Good morning. This week I'm speaking to you from Tactical Assembly Area Liberty in the sands outside Kuwait City, Kuwait, in the Persian Gulf, where I am visiting the brave men and women of our Armed Forces who are working here to defend freedom.
Three weeks ago, I ordered them and other members of the military to come here because Iraq was massing tens of thousands of troops on Kuwait's border. Our soldiers, sailors, pilots, and marines got here in a hurry, and Iraq got the message in a hurry. Its forces stopped dead in their tracks, and now they have withdrawn. On behalf of all Americans, I came to Kuwait to tell our troops two simple but deeply felt words: Thank you.
I can tell you the men and women of our Armed Forces are doing well. They are working well with their coalition forces, the Kuwaitis, the British, and the other allies who have come here to help to defend this country. Their morale is high; their commitment to their mission is unquestioned. Of course, they'd rather be home with their loved ones, and we'll do everything we can to get them back there soon. But they're here to do their jobs, and nobody does it better. In places from Haiti to Korea, our troops are the great source of our national strength.
As our military helps to secure peace in the Gulf, our diplomacy is also helping to make peace between Israel and its Arab neighbors. I wish all Americans could have seen what I had the privilege to witness this week. The leaders of Israel and Jordan, enemies for 47 years, found the courage to put aside their past to come together in a moving ceremony in the desert between their two countries. They made peace after a generation of war so that this generation and the next generation of their citizens could enjoy their lives, not live in dread.
I know you were moved, as I was, by what Jordan's King Hussein and Israel's Prime Minister Rabin said about America. They said they couldn't have made this peace without our support. One member of a delegation of Americans who went with me put it best when he said, "It made me so proud to know that my country was responsible for helping to build this peace."
The United States, at this moment in history, is uniquely blessed. We are blessed with great power and a heritage and commitment not to abuse that power but instead to seek peace, freedom, and democracy as well as our own security. We are using our role to do that in the Middle East to build a comprehensive peace.
A year ago, leaders of Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization came to the White House for another historic peace accord. This week I made it clear to them that the PLO must do everything it can to end terrorism against Israel so that the peace process can create a better future for this region. And I met with President Asad of Syria to say it's time he, too, follow the example and inspiration of Israel and Jordan. We made progress on this trip, and we'll continue to do our part to bring peace to this long-troubled part of the world.
All over the world, nations look to us for leadership, whether it's in the peace process between Israel and its Arab neighbors or the South Africans asking us to help them hold their first successful democratic elections or leaders in Northern Ireland asking the United States to help end their terrible conflict or the folks in Haiti who, when President Aristide and democracy returned, held up signs to our troops that said simply, "Thank you, America." And of course, it's clear that when Saddam Hussein reared up his head again in the Gulf, Kuwait and other countries looked to the United States. They know that the good men and women I came to Kuwait to thank are the strength behind our commitment to peace and to freedom.
We must maintain a strong defense so that we can protect our own security and our own interests and so that we can make the world safer and more prosperous for our children by advancing freedom, as we are here in the Gulf today.
To stay strong abroad, we also know America has to be strong at home. To do that, we have to take on challenges at home just as we do abroad. We have to do what we have to do to keep the American dream alive into the next century: a strong economy, a good society, advancing the values of work and family and community. In the last 21 months, we've made a good start, getting our economic house in order after years of neglect, starting the first serious assault on crime in a generation, beginning to make America work for ordinary citizens after a long time when they and their children were left to fall behind.
Just yesterday we got the new economic figures on the third quarter of this year, when our economy grew over 3 1/2 percent. In 1994, more than half the new jobs were high-wage jobs, and there were more high-wage jobs coming into our economy than in the previous 5 years combined. We've got a lot to do, but we're making progress by putting the interests of ordinary Americans first, taking on problems too long ignored, helping individuals to compete and win. That's the path to the future.
In the elections we'll have in a little over a week, we'll face a choice between continuing to move forward on a path that's working or going back to flawed policies and easy promises that failed us in the past. I believe America will look forward toward tomorrow, not toward yesterday. I believe America won't give in to the easy path.
Just as we are setting the example by working abroad to help to advance the cause of democracy, peace, and freedom, we can set an example for ourselves by looking to the future at home. We owe that to the good men and women of our Armed Forces who are out here for our sake. The world they're helping to make peaceful expects no less of us, and I believe the American people will expect no less of themselves.
Thanks for listening.