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Sec'y Urges Foreign Leadership

Christopher Emphasizes the United States' Role in Peace-Making

By Amita M. Shukla

The United States must continue to be a strong international leader, Secretary of State Warren Christopher said in a speech at the Kennedy School yesterday.

Assessing America's role in world events since he delivered a similar speech at Harvard last January, Christopher praised the progress the Clinton Administration has made in foreign diplomacy and described the importance of United States involvement in international peace-making.

"The lesson is clear," Christopher said. "If we lead, we can sustain the momentum that defeated communism, freed us from the danger of nuclear war and unfurled freedom's flag around the world."

Christopher did not hesitate to take a thinly-veiled swipe at Republicans in Congress who favor a more isolationist position for the U.S.

"For a year now, the President and I have been fighting those forces in Congress who would cut our foreign affairs budget so deeply that we would have to draw back from our leadership," he said. "They betray a lack of appreciation for what America has accomplished in the last 50 years and a lack of confidence that our great nation can shape the future."

Christopher cited the U.S. brokered peace processes in Bosnia and the Middle Fast as two of the most significant achievements of the Clinton administration. He also described the importance of U.S. involvement in Haiti, Mexico and North Korea.

"The President, with the help from internationalists in both parties, has made the United States the world's driving force for peace," Christopher told an overflow audience in the Kennedy School's ARCO Forum.

Christopher also explained the main objectives in American diplomacy in 1996. "In this time of accelerated change, American leadership must remain constant We must be clear-eyed and vigilant in pursuit of our interests," Christopher said.

Christopher outlined three main objectives: "First, pursuing peace in regions of vital interest; second, confronting the new transnational security threats; and third, promoting open markets and prosperity."

He emphasized the importance of establishing solid relationships with Russia and China. These nations, as well as Japan and U.S. allies in Europe "have the greatest ability to affect our security and prosperity," said Christopher, whose son Scott graduated from the Kennedy School in 1983.

In addition to providing leadership, the U.S. must also adhere to its strong belief in universal human rights, according to Christopher. "Our dedication to universal values is a vital source of America's authority and credibility, and we cannot lead without it," he said.

The Secretary of State, however, expressed his disappointment over the recent Federal government shutdown.

"It eroded our international reputation for reliability and integrity," Christopher said, emphasizing that a strong international image is critical for world peace and cooperation.

"I am not a politician. But I do have a bias for a foreign policy that makes America a reliable and principled leader; a bias for foreign policy that projects America's unique purpose and strength," he said.

Christopher said that the role of the United Nations, NATO and other international organizations is important to "help us share the costs of leadership."

This year an "important goal" of the U.S. is to help nations in not only the peace process itself, but the aftermath as well, he said. The U.S. will "help the War Crime Tribunals establish accountability in the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda for two of the greatest tragedies of this decade," he said.

Christopher added that U.S. involvement in two other arenas, international security and environmental protection, is important on a global scale.

"The world sees us as an optimistic people, motivated by a broad view of our interests and driven by a long view of our potential. They follow us because they understand that America's fight for peace and freedom is the world's fight," he said.

"We must continue to lead. If we do, the end of this millennium can mark the start of a second American century," Christopher said

This year an "important goal" of the U.S. is to help nations in not only the peace process itself, but the aftermath as well, he said. The U.S. will "help the War Crime Tribunals establish accountability in the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda for two of the greatest tragedies of this decade," he said.

Christopher added that U.S. involvement in two other arenas, international security and environmental protection, is important on a global scale.

"The world sees us as an optimistic people, motivated by a broad view of our interests and driven by a long view of our potential. They follow us because they understand that America's fight for peace and freedom is the world's fight," he said.

"We must continue to lead. If we do, the end of this millennium can mark the start of a second American century," Christopher said

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