The Ripon Forum

Volume 47, No. 3

Summer 2013 Issue

In this Edition

By on August 11, 2014 with 0 Comments

Given all the negative headlines these days, it is sometimes easy to lose sight of what is good about America and what it is that draws people to our shores. More than anything, it is our system that sets us apart. 

It is a system based on freedom and individual initiative, and one that – despite all the hurdles and regulatory roadblocks that government at all levels can throw in our way – ultimately encourages people to explore, broaden their horizon, and push the limit of what is possible in order to build a better life. 

Indeed, broadening our horizon is what our country is all about. It’s what drove Thomas Jefferson to make the Louisiana Purchase, and then send Lewis and Clark off on an expedition to discover the territory that he had just bought. It’s also what drove Theodore Roosevelt to build the Panama Canal. “The United States of America has not the option as to whether it will or will not play a great part in the world,” Roosevelt stated. “It must play a great part.” 

One of the ways that America plays a great part in the world today is through trade. The trade agreements we make with the rest of the world rarely make headlines. And yet the impact of these agreements can be significant and long-lasting. In this latest edition of THE RIPON FORUM, we look at an area of the world where trade with the United States is increasing, and where negotiations are underway for a new agreement to be reached. 

The area is the Pacific Rim and the broader region of the Asia-Pacific. It is here that 40 percent of the world’s population lives, and where 60 percent of the world’s GDP is produced. It is also where some of the world’s fastest growing economies have taken hold. In short, it is a region that holds much promise for the United States and one where, in the words of our 26th President, “it must play a great part.”

We explore the region in this edition of the FORUM with essays from a group of leaders and thinkers who know the area better than most, including: the Rt Hon Mike Moore, who serves as New Zealand’s Ambassador to the U.S.; former Congressman David Dreier, who now serves as Chairman of the Annenberg-Dreier Commission at Sunnylands; Idaho Governor Butch Otter, who traveled to the Asia-Pacific region on a trade mission this past spring; and Richard Bush, the Director of the Center for Northeast Asian Policy Studies at The Brookings Institution. 

While we are on the subject of broadening our horizon, this edition of the FORUM also looks at the issue of immigration reform with an insightful essay by University of North Carolina Professor James Johnson, Jr. In the essay, Johnson presents, “The Demographic Case for Immigration Reform.” 

In the process, he also reminds us that despite all of the negative headlines we read about every day, there are millions of people who want come to America, and we should welcome them with open arms. 

As always, we hope you enjoy this edition, and encourage you to contact us with any thoughts or comments you may have.

Lou Zickar
The Ripon Forum

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