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U.S.: Highlights Of The Republican Foreign Policy Statement

  • Kevin Foley

Washington, 4 August 2000 (RFE/RL) -- Here are some excerpts from the U.S. Republican Party's platform section on foreign policy issues. The platform was approved this week at the party convention in Philadelphia.

"In the last eight years the administration has squandered the opportunity granted to the United States by the courage and sacrifice of previous generations:

-- The administration has run America's defenses down over the decade through inadequate resources, promiscuous commitments, and the absence of a forward-looking military strategy.

-- The ballistic missile threat to the United States has been persistently dismissed, delaying for years the day when America will have the capability to defend itself against this growing danger.

-- The arrogance, inconsistency, and unreliability of the administration's diplomacy have undermined American alliances, alienated friends, and emboldened our adversaries.

-- World trade talks in Seattle that the current administration had sponsored collapsed in spectacular failure. Authority to negotiate new fast-track trade agreements was slapped down by the administration's own party in the Congress. An initiative to establish free trade throughout the Americas has stalled because of this lack of presidential leadership.

-- The problems of Mexico have been ignored, as our indispensable neighbor to the south struggled with too little American help to deal with its formidable challenges.

-- The tide of democracy in Latin America has begun to ebb with a sharp rise in corruption and narco-trafficking.

-- A misguided policy toward China was exemplified by President Clinton's trip to Beijing that produced an embarrassing presidential kowtow and a public insult to our longstanding ally, Japan.

-- With weak and wavering policies toward Russia, the administration has diverted its gaze from corruption at the top of the Russian government, the slaughter of thousands of innocent civilians in Chechnya, and the export of dangerous Russian technologies to Iran and elsewhere.

-- A chorus of empty threats destroyed America's credibility in the Balkans, so that promised safe havens became killing fields.

-- The administration prolonged the war in Kosovo by publicly limiting America's military options -- something no commander-in-chief should ever do.

-- A generation of American efforts to slow proliferation of weapons of mass destruction has unraveled as first India and Pakistan set off their nuclear bombs, then Iraq defied the international community. Token air strikes against Iraq could not long mask the collapse of an inspection regime that had -- until then -- at least kept an ambitious, murderous tyrant from acquiring additional nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons.

-- A humanitarian intervention in Somalia was escalated thoughtlessly into nation-building at the cost of the lives of courageous Americans.

-- A military intervention in Haiti displayed administration indecision and incoherence and, after billions of dollars had been spent, accomplished nothing of lasting value.

Reacting belatedly to inevitable crises, the administration constantly enlarges the reach of its rhetoric -- most recently in Vice President Gore's "new security agenda" that adds disease, climate, and all the world's ethnic or religious conflicts to an undiminished set of existing American responsibilities. If there is some limit to candidate Gore's new agenda for America as global social worker, he has yet to define it.

A Republican president will identify and pursue vital American national interests. He will set priorities and he will stick to them. Under his leadership, the United States will build and secure the peace. Republicans know what it takes to accomplish this: robust military forces, strong alliances, expanding trade, and resolute diplomacy.

Yet this new realism must be inspired by what we stand for as a nation. Republicans know that the American commitment to freedom is the true source of our nation's strength. That is why, for one example, Congressional Republicans have made political and religious liberty a cornerstone of their approach to international affairs. That commitment is the glue that binds our great alliances. It is strong precisely because it is not just an American ideal. We propose our principles; we must not impose our culture. Yet the basic values of human freedom and dignity are universal.

America must deploy effective missile defenses, based on an evaluation of the best available options, including sea-based, at the earliest possible date. These defenses must be designed to protect all 50 states, America's deployed forces overseas, and our friends and allies in the fellowship of freedom against missile attacks by outlaw states or accidental launches.

The current administration at first denied the need for a national missile defense system. Then it endlessly delayed, despite constant concern expressed by the Republican Congress. Now the administration has become hopelessly entangled in its commitment to an obsolete treaty signed in 1972 with a Soviet Union that no longer exists while, it is constrained by its failure to explore vigorously the technological possibilities. In order to avoid the need for any significant revisions to the ABM Treaty, the administration supports an inadequate national missile defense design based on a single site, instead of a system based on the most effective means available. Their approach does not defend America's allies, who must be consulted as U.S. plans are developed. Their concept is a symbolic political solution designed on a cynical political timetable. It will not protect America.

We will seek a negotiated change in the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty that will allow the United States to use all technologies and experiments required to deploy robust missile defenses. Republicans believe that the administration should not negotiate inadequate modifications to the ARM Treaty that would leave us with a flawed agreement that ties the hands of the next president and prevents America from defending itself.

The United States must be able to select the systems that will work best, not those that answer political expediency, and we must aggressively reinvigorate the ballistic missile defense technology base necessary to ensure that these systems succeed. There are today more positive, practical ways to reassure Russia that missile defenses are a search for common security, not for unilateral advantage. If Russia refuses to make the necessary changes, a Republican president will give prompt notice that the United States will exercise the right guaranteed to us in the treaty to withdraw after six months. The president has a solemn obligation to protect the American people and our allies, not to project arms control agreements signed almost 30 years ago. As the new democracies of Central Europe chose freedom, America was ready to respond. Republicans made the enlargement of NATO part of our Contract with America. Their firm stand before the American people and in the Congress finally succeeded in bringing Poland, the Czech Republic, and Hungary into the North Atlantic Alliance. Republicans recognize and applaud the tremendous achievements of the people of Albania, Bulgaria, Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, Macedonia, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia in reclaiming their freedom and rejoining the Trans-Atlantic community of democracies.

It is in America's interest that the new European democracies become fully integrated into the economic, political, and security institutions of the Trans-Atlantic community. Those countries are today making great progress toward developing the market economics and democratic political systems that are the best way to ensure both their long-term stability and their security.

The enlargement of NATO to include other nations with democratic values, pluralist political systems, and free market economies should continue. Neither geographical nor historical circumstances shall dictate the future of a Europe whole and free. Russia must never be given a veto over enlargement.

The Republican Party has long been the advocate of independence for the people of Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia, even when others despaired of their emergence from foreign rule. We reaffirm our traditional ties with and strong support for the courageous Ukrainian and Armenian people, who like the people of the Baltic States, have endured both persecution and tyranny to reassert their ancient nationhood. The United States should promote reconciliation and friendship not only between the United States and Russia, but also between Russia and its neighbors.

The current administration has damaged the NATO alliance with years of insensitivity and episodic attention. In the Yugoslav war the administration bungled the diplomacy, misjudged the adversary, and ignored the advice of our military commanders. Even after NATO's operations in Bosnia and Kosovo laid bare Europe's lagging military capabilities, the administration failed to persuade the allies to enhance these capabilities. The next Republican administration will work to repair this damage.

After the many trials and errors of the current administration, the United States is contributing to NATO's peacekeeping efforts in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Kosovo. Those troops cannot stay indefinitely without jeopardizing the American ability to defend other important U.S. and allied interests. Over time European troops should take the place of American forces under the NATO umbrella as the United States and its allies work together to bring peace and democracy to the Balkans. The next Republican president will not negotiate with indicted war criminals such as Slobodan Milosevic but will seek their arrest, trial, and imprisonment.

Russia stands as another reminder that a world increasingly at peace is also a world in transition. If Russia can realize the enormous potential of its people and abundant resources, it can achieve the greatness that is currently defined solely by the reach of its weapons. Russia has the potential to be a great power and should be treated as such. With Russia, the United States needs patience, consistency, and a principled reliance on democratic forces.

America's own national security is the first order of business with Russia. The United States and Russia share critical common interests. Both Russia and the United States confront the legacy of a dead ideological rivalry -- thousands of nuclear weapons, which, in the case of Russia, may not be entirely secure. And together we also face an emerging threat -- from rogue nations, nuclear theft, and accidental launch. For its own sake, and ours, Russia must stop encouraging the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

The development of a democratic and stable Russia is in the interest of the United States and all of Europe. But the battle for democracy is a fight that must be won by Russians. We must avoid misguided attempts to remake Russia from the outside. The current administration's quixotic efforts have only propped up corrupt elites, identified America with discredited factions and failed policies, and encouraged anti-Americanism.

The United States should show its concern about Russia's future by focusing on the structures, spirit, and reality of democracy in Russia, embodied by the rule of law. We will do this by directing our aid and attention to help the Russian people, not enriching the bank accounts of corrupt officials.

The rule of law is not consistent with state-sponsored brutality. When the Russian government attacks civilians in Chechnya -- killing innocents without discrimination or accountability, neglecting orphans and refugees -- it can no longer expect aid from international lending institutions. Moscow needs to operate with civilized self-restraint.

Russia should also display such self-restraint in its shipments of sensitive nuclear and military technology to Iran. As long as Iran remains an international outlaw, preventing such transfers must be a priority for U.S. policy. Americans stand ready to cooperate with Russia in sharing technology for missile defense that can promote a more stable world, but Russia must also choose lasting stability over transitory profit and support the effort against proliferation.

A new Republican administration will patiently rebuild an international coalition opposed to Saddam Hussein and committed to joint action. We will insist that Iraq comply fully with its disarmament commitments. We will maintain the sanctions on the Iraqi regime while seeking to alleviate the suffering of innocent Iraqi people. We will react forcefully and unequivocally to any evidence of reconstituted Iraqi capabilities for producing weapons of mass destruction. In 1998, Congress passed and the president signed the Iraq Liberation Act, the clear purpose of which is to assist the opposition to Saddam Hussein.

The administration has used an arsenal of dilatory tactics to block any serious support to the Iraqi National Congress, an umbrella organization reflecting a broad and representative group of Iraqis who wish to free their country from the scourge of Saddam Hussein's regime. We support the full implementation of the Iraq Liberation Act, which should be regarded as a starting point in a comprehensive plan for the removal of Saddam Hussein and the restoration of international inspections in collaboration with his successor. Republicans recognize that peace and stability in the Persian Gulf is impossible as long as Saddam Hussein rules Iraq.

All Americans hope that a new generation of Iranian leaders will rise to power seeking friendlier relations with the United States and a less threatening posture in the region. But Iran's record of supporting terrorism, opposing the Middle East peace process, developing weapons of mass destruction and long-range missiles, and its denial of human rights, most recently demonstrated in the trial and conviction of Iranian Jews on unfounded espionage charges, demonstrates that Tehran remains a dangerous threat to the United States and our interests in the region.

The next Republican administration will form its policy toward Iran based on Iranian actions, not words. It will stop making unilateral gestures toward the Iranian government which, to date, have failed to result in a change in Iranian behavior. We will work to convince our friends and allies, most importantly the Europeans, to join us in a firm, common approach toward Iran.