Worldwide Locations

Worldwide Locations

Bill Clinton's Remarks at the Asia Society Annual Dinner 2003

William J. Clinton, 42nd President of the United States of America

William J. Clinton, 42nd President of the United States of America

But we also know that Iran has two governments, and that the other thirty percent are represented by an un-elected government of religious conservatives that control a lot of the intelligence, foreign policy, and money that goes to fund terror. So, we have real and dangerous differences. I do believe we have to continue our dialogue. I comment the Asia Society and all the others who have worked over the last several years to keep informal contacts with Iran alive, who have hosted Iranian and American officials and sponsored dialogue on culture and on politics, you have done our countries a great service, and I hope you will continue to do that.

Let me just say in closing that it’s obvious to all of us that we can't afford to be indifferent. It’s obvious to most of us that we can't succeed by being purely unilateral. It is clearly obvious that we have to have a strong military, but we can't have a solely military strategy to fight the forces of dis-integration. It’s not enough to keep bad things from happening, we have to keep making good things happen. Asia’s greatest challenges, terrorism, AIDS, non proliferation, maintaining economic dynamism, most of the answers to those challenges will come from the Asians themselves, but they can't do it alone. And the United States will have to do our part just as we have for the last fifty years. I would like to say lastly, what I tried to say to the graduates at Syracuse yesterday, it is important in public affairs to distinguish between the headlines and the trend lines. Sometimes they are consistent, sometimes they are not. There are many troubling headlines in the world today, and many of them affect Asia. But, if you look at all the good things that have happened since the end of the Cold War in Asia, many of them against all the odds, it is obvious that the trend lines have, on balance, been positive. Our job is to make sure they keep going that way. We can't do it alone, and it won't happen if we don’t have a leadership role. So, I hope we will decide to try to build an integrated community. That’s a decision we made after World War II, it worked pretty well, and it will work even better in the next fifty years. Thank you very much.