Meeting the Challenges of Change in the Pacific
Secretary Shultz's address before the Stanford University Cornerstone Centennial Academic Convocation in Stanford on May 14, 1987.(1)
Our world is in the midst of dramatic change. International politics and the global economy are rapidly evolving into far more complex patterns of power and growth than any traditional East-West or North-South metaphor might convey. Familiar assumptions about economic development--and, by extension, military and political strength--are fast becoming outdated. We have to adapt to new ways of thinking about this new world.
We are, for instance, witnessing a quiet but steady shift of political and economic dynamism toward the lands and peoples surrounding the Pacific. Too many Americans tend to think of the Pacific rim as someplace "out there'-- separate and distinct from us. But that sort of thinking is wrong. Our three countries represented here today-- Canada, Mexico, and the United States--are at the very center of this process of Pacific growth.
It's not simply that our collective coastlines represent perhaps a quarter to a third of the geography of the Pacific rim. Our combined GNPs [gross national products] account for fully two-thirds of the total GNP of the region. The trade flows just between the three of us amount to well over $150 billion a year-- approximately 30% of the total trade between members of the Pacific basin. And, in recent years, the United States, Canada, and Mexico have together exported roughly $75 billion annually to other members of the Pacific region, while we imported about twice as much from these other Pacific economies-- over $150 billion.
As a result of all this activity, new interrelationships are being formed between the societies and economies of North and Latin America, East Asia, Australia, and Oceania. The relative success--or failure--of this evolving Pacific community in encouraging further growth and stability will shape how our world will look and run well into the 21st century.
For our part, the United States is seeking to build upon our strong bilateral relations with individual countries of the area to encourage greater regional cooperation. We believe that the countries of this Pacific region have powerful advantages working in their favor--although there is nothing automatic or inevitable about continuing economic success, political stability, or regional security. On the contrary, the dramatic nature of change in today's world makes complacency dangerous. Over the coming years, it will be increasingly important that, together with other Pacific rim nations, we seek to address the following challenges.
How do we sustain the conditions necessary for continuing high levels of economic growth and for expanding our prosperity among the varied states that rim the Pacific?
How do we maintain stability and security in the face of new political …