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February 26, 1999

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Today, in the absence of an overriding threat we must recognize that everything, from the strength of our economy, to the safety of our cities, to the health of our people, depends not only on events within our borders, but on events half a world away and on our ability to shape them.

President Bill Clinton
February 26, 1999

Today, President Clinton travels to San Francisco to give a major foreign policy speech, where he articulates a vision for maintaining America's role as the world's leading force for peace, prosperity and freedom. The President also focuses on five central national security challenges and his agenda for meeting those challenges for the 21st Century.

CONTINUING OUR LEADERSHIP, WHILE ADDRESSING NEW THREATS. In his remarks, the President stresses that today's favorable conditions--the absence of a single overriding threat to America's security, the advance of democracy in many nations and economic globalization--must not lead us to complacency. The President focuses on five central national security challenges of the 21st Century that our nation must address to continue our leadership and maintain our security and prosperity:

  • Building a more peaceful world. President Clinton has made efforts to help build a Europe that is democratic, undivided and at peace for the first time in history, to seek a genuine peace on the Korean Peninsula and to build peace between Israelis and Palestinians. The President is committed to continued progress in Bosnia and the ongoing effort to reach a peace agreement for Kosovo.
  • Bringing Russia and China into the international system as open and stable nations. Russia has faced enormous problems in its transition to democracy and free markets. President Clinton believes our nation has an interest in promoting a successful transition and working with Russia to prevent its dangerous weapons from falling into the wrong hands. The President also argues that China cannot have stability and prosperity at the expense of freedom, and that the only way to bring positive change to China is by continuing our policy of principled engagement.
  • Protecting Americans against threats that know no borders. President Clinton is committed to protecting Americans against growing dangers like terrorism, the spread of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, sabotage against our critical computer systems, crime and drug trafficking, and global warming.
  • Creating a global trading and financial system that will benefit all Americans. The United States has made progress in reshaping the world's trade system, but there is a continuing need to ensure protections for workers, consumers and the environment. The President is launching initiatives to spur global growth and to reshape the global financial system to tame the cycles of boom and bust, guard against corruption, and protect society's most vulnerable members.
  • Building a world where freedom remains ascendant. In order for democracy to thrive around the world, America must help its democratic partners narrow income gaps, make their legal systems stronger and fairer, and build healthy, educated societies. The President announces today that our nation will make a concentrated effort to support the transition to democracy in two critical, populous nations: Nigeria and Indonesia.

WORKING FOR CONTINUED PEACE, PROSPERITY AND FREEDOM. President Clinton calls on Congress to reverse the decline in defense spending that began in 1985, to fund America's foreign assistance efforts, and to meet our obligations to the United Nations so that we are able to address new security threats in the 21st Century.

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