FROM THE ANTHOLOGY: Essays for the Presidency

Campaign 2000: A Republican Foreign Policy

U.S. President George W. Bush speaks under a U.S. flag at a Tennessee welcome ceremony upon his arrival in Knoxville, October 8, 2002. Kevin Lamarque / Reuters


At the opening of the twentieth century, the United States began a quest similar to today's. The rise of American power, revolutions in technology, and great clashes abroad set the stage for a historic transformation. Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson dominated the age, as they debated and labored to promote their visions of America's role in a new international system. In 2000, the world is again in an era of rapid change, reminiscent of a century ago. The vitality of America's private economy, the preeminence of its military power, and the appeal of the country's ideas are unparalleled. But as former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher cautioned her colleagues, we must "expect the unexpected." A primary task for the next president of the United States is to build public support for a strategy that will shape the world so as to protect and promote American interests and values for the next 50 years.

At the end of the Cold War, President George Bush built on Ronald Reagan's legacy by beginning to adapt American foreign policy to the challenges of changed circumstances. Recognizing the importance of economic ties, his administration negotiated the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), supported a free-trade agreement with Chile as a step toward free trade throughout the western hemisphere, and promoted the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) group to bind U.S. economic interests across the Pacific. The United States then employed these regional initiatives to bring the global trade talks of the Uruguay Round to the edge of conclusion. Those initiatives have created the most powerful movement toward free trade in history.

The United States also took advantage of its preeminent position to push hard for peace in a number of vital areas. In the Middle East, the United States used its standing after the Cold War and the Gulf War to break old deadlocks at the Madrid Conference and to push the Arab-Israeli peace process to a totally new plane. The Bush administration sought

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