U-S Ambassador to Greece Thomas Miller discussed the state of the world on the second anniversary of September 11, in an interview with George Bistis on the Voice America. A Greek version of the interview was also released to all VOA affiliate radio stations in Greece, Cyprus and major Greek communities in Canada and Australia.
Following is a transcript of the interview with Ambassador Miller as aired by VOA.
Mr. Bistis: Mr. Ambassador, two years ago today terrorists killed more than 3000 innocent civilians in New York and Washington. Since the tragic events of September 11, 2001 there has been some uneasiness around and many people seem uncertain about what goes on or what may happen next. Where exactly are we today as we observe the second anniversary of this horrible attack against America?
Ambassador Miller: Well George, I would say a couple of things. First of all, we are at a very different world than we were on September 10, 2001. The world has change in fundamental ways and to wish a return to that more peaceful time is unrealistic. Let us deal with the world we are in today. It is a more dangerous world and it is a different kind of threat that anyone of us ever faced, in a major way, in our lifetimes. It is the threat of asymmetrical warfare or terrorism. This is not the threat that we spent the last 5 decades preparing for. We prepared for the Cold War but this is a different one. We had to do a lot to prepare ourselves over the last couple of years to deal with this new threat of suicide bombers, of people who attack civilians, people who attack soft targets. The number of soft targets, as you know, is basically unlimited around the world and they are not just American. This is a very, very important point. Look at the targets after 9/11. Look at where the attacks have been, from Bali to Jakarta, to many places in the Philippines, to Morocco, to the U-N Headquarters and the Moslem leadership in Iraq -- we can go on and on and on (naming places). If you look at all these attacks you can see that they were directed against people far and wide, not even people of one ethnic or religious group. I think it is a very common threat.
Mr. Bistis: Does this mean that America’s foreign policy is defined by the events of September 11 and where does the U-S and the world head in the months and years ahead?
Ambassador Miller: Well, I think it is fair to say that September 11 has had a significant impact on our foreign policy. I do not think it is fair to say that our foreign policy is defined by September 11, because our foreign policy is extremely multifaceted, very complex, it values economic and trade relationships, it is much more complicated than just the terrorism dimension. The terrorism dimension is extremely important and that’s what we have been focusing on for the last couple of years. Your second question is where we are headed. I think that, as President Bush has said, this is a long struggle, this is not something that can be over today or tomorrow. It is something that is not going to come without a great deal of effort and resources, and unfortunately loses and casualties. And we will just have to put our head down and keep doing it and I think the resolution that Secretary of State Colin Powell talked about on September 2 is an example that we very much want to cooperate with the rest of the world, we very much want to be working in lockstep with the international community to deal with not just only Iraq but with the threats around the world.
Mr. Bistis: Mr. Ambassador, thank you very much for taking the time to talk to us on this sad, very sad, anniversary.
Ambassador Miller: It is my pleasure. If I can say one last thing George, on this sad anniversary, two years later, maybe we can all take a second in our busy lives to remember all these families who lost loved ones. They lost loved-ones who just went about their regular business of going to work everyday and never came back home. I think, if we can just take a second to reflect upon that there is a lot of our follow citizens, a lot of people around the world, who don’t have the things that we take for granted.
Mr. Bistis: And may I add, Mr. Ambassador, that the Greek-American community also suffered a number of loses at the World Trade Center on that tragic day. We, at the Voice of America, will be with the Greek-American community to attend this year’s memorial services for their loved ones who perished.
Ambassador Miller: I appreciate what you are saying George because not only the Greek-American community suffered loses but the Greek-American community was fantastically supportive of all the stuff that I and my colleagues at the Embassy are trying to do and of what America has been trying to accomplish around the world. I applaude them as a group.
Mr. Bistis: Thank you very much Mr. Ambassador. We wish you all the very best today and always.
Ambassador Miller: Thank you very much George.