United States Department of State: Congressional Presentation for Foreign Operations, Fiscal Year 1997.
DEPARTMENT OF STATE WASHINGTON DC
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As the dawn of a new century approaches, the United States finds itself at a crossroads -- in a situation similar to, but in many ways more complex than, the one it faced at the end of World War II. One path leads to continued American leadership in international affairs and enhanced U.S. national security. Another leads to retreat and increasing vulnerability to international events over which we have declining control and influence. Following World War II, America chose a path of engagement, which made possible the construction of a more secure, democratic, and prosperous world. Standing on its principles and learning from past mistakes, America prevailed in the face of the formidable communist threat. To meet the challenges of the next century and to build an even safer world for our children, we must plot a similar course marked by vision and steadfastness of purpose. Just as American leadership was critical to global peace, stability, and economic progress in the twentieth century, it will remain so in the twenty-first. Our leadership is likely to be even more relevant in the new information age as our world becomes even smaller and more interdependent. In this era of new challenges and opportunities, our security and economic well-being will depend on global events and trends which we can choose to lead or to follow. If we fail to exercise our leadership now, we will pay an enormous price later. Recently, American leadership has spurred major successes in places such as the New Independent States, the Middle East, Bosnia, Haiti, and South Africa. It has strengthened democracy, reduced the risk of nuclear proliferation, expanded world prosperity, and countered the threats of environmental degradation, unbridled population growth, drug trafficking, and terrorism.
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