Good morning and welcome. My name is Bill Burns and I am the President of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
I want to thank my friend and colleague, David Rothkopf, for chairing today’s forum and for his initiative and vision in launching this effort. I also want to thank Bernard Schwartz for his support and generosity to Carnegie over many years. Bernard’s life story is as American as it gets. And his perpetual optimism reveals America and Americans at their best. It is precisely that spirit which fuels America’s constant renewal. And it is precisely the spirit which we hope will animate today’s conversation.
Here at Carnegie, we are more likely to host events about the “missile gap” than the “infrastructure gap,” more likely to talk about development deficits abroad than those at home. But we know that what transpires within America’s borders is inextricably linked to what the United States can do beyond them. Today’s event is not just about the decay of the hearts, lungs, and arteries that keep the American economy going. It’s not just about the fraying of America’s political fabric. It’s also about the future of American leadership and America’s capacity to help realize Andrew Carnegie’s vision of a more peaceful and prosperous world.
Simply put, there is an inescapable connection between strong American leadership abroad and a strong and vibrant American economy at home. The more American businesses can sell abroad, the more they can hire at home. Since 95% of the world’s consumers live outside the United States and more than 5,500 jobs are created here at home for every billion dollars of goods and services we export, we have a deep stake in opening markets, strengthening the economic rules of the road, ensuring a level playing field for U.S. companies, attracting foreign investment, and advocating on behalf of U.S. businesses. This is why economic statecraft and commercial advocacy are at the core of what today’s diplomats do. It is why agreements like the Trans-Pacific Partnership reached earlier this week hold so much promise for American prosperity. And it is why in today’s world, as Secretary Kerry often says, “foreign policy is economic policy.”
But that is only half the story. Unless we renew our economic and political foundations at home, it does not matter how open and accessible international markets are to American goods and services. It is hard to mobilize coalitions abroad when we can’t mobilize them at home. And it is hard to encourage partners to invest in their people and ports if we fail to do the same.
Today’s forum is an opportunity to address these issues thoughtfully, to hear from experts, policymakers, and political leaders trying to do more than just admire the problem, and to produce some practical ideas that will produce practical results.
I am deeply grateful to all of our speakers and discussants for taking the time to be here today… deeply grateful to members of the audience here and in the overflow room for their active participation… and deeply grateful to David and my colleagues at Carnegie for making today’s event a success.
So please join me in welcoming our forum chair, David Rothkopf, who will introduce this morning’s distinguished keynote speaker.
Thank you all very much.