For 50 years our primary focus has been working in a bipartisan manner to foster the foreign policy, national security and international economic interests of the United States. Considerable progress has occurred in recent years, especially since the end of the Cold War and the liberation of Eastern Europe. In our hemisphere, the progress has been remarkable. In 1981, 16 of the 33 nations in Latin America were authoritarian regimes. They are now all democracies with the exception of Cuba.
The founders of ASC and ASCF were best known for warning about the dangers of isolationism in the late 1930s when over 80% of the American people wanted to stay out of World War II. Our founders also had a very active role in establishing the institutions which grew out of the war such as the Untied Nations, the Work Bank, the IMF, NATO, the UN Declaration on Human Rights and the Genocide Convention.
Our organizations are probably best known for developing the APeace Through Strength@ strategy which was not only adopted by President Ronald Reagan, but it became the major theme of his administration. It emphasized the importance of military, economic and diplomatic strength. This strategy called for the support of freedom movements, as well as a strategic and conventional weapons modernization program. Many journalists and historians have said this buildup was instrumental to the collapse of the Soviet Union.
For five decades we have advocated a strong national defense, and we have also actively opposed isolationism and protectionism. Today our emphasis is on the development, adoption and implementation of A Forward Strategy for Freedom. This was formally proposed by President Bush on November 6, 2003, and it has broad support in both political parties.
We want to adopt this strategy as the new foreign policy of the United States. It emphasizes the importance of democracy, human rights, free speech, a market economy based on the private sector, as well as an independent judiciary, news media, and labor unions.