At our best, being a great nation has always meant a commitment to building a better, safer world — not just for ourselves, but for our children and grandchildren. This has meant leading the world in advancing the cause of peace, responding when disease and disaster strike, lifting millions out of poverty and inspiring those yearning for freedom.
This calling is under threat.
Near Africa's horn on the easternmost part of the continent, a shiny new electric railway runs alongside an old abandoned track through both arid desert and green highlands. Some 750 kilometres (466 miles) long, the $4 billion line connects landlocked Ethiopia to the Red Sea coast in Djibouti. Like a number of other planned lines it was partly funded and built by Chinese companies.