President Clinton, in a major foreign policy speech before Britain’s Parliament, called on the world’s democracies Wednesday to fight “forces of destruction” as they once fought Nazism and communism, and he declared Bosnia one of the first battlefronts in that new struggle.
Casting his decision to send about 20,000 peacekeeping troops to Bosnia-Herzegovina in the mold of World War II and the Cold War, Clinton said he expects the American people to support him and reject the counsel of his critics as a form of isolationism.
“There are those who say at this moment of hope we can afford to relax now behind our secure borders,” he said. “These are the siren songs of myth. They once lured the United States into isolationism after World War I. They counseled appeasement to Britain on the very brink of World War II. We have gone down that road before. We must never go down that road again.”
Clinton’s ringing internationalist message won warm applause at a joint session of the Commons and Lords at Westminster on the first day of a five-day European trip on which he also conferred with Prime Minister John Major, and toured Buckingham Palace with Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip.
Supporting Major, the president called a newly announced Anglo-Irish accord to break a deadlock on the Northern Ireland talks “a bold step forward for peace.” Today, Clinton flies to Belfast, where he will meet Protestant and Catholic political leaders, many of them outspokenly critical Wednesday of the accord announced Tuesday night as Clinton flew to London.