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Remarks on Returning From the Middle East

October 29, 1994

Thank you very much, and good morning. Less than 24 hours ago, I stood with the brave men and women of our Armed Forces stationed at Tactical Assembly Area Liberty in the desert sands of Kuwait. I went there to express my pride and the pride I know all Americans share in the job our military is doing to protect our interests in the Persian Gulf.

Our troops are living in difficult conditions. But I saw in their faces the pride they have in their work and the work of our coalition partners. And I can tell all Americans, their morale is high and they are prepared and ready to do their job, to do what they must to stand up for freedom. Anyone who doubts it should go and see what I saw in the sands of Kuwait.

I also wish that all Americans could have been with me in the Wadi Araba, on the border between Israel and Jordan. There, in the middle of the Great Rift Valley, soldiers of the nations of Israel and Jordan reached across 47 years of hostility to shake hands in a true, genuine gesture of reconciliation, just as their leaders found the courage to sign a peace treaty, a crucial step on the road to a comprehensive peace in the Middle East.

Israel and Jordan looked to America to help them to make peace. And they and other nations in the Middle East look to America as we travel the difficult road ahead, until we achieve peace throughout the Middle East. And as I said in every one of the six nations I visited, the United States will continue to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with those who seek the peace, with those who take risks for peace, with those who stand up for change in the face of terrorists and extremists who seek to destroy the peace by killing the innocent. They cannot, they must not, they will not succeed. They are the past; the peacemakers are the future.

My trip to the Middle East is a reminder that we live in times when the spirit of America—our freedom, our vitality, our strength, our respect for others, our commitment to the future—this is a driving force in the lives of millions and millions of peace-loving people all around the world. That is why we're trusted to support the people of the Middle East and the people from South Africa to Haiti to Northern Ireland to the former Soviet Union in their courageous efforts to escape the shackles of the past and realize their dreams for tomorrow.

Our efforts in these places, of course, also advance our own interests, for their successes strengthen our security and promise us more prosperity in a world that daily grows more interdependent.

As we support others in renewing themselves, we must continue the work of renewal here at home. For the source of our ability to lead beyond our borders is the strength of the American dream in the minds and hearts of our own people. In every community, every school, every workplace, we must deal with the changes and challenges, with the great problems and the much greater promise of the times in which we live. We must turn from the past and embrace the future, a future where ordinary Americans build strong families with good jobs and safe communities, served by a Government that neither interferes with our lives nor walks away from us but empowers us and challenges us to make the most of our God-given potential.

That is exactly what we have begun to do here. We've made a start in putting Government on the side of ordinary Americans, creating jobs and stimulating growth, in building a world more secure, more free, more prosperous for ourselves and for our children.

Like people all over the world who are drawing on our strength and our spirit to make their dreams real, we Americans must renew our own faith in the greatness and unlimited potential of our country. We must keep moving forward here at home with no thought of turning back. I have looked into the faces of millions of people elsewhere. I have seen how much they love our country, how much they share our dreams. We must do that as well.

Thank you all for coming out this morning. It's been an exciting trip, but it's great to be home.

Thank you.

NOTE: The President spoke at 8:08 a.m. on the South Lawn at the White House.

William J. Clinton, Remarks on Returning From the Middle East Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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