Speaker-Stephen E. Flynn, Ph.D.
MR. UJCZO: Good evening. I am Dan Ujczo, the Managing Director of the Canada-United States Law Institute. (1) On behalf of the Institute, our two founding institutions, (2) Case Western Reserve University School of Law and the University of Western Ontario Faculty of Law, I welcome you to our 24th annual conference. And of greatest significance, I welcome you to this dinner celebrating the 25th year of leadership of our institute by our chairman, Dr. Henry T. King.
While this evening will be a great celebration, we are faced with a very practical reality, that tonight's distinguished speaker has to catch a flight very soon back to New York. So Steve Flynn has graciously agreed to an abbreviated dessert, actually to forego dessert, as well as to present his remarks while there is the clanging and service of that fine product of Canada. All of the wine that is served this weekend is from Canada, as well as our soft drinks are products of our long-standing supporter, Coca-Cola.
So we will turn quickly to our presentation, but please feel free to dine on this tremendous meal at this terrific venue. So without further ado, I now introduce Professor Richard Gordon, our U.S. Director at Case Western Reserve University School of Law, (3) who will in turn introduce our speaker. Thank you.
MR. GORDON: I am really very pleased to have everyone here this evening. Thank you so much for coming, and thank you, Steve Flynn, for coming here from New York. (4) I will say you are a Gene Kirkpatrick Senior Fellow for National Security Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, (5) and you are the author of so many wonderful books: The Edge of Disaster: Rebuilding a Resilient Nation, and I think that was a national bestseller. (6) You have been on TV, (7) you have been on the web, (8) and you have been quoted repeatedly in the New York Times and in other newspapers. (9) So rather than have me continue with this introduction, I would like you to come up here and speak and say something quotable. Thank you very much.
Stephen E. Flynn, Ph.D. *
DR. FLYNN: Thank you so much. It is an honor to be with all of you tonight, and I really want you to partake in the calories, and I will try to add a little bit of the ambience of the place by offering a few words. When I got this invitation just to address all of you tonight in recognition in large part to Professor King's 25th year, it was simply an offer I could not refuse. And so, Professor King, it is just a privilege to be here with you tonight and to celebrate this very special anniversary, and I commend you for all you have done on behalf of Canada-U.S. relations.
Naturally the topic picked for this year's meeting was music to my ears. Allow me to give a little bit of background. I have arrived at what I am doing as a Coast Guard officer. I graduated from the Coast Guard Academy back in 1982. (10) In fact, I have a classmate here, Michael Parks, who was Chief of Staff in the Ninth District, (11) and it is been great to get reconnected with him up here in Cleveland.
But out of that, being on the "applied side" of border management, it led to a project in 1999 when I first arrived at the Council of Foreign Relations, (12) which was to look at all the issues of border management in the context of globalization. I thought there was sort of an interesting set of challenges here. The reality was the nature of the globalization, particularly with the evolutions of it, such as privatization, liberalization, and democratization. We are seeing an explosion in the volume and velocity of people's goods and conveyances across international corridors. Adversely, we are still in this West-feeling and hope, 'what goes there kind of way,' I would imagine, and it struck me that that was probably not sustainable. It was unsustainable largely because of two things.
One is there was a volume of velocity issue, that is the mechanism was not in line with what it had to control, but also because it was a broad range of public goods increasing which we call transnational express, (13) which is becoming more and more apparent at the border, and which would lead to potentially, through the governance of the sale of public goods right, to a nativist kind of backlash arguing the world's response. (14)
What has animated most of my work since September 11th has not been so much the use of a border to find bad things, but really to push the opposite way, to get people to recognize that so many of the things that we worry about often at our borders are really tied to a much broader global set of challenges that need to be managed far from the border. My one takeaway from that project, which I wrote up in a Foreign Affairs piece back in 2000 called "Beyond Border Control," (15) was that borders are perhaps a tremendously attractive, seductive place to go for a description of the challenges and contradiction of globalization. They almost always are the worst places to go for prescription for how to deal with those challenges and contradictions. There are virtually no problems on the planet that originate at a border. They are almost all tied to a global network that is moving things that we want around in the global economy and, or, originate far from that geographical line in the sand, or river, or woods, or wherever it may be that we are looking at. And so in this context we really have to see ways in which we manage these problems within that globalized network.
My biggest fear when 9/11 happened therefore was not essentially the act itself, that it may have been somehow connected to our borders, which of course it turned out not to be, (16) but was how we would react to that. And that is what pretty much informs a bulk of my concern about how we deal with the threat environment we are in. At its core I would make a case to Americans as this: the biggest threat to this nation is not what terrorists can do to us, but what we can do to ourselves when we are spooked. (17) In that context, we must think about how we manage the threat, but manage the threat in such a way that we keep it into perspective of our overarching values or overarching of goals and objectives as a nation, and not end up throwing the baby out with the bath water.
I argue this: essentially with the benefit of hindsight, there were three core lessons that we could draw from September 11th. The first one I would argue has been too well-learned, and it is this: there are bad people out there intent on killing some of us here. (18) That one we got down. And the prescription has been we need to do whatever it takes to go there to get them first. (19) I think I have just summarized what has been the bulk of the strategy the United States has adopted with dealing with the terrorism threat as it appeared on September 11th.
But arguably the second lesson, partially-learned one, is this: that their new battle space for not just this adversary, Al Qaeda, or future adversaries, will be in the civil economic space. (20) That is the current way which future adversaries are likely to confront particular U.S. power, but the broad sort of collective shared interest of the live nations...