Next Tuesday, just four days from now, we Americans will select a new president and his back-up. Exactly eleven weeks later they will take office. They will inherit a dog's breakfast of policy catastrophes from the outgoing administration. Everyone will look to them to clean these up.
In the last days of the last century, then-Secretary of State Madeleine Albright described the United States as "the indispensable nation." "We stand tall," she claimed, "and we see further than other countries into the future." She did not seek the views of any foreigners on either point.
Welcome to Washington!
You have asked me to speak to current American policies in the Middle East, with an emphasis on the prospects for peace in the Holy Land. You have further suggested that I touch on the relationship of the Gulf Arabs, especially Saudi Arabia, to this.
Last week Americans voted in record numbers for a new president. However you felt about the outcome, you must have been moved, as I was, by how the two candidates reacted to the election results.
It is a pleasure and honor to be here. I benefited greatly from the introductory remarks by Congressman Skelton and Andrew Hoehn. They have gotten this workshop off to an excellent start.
Thirty years ago, the late Deng Xiaoping persuaded the Chinese Communist Party to make two linked decisions. In the first, China resolved to risk eclectic borrowing from other socio-economic systems to invigorate its own.
We live in a time of great transitions and confusions. The global distribution of wealth and power is in rapid evolution.
Napoleon is said to have predicted that, when China woke from its slumbers, it would "astonish the world." The Little Corporal was a loquacious fellow who got much wrong but he seems to have gotten this right.
Americans are accustomed to foreigners following us. After all, for forty years, we led the industrial democracies against the former USSR and its captive entourage. After the Soviet collapse, we bestrode the world as its sole colossus.