PRAGUE - We are living in a remarkable time - a time that tests our ability to deal with a new and wide range of threats to humanity, threats which bear not only on our security, but also on our environment, and generally on our civilization. These threats impose great demands not only on NATO and its newest members, including my country, the Czech Republic, but on the entire human race.
Sixty years after the invasion of our country by Hitler's Wehrmacht, and thirty-one years after armies of the Warsaw Pact crushed the Prague Spring, our security is becoming an integral component of the security of the entire Euro-Atlantic world. The danger that the Czech people might, once again, fall prey to an aggressor who would attack us, certain that the democratic world would not lift a finger to intervene, is irrevocably receding into the past.
Although the direct threat of invasion and occupation has diminished, sinister forces still loom and must be confronted. But the adversary facing the NATO alliance today is much more difficult to grasp and to fathom than before, though its sources are terribly familiar. Once again, the breeding ground for aggression is ethnic hatred. Teamed with that racial rage are religious and/or ideological fanaticisms. These pathologies are energized in societies that are bereft, where sheer despair leaves people in positions without hope and faith in their surrounding society or civilization.
Today, that rage takes the form of regional conflicts and ethnic cleansing, of anonymous terrorist assaults. It feeds off a network of organized crime and the traffic in weapons of mass destruction. It denies the very existence of human culture and freedom, launching deadly attacks, killing people at random. Once again the bloody extermination of entire human communities is not only taking place, but can be witnessed on television.