WE END this century at a unique moment for America, when our power and prosperity are greater than at any time in our history, unrivalled by any other nation. Our leadership has never been more needed, or more in demand.
The contours of our power are beyond dispute. Our military expenditures now are larger than those of all other countries combined; our weaponry is a generation ahead of that of our nearest potential rival. Our military technology is so dominant that serious people even lamented that we did not have enough casualties in the Kosovo conflict.
Because we are the only nation on Earth able to project power in every region, others look to us to deliver decisive influence where needed, whether that means maintaining security in Korea, helping to negotiate an agreement between Peru and Ecuador, overcoming differences in Northern Ireland, instigating implementation of the Dayton Accords, persuading Indonesia's military to accept peacekeepers in East Timor, or seeking peace between Ethiopia and Eritrea.
Our economy not only brings unprecedented prosperity to Americans; it is the engine of global growth and technological change. Americans own more than half the world's computers. We are home to the world's eight biggest hi-tech companies. Remarkably, in 1995, more than half of all the royalties and licensing fees in the world were paid to Americans. We may be the first society in human history in which children have no idea what they will grow up to be - because it hasn't been invented yet.
Then there is the realm of culture and values. Our movies, music and media are everywhere, irritating some, delighting many more. The poster I saw most often walking through the dorms of Peking University last year was not of Mao or Deng but Michael Jackson.
Throughout the world, our success inspires a mix of wonder and worry. But America must continue to be a peacemaker. That means seizing the historic chance in the coming year for a comprehensive settlement in the Middle East, securing the peace in Kosovo, and promoting stability in South Asia and reconciliation in …