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United States: Clinton Defends Foreign Policy In Debate

Washington, 7 October 1996 (RFE/RL) -- President Bill Clinton says his foreign policy has enabled the United States to remain "the indispensable nation in the world."

The president defended his administration's record on international affairs during a nationally televised debate last night with former U.S. Senator Robert Dole, the man challenging him for the presidency. Clinton is a Democrat. Dole is a Republican.

Dole has been sharply critical of Clinton's foreign policy leadership, saying it lacks substance and is misguided. In their joint appearance, however, the president said the world is a safer place because of his administration's policies.

Clinton said that in the nearly four years of his term of office that began in 1993, the United States "has managed the aftermath of the cold war." He said, for example, that his administration has overseen "a big drop" in nuclear weapons in Russia, has helped achieve the removal of Russian troops from the Baltic nations and has integrated Central and Eastern Europe into a new partnership with the NATO alliance and with Russia.

Dole said that if he is elected, he will follow a "more selective" foreign policy based upon what is best for America.

The two candidates are scheduled to appear together once more in a televised discussion of the issues on October 16. The presidential election is scheduled for November 5.