AccessMyLibrary provides FREE access to millions of articles from top publications available through your library.
Twelve hours ago, a U.S. Air Force C-141 landed at Ben Gurion Airport in Israel, carrying the most sophisticated explosive-detection equipment in the world and a team of American technical experts. Meanwhile, the President and Secretary Christopher are personally calling on key regional leaders to try to ensure that there will be no safe havens for the perpetrators of these horrors. Dan, as I have said, will give you more details this afternoon.
But the point I would stress is this: The United State has been the leader of the search for peace in the Middle East. In the aftermath of the recent bombings, the United States is also the leader of the international effort--which, for the first time, brings together Israel and several of its Arab neighbors--to combat and defeat the forces of extremism that are opposed to peace. And when the peace process resumes, the United States will once again be in the lead.
That is the topic of my remarks today: America's leadership in the world--why it is vital to our national well-being, why we must preserve and enhance our leadership in the face of new opportunities and new challenges.
Let me begin by describing, in broad-brush terms, the world in which we live. As the headlines of the last few days make all-too clear, there is still plenty of misery, violence, chaos, insanity, and brutality on our planet. But we must not lose sight of the big picture, which is far more positive.
It is an indisputable fact that the world has changed a lot in the last 10 years--and changed overwhelmingly for the better. We have seen, simultaneously, the decline and fall of dictators and the rise of freedom. Over the past decade, those twin trends have been evident in the victory of "people power" in the Philippines; the collapse of the Berlin Wall and the Iron Curtain; the end of apartheid in South Africa; and the inspiring spectacle of Cambodians walking across mine fields and defying death threats to vote against the Khmer Rouge.
As much as any region, our own hemisphere has been transformed. As recently as 17 years ago, a majority of the nations in Latin America and the Caribbean suffered some form of dictatorship. But when Secretary Christopher traveled through the region just last week, every government except the Castro regime in Cuba had a claim to democratic legitimacy. As political systems have opened up throughout the Americas, so …