I'm speaking to you from Anchorage, Alaska, at the end of the first leg of my trip to Asia. The next stop is the Philippines, where I'll take part in a ceremony especially appropriate just a couple of days after Veterans Day. There I'll have the privilege of helping to honor the sacrifices made by those who fought in the Pacific during World War II to preserve our freedom and democracy.
In the 50 years since, America has helped to build a world of peace and prosperity. But we know that these blessings are the fruit of our veterans' brave fights. That's why yesterday, on Veterans Day, we honored and remembered all who, in war and peace, have given so much so that America would remain free. We have a special obligation to make sure that our Nation never forgets their work and that we do everything we can to keep our country strong in the face of our challenges at home and abroad.
We also have an obligation to honor those who are standing watch for freedom and security now, from our bases across America to our outposts around the world.
Over the last few months, at home and abroad, I've had the privilege of saying thank you in person to our men and women in uniform, those who are keeping our Nation's commitments. Our troops in Haiti are helping the Haitian people turn from fear and repression to hope and democracy. In the Persian Gulf, they're ensuring that Iraq does not again threaten its neighbors or the stability of the vital Gulf region. All over the world, our military is proving that when America makes a promise, we'll keep it.
The results are clear. The threat of nuclear war is receding. For the first time since the dawn of the nuclear age, no Russian missiles are pointed at Americans. North Korea has recently agreed to become a nonnuclear state and to remove that threat of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. Peace and freedom are on the march, with American support and involvement in the Middle East, in the Gulf, in Haiti, and also in Northern Ireland and South Africa where we've been asked to be involved.
Our national security plainly depends on our strong military and on a strong foreign policy. But our strength is more than military around the world. It also depends upon strength in a global economy. The future of every nation is really a global future. It means jobs and incomes in the United States. And expanded trade has always been a goal of mine and this administration because, whether we like it or not, we are in a global economy that we can't run from and trade-related jobs pay so much more on the average than jobs not related to trade.
That's where the rest of this trip to Asia fits in. Next week in Jakarta, Indonesia, I'll meet with the 14 leaders of the Asian-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, called APEC. We'll continue the work we began last year when I called the group together for the first time in Seattle. We've already forged a common vision of a more open community. When we meet in Jakarta, I hope we'll embrace a common direction, setting a goal for free and open trade among all our economies.
Then when I return from the trip, we'll face another crucial test about our future in this global economy. Congress will reconvene soon to vote on ratifying GATT, the largest, most comprehensive trade agreement ever. GATT will require all nations to finally do what we've already done, to cut tariffs and other barriers and open up trade to our products and our services. It will level the export playing field for American companies and American workers all around the world and, in so doing, will create hundreds of thousands of new high-paying jobs right here at home.
It will make our exports more competitive exactly when we have recovered our ability to sell more American products and services. This year, America's economy, for the first time in 9 years, has been voted the most productive in the world by the annual review of international economists. And for the first time since 1979, American automobile makers are selling more cars all around the world than their Japanese competitors.
The congressional vote on the GATT will be a defining decision for America as we head into the next century. And I believe that members of both parties will put aside partisanship to do what's right for our country and our future.
I also hope that both parties will take other opportunities to join together when the national interest is at stake, and we're moving into a future which has no easy partisan label tied to the past. Our common goal must be to produce a strong America, strong in terms of national commitments abroad. On this Veterans Day weekend, we know that a strong America means to be strong abroad. But surely, we also know that it means being strong at home, that our strength comes at bottom from strong families, strong communities, better education, higher paying jobs, safer streets. Strong at home, strong abroad: two sides of the same coin.
We have to keep going because a majority of hardworking Americans still feel uncertain about their economic future and their personal and family security, even though we're in the midst of a significant economic recovery. We've got to keep going to bring our deficit down and keep shrinking the size of the Government, to increase trade and increase education and training, to keep these jobs going up and to get more high-wage jobs. We've got over 5 million new jobs in the last 22 months. And for the first time, this year, we have some highwage jobs coming back into this economy, more than in the previous 5 years combined.
So let's make our goal to be number one militarily, number one economically, and number one in the strength of our families and our communities. Strong at home, strong abroad: That's an America that builds on the opportunities others have sacrificed so much to give us. And it takes responsibility to keep those opportunities alive for our children.
Thank you, and God bless America.