The President's budget provides the resources to sustain the leadership role of the United States in the struggle for freedom and peace throughout the world.
While some voices call for a U.S. retreat into isolationism, we have chosen to engage. Our diplomatic leadership continues to be critical to keeping the peace and defending our interests in major regions of the world.
We have stimulated and led the peace process in the Middle East, helping achieve peace between Israel and Jordan and an interim agreement between Israel and the Palestinians and fostering continuing discussions between Israel and Syria. In Eurasia, we have strengthened our relationship with Russia and the other New Independent States and worked to secure free markets and democracy in that critical region. In Europe, we have crafted a comprehensive peace agreement among the warring factions in Bosnia and led a cooperative NATO effort to enforce that agreement. We also lent critical support to efforts to achieve a settlement of the long-running conflict in Northern Ireland. In Asia, we negotiated an agreement with North Korea that halted, and will eliminate, its nuclear weapons program and created an international coalition to carry out that agreement. Throughout the globe, we lead in the struggle to strengthen democracy and free markets, with singular successes in central Europe, Asia, Latin America, and South Africa.
Not only does our leadership secure our interests and promote our values, it is a key ingredient in dealing with the new threats of the post-Cold War era. Leading the global effort for arms reductions and nonproliferation continues to be an integral element of our diplomacy and national security strategy. Our efforts support a broad range of programs to reduce the threat of nuclear and chemical weapons. We are making our children's future safer by reducing existing arsenals and ensuring that rogue states and terrorist groups do not acquire these terrible weapons or the materials and technologies needed to make them.
Other threats know no national borders; America must lead in confronting such problems as ethnic and national conflicts which threaten regional stability; terrorism, international crime, and drug trafficking, which directly threaten our free and open society; and large-scale environmental degradation.
More than ever, our domestic and foreign economic interests are closely intertwined, and mutually reinforcing. Economic and trade issues are increasingly at the forefront of our diplomacy. We need a strong economy to sustain our military forces and diplomatic strategy. And we must be global leaders in trade and investment if we are to open foreign markets and create the high-wage jobs that will raise the living standards of our people.
With regard to trade, we have created new markets across the world for our exports, which have reached an all-time high. Along with securing legislation to implement the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade and the North American Free Trade Agreement, we have completed over 80 other trade agreements.
Our defense capability is the bulwark which sustains and supports our diplomacy. This budget continues our critical support for the world's strongest and most ready military force--a force designed to fight successfully two nearly simultaneous regional conflicts. Our weapons are state-of-the-art, and our military is the best equipped, best trained, and best prepared in the world.
When necessary, we have sent the men and women of our military into action. Only when U.S. forces were about to land could our negotiators convince the unwelcome dictators to leave Haiti; we then reinstalled the democratically-elected leader and, in the process, stemmed the large-scale migration from Haiti to our borders. We worked with NATO forces to bring a cease-fire to Bosnia. With Iraq once again threatening Kuwait, we moved quickly to send additional forces to the region. And we saved hundreds of thousands of lives by employing our military forces in humanitarian efforts in Rwanda.
America cannot be everywhere, nor can we do everything. But where our interests and values are sufficiently at stake and our action can make a difference, the United States must act. In this age of possibility, it is clear that this Nation must continue to lead; our leadership has not only helped to bring peace to long-warring nations, but it also builds on a half-century of security and prosperity that Americans continue to enjoy.
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