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NATO SUMMIT

'For Terrorists and Terror States, Every Free Nation Is a Potential Target'

November 21, 2002|From Associated Press

Excerpts from President Bush's remarks in Prague:

Tomorrow in Prague we will have reached a decisive moment, a historic moment, for tomorrow we will invite new members into our alliance. It's a bold decision -- to guarantee the freedom of millions of people.

At the summit, we'll make the most significant reforms in NATO since 1949, reforms which will allow our alliance to effectively confront new dangers.

And in the years to come, all of the nations of Europe will determine their place in world events.

They will take up global responsibilities or choose to live in isolation from the challenges of our time.

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Because America supports a more united Europe, we strongly support the enlargement of NATO, now and in the future....

A larger NATO is good for Russia as well. Later this week I will visit St. Petersburg. I will tell my friend, [President] Vladimir Putin, and the Russian people that they too will gain from the security and stability of nations to Russia's west.

Russia does not require a buffer zone of protection.

It needs peaceful and prosperous neighbors who are also friends.

And we need a strong and democratic Russia as our friend and partner to face the century's new challenges.

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Members recently added to NATO, and those invited to join, bring greater clarity to purposes of our alliance, because they understand the lessons of the last century.

Those with fresh memories of tyranny know the value of freedom. Those who have lived through a struggle of good against evil are never neutral between them.

Czechs and Slovaks learned through the harsh experience of 1938 that when great democracies fail to confront danger, greater dangers follow.

And the people of the Baltics learned that aggression left unchecked by the great democracies can rob millions of their liberty and their lives.

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Our NATO alliance faces dangers very different from those it was formed to confront. Yet never has our need for collective defense been more urgent. The Soviet Union is gone, but freedom still has enemies.

We're threatened by terrorism, bred within failed states. It's present within our own cities.

We're threatened by the spread of chemical and biological and nuclear weapons, which are produced by outlaw regimes and could be delivered either by missile or terrorist cell.

For terrorists and terror states, every free nation -- every free nation -- is a potential target.

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Today the world is also uniting to answer the unique and urgent threat posed by Iraq. A dictator who has used weapons of mass destruction on his own people must not be allowed to produce or possess those weapons....

Saddam Hussein has been given a very short time to declare completely and truthfully his arsenal of terror. Should he again deny that this arsenal exists, he will have entered his final stage with a lie.

And deception this time will not be tolerated....

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Great evil is stirring in the world. The young here are coming up in a different world, different era, a different time, a different series of threats.

We face perils we've never thought about, perils we've never seen before. But they're dangerous. They're just as dangerous as those perils that your fathers and mothers and grandfathers and grandmothers faced.

The hopes of all mankind depend on the courage and the unity of great democracies.

In this hour of challenge, NATO will do what it has done before: We will stand firm against the enemies of freedom and we'll prevail.

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To read the full text, go to latimes.com/bushspeech

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