At the beginning of this new millennium, I was asked to speak here in Oslo about the greatest challenge facing the world. Of all the possible decisions, I have decided that the most serious and universal problem is the growing gap between the richest and poorest people on the planet. The citizens of the ten richest countries are now seventy-five times richer than those living in the ten poorest countries, and the separation is increasing every year, not only between nations, but also within them. The results of this disparity are at the root of most of the unresolved problems in the world, including hunger, illiteracy, environmental degradation, violent conflict and unnecessary diseases ranging from Guinean worm to HIV/AIDS. Ford and Nixon had tried to agree on a second round of the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT), which set caps on the number of nuclear weapons owned by both the United States and the Soviet Union.  Carter hoped to prolong these talks by reaching an agreement to reduce the nuclear arsenals of the two countries, rather than merely setting ceilings.  At the same time, he criticized the Soviet Union`s human rights record, not least because he believed that public opinion would not support negotiations with the Soviets if the president seemed too willing to go to meet the Soviets. Carter and Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev reached an agreement in June 1979 in the form of SALT II, but Carter`s plummeting popularity and opposition from republicans and neoconservative Democrats complicated ratification.  The Soviet invasion of Afghanistan severely damaged US-Soviet relations and ended any hope of ratification of SALT II. The more confident human rights policy championed by Derian and the director of the U.S. State Department, Anthony Lake, was somewhat blunted by Brzezinski`s opposition. Political clashes reached their most controversial point when pol Pot of the democratic Kampuchea`s genocidal regime fell in 1979, after the Vietnamese invasion of Cambodia, when Brzezinski won when the government refused to recognize the new Cambodian government because of its support from the Soviet Union.  Despite human rights concerns, Carter continued to support Joseph Mobutu of Zaire, who defeated Angolan insurgents in conflicts known as Shaba I and Shaba II. In general, his government has also renounced criticism of human rights violations in the Philippines, Indonesia, South Korea, Iran, Israel, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and northern Yemen.   The crisis quickly became the subject of international and national attention, and Carter pledged to secure the release of the hostages.