[excerpts] REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT IN STATE OF THE UNION ADDRESS
United States Capitol 9:15 P.M. EST
But we cannot stop there. As the Internet becomes our new town square, a computer in every home -- a teacher of all subjects, a connection to all cultures -- this will no longer be a dream, but a necessity. And over the next decade, that must be our goal. (Applause.)
We must continue to explore the heavens -- pressing on with the Mars probes and the international space station, both of which will have practical applications for our everyday living.
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Fifty years ago, a farsighted America led in creating the institutions that secured victory in the Cold War and built a growing world economy. As a result, today more people than ever embrace our ideals and share our interests. Already, we have dismantled many of the blocs and barriers that divided our parents' world. For the first time, more people live under democracy than dictatorship, including every nation in our own hemisphere, but one -- and its day, too, will come. (Applause.)
Now, we stand at another moment of change and choice --and another time to be farsighted, to bring America 50 more years of security and prosperity. In this endeavor, our first task is to help to build, for the first time, an undivided, democratic Europe. When Europe is stable, prosperous and at peace, America is more secure.
To that end, we must expand NATO by 1999, so that countries that were once our adversaries can become our allies. At the special NATO summit this summer, that is what we will begin to do. We must strengthen NATO's Partnership for Peace with non-member allies. And we must build a stable partnership between NATO and a democratic Russia. (Applause.) An expanded NATO is good for America. And a Europe in which all democracies define their future not in terms of what they can do to each other, but in terms of what they can do together for the good of all -- that kind of Europe is good for America.
Second, America must look to the East no less than to the West. Our security demands it. Americans fought three wars in Asia in this century. Our prosperity requires it. More than two million American jobs depend upon trade with Asia.
There, too, we are helping to shape an Asian Pacific community of cooperation, not conflict. Let our progress there not mask the peril that remains. Together with South Korea, we must advance peace talks with North Korea and bridge the Cold War's last divide. And I call on Congress to fund our share of the agreement under which North Korea must continue to freeze and then dismantle its nuclear weapons program. (Applause.)
We must pursue a deeper dialogue with China -- for the sake of our interests and our ideals. An isolated China is not good for America. A China playing its proper role in the world is. I will go to China, and I have invited China's President to come here, not because we agree on everything, but because engaging China is the best way to work on our common challenges like ending nuclear testing, and to deal frankly with our fundamental differences like human rights. (Applause.)
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America must continue to be an unrelenting force for peace --- from the Middle East to Haiti, from Northern Ireland to Africa. Taking reasonable risks for peace keeps us from being drawn into far more costly conflicts later.
With American leadership, the killing has stopped in Bosnia. Now the habits of peace must take hold. The new NATO force will allow reconstruction and reconciliation to accelerate. Tonight, I ask Congress to continue its strong support for our troops. They are doing a remarkable job there for America, and America must do right by them. (Applause.)
Fifth, we must move strongly against new threats to our security. In the past four years, we agreed to ban -- we led the way to a worldwide agreement to ban nuclear testing. With Russia, we dramatically cut nuclear arsenals and we stopped targeting each others citizens. We are acting to prevent nuclear materials from falling into the wrong hands and to rid the world of land mines. (Applause.) We are working with other nations with renewed intensity to fight drug traffickers and to stop terrorists before they act, and hold them fully accountable if they do. (Applause.)
Now, we must rise to a new test of leadership: ratifying the Chemical Weapons Convention. (Applause.) Make no mistake about it, it will make our troops safer from chemical attack; it will help us to fight terrorism. We have no more important obligations -- especially in the wake of what we now know about the Gulf War. This treaty has been bipartisan from the beginning -- supported by Republican and Democratic administrations and Republican and Democratic members of Congress -- and already approved by 68 nations.
But if we do not act by April the 29th -- when this Convention goes into force, with or without us -- we will lose the chance to have Americans leading and enforcing this effort. Together we must make the Chemical Weapons Convention law, so that at last we can begin to outlaw poison gas from the Earth. (Applause.)
Finally, we must have the tools to meet all these challenges. We must maintain a strong and ready military. We must increase funding for weapons modernization by the year 2000, and we must take good care of our men and women in uniform. They are the world's finest. (Applause.)
We must also renew our commitment to America's diplomacy, and pay our debts and dues to international financial institutions like the World Bank, and to a reforming United Nations. (Applause.) Every dollar we devote to preventing conflicts, to promoting democracy, to stopping the spread of disease and starvation, brings a sure return in security and savings. Yet international affairs spending today is just one percent of the federal budget -- a small fraction of what America invested in diplomacy to choose leadership over escapism at the start of the Cold War. If America is to continue to lead the world, we here who lead America simply must find the will to pay our way.
A farsighted America moved the world to a better place over these last 50 years. And so it can be for another 50 years. But a shortsighted America will soon find its words falling on deaf ears all around the world. (Applause.)
Almost exactly 50 years ago, in the first winter of the Cold War, President Truman stood before a Republican Congress and called upon our country to meet its responsibilities of leadership. This was his warning -- he said, "If we falter, we may endanger the peace of the world, and we shall surely endanger the welfare of this nation." That Congress, led by Republicans like Senator Arthur Vandenberg, answered President Truman's call. Together, they made the commitments that strengthened our country for 50 years.
Now let us do the same. Let us do what it takes to remain the
indispensable nation -- to keep America strong, secure and
prosperous for another 50 years. (Applause.)