Excerpts of Peterson's testimony before Congress. June 8, 1998
"I am asking for congressional concurrence for the renewal of Jackson-Vanik waiver because it is the right thing to do. It allows America to do what it does best and that is to bring nations into the world community and at the same time help those nations to learn how to market their products and to develop their incredibly efficient human resources. And Vietnam has all of those. Why would we take a walk on that? Why would we not do that? What is the alternative? The alternative is essentially to isolate Vietnam. For us to deny the renewal of Jackson-Vanik would be playing directly into the hands of those who wish for Vietnam to return to the days of totalitarianism and the total disregard of the world community it would be a huge reversal of the opportunities that we have in Vietnam."
"Vietnam is the twelfth most populous country in the world. Sixty percent of that population is under the age 25. Can you see the potential that lies there? This is a nation in major transition. It's being transitioned politically, economically and generationally. And we as a nation have the opportunity to influence that transition in every one of those aspects. The Vietnamese woke up one morning and said this is what we have to do. "We have to make the transition from a centrally planned economy to a free market economy if we are going to be successful in the rest of the world." And they are starting to move into that. They don't know how to do it...they are asking for our help."
"I'm there on the front line as are my colleagues and we're there because it is the right thing to do. Our engagement in Vietnam will and is now having significant benefit to the United States. This war is no longer being fought in Vietnam I tell you....this is the past and they're building on the future and why? In four thousand years of history in Vietnam they have never had peace and prosperity....never...This is the first time in their history that they can look out over into the future and they see the potential of not only prosperity but of peace for perhaps generations."