Agree with the China trade pact or not, it's truly historic for President Clinton and the 106th Congress - on a par with the huge budget surpluses that have occurred on their watch.
Before China, there was NAFTA and GATT - also historic free trade pacts. Isn't it ironic that the legacy-obsessed president, who sought a national health care system and other Big Government programs, will be best remembered (sexual liaisons and impeachment aside) for expanding the global economy and putting able-bodied welfare recipients to work.
If you had told Clinton at his 1993 inauguration that trade and welfare reform would be his legacies, he - and everyone else - would have thought you were nuts.
There's even a greater irony that these Clinton legacies could not have happened without GOP help. More congressional Republicans voted for trade and welfare reform than Democrats.
But Republicans better not hold their breath waiting for a "thank-you" from this most partisan of presidents.
The just-signed China agreement opens the way for the Communist regime to join the World Trade Organization and, according to Clinton, will provide benefits to both nations.
For the U.S., it will expand "unprecedented economic growth" and reaffirm the nation's leadership role "for peace and prosperity."
For China, the pact will accelerate the information revolution, strengthening the hand of freedom activists and, hopefully, lift the boot of dictatorship from the necks of ordinary Chinese.
For this to have those desired effects will require the new administration to enforce the trade pact's terms.
The Beijing tyrants are notorious for breaking their word. If they have their way, they'll insist we hold up our end of the agreement while they ignore theirs. The next administration must ensure this won't happen.
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