A SIGNING IN PARIS
DECEMBER 14, 1995
KWAME HOLMAN: When President Clinton took his Bosnia policy to the American people a month ago, he drew heavily on the argument that the United States has a unique role in securing a peaceful world.
PRESIDENT CLINTON: There are times and places where our leadership can mean the difference between peace and war, and where we can defend our fundamental values as a people and serve our most basic strategic interest. My fellow Americans, in this new era, there are still times when America and America alone can and should make the difference for peace. The terrible war in Bosnia is such a case.
KWAME HOLMAN: And both sides of that argument were major themes of yesterday's Senate debate on the Bosnia troop deployment.
SEN. HOWELL HEFLIN, (D) Alabama: My primary concern with the agreement in the NATO mission it calls for is the requirement of having to send American ground troops to implement its provisions. This should be essentially a European mission.
SEN. PHIL GRAMM, (R) Texas: We as powerful as we are, as the greatest and most powerful nation in the history of the world, we can't fix everything that's broken, we can't right every wrong, we can't take onto ourselves the mission of seeking out some human suffering or some injustice anywhere on the planet with the goal that we through our power can solve their problem.
SEN. JOSEPH BIDEN, (D) Delaware: Europe cannot stay united without the United States. There is no moral center in Europe. When, in the last two centuries have the French, or the British, or the Germans, or the Belgians, or the Italians moved in a way to unify that continent, to stand up to this kind of genocide?
SEN. JOHN McCAIN, (R) Arizona: The burdens that are imposed on the United States are greater than the burdens borne by any other nation. There is no use bemoaning that fact or vainly trying to avoid its reality. This reality will be so for as long as we remain the greatest nation on earth. When we arrive at the moment when less is expected from our leadership by the rest of the world, then we will have arrived at the moment of our decline. We should accept that burden with courage. We cannot withdraw from the world into our prosperity and comfort and hope to keep those blessings. We cannot leave the world alone, for the world will not leave us alone.
KWAME HOLMAN: Though neither the Senate nor the House voted to block the troop deployment, many members maintained deep reservations about such a large U.S. role in settling such a distant and complex conflict.