is in dire straits. Industrial operations remain low. The future outlook is clouded by industrial facilities that are nearly beyond repair after years of under-investment, spare parts shortages, and poor maintenance.
Kim Chong-il does not appear to have an effective long-term strategy for reversing his country's economic fortunes. Kim's inability to meet the basic needs of his people and his reliance on coercion makes his regime more brittle because even minor instances of defiance have greater potential to snowball into wider anti-regime actions.
Mr. Chairman, China and North Korea do not exist in a vacuum. They influence the policies of other statesincluding how those states relate to us. Nowhere is this more true than in East Asia. Let me talk about two trends there that I believe will affect US interests over the next several years.
The first is the growing concern in the region about China and North Korea. Leaders in Southeast Asia have long worried about Chinese interference in their internal affairs, but the concerns of these governments and publics also now focus on China's growing economic and military power and the potential influence it will provide Beijing. Concerns about North Korea are more varied and localized. Japan fears North Korea's expanding missile capabilities, while South Koreaalong with the historical threat of a North Korean invasionworries that the collapse of the regime in the North will create humanitarian, economic, and military challenges for the South.
These concerns create several dynamics. For one thing, they fuel incentives to expand and modernize defense forces. Japan's interest in building its own satellite imaging system, for example, is a direct result of its concern about North Korea. Vietnam's recent acquisition of Su-27 aircraft from Russia reflect concerns about China's future military might. And Seoul's attempts to modernize its air force and navy reflect the fact that it is looking beyond North Korea toward potential future threats.
In addition, these concerns reinforce the long-standing desire among almost all the states of the region for the US to remain engaged militarily. In short, regional leadersand most publicscontinue to see the US presence as key to East Asian stability, although I must tell you, Mr. Chairman, that some leaders in the region have doubts about our staying power there.
The second trend worth noting for you is the continuing pressure in East Asia for more open and accountable political systems. Over the last 15 years, that pressure brought political change to the Philippines, Thailand, South Korea, Taiwan, Japan, and most recently Indonesia. Others, including Malaysia and China, are certain to face similar pressure for change in the years ahead as the spread of information technology limits the ability of authoritarian leaders to control the public's exposure to democracy and to constrain opponents from organizing. These pressures, of course, create the potential for political instability, particularly if they are resisted by incumbent leaders.
Mr. Chairman, I've mentioned Indonesia a couple of times earlier, so let me take a moment to say a few words about it. Indonesia is in the midst of a difficult transition to democracy that will have a powerful bearing on the country's future direction and perhaps even on its cohesion as a nation. President Wahid is grappling with a variety of long-standing, intractable issues including communal violence, separatist sentiments, and an economy in distress. At the same time, he is trying to forge a new role for the Indonesian military which includes tighter civilian control and the gradual withdrawal of the armed forces from the domestic political arena and create an open, consensual decision-making process in a country accustomed to 30-years of one-man rule.
Since his selection to the presidency last October, Wahid has implemented a variety of initiatives designed to set the country on the path to democracy. A popularly elected president who preaches religious and political tolerance, Wahid has succeeded in forming a viable coalition government drawn from disparate elements. He is actively supporting a national investigation into alleged human rights abuses by the Indonesian military in East Timor, and a once muzzled national press is flourishing. He also is taking steps to improve Jakarta's bilateral relations with a number of countries and restore Indonesia's regional prominence, which suffered in the wake of the Asian financial crisis in 1997 and the domestic political uncertainty that surrounded the fall of President Soeharto in 1998.
Addressing demands from restive provinces to redefine their relationship with Jakarta is Wahid's most immediate challenge. Several leaders in the region remain concerned that Jakarta's loss of East Timorcoupled with growing separatist tensions and communal violence across the archipelagocould result in the Balkanization of the country over the next several years. The challenges are myriad: in the west, pressure is mounting from Acehnese separatists who have resisted Jakarta's control since the 1950s and began an insurgency in 1976. To the east in Irian Jayarecently renamed Papuathere is local resentment of Jakarta's exploitation of the province's natural resources, but the insurgent movement is weak. The nearby Malukus have been wracked by communal violence for the past year; this is Christian-Muslim violence with an ethnic overlay that may not only be difficult to pacify, but could ignite sectarian violence elsewhere in the archipelago, testing the country's long commitment to religious tolerance. Indonesia's ASEAN partners particularly fear the refugee and humanitarian crisis that would accompany such worst-case scenarios.
Whatever suspicions and fissures exist among states in East Asia, they pale in comparison to the deep-seated rivalry between India and Pakistan. Mr. Chairman, last spring, the two countries narrowly averted a full-scale war in Kashmir, which could have escalated to the nuclear level.
The military balance can be summarized easily: India enjoys advantages over Pakistan in most areas of conventional defense preparedness, including a decisive advantage in fighter aircraft, almost twice as many men under arms, and a much larger economy.
Clearly, the dispute over Kashmir remains as intractable as ever.
Mr. Chairman, South Asia presents a discouraging picture but it hardly compares to sub-Saharan Africa, which has been largely bypassed by globalization and the accelerating spread of technology. The region has little connectivity to the rest of the worldwith just 16 telephone lines per 1,000 peopleand its battered infrastructure, the population's limited access to education, and widespread health problems such as AIDS and malaria have deterred many foreign investors.
As Africa's already small role in the international economy has faded, instability has intensified. Humanitarian crisis is constant. Since 1995, violent internal unrest has wracked 15 of the region's 48 countries, and 19 Sub-Saharan governments have deployed military forcesas peacekeepers, protectors of beleaguered regimes, or outright invadersto other African states.
Instability fosters conditions potentially leading to genocide and other massive human rights abuses. In the Great Lakes region, Congo (K)'s beleaguered government periodically targets Tutsis as suspected saboteurs, while the civil war in Burundi could with little warning degenerate into another round of wholesale ethnic killings. In Sierra Leone, the rebels who used widespread mutilations of civilians as a conscious tactic of intimidation are poised to break a tenuous cease-fire and resume a campaign of terror.
Finally, endemic violence and instability increase the danger that criminal and insurgent groups will zero in on individual US citizens as soft targets.
Mr. Chairman, this has been a long briefing, and I'd like to get to your specific questions on these and other subjects. Before doing so, I would just sum it up this way: the fact that we are arguably the world's most powerful nation does not bestow invulnerability; in fact, it may make us a larger target for those who don't share our interests, values, or beliefs. We must take care to be on guard, watching our every step, and looking far ahead. Let me assure you that our Intelligence Community is well prepared to do that.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Now, I'd welcome any questions from you and your colleagues.
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