Keynote Address

Global Talk

Bill Clinton / former U.S. President Bill Clinton / former U.S. President
We are growing together. Interdependence can be good or bad, or both. The word simply means we cannot escape each other. The troubled spots of the world show this. North Korea and South Korea were no less interdependent before or after the sunshine policy, before or after the recent crisis caused by resumption of nuclear activities. In the Middle East, when we had several years of peace, there was positive interdependence. In the last three years we have 1,900 dead Palestinians, 700 dead Israelis, but they are no less interdependent. They cannot escape each other. And that interdependence is a paradox. [Interdepence] calls into high relief both the promise and the parole of the 21st century ? Both the prosperity and the poverty, the opportunity and the inequality.

I believe this condition of interdependence is inherently unstable and cannot be maintained. So what we have to do is to build up positive forces and extract the negative forces to try to move this world increasingly from the current status of interdependence to a more global community. What is the definition of community? One that has shared responsibilities that brings shared benefits, that is held together by shared values. Our responsibility includes security and cooperation. The primary security threats of the present day are terror, weapons of mass destruction although there are a lot of conventional wars going around in the world as well.

But it is not enough for us to have shared responsibilities for security. We also have to build a world we share benefits. We have to make a world where we have more partners and fewer terrorists.

It’s only when we grow up that we start to dislike each other. No one dislikes another country’s children. Why is that? Because we are taught to organize the world in ‘us’ and ‘them,’ our friends and our enemies.

If anyone asks me any question about issue, I ask myself this question: Will this path move us to an integrated community of shared responsibilities, shared benefits and shared values?