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President Clinton Addresses Global Affairs at Princeton UniversityAired October 5, 2000 - 3:55 p.m. ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: We want to go to Princeton, New Jersey, where President Clinton is speaking at Princeton University on the situation in Yugoslavia.
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WILLIAM J. CLINTON, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: ... of reaching his dream of a world full of free markets, free elections and free peoples working together. But we're still not there, and there are a lot of obstacles in the way, not least of which is the continuing bedrock of reluctance in our own society to pay our fair share and do our fair part on the part of some conservatives, and on the part of some progressives, to embrace the change that is the global economy and shape it, instead of denying it and pretending, as if we were Luddites, that we could make it go away.
And you have to think about this: What does it mean for you, what Wilson said and what Roosevelt said? They understood at the start of what has been called the American century, Franklin Roosevelt and Harry Truman understood when they created the U.N. and NATO and the Bretton Woods institutions, that the United States simply cannot be partly in the world, dipping in when it suits our purpose, hunkering down when it doesn't; that we can't relate to our friends in fits and starts; we can't lead just when it suits us and then tell people we're too busy when it doesn't.
We have not made that decision yet. You can see it in the ambivalence the Congress has felt when they supported me on NAFTA and the World Trade Organization in bringing China into the WTO. And when they wouldn't go along with giving me the same trade authority that presidents have had for nearly 30 years now, to negotiate comprehensive trade agreements with other countries and have them voted up or down.
You can see it in the fact that a strong conservative block in the Senate and in the House have actually spent eight years demanding, as the eight years, the most prosperous years in our country's history, saying that the most important thing to do at the UN is to lower America's share of peacekeeping and lower our percentage of the total dues of the United Nations.
You can see it in the breathtaking and I think horribly short- sighted defeat in the United States Senate of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, the first major treaty to be defeated since the Senate defeated Woodrow Wilson with the League of Nations treaty. And I must say that. for my country's sake. I certainly hope it has a like consequence. And I don't think it will if the American people decide that these matters are important.
We live in a time when people have lots of opinions on lots of things. And they're absolutely flooded with information. So if you took a survey in America and you said, "Should America pay its fair share to the U.N.? Should America responsibly participate in peacekeeping, because other people share the load? Should we have the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty and have a cooperative approach to reducing the nuclear threat and other threats of weapons of mass destruction in the future?" You'd get big majorities that would say yes.
But most Americans don't understand how important this is and what a significant piece it is...
BLITZER: President Clinton, speaking at Princeton University on the global situation. We're told he will have some references, specific references to the situation in Yugoslavia. Earlier in the day spoke, he also about that situation, insisting that it's time for President Slobodan Milosevic to step down.
We are going to continue our coverage of the dramatic developments unfolding in Yugoslavia.
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