I do not believe America's long-term economic interests have changed. Nor do I believe that America's vision for a just international order has become blurred. If anything, the American vision has been sharpened since the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington; sharpened by the realization that there is now a new struggle globally between the forces of openness and modernity, and the forces of separatism and reaction. More than ever, America's interests lie in an open world economy resting on the foundation of a strong, rules-based multilateral system. More and more, America's growth and security are tied to the growth and security of the world economy as a whole. American leadership today is more — not less — important to our increasingly interconnected planet. A recent successful, and much needed, example is the multilateral agreement on intellectual property rights and access to medicines for poor countries, in which the US played a pivotal role.
It would be a tragic mistake if the Doha Round, which offers the world a once-in-a-generation opportunity to eliminate trade distortions, to strengthen trade rules, and open markets across the world, were allowed to founder. We need courage and the collective political will to ensure a balanced and equitable outcome.
What is the alternative? It is a fragmented world, with greater conflict and uncertainty. A world of the past, not the future — one that America turned away from after 1945, and that we should reject just as decisively today. America must lead. The multilateral trading system is too important to fail. The world depends on it. So does America.