The Institute has helped drive the foreign policy debate on nuclear weapons, on conflict prevention and many other critical issues, and you are continuing that essential role.  Now, some of you may recall that Secretary Gates’ remarks on this occasion last year when he argued eloquently — and I might add, very convincingly — for providing additional resources to the State Department was a signal event.  To have the Secretary of Defense come before a distinguished audience like this and to argue very forcefully on behalf of our civilian capacity is still reverberating throughout Washington.

In advocating a budget increase for a department other than his own, Secretary Gates said he was returning a favor, because as Secretary of State, Dean Acheson had argued that the United States needed a strong military when cutbacks threatened to gut U.S. forces after the Second World War.  Acheson was involved in another vital foreign policy issue where his position transcended bureaucratic allegiances, and his actions provide a useful historical backdrop for my subject today.

At the close of World War II, Acheson was serving as Under Secretary of State.  Secretary of State — or Secretary of War Henry Stimson was the country’s leading advocate for nuclear arms control.  But Stimson had a tough opponent in then-Secretary of State James F. Byrnes, who wanted to leverage the United States’s nuclear advantage to the maximum extent possible.  Acheson looked beyond the confines of his bureaucracy and joined with the Secretary of War in favor of arms control.  He recognized that the world was at a crossroads.  And he saw that the United States had an obligation and an interest in working with other nations to curb the spread of the most dangerous weapons in history.
在二战接近尾声时,艾奇逊担任副国务卿。担任国务卿——我是说战争部长(Secretary of War)——的史汀生(Henry Stimson)是美国主张控制核军备的先锋, 但他的主张遭到了时任国务卿的詹姆斯?贝尔纳斯(James F. Byrnes)的坚决反对,因为贝尔纳斯想要最大限度地利用美国的核优势。艾奇逊没有局限于他所在的部门,而是与战争部长共同主张实行军备控制。他认识到世界当时正处在一个十字路口,他认为美国出于义务和利益应当同其他国家一道遏制有史以来最危险的武器的扩散。

Well, today, we find ourselves at yet another crossroads.  During the Cold War, we feared an all-out nuclear exchange between the United States and the Soviet Union.  And in October 1962, the world came close.  But President Kennedy realized that a nuclear war was profoundly unwinnable.  And over time, he and successive administrations took steps to mitigate that risk and curtail the spread of nuclear weapons.

We now face a different kind of threat, a threat that is more diffuse and perhaps even more dangerous.  The range and intensity of current nuclear proliferation challenges is alarming.  The international community failed to prevent North Korea from developing nuclear weapons.  We are now engaged in diplomatic efforts to roll back this development.  Iran continues to ignore resolutions from the United Nations Security Council demanding that it suspend its enrichment  activities and live up to those international obligations.

The International Atomic Energy Agency doesn’t have the tools or authority to carry out its mission effectively.  We saw this in the institution’s failure to detect Iran’s covert enrichment plant and Syria’s reactor project.  Illicit state and non-state proliferation networks are engaging in sensitive nuclear trade and circumventing laws designed to protect us against the export and import of nuclear materials.