McCain Talks Global Poverty at CGI

Just before temporarily suspending his presidential campaign, Senator McCain spoke at the Clinton Global Initiative this morning and addressed many of ONE’s issues.

An excerpt, plus a link to a video of his remarks, is below. Senator Obama will also be speaking at CGI later today, so we’ll be covering that here too.

As we deal with this challenge, we must also address the others that imperil our global security. Today too many around the world are excluded from the benefits of globalization. Disconnected from the prosperity that has lifted millions out of poverty, too many societies are plagued by violence, disease, and scarcity.

It need not be this way. And in places where scarcity can breed resentment, despair, and extremism – where problems cannot be contained by borders – it must not be this way. We can never guarantee our security through military means alone. True security requires a far broader approach, using non-military means to reduce threats before they gather strength. And this is especially true of our strategic interest in fighting disease and extreme poverty across the globe.

Promoting development, creating opportunities, and eliminating disease do not only serve our national interests; they also accord with our deepest American values. We are a great and generous country, and we believe that all men and women, everywhere, are created equal and endowed by God with certain rights. In fighting disease, and sparing unnumbered lives across the world, we serve not only strategic interests. We serve our moral interests, and we show the good heart of America.

Malaria alone kills more than a million people a year, mostly in Africa. Nearly three thousand children are lost every day just to this one affliction – a disease well within our ability to eradicate. To its lasting credit, the federal government in recent years has led the way in this fight. But, of course, America is more than its government. Some of the greatest advances have been the work of the Gates Foundation and other private, charitable groups. And you have my pledge that, should I be elected, I will build on these and other initiatives to ensure that malaria kills no more.

I will also make it a priority to improve maternal and child health. Millions around the world – and especially pregnant women and children – suffer from easily preventable nutritional deficiencies. As a result, a million children under age five die every year, millions more are born mentally impaired, and entire economies are left to stagnate. An international effort is needed to prevent disease and developmental disabilities among children by providing nutrients and food security. And if I am elected president, America will lead that effort.

As we have done with the scourge of HIV and AIDS, we should embark on a more concerted effort to fight tuberculosis, which accounts for nearly two million deaths each year. We should work to dramatically raise agricultural productivity in Africa: America helped to spark the Green Revolution in Asia, and they should be at the forefront of an African Green Revolution. We should reform our aid programs, to make sure they are serving the interests of people in need, and not just serving special interests in Washington.

Aid is not the whole answer. We need to promote economic growth and opportunities, especially for women, where they do not currently exist. Too often, trade restrictions – combined with costly agricultural subsidies for the special interests – choke off the opportunities for poor farmers and workers abroad to help themselves. That has to change. And by promoting free trade, and ending unfair subsides, I intend to be the agent of change.