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Clinton Calls for New Era of Peace

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Jan. 30, 1998 – The United States must help build a new era of peace and security, President Clinton said in his State of the Union address Jan. 27.

Clinton said the country and its military must stand against "the poisoned appeals of extreme nationalism." He said the United States must stay involved with, and influence, world affairs. "Today's possibilities are not tomorrow's guarantees," he said.

Clinton spoke to a recalcitrant Iraq and its leader. "I know I speak for everyone in this chamber, Republicans and Democrats, when I say to Saddam Hussein: You cannot defy the will of the world. And when I say to him: You have used weapons of mass destruction before; we are determined to deny you the capacity to use them again."

He called on the Senate to approve the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty. "By ending nuclear testing we can help to prevent the development of new and more dangerous weapons and make it more difficult for nonnuclear states to build them," he said.

The president said NATO's work with new partners -- including Russia and Ukraine -- will make Europe a stronghold of peace in the 21st century. He said he will ask the Senate to consent to make Hungary, Poland and the Czech Republic the newest members of NATO.

"For 50 years, NATO contained communism and kept America and Europe secure," he said. "Now these three formerly communist countries have said 'yes' to democracy. I ask the Senate to say 'yes' to them -- our new allies."

Clinton asked Congress to continue to support the NATO mission in Bosnia. He said the progress in that country is unmistakable, but not irreversible.

"To take firm root, Bosnia's fragile peace still needs the support of American and allied troops when the current NATO mission ends in June," he said. "I think [former] Senator [Robert] Dole actually said it best. He said, 'This is like being ahead in the fourth quarter of a football game. Now is not the time to walk off the field and forfeit the victory.'"

Clinton applauded the work of U.S. service members. "Our men and women in uniform always do their mission well," he said. "Our mission must be to keep them well-trained and ready, to improve their quality of life and to provide the 21st century weapons they need to defeat any enemy."

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