THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary (Detroit, Michigan) ________________________________________________________________________ For Immediate Release October 22, 1996
REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT TO THE PEOPLE OF DETROIT
Fisher Theater Detroit, Michigan
10:52 A.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very, very much. Thank you so much. Mayor and Mrs. Archer, Congressman Dingell, Congressman Bonior, Congressman Levin, Governor and Mrs. Blanchard, Mayor Stanley -- (applause) -- you can clap for anyone you like. (Applause.) Mayor Stanley, Bishop, Mayor Bob Kazaren (phonetic) of Hamtramck, welcome. Thank you. (Applause.)
I'd like to welcome the 4th grade students from the Hiller Elementary School from Lapeer, Michigan. They're here somewhere. Where are they? Welcome. (Applause.) I'm glad you're here. And students from the Academy of Military Science in Detroit are here somewhere I think. Where are you, back there in the back? Welcome. (Applause.)
I want to thank Senator Carl Levin for his extraordinary work. (Applause.) As you know -- I'm sure everyone in Michigan knows that in January Senator Levin will become at least the ranking Democratic member of the Senate Armed Services Committee and perhaps the Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee. (Applause.) In addition to his vigorous representation of the people of Michigan on all kinds of domestic issues, he has been a great leader for keeping our nation strong and secure in this time of remarkable change. And the state, the nation and the President are in your debt, Senator. Thank you very much. (Applause.)
I am delighted to be here in Detroit to discuss the challenges we face as we enter the 21st century, to make sure that we remain the world's strongest force for peace and freedom, for security and prosperity. Detroit is a city meeting the challenges of the future, and is the perfect place for me to have this opportunity to visit with you. Yesterday I couldn't help thinking that in the empowerment zone that the Mayor and others have worked to make so much of, which has generated $2 billion in private capital to develop the resources of the people of Detroit here, and in the ground we broke yesterday for a $1.6 billion new airport to give you the capacity to reach out to the rest of the world, Detroit is doing what all of America must do. We must develop ourselves and reach out to the rest of the world. Congratulations, Mayor, and to all the other local officials here. (Applause.)
From its very founding, our nation has stood for the idea that people have the right to control their own lives, to pursue their own dreams. In this century we have done far more than just stand for these principles -- Americans have acted upon them and sacrificed for them, fought two world wars so that freedom could triumph over tyranny, then made commitments that kept the peace that helped to spread democracy, that brought great prosperity to ourselves and helped to win the Cold War.
Now the idea as we struggle for democracy and freedom -- freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, open markets, respect for diversity -- these ideas are more and more the ideals of humanity. When we adopted democracy as our form of government in 1776, and then when we ratified our Constitution a few years later, it was an unusual choice that we made. Democracy had largely vanished from the Earth for nearly 2,000 years, since Ancient Greece.
In this century, amid all the wars and bloodshed, we have struggled to advance the cause of democracy and to support those who are seeking it. And, now, for the first time in history, 61 percent of the world's nation, and for the very first time in the last couple of years, over half of the people on the face of the globe live in democratically-elected -- under democratically-elected leaders in free countries. That's a remarkable thing. This never happened before. (Applause.)
Four years ago when I sought the presidency I said that to build a strong community based on opportunity and responsibility here at home, to be both prosperous and secure, we would have to continue to lead abroad in this new era. The burden of American leadership and the importance of it, indeed, the essential character of American leadership is one of the great lessons of the 20th century. It will be an even more powerful reality in the 21st century -- a century in which the blocks and barriers that defined the world for previous generations will continue to give way to greater freedom, faster change, greater communications and commerce across national borders, and more profound innovation than ever before; a century in which more people than ever will have the chance to share in humanity's genius of progress.
As walls come down around the world, so must the walls in our minds between our domestic policy and our foreign policy. Think about it. Our prosperity as individuals, communities and a nation depends upon our economic policies at home and abroad -- on Detroit's empowerment zone and your commitment to an airport facility that will connect you better to the rest of the world. Our well-being as individuals, communities and a nation depends upon our environmental policies at home and abroad. Our security as individuals, communities, and a nation depends upon our policies to fight terrorism, crime and drugs at home and abroad. We reduce the threats to people here in America by reducing the threats beyond our borders. We advance our interests at home by advancing the common good around the world.
Let me just give you one example, that I'll return to in a moment. In the last four years the American people, working together, have created 10.5 million new jobs. Now, that is good news. But perhaps even more important, more than half of those jobs are in high-wage categories. That is one reason that real wages for the typical working family have started to rise again for the first time in a decade.
Now, that has to be seen in terms of what is happening to the American economy becoming connected to the rest of the world. We've had an all-time high in exports, an increase in exports of about 35 percent, and we know that export-related jobs, on average, pay considerably higher than jobs which are totally confined in their economic impact to the domestic community.
The 200-plus agreements we've made in trade, including over 20 with Japan, we've seen an increase of 85 percent in the export of American products to Japan. I visited, as many of you know, an American auto dealership in Tokyo. And just yesterday we learned that our exports of American cars to Japan increased 40 percent in just one year last year. (Applause.) I say that simply to make the point that our economic policies at home and abroad affect the well-being of America's families.
And in a world that is increasingly interconnected, we have to just sort of take down that artificial wall in our mind that this is completely a foreign policy issue and this is completely a domestic issue, because increasingly they impact one on the other. That is why I think, among other things, we have to resist those who believe that now that the Cold War is over the United States can completely return to focusing on problems within our borders and basically ignore those beyond our borders.
That escapism is not available to us because at the end of the Cold War, America truly is the world's indispensable nation. There are times when only America can make the difference between war and peace, between freedom and repression, because* hope and fear. We cannot and should not try to be the world's policeman. But where our interests and values are clearly at stake, and where we can make a difference, we must act and lead.
We must lead in two ways: first, by meeting the immediate challenges to our interests from rogue regimes; from sudden explosions of ethnic and religious and tribal hatreds, from short-term crises; and, second, by making long-term investments in security, prosperity, peace and freedom that can prevent these problems from arising in the first place, and that will help all of us to fully seize the opportunities of the 21st century.
We have approached the immediate challenges with strength and flexibility, working with others when we can, alone when we must, using diplomacy where possible and force where necessary.
When I took office, the bloodiest war in Europe since World War II was raging in Bosnia. Thanks to U.S.-led NATO air strikes, American diplomacy and IFOR's peacekeeping efforts, the war is over, elections have been held. The Bosnian people are now getting on with the very hard work of rebuilding their lives, their land, their economy and their capacity to deal with each other in an atmosphere of respect. None of it will be easier, but America acted, our partners and allies acted. And think of what would have happened if we had walked away.
When I took office, dictators terrorized Haiti. They forced tens of thousands of refugees to flee. Because we backed American diplomacy with military force and the power of an international coalition, the dictators are gone, Haiti's democracy is back, the flight from fear has ended. Difficulties remain, but think what it would be like if America had not acted.
As Senator Levin said, when I took office North Korea was moving forward with a dangerous nuclear program it had been working on for more than a decade. Thanks to our diplomacy, and with the help of Japan, South Korea, and China, North Korea has frozen that program under international monitoring. I wish that more progress were being made in North Korea toward openness, but think how much worse it would be if we had not acted.
Two years ago the collapse of the Mexican peso jeopardized our own economy and the sanctity of our borders. Because we stepped in immediately and rallied others to join us, Mexico has rebounded. Three-quarters of our loans have been repaid ahead of schedule. We are earning interest on the deal. I believe we have made about a half a billion dollars so far. I know that was one of the more unpopular decisions of my presidency, but think what would have happened if we had allowed our neighbor to the south to collapse economically without a supporting hand from the United States for their efforts to reform their political and economic systems and, therefore, to be able to work with us in a supportive way. (Applause.)
In each of these cases we were able to succeed because, first, we accepted the responsibility to lead. But it isn't enough just to handle these immediate crises. We also must set our sights on a more distant horizon. Through our size, our strength, our relative wealth, and also through the power of our example, America has a unique ability to shape a world of greater security and prosperity, peace and freedom. These are long-term efforts and often they take place behind the headlines. But only by pursuing them can we give our children the best possible opportunity to realize their own God-given potential.
That's why we have worked patiently and pragmatically to reduce the threat of weapons of mass destruction, to take on the challenge of terrorism, to build an open trading system for the 21st century, to help secure the gains that peace and freedom are making around the world. We are making the future more secure by lifting the danger of weapons of mass destruction.
It has taken hard negotiations and persistent diplomacy. But consider the results. Today, not a single Russian missile targets America. We are cutting our nuclear arsenals by two-thirds. We are working to keep the remaining weapons safe and secure. We helped to convince Ukraine, Kazakhstan, and Belarus to give up the warheads left on their lands after the Soviet Union dissolved. We won the indefinite extension of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, our most powerful tool in keeping nuclear weapons from spreading. And just a few weeks ago, after literally decades of discussion that began under Presidents Eisenhower and Kennedy, I was proud to be the first head of state to sign the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty. (Applause.) Once enforced, it will end nuclear testing for all times.
There is, to be sure, more hard work ahead of us. We must secure the ratification in the United States Senate of the Chemical Weapons Convention, to make it more difficult for rogue states and terrorists to acquire poison gas. (Applause.) We must strengthen the Biological Weapons Convention to help prevent the use of disease as a weapon of war. And we must succeed in negotiating a worldwide ban on anti-personnel land mines, which murder and maim more than 25,000 people a year. (Applause.)
As we keep our focus on these goals, we must also keep the heat on terrorists who would darken the dawn of the new century. Piece by piece, we have put in place a strategy to fight terrorism on three fronts: toughening our laws at home, tightening security in our airports and airplanes, and pressing our allies to adopt with us a strict policy of zero -- zero -- tolerance for terrorism. (Applause.)
In the congressional session just concluded, two important pieces of legislation were passed to help give us the tools to fight terrorists at home. And almost all the Vice President's recommendations for increased security at our airports and on our airplanes were adopted in a billion-dollar bill designed to help us move immediately and aggressively to improve airport and airline security. I am encouraged by that.
When I met last summer with the leaders of the G-7 nations in France, they agreed to work with us to try to get a zero tolerance for terrorism policy around the world. (Applause.) While we can defeat terrorists -- and we have been successful in thwarting attempted terrorist attacks in the United States, attempted attacks on our planes flying out of the West Coast; recently there was a conviction in a United States court of a person we extradited back to the United States who was charged and then convicted of conspiring to blow up a number of airplanes flying out of our West Coast over the Pacific -- it will be a long time before we defeat terrorism. But we have to remain determined and strong. If we do, we know we can prevail.
It took a while for the Cold War to be resolved in a way that was favorable to humanity and freedom, but we stayed the course, and we must stay the course against this. And our allies must help us. We simply cannot be doing business by day with people who are supporting terrorists who will kill us by night. That is wrong, and we must work to develop a common policy on that. (Applause.)
We are building prosperity at home by opening markets abroad, as I said earlier. I believe that decades from now people will look back on this period and see the most far-reaching changes in the world trading system in generations. More than 200 trade agreements we have negotiated have led to more than a million new jobs. They've helped to make America the number one exporter again. You know that here in Detroit. You led the nation here with the fastest recent growth in export trade. And today, for the first time since the 1970s, the United States is again the number one producer of automobiles in the world. (Applause.)
It is not easy to both expand trade and keep the rules fair. It has to be done issue by issue, agreement by agreement. It is hard work, day in and day out, month in and month out, year in and year out. But we must continue to do it. Next month I will travel again to Asia, to the Philippines, for the fourth annual summit of the Asian-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, because a lot of America's future is tied to Asia's future. As a Pacific power, we have a responsibility to work for stability and security in Asia, and an opportunity to benefit from that region's extraordinary economic growth.
We are also working to advance the cause of peace and freedom around the world. This also is a mission rooted in both our ideals and our interests. After all, when people live free and they're at peace, they're much less likely to make war or abuse the rights of their own citizens, much more likely to be good trading partners and partners in the struggle against terrorism, international crime, and drug trafficking, working with us to prevent global environmental decay.
From the Middle East to Northern Ireland, from Cuba to Burma, from Burundi to South Africa, those taking risks for peace and freedom know that the United States will stand at their side. (Applause.)
Nowhere are our interests more engaged than in Europe. When Europe is at peace, our security is strengthened. When Europe prospers, so does America. We have a special bond because our nation was formed from the hopes and dreams of those who came to our shores from across the Atlantic seeking religious freedom, fleeing persecution, looking for a better life. From the Pilgrims of 1620 to the Hungarian freedom fighters of 1956, whose struggle we commemorate tomorrow, they gave America the strength of diversity and the passion for freedom.
Remarkable generations of Americans invested in Europe's peace and freedom with their own sacrifice. They fought two world wars. They had the vision to create NATO and the Marshall Plan. The vigor of those institutions, the force of democracy, the determination of people to be free -- all these helped to produce victory in the Cold War. But now that that freedom has been won, it is this generation's responsibility to ensure that it will not be lost again, not ever. (Applause.)
President Reagan gave strength to those working to bring down the Iron Curtain. President Bush helped to reunify Germany. And now, for the very first time since nation-states first appeared in Europe, we have an opportunity to build a peaceful, undivided, and democratic continent. It has never happened before; it can be done now. (Applause.) A continent where democracy and free markets know no boundaries, but where nations can be assured that their borders will always be secure and their sovereignty and independence will always be respected.
In January of 1994, during my first trip to Europe as President, I laid out a strategy for European integration -- political integration around democracies, economic integration around free markets, security integration around military cooperation. I urged our enduring allies and new friends to build the bonds among our nations that are necessary for this time -- through the European Union, through NATO, through the other institutions of a new Europe. I challenged all our people to summon the will and the resources to make this vision real.
The United States and Europe are answering that challenge. With our help, the forces of reform in Europe's newly free nations have laid the foundations of democracy. They have political parties and free elections, an independent media, civilian control of the military. We've helped them to develop successful market economies, and now our moving from aid to trade and investment.
Look at what has been achieved by our common efforts. In the seven years since the fall of the Berlin Wall, two-thirds of Russia's economy has moved from the heavy grip of the state into private hands. Poland has now one of the West's highest rates of growth. You're as likely to read about Poland on the business page as the front page today. The private sector produces half the national income of an independent Ukraine. From the Czech Republic to Hungary to Estonia, the same forces of freedom and free markets are creating bustling prosperity and hope for the future.
The bedrock of our common security remains NATO. When President Truman signed the North Atlantic Treaty 47 years ago, he expressed the goal of its founders plainly, but powerfully: to preserve their present peaceful situation and to protect it in the future. All of us here today, every single one of us, are the beneficiaries of NATO's extraordinary success in doing just that. (Applause.)
NATO defended the West by deterring aggression. Even more, through NATO, Western Europe became a source of stability instead of hostility. France and Germany moved from conflict to cooperation. Democracy took permanent root in countries where fascism once ruled.
I came to office convinced that NATO can do for Europe's East what it did for Europe's West: prevent a return to local rivalries, strengthen democracy against future threats, and create the conditions for prosperity to flourish. That's why the United States has taken the lead in a three-part effort to build a new NATO for a new era. (Applause.) First, by adapting NATO with new capabilities for new missions. Second, by opening its doors to Europe's emerging democracies. Third, by building a strong and cooperative relationship between NATO and Russia.
To adapt NATO we have taken on missions beyond the territory of its members for the first time, and done so in cooperation with non-member states, shifting our emphasis to smaller and more flexible forces prepared to provide for our defense, but also trained and equipped for peacekeeping. We're setting up mobile headquarters to run these new missions more effectively and efficiently. We're giving our European allies a larger role within the Alliance, while preserving NATO's vital core, which is an integrated command military structure.
The United States will continue to take the lead in NATO, especially in the southern region where the most immediate threats to peace exist. But we welcome our allies' willingness to shoulder a greater share of the burden and to assume greater leadership.
Bosnia has been the first major test of the new NATO. At first, NATO could act jointly only with the United Nations. But once NATO took charge, once its lead, its air power, together with it's diplomat leadership, was available fully, it pushed the Bosnian Serbs from the battlefield to the bargaining table. The NATO-led Implementation Force has restored security to Bosnia. It has given the Bosnian people a chance --not a guarantee, but a chance to build a lasting peace.
But for NATO to fulfill its real promise of peace and democracy in Europe it will not be enough simply to take on new missions as the need arises. NATO must also take in new members, including those from among its former adversaries. It must reach out to all the new democracies in Central Europe, the Baltics and the New Independent States of the former Soviet Union.
At the first NATO summit I attended in January of 1994, I proposed that NATO should enlarge -- steadily, deliberately, openly. And our allies agreed. First, together, we created the Partnership For Peace as a path to full NATO membership for some and a strong and lasting link to the alliance for all. I think it would be fair to say that the Partnership For Peace has exceeded what even its most optimistic supporters predicted for it in the beginning. There are more than two dozen members now. (Applause.)
The more than two dozen members and the astonishing amount of cooperation and joint training and partnership that has developed as results of this Partnership For Peace has made it something of significance -- I believe enduring significance -- beyond what we ever imagined when we started it. And the strategy is paying off. The prospect of membership in or partnership with NATO has given Europe's new democracies a strong incentive to continue to reform and to improve relations with their neighbors.
Through the Partnership For Peace, prospective new members are actually gaining the practical experience they need to join NATO. Thirteen partner nations are serving alongside NATO troops and helping to secure the peace in Bosnia. There are Polish and Czech combat battalions, Hungarian and Romanian engineering troops, soldiers from Ukraine and the Baltic states, forces from Sweden and Finland and a full Russian brigade.
Just seven years ago, these soldiers served on opposite sides of the Iron Curtain. Today, their teamwork with our troops and other European NATO allies is erasing the lines that once divided Europe while bringing an end to the bloodiest conflict in Europe since World War II. (Applause.)
We have kept NATO enlargement on track. Now it is time to take the next historic step forward. Last month, I called for a summit in the spring or early summer of next year to name to first group of future NATO members and to invite them to begin accession talks.
Today, I want to state America's goal. By 1999, NATO's 50th anniversary and 10 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, the first group of countries we invite to join should be full-fledged members of NATO. (Applause.)
I also pledged for my part, and I believe for NATO's part as well, that's NATO's doors will not close behind its first new members. NATO should remain open to all of Europe's emerging democracies who are ready to shoulder the responsibilities of membership. No nation will be automatically excluded. No country outside NATO will have a veto. We will work to deepen our cooperation, meanwhile, with all the nations in the Partnership For Peace. A gray zone of insecurity must not reemerge in Europe. (Applause.)
Now, I want to say that as we go forward the American people should be aware that this plan is not free of costs. Peace and security are not available on the cheap. Enlargement will mean extending the most solemn security guarantee to our new allies. To be a NATO member means that all the other members make a commitment to treat an attack on one as an attack on all. But mark my words, if we fail to seize this historic opportunity to build a new NATO in a new Europe, if we allow the Iron Curtain to be replaced by a veil of indifference, we will pay a much higher price later on down the road. America will be stronger and safer if the democratic family continues to grow, if we bring to our ranks partners willing to share the risks and responsibilities of freedom.
By overwhelming majorities this summer, both Houses of Congress passed a NATO Enlargement Facilitation Act. I greatly appreciate this bipartisan support for our efforts to forge a broader alliance of prosperity, of security and, as the First Lady said in Prague on the last 4th of July, an alliance of values with Europe. I look forward to working with Congress to ratify the accession of new members, to provide the resources we need to meet this commitment, to secure the support of the American people. NATO enlargement is not directed against anyone. It will advance the security of everyone -- NATO's old members, new members and non-members alike.
I know that some in Russia still look at NATO through a Cold War prism and, therefore, look at our proposals to expand it in a negative light. But I ask them to look again. We are building a new NATO, just as we support the Russian people in building a new Russia. By reducing rivalry and fear, by strengthening peace and cooperation, NATO will promote greater stability in Europe and Russia will be among the beneficiaries. Indeed, Russia has the best chance in history to help to build that peaceful and undivided Europe, and to be an equal and respected and successful partner in that sort of future. (Applause.)
The great opportunity the Russian people have is to define themselves in terms of the future, not the past; to forge a new relationship with NATO as enlargement moves forward. The United States has suggested that Russia and NATO work out a formal agreement on cooperation. We should set up a regular mechanism for NATO-Russia meetings at all levels. We should consult on European security issues so that whenever possible NATO and Russia can act jointly to meet the challenges of the new era, just as we have acted jointly in Bosnia.
Just think about it. In Bosnia, Russia and NATO are already partners for peace. We should set our sights on becoming full partners and bringing all of Europe together. Together we can help to turn the main battleground for the bloodiest century in history into a continent whose people remain secure and prosperous, free and at peace.
These past four years, it's been one of the greatest privileges of my life to represent America around the world, from the halls of Kremlin to the hillsides of Port-au-Prince; from the deserts of Jordan to the Tokyo Harbor; from the Charles Bridge in Prague and Riga's Freedom Square to the DMZ in Korea. I have heard the voices and shaken the hands of presidents and prime ministers, and just as important, citizens on the streets of distant lands. Wherever I go, whomever I talk with, the message to me is the same: We believe in America. We trust America. We want America to lead. And America must lead. (Applause.)
I wish every American could see our country as much of the world sees us. Our friends rely upon our engagement. Our adversaries respect our strength. When our family went to open the Olympics in Atlanta, I was so moved by the statements of young people from around the world about the efforts the United States had made to foster peace in Bosnia, peace in Northern Ireland, peace in the Middle East -- things these young athletes felt personally because it was their lives, their future, and the children they still hope to have on the line.
As we enter the 21st century, we must make a commitment to remain true to the legacy of America's leadership -- to make sure America remains the indispensable nation, not only for ourselves, but for what we believe in and for all the people of the world. That is our burden. That is our opportunity. And it must be our future.
Thank you and God bless you all. (Applause.)
END 11:37 A.M. EDT