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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release March 1, 1995


American Leadership And Engagement:
Reducing The Nuclear Threat

President Clinton believes that America must continue to lead in the post-Cold War era and reject those in Congress and elsewhere who call for retreat.

"Nowhere is American engagement more important than in efforts to reduce the threat of nuclear weapons. 1995 is a year of decision and President Clinton has an ambitious agenda to reduce the nuclear threat."

"There is a struggle going on between those of us who want to carry on the tradition of American leadership abroad and those who advocate a new American isolationism -- a struggle which cuts across party and ideological lines. If we are to continue to improve the security and prosperity of all our people -- then the tradition of American leadership must prevail."

"Some would choose escapism over engagement. The new isolationists oppose our efforts to expand trade...reject our conviction that democracy must be nurtured with investment and support...and at their most hypocritical...trumpet the rhetoric of American strength -- but then argue against the resources we need to bring stability to the Persian Gulf, restore democracy to Haiti, control the spread of drugs and organized crime or meet our elemental obligations to United Nations peacekeeping."

"The new isolationists, both on the left and the right, would radically revise the fundamentals of our foreign policy that have earned bipartisan support since World War II. They would eliminate any meaningful role for the United Nations, which has achieved real progress around the world, from the Middle East to Africa. They would deny resources to peacekeepers and even to our troops and squander them on Star Wars. And they would refuse aid to fledgling democracies and to all those fighting poverty and environmental problems that can destroy our hopes for a more democratic, prosperous and safer world."

"The new isolationists are wrong. They would have us face the future alone. Their approach would weaken America. We must not let the ripple of isolationism they have generated build into a tidal wave. If we withdraw from the world today, we will have to contend with the consequences of our neglect tomorrow."

"This is a moment of decision. The extraordinary trend toward democracy and free markets is not inevitable, nor will it proceed easily. At the very time when more countries than ever before are working to establish or shore up fragile democracies -- and look to us for support -- the new isolationists must not be allowed to pull America out of the game after just a few hours of debate."

"We have seized the opportunities and met the obligations of engagement. None of this could have happened without a coalition of realists -- people in both houses of Congress, from both sides of the aisle and from coast to coast in our cities, town and communities who know that the wealth and well-being of our people at home depend on our leadership abroad."

"Now, in 1995, we face a year of decision -- a year in which the United States will pursue the most ambitious agenda to dismantle and fight the spread of weapons of mass destruction since the atom was split. If our people are to know real, lasting security, we must redouble our arms control, non-proliferation and anti- terrorism efforts. We must do everything we can to avoid living with the 21st Century version of fall-out shelters and "duck and cover" prevent another World Trade Center tragedy."

"There is no single policy, no silver bullet that will prevent or reverse the spread of weapons of mass destruction. But we have no more important task. Arms control makes us both safer and stronger. It is one of the most effective insurance policies we can write for the future."

"In four days we mark the 25th Anniversary of the Non-Proliferation Treaty. Nothing is more important to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons than extending the Treaty indefinitely and unconditionally. The NPT is the principal reason why the doomsayers were wrong...why scores of nations do not now possess nuclear weapons. Non-nuclear weapons states that sign on to the Treaty pledge never to acquire them. The nuclear weapons states vow not to help others obtain nuclear weapons capabilities, to facilitate the peaceful uses of atomic energy and to pursue nuclear arms control and, ultimately, the elimination of nuclear weapons -- commitments I strongly reaffirm, along with our determination to seek universal membership in the NPT."

"In keeping with those goals, today I have ordered that 200 tons of fissile material -- enough for thousands of nuclear weapons be permanently withdrawn from the U.S. nuclear stockpile. It will never again be used to build a nuclear weapon."

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