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George W. Bush on Foreign Policy

President of the United States, Former Republican Governor (TX)


Iranian regime must not be permitted to gain nuclear weapons

The Iranian government is defying the world with its nuclear ambitions, and the nations of the world must not permit the Iranian regime to gain nuclear weapons. America will continue to rally the world to confront these threats. Let me speak directly to the citizens of Iran. America respects you, and we respect your country. We respect your right to choose your own future and win your own freedom. And our nation hopes one day to be the closest of friends with a free and democratic Iran.
Source: 2006 State of the Union Address Jan 31, 2006

Fight disease and spread hope in hopeless lands

To overcome dangers in our world, we must also take the offensive by encouraging economic progress and fighting disease and spreading hope in hopeless lands. Isolationism would not only tie our hands in fighting enemies, it would keep us from helping our friends in desperate need. We show compassion abroad, because Americans believe in the God-given dignity and worth of a villager with HIV/AIDS or an infant with malaria or a refugee fleeing genocide or a young girl sold into slavery.
Source: 2006 State of the Union Address Jan 31, 2006

Made unpopular decisions for great American values

Q: What is your plan to repair relations with other countries, given the current situation?

A: I made some decisions that have caused people to not understand the great values of our country. I recognize that taking Saddam out was unpopular. But I made the decision because I thought it was in the right interests of our security. I made some decisions on Israel that's unpopular. I made a decision not to join the International Criminal Court in The Hague, which is where our troops can be brought in front of a judge, an unaccounted judge. I don't think we ought to join that. That was unpopular. And so what I'm telling you is that sometimes in this world you make unpopular decision because you think they're right. We'll continue to reach out. There's 30 nations involved in Iraq; some 40 nations involved in Afghanistan. People love America. Sometimes they don't like the decisions made by America, but I don't think you want a president who tries to become popular and does the wrong thing.

Source: Second Bush-Kerry debate, St. Louis, MO Oct 8, 2004

Allies are dealing with Iran and North Korea with America

The Duelfer report showed Saddam was deceiving the inspectors. Secondly, of course we've been involved with Iran. I fully understand the threat. And that's why we're doing what he suggested we do, get the Brits, the Germans and the French to go make it very clear to the Iranians that if they expect to be a party to the world, to give up their nuclear ambitions. We've been doing that. Let me talk about North Korea. It is naive and dangerous to take a policy that he suggested the other day, which is to have bilateral relations with North Korea. Remember Kerry was the person who's accusing me of not acting multilaterally? He now wants to take the six-party talks we have, China, North Korea, South Korea, Russia, Japan and the United States, and undermine them by having bilateral talks. Clinton had bilateral talks with the North Korean, and guess what happened? He didn't honor the agreement. He was enriching uranium. That is a bad policy.
Source: Second Bush-Kerry Debate, in St. Louis MO Oct 8, 2004

Free nations will help us achieve the peace we all want

We're pursuing a strategy of freedom around the world, because I understand free nations will reject terror. Free nations will answer the hopes and aspirations of their people. Free nations will help us achieve the peace we all want.
Source: First Bush-Kerry debate, Miami FL Sep 30, 2004

We ought to be working with the African Union

KERRY: I intend to double the number of special forces so that we can do the job we need to do with respect fighting the terrorists around the world. And if we do that, then we have the ability to be able to respond more rapidly. If it took American forces to some degree to coalesce the African Union, I'd be prepared to do it because we could never allow another Rwanda.

BUSH: I agree with Kerry that we shouldn't be committing troops. We ought to be working with the African Union to do so-precisely what we did in Liberia. We helped stabilize the situation with some troops, and when the African Union came, we moved them out. My hope is that the African Union moves rapidly to help save lives. And fortunately the rainy season will be ending shortly, which will make it easier to get aid there and help the long-suffering people there.

Source: [X-ref Kerry] First Bush-Kerry debate, Miami FL Sep 30, 2004

US establishes UN Democracy Fund

Because I believe the advance of liberty is the path to both a safer and better world, today I propose establishing a Democracy Fund within the United Nations. This is a great calling for this great organization. The fund would help countries lay the foundations of democracy by instituting the rule of law and independent courts, a free press, political parties and trade unions. Money from the fund would also help set up voter precincts and polling places, and support the work of election monitors. To show our commitment to the new Democracy Fund, the United States will make an initial contribution. I urge other nations to contribute, as well.

Today, I've outlined a broad agenda to advance human dignity, and enhance the security of all of us. The defeat of terror, the protection of human rights, the spread of prosperity, the advance of democracy-these causes, these ideals, call us to great work in the world. Each of us alone can only do so much. Together, we can accomplish so much more.

Source: Address to the United Nations General Assembly Sep 21, 2004

Allies deserve the respect of all Americans

Kerry takes a different approach. In the midst of war, he has called America's allies, quote, a "coalition of the coerced and the bribed." That would be nations like Great Britain, Poland, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Denmark, El Salvador, Australia, and others allies that deserve the respect of all Americans, not the scorn of a politician. I respect every soldier, from every country, who serves beside us in the hard work of history. America is grateful, and America will not forget.
Source: 2004 Republican Convention Acceptance Speech Sep 2, 2004

Foreign affairs is interpersonal leadership, not knowledge

To most Americans, Bush's grasp of foreign affairs was symbolized by his inability in a TV interview during thee campaign to name the leaders of Taiwan, Pakistan, India, and Chechnya. But as Bush's aides saw it, foreign affairs was all about leadership and interpersonal skills. That had always been Bush's strength, along with surrounding himself with smart, capable people.

With Bush, Rice said, "The worst thing you can do is tell him you're going to do something and then not do it." The next worst thing is to waste his time beating around the bush. "He is very straightforward himself and tends to like straightforward people," Rice said. "You don't want to spend a long time constructing a baroque argument for him. I've watched him with many foreign leaders. His best relationship with foreign leaders are when he feels like they are being as straightforward with him as he is with them. He can do that past language barriers. He can sense the body language."

Source: A Matter of Character, by Ronald Kessler, p.172-175 Aug 5, 2004

Full transition to democratic Iraq by Jan. 2005

    There are five steps in our plan to help Iraq.
  1. transfer full sovereignty to a government of Iraqi citizens.
  2. establish the stability and security that democracy requires.
  3. rebuild that nation's infrastructure.
  4. enlist additional international support.
  5. free national elections no later than next January.
Source: Speech on Iraq May 25, 2004

National Endowment for Democracy in the Middle East

We hear doubts that democracy is a realistic goal for the greater Middle East, where freedom is rare. Yet it is mistaken and condescending to assume that whole cultures and great religions are incompatible with liberty and self-government.

I believe that God has planted in every human heart the desire to live in freedom. And even when that desire is crushed by tyranny for decades, it will rise again. As long as the Middle East remains a place of tyranny and despair and anger, it will continue to produce men and movements that threaten the safety of America and our friends.

So America is pursuing a forward strategy of freedom in the greater Middle East. We will challenge the enemies of reform, confront the allies of terror and expect a higher standard from our friend. I will send you a proposal to double the budget of the National Endowment for Democracy and to focus its new work on the development of free elections and free markets, free press and free labor unions in the Middle East.

Source: 2004 State of the Union address to joint session of Congress Jan 20, 2004

Tilt back toward Israel

President Bush echoed the [pro-Israel] view: 'We're going to correct the imbalances of the previous administration on the Mideast conflict. We're going to tilt back toward Israel." Bush continued, 'If the two sides don't want peace, there is no way we can force them.' Colin Powell said, 'a pullback by the US would unleash Sharon and the Israeli army.' ; Bush added, 'Sometimes a show of strength by one side can really clarify things
Source: The Price of Loyalty, by Ron Suskind, p. 71-72 Jan 13, 2004

Vietnam: Trade better for human rights than sanctions

Q: An agreement has been signed with Vietnam that, if approved by Congress next year, will require that country to protect U.S. intellectual property and open its markets. It makes no demands on human rights. Do you support this deal?

A: I support the trade agreement with Vietnam. I believe expanded trade with Vietnam will help the forces of economic and political reform take root and grow. At the same time, we must make clear to the Vietnamese government that we expect them to cooperate fully with our efforts to obtain the fullest possible accounting of missing servicemen in Vietnam. Like all Americans, I want to see improved human rights, and living and working conditions worldwide. The best way to address these issues is not through unilateral trade sanctions, but through multilateral agreements. The primary goal of our trade policy should be to open markets abroad because the better way to raise living and working standards is to increase trade.

Source: Associated Press Oct 18, 2000

Supported force in Mideast & Balkans, not Haiti & Somalia

Q: In the last 20 years, there have been eight major actions involving the introduction of US forces. If you had been president, would any of those interventions not have happened: Lebanon?
A: Yes.
Q: Grenada?
A: Yes.
Q: Panama?
A: Yes.
Q: Obviously, the Persian Gulf.
A: With some of them I’ve got a conflict of interest, if you know what I mean. Yes.
Q: Bosnia and Kosovo.
A: I thought it was in our strategic interests to keep Milosevic in check because of our relations in NATO. I hope our European friends become the peacekeepers in Bosnia and in the Balkans.
Q: Somalia.
A: It started off as a humanitarian mission then changed into a nation-building mission and that’s where the mission went wrong. I think our troops ought to be used to fight and win war. But in this case, it was a nation-building exercise. And same with Haiti. I wouldn’t have supported either.
Source: Presidential Debate at Wake Forest University Oct 11, 2000

Africa’s important but not a priority; no nation-building

Q: Why not Africa? Why the Middle East? Why the Balkans but not Africa?

BUSH: Africa’s important. And we’ve got to do a lot of work in Africa to promote democracy and trade. It’s an important continent. But there’s got to be priorities. And the Middle East is a priority for a lot of reasons as is Europe and the Far East, and our own hemisphere. Those are my four top priorities should I be the president. It’s not to say we won’t be engaged [in Africa], and working hard to get other nations to come together to prevent atrocity [like in Rwanda]. I thought the best example of handling a [genocide] situation was East Timor when we provided logistical support to the Australians; support that only we can provide. I thought that was a good model. But we can’t be all things to all people in the world. I am worried about over-committing our military around the world. I want to be judicious in its use. I don’t think nation-building missions are worthwhile.

Source: Presidential Debate at Wake Forest University Oct 11, 2000

Keep troops in Korea & NATO; not in Haiti & Balkans

Q: Where would you bring home US troops from?

I mentioned the Balkans. Haiti is another example. I supported the administration in Colombia. It is in our interests to have a peaceful Colombia. We need to have a military presence in the Korean peninsula not only to keep the peace in the peninsula but to keep regional stability. And we need to keep a presence in NATO. But the use of the military needs to be in our vital interest. The mission needs to be clear and the exit strategy obvious.

Source: Presidential Debate at Wake Forest University Oct 11, 2000

Puerto Rico: Back statehood if majority votes for it

In the culmination of a decade-long battle, a federal courtroom in Boston [will hear the case that] citizens of Puerto Rico, a US territory of 3.9 million people, should be able to vote for president. If the appeal is won-and the ruling is not overturned by the Supreme Court-Puerto Rico theoretically could gain eight electoral votes. The Puerto Rican Legislature recently authorized the first US presidential vote in the island’s history on the presumption that the case will be won. Ballots are being printed, all in hopes of a favorable ruling in Boston.

Both Bush and Gore have declined to take a position on whether Puerto Rico should participate in the election, noting that the matter is before the courts. Both candidates have identical positions on Puerto Rico, saying they would back statehood if a majority of voters on the island support it. Both campaigns have taken steps to prepare for the possibility of a campaign on the island, signing up volunteers and organizers.

Source: Boston Globe Sep 20, 2000

Will keep sanctions against Cuba

Bush pledged today to take a hard line against Cuban leader Fidel Castro if elected president: “My word to you, Mr. Castro: Let your people live in freedom. I challenge the Castro regime to surprise the world and adopt the ways of democracy. Until it frees political prisoners, and holds free elections and allows free speech, I will keep the current sanctions in place.”
Source: AP Story, LA Times Aug 25, 2000

US will be a friend to Latin American democracies

Bush, continuing his focus on foreign policy, met today with Mexico’s President-elect Vicente Fox. “I believe we ought to enforce our borders. My pledge will be: Should I become the president, I’ll work and have a good, long-term relationship with [him] and continue a good relationship with Mexico. As long as you are on the road toward liberty, you will not be alone. As long as you are moving toward freedom, you will have a steady friend in the United States of America.”
Source: AP Story, LA Times Aug 25, 2000

Patrol borders, but also invest in Latin America

Source: AP Story, LA Times Aug 25, 2000

Africa: Rally world to help AIDS, but not with US funds

Q: Should we appropriate $300 million out of the surplus to help fight AIDS in Africa? A: Oftentimes we’re well-intended when it comes to foreign help. but the money never makes it to the people that we’re trying to help. And so I think before we spend a dime, we want to make sure that the people we’re trying to help receive the help necessary. But this is a compassionate land. And we need to rally the people of compassion in the world to help when there’s terrible tragedy like this in Africa.
Source: GOP Debate in Michigan Jan 10, 2000

Mexico: Free trade, but with more border patrols

I’m a fierce, free and fair trader. I believe that if Mexico were able to develop a large middle class, it would enable them to find jobs at home and stay at home.. I’m concerned about Colombian drug traffickers through Mexico. We need more detection capacities, we need to check more for trucks, we need more sensors, more border interdiction.
Source: Georgie Anne Geyer, syndicated columnist Oct 1, 1998


George W. Bush on China

Six-party talks are better than taking on North Korea alone

BUSH: We signed an agreement with North Korea that my administration found out that was not being honored by the North Koreans. And so I decided that a better way to approach the issue was to get other nations involved, just besides us. And China's a got a lot of influence over North Korea, some ways more than we do. As well, we included South Korea, Japan and Russia. So now there are five voices speaking to Kim Jong Il, not just one.

KERRY: We had inspectors and television cameras in the nuclear reactor in North Korea. Secretary Bill Perry negotiated that under Clinton. And we knew where the fuel rods were. And we knew the limits on their nuclear power. Colin Powell announced one day that we were going to continue the dialog of working with the North Koreans. Bush reversed it publicly while the president of South Korea was here. And the president of South Korea went back to South Korea bewildered and embarrassed because it went against his policy.

Source: First Bush-Kerry debate, Miami FL Sep 30, 2004

The six-party talks will unwind when we have bilateral talks

KERRY: I want both bilateral and multinational talks which put all of the issues, from the armistice of 1952, the economic issues, the human rights issues, the artillery disposal issues, the DMZ issues and the nuclear issues on the table.

BUSH: The minute we have bilateral talks, the six-party talks will unwind. That's exactly what Kim Jong Il wants. And by the way, the breach on the agreement was not through plutonium. The breach on the agreement is highly enriched uranium. That's what we caught him doing. That's where he was breaking the agreement. Secondly, Kerry said where he worked to put sanctions on Iran-we've already sanctioned Iran. Finally, we were a party to the convention-to working with Germany, France and Great Britain to send their foreign ministers into Iran.

KERRY: In order for the sanctions to be effective, we should have been working with the British, French and Germans and other countries. That's the difference between Bush and me. Again, Bush sort of slid by the question.

Source: [X-ref Kerry] First Bush-Kerry debate, Miami FL Sep 30, 2004

Must have China's leverage on Kim Jong Il

BUSH: I can't tell you how big a mistake I think that is, to have bilateral talks with North Korea. It's precisely what Kim Jong Il wants. It will cause the six-party talks to evaporate. It will mean that China no longer is involved in convincing, along with us, for Kim Jong Il to get rid of his weapons. It's a big mistake to do that. We must have China's leverage on Kim Jong Il, besides ourselves. If you enter bilateral talks, they'll be happy to walk away from the table. I don't think that'll work.

KERRY: Just because Bush says it can't be done, that you'd lose China, doesn't mean it can't be done. I mean, this is Bush who said "There were weapons of mass destruction," said "Mission accomplished," said we could fight the war on the cheap -none of which were true. We could have bilateral talks with Kim Jong Il. And we can get those weapons at the same time as we get China. Because China has an interest in the outcome, too.

Source: First Bush-Kerry debate, Miami FL Sep 30, 2004

Abandoned ambiguity with China to horror of own diplomats

By the 1990s, "strategic ambiguity" had long ceased to make any sense at all. But Bush's speech on April 24, 2001 stuck to the familiar talking points on China: China is not an enemy; we support the One China policy that denies Taiwan's right to statehood; the surveillance flights will resume. But when interviewed, Bush dropped the talking points and spoke with startling candor:

Q: If Taiwan were attacked by China, do we have an obligation to defend the Taiwanese?

A: Yes, we do. And the Chinese must understand that.

Q: With the full force of the American military?

A: Whatever it took to help Taiwan defend herself.

"Strategic ambiguity" was dead. Bush's words uncorked a whole jugful of complaints from allies, commentators, and foreign-policy wisemen. Unprompted by his own administration-and to the horror of much of his own foreign-policy bureaucracy-Bush was informing the Chinese and the world that the fire marshals had returned to duty in East Asia.

Source: The Right Man, by David Frum, p. 78-81 Jun 1, 2003

Do “whatever it takes” to defend Taiwan, including military

Pres. Bush said he would do “whatever it took”-including the use of US military forces-to defend Taiwan against China, potentially adding new tension to the troubled US-China relationship.

Bush touched off the controversy in a morning TV interview when he was asked if the US would defend Taiwan with the full force of the US military. “Whatever it took to help Taiwan defend herself,” he replied. In later interviews, Bush said military action was “certainly an option,” but he also said that Taiwan should not declare its independence.

The US has long supported a “one China” principle, but has insisted that Taiwan and China resolve their differences peacefully. Bush and his aides said the president’s remarks were not meant to signal a change in policy. Under the Taiwan Relations Act of 1979, the US is obligated to provide Taiwan with equipment to defend itself. Whatever else the US might do to defend Taiwan has been left deliberately vague by previous administrations.

Source: Inland Valley [So. Cal.] Daily Bulletin, p. 1 Apr 26, 2001

Maintain relations with both Taiwan & China

Source: GeorgeWBush.com: ‘Issues: Policy Points Overview’ Apr 2, 2000

Defend Taiwan if China violates one-China policy

Q: Would you commit US forces to defend Taiwan?
A: No. What the Chinese need to assume is that if they violate the One China Policy, the longstanding One China Policy, which has clearly said that the United States expects there to be a peaceful resolution between China and Taiwan, if they decide to use force, the United States must help Taiwan defend itself. Now, the Chinese can figure out what that means. But that’s going to mean a resolute stand on my part.
Source: GOP debate in Los Angeles Mar 2, 2000

No strategic ambiguity: US will defend Taiwan against China

Bush signaled his intention to break a long-standing policy by stating that the US would help Taiwan if it were attacked by China. Previous presidents, including Bush’s father, have adopted a policy called “strategic ambiguity,” which does not specify how the US would respond to an attack on Taiwan. Although the Taiwan Relations Act suggests that the US would help Taiwan, successive administrations have preserved this deliberate ambiguity so as not to encourage Taiwan to be bolder, making a war more likely.

But Bush said today, “It’s important for the Chinese to understand that if there’s a military action, we will help Taiwan defend itself.” He would not say whether this meant the US would send troops. Bush’s foreign policy advisor said that Bush was moving away from strategic ambiguity partly because Taiwan has become a democracy and partly because the policy has been poorly implemented in the Clinton administration.

Source: New York Times, p. A10 Feb 26, 2000

China is an American competitor, not a friend

Q: What area of international policy would you change immediately? A: Our relationship with China. The President has called the relationship with China a strategic partnership. I believe our relationship needs to be redefined as competitor. Competitors can find areas of agreement, but we must make it clear to the Chinese that we don’t appreciate any attempt to spread weapons of mass destruction around the world, that we don’t appreciate any threats to our friends and allies in the Far East.
Source: GOP Debate on the Larry King Show Feb 15, 2000

Entrepreneurial China trade differs from totalitarian Cuba

BUSH [to Bauer]: Capital that goes into Cuba will be used by the Castro government to prop itself up. Dollars invested will end up supporting this totalitarian regime.. It’s in our best interest to keep the pressure on Castro until he allows free elections, free press & free the prisoners.

BAUER: You just made the case for withdrawing MFN status from China. Everything that you just said about Cuba applies to China.

BUSH: There is a huge difference between trading with an entrepreneurial class like that which is growing in China and allowing a Castro government to skim capital monies off the top of capital investment.

BAUER: Tell the people rotting in the prisons of China that there’s any difference between Castro’s Cuba & Communist China. There is none.

BUSH: If we turn our back on the entrepreneurial class that is taking wing in China, we’re making a huge mistake.

BAUER: They are using that money for a massive arms buildup that our sons will have to deal with down the road.

Source: (cross-ref to Bauer) GOP Debate in Michigan Jan 10, 2000

China’s taste of freedom encourages capitalism’s growth

BAUER [to Bush]: We would never make the argument [that we should work with China] if we were talking about Nazi Germany. Is there no atrocity that you can think of, the labor camps doubling in their slave labor, a bigger crackdown, more priests disappearing in the middle of the night, is there anything that would tell you to put trade on the back burner?

BUSH: Gary, I agree with you that forced abortion is abhorrent. And I agree with you when leaders try to snuff out religion. But I think if we turn our back on China and isolate China things will get worse. Imagine if the Internet took hold in China. Imagine how freedom would spread. Our greatest export to the world has been, is and always will be the incredible freedom we understand in America. And that’s why it’s important for us to trade with China to encourage the growth of an entrepreneurial class. It gets that taste of freedom. It gets that breath of freedom in the marketplace.

Source: (cross-ref. from Bauer) Phoenix Arizona GOP Debate Dec 7, 1999

China: Reaction to espionage was not serious and not enough

Presented with detailed information about China’s espionage, this administration apparently did not take it seriously, did not react properly and it is still trying to minimize the scope and extent of the damage done. I trust that Congress will investigate to determine what went wrong and why, and I expect that our government will take immediate action to protect sensitive American technology. There are some areas of mutual benefit [but] we must deal with China in a firm and consistent manner.
Source: GeorgeWBush.com/News/ “Cox Report” May 25, 1999

Cox Report warrants review of all export controls to China

Trade will help expand the private sector in China. Trade will open a window to the free world for the people of China. But there is a difference between selling food and selling technology that could be used against America and our allies. China’s growing military capabilities present serious challenges for the United States. The Cox report should prompt a full and serious review of export controls, to make certain that America’s technology is not arming China’s military.
Source: GeorgeWBush.com/News/ “Cox Report” May 25, 1999


George W. Bush on Internationalism

Kerry wants a global test while I will be resolute

BUSH: In our first debate Kerry proposed America pass a global test. In order to defend ourselves, we'd have to get international approval. That's one of the major differences we have about defending our country. I'll work with allies. I'll work with friends. We'll continue to build strong coalitions. But I will never turn over our national- security decisions to leaders of other countries. We'll be resolute, we'll be strong, and we'll wage a comprehensive war against the terrorists.

KERRY: I have never suggested a test where we turn over our security to any nation. In fact, I've said the opposite: I will never turn the security of the US over to any nation. No nation will ever have a veto over us. But I think it makes sense that we ought to pass a sort of truth standard. That's how you gain legitimacy with your own people, and that's how you gain legitimacy in the world. But I'll never fail to protect the United States of America.

Source: Third Bush-Kerry Debate, in Tempe Arizona Oct 13, 2004

Won't allow foreigners to make national security decisions

BUSH: My opponent talks about foreign policy. He proposed America pass a global test. In order to defend ourselves, we'd have to get international approval. That's one of the major differences we have. We'll continue to build strong coalitions. But I will never turn over our national-security decisions to leaders of other countries.

KERRY: The most important thing to relieve the pressure is to recognize that America is strongest when we are working with real alliances, when we are sharing the burdens of the world. I believe the president broke faith to the American people in the way he took this nation to war. I think most Americans in their guts know, that we ought to pass a sort of truth standard.

Source: Third Bush-Kerry debate, in Tempe AZ Oct 13, 2004

Other nations are sacrificing with us

BUSH: You tell Tony Blair we're going alone. Tell Tony Blair we're going alone. Tell Silvio Berlusconi we're going alone. Tell Alexander Kwasniewski of Poland we're going alone. We've got 30 countries there. It denigrates an alliance to say we're going alone, to discount their sacrifices. You cannot lead an alliance if you say, you know, you're going alone. And people listen. They're sacrificing with us.

KERRY: Countries are leaving the coalition, not joining. Eight countries have left it. If Missouri, just given the number of people from Missouri who are in the military over there today, were a country, it would be the third largest country in the coalition, behind Great Britain and the United States. That's not a grand coalition. Ninety percent of the casualties are American. Ninety percent of the cost is coming out of your pockets. I could do a better job. My plan does a better job. And that's why I'll be a better commander in chief.

Source: Second Bush-Kerry Debate, in St. Louis MO Oct 8, 2004

Hope we never have to take preemptive military action

I was hopeful diplomacy would work in Iraq. It was falling apart. There was no doubt in my mind that Saddam Hussein was hoping that the world would turn a blind eye. And if he had been in power, in other words, if we would have said, "Let the inspectors work, or let's hope to talk him out. Maybe an 18th resolution would work," he would have been stronger and tougher, and the world would have been a lot worse off. There's just no doubt in my mind we would rue the day, had Saddam Hussein been in power. So we use diplomacy every chance we get, believe me. By speaking clearly and sending messages that we mean what we say, we've affected the world in a positive way. Libya was a threat. Libya is now peacefully dismantling its weapons programs. Libya understood that America and others will enforce doctrine and that the world is better for it. I would hope we never have to take preemptive military action. By acting firmly and decisively, it will mean it is less likely we have to use force.
Source: First Bush-Kerry debate, Miami FL Sep 30, 2004

Take preemptive action in order to make America secure

KERRY: Iran & North Korea are now more dangerous. Whether preemption is ultimately what has to happen, I don't know yet. But as president, I'll never take my eye off that ball. I've been fighting for proliferation the entire time-anti-proliferation the entire time I've been in the Congress. And we've watched Bush actually turn away from some of the treaties that were on the table. You don't help yourself with other nations when you turn away from the global warming treaty, for instance.

BUSH: My attitude is you take preemptive action in order to protect the American people, that you act in order to make this country secure. My opponent talks about me not signing certain treaties. Let me tell you one thing I didn't sign, and I think it shows the difference of our opinion-the difference of opinions. And that is, I wouldn't join the International Criminal Court. It's a body based in The Hague where unaccountable judges and prosecutors can pull our troops or diplomats up for trial.

Source: [X-ref Kerry] First Bush-Kerry debate, Miami FL Sep 30, 2004

No “global test”: protect Americans even if unpopular abroad

KERRY: No president has ever ceded, nor would I, the right to preempt in any way necessary to protect the US. But if and when you do it, you have to do it in a way that passes the global test where your people understand fully what you’re doing & you can prove to the world that you did it for legitimate reasons.

BUSH: I’m not exactly sure what you mean, "passes the global test." My attitude is you take preemptive action in order to protect the American people, that you act in order to make this country secure. [For example] I wouldn’t join the International Criminal Court. It’s a body based in The Hague where unaccountable judges and prosecutors can pull our troops or diplomats up for trial. I understand that in certain capitals around the world that that wasn’t a popular move. Trying to be popular, in the global sense, if it’s not in our best interest, makes no sense. I’m interested in working with our nations and do a lot of it. But I’m not going to make decisions that I think are wrong for America.

Source: First Bush-Kerry debate, Miami FL Sep 30, 2004

America will never seek a permission slip for self-defense

From the beginning, America has sought international support for our operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, and we have gained much support. There is a difference, however, between leading a coalition of many nations and submitting to the objections of a few. America will never seek a permission slip to defend the security of our country.
Source: 2004 State of the Union address to joint session of Congress Jan 20, 2004

Bush Doctrine: pre-emptive strikes for US defense

It has been a week of sweet vindication for those who promulgated what they call the Bush Doctrine-beginning with the capture of Saddam Hussein and ending with an agreement by Libya's Moammar Gaddafi to surrender his unconventional weapons. And Iran signed an agreement allowing surprise inspections of its nuclear facilities. To foreign policy hard-liners inside and outside the administration, all have the same cause: a show of American might.

Those who developed the Bush Doctrine- a policy of taking preemptive, unprovoked action against emerging threats-predicted that an impressive US victory in Iraq would intimidate allies and foes alike, making them yield to US interests in other areas. The "neo-conservative" hawks say it is precisely Bush's willingness to go it alone and take preemptive action that has encouraged other countries to seek diplomatic solutions before the US launches a military attack.

Source: Dana Milbank, Washington Post, p. A26 Dec 21, 2003

Help poor countries around the world

Nearly half of the world's population live on less than two dollars a day. When we help them we show our compassion, our values, and our belief in universal human dignity. America is feeding the hungry around the world - the US gives more to those in crisis than any other country in the world. In Afghanistan and Iraq, we helped liberate an oppressed people. The President is determined to continue helping them secure their country, rebuild their society, and educate their children.
Source: Campaign website, www.georgewbush.com Aug 29, 2003

United States returning to UNESCO

The United Nations was born in the hope that survived a world war-the hope of a world moving toward justice, escaping old patterns of conflict and fear. Our commitment to human dignity is challenged by persistent poverty and raging disease. The suffering is great, and our responsibilities are clear. The US is joining with the world to supply aid where it reaches people and lifts up lives, to extend trade and the prosperity it brings, and to bring medical care where it is desperately needed.

As a symbol of our commitment to human dignity, the US will return to UNESCO [United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization]. This organization has been reformed and America will participate fully in its mission to advance human rights and tolerance and learning.

Source: Address to the United Nations General Assembly Sep 12, 2002

Bush compromises between internationalists and isolationists

Bush has woven a middle ground between two battling factions of his party - internationalists who support engagement with great powers like China and isolationists who are deeply suspicious of the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund and the World Trade Organization.

Drawing on the advice of Gen. Colin L. Powell, widely viewed as a potential secretary of state in a Bush administration, Bush is far more tentative about committing American troops and rules out their use for what he dismisses as nation building. “There may be some moments when we use our troops as peacekeepers, but not often,” he said in the final presidential debate. In the second debate he suggested a broader philosophical disagreement with Mr. Gore: “I’m not so sure the role of the United States is to go around the world and say, ‘This is the way it’s got to be.’”

Gore, on the other hand, has repeatedly portrayed himself as a man who has come to believe in vigorous American intervention abroad

Source: David Sanger, NY Times Oct 30, 2000

US should humbly empower other countries, not dictate

Q: What is the role of the U.S. in the world?

BUSH: I’m not sure the role of the United States is to go around the world and say this is the way it’s got to be. I want to empower people. I want to help people help themselves, not have government tell people what to do. I just don’t think it’s the role of the United States to walk into a country and say, we do it this way, so should you. We went into Russia, we said here’s some IMF money. It ended up in Chernomyrdin’s pocket. And yet we played like there was reform. The only people who are going to reform Russia are Russians. I’m not sure where the vice president’s coming from, but I think one way for us to end up being viewed as the ugly American is for us to go around the world saying, we do it this way, so should you. I think the United States must be humble and must be proud and confident of our values, but humble in how we treat nations that are figuring out how to chart their own course.

Source: Presidential Debate at Wake Forest University Oct 11, 2000

America should be a humble nation, but project strength

Q: Should the people of the world fear us, or see us as a friend?

BUSH: They ought to look at us as a country that understands freedom where it doesn’t matter who you are or where you’re from that you can succeed. I don’t think they ought to look at us with envy. It really depends upon how [our] nation conducts itself in foreign policy. If we’re an arrogant nation, they’ll resent us. If we’re a humble nation, but strong, they’ll welcome us. Our nation stands alone right now in the world in terms of power. And that’s why we’ve got to be humble and yet project strength in a way that promotes freedom. We’re a freedom-loving nation. If we’re an arrogant nation, they’ll view us that way, but if we’re humble nation, they’ll respect us.

GORE: I agree with that. One of the problems that we have faced in the world is that we are so much more powerful than any single nation has been in relationship to the rest of the world than at any time in history, that there is some resentment of US power.

Source: Presidential Debate at Wake Forest University Oct 11, 2000

Vital interests: US or allies threatened; we can win & exit

Q: How would you decide when it was in the national interest to use US force? BUSH: Well, if it’s in our vital national interests. And that means:
  1. Whether our territory is threatened, our people could be harmed, whether or not our defense alliances are threatened, whether or not our friends in the Middle East are threatened.
  2. Whether or not the mission was clear, whether or not it was a clear understanding as to what the mission would be.
  3. Whether or not we were prepared and trained to win, whether or not our forces were of high morale and high standing and well-equipped.
  4. And finally, whether or not there was an exit strategy.
I would take the use of force very seriously. I would be guarded in my approach. I don’t think we can be all things to all people in the world. I think we’ve got to be very careful when we commit our troops. The vice president believes in nation-building. I would be very careful about using our troops as nation builders.
Source: Presidential debate, Boston MA Oct 3, 2000

US troops will never be under UN command

Bush said he would never allow US troops to come under United Nations command, then added then he views the UN “as an opportunity for people to vent.”

“I say that not facetiously,” Bush continued. “I mean, it’s a chance for the world to come together and discuss and to dialogue.”

Source: Mike Allen, Washington Post, p. A8 Oct 1, 2000

Less intervention abroad and unilateral nuclear cuts at home

Source: The Economist, “Issues 2000” Sep 30, 2000

Reform UN & IMF; strengthen NATO

Source: GeorgeWBush.com: ‘Issues: Policy Points Overview’ Apr 2, 2000

Brokering peace requires diligence and patience

Q. Where the US is trying with mixed success to broker peace talks, do you have sympathy for what Clinton is trying to do?
A: Take Northern Ireland. I have been on the record applauding the efforts to use our prestige to bring people together. It’s very important to be patient with the peace process. To be diligent and patient. It’s very important not to impose a US solution. So to the president’s credit, it seems to me on the Middle East he’s working hard to bring people together.
Source: Press interview in Austin, TX Mar 15, 2000

America should speak loudly and carry a big stick

Peace is not ordained, it is earned. Building a durable peace requires strong alliances, expanding trade and confident diplomacy. It requires tough realism in our dealings with China and Russia. It requires firmness with regimes like North Korea and Iraq, regimes that hate our values and resent our success. And the foundation of our peace is a strong, capable, and modern American military.
Source: “A Charge to Keep”, p.239 Dec 9, 1999

America should act as the leader of the free world

The world seeks America’s leadership, looks for leadership from a country whose values are freedom and justice and equality. Ours should not be the paternalistic leadership of an arrogant big brother, but the inviting and welcoming leadership of a great & noble nation. We have a collective responsibility as citizens of the greatest & freest nation in the world. America must not retreat within its borders. Or greatest export is freedom, and we have a moral obligation to champion it throughout the world.
Source: “A Charge to Keep”, p.240 Dec 9, 1999

Foreign policy with a touch of iron & a sharpened sword

Today we live in a world of terror and madmen and missiles. And our military is challenged by aging weapons and low morale. Because a dangerous world still requires a sharpened sword, I will rebuild our military. I will move quickly to defend our country and allies against blackmail by building missile defense systems. As president, I will have a foreign policy with a touch of iron driven by American interests and American values.
Source: TV ad, “Dangerous World” Nov 18, 1999


George W. Bush on Russia

Continue working with Putin in the future

BUSH: I look forward to discussing it more with Putin, as time goes on. Russia is a country in transition. Vladimir is going to have to make some hard choices. And I think it's very important for the American president, as well as other Western leaders, to remind him of the great benefits of democracy, that democracy will best help the people realize their hopes and aspirations and dreams. And I will continue working with him over the next four years.

KERRY: I've had an extraordinary experience of watching up close and personal that transition in Russia, because I was there right after the transformation. I regret what's happened in these past months. And I think it goes beyond just the response to terror. Mr. Putin now controls all the television stations. His political opposition is being put in jail. It's very important to the US, obviously, to have a working relationship that is good. This is a very important country to us. We want a partnership. But we always have to stand up for democracy.

Source: First Bush-Kerry debate, Miami FL Sep 30, 2004

Focus on Russia as part of Europe

When in December 2002 Bush announced that the US would withdraw from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty it had signed with the Russians in 1972-and the Chinese and the French and everyone else with an interest in continued American vulnerability looked to the Russians to protest and resist-Putin mildly shrugged the decision off. :"This step was not a surprise for us. However, we consider it a mistake."

And why should Putin not be calm? [In an earlier speech], Bush had offered Putin a much bigger prize than any arms control treaty: full membership in the Western world. "We look forward the day when Russia is fully reformed, fully democratic, and closely bound to the rest of Europe. Russia is part of Europe." In Bush's first six months in office, he had executed the most ambitious reorientation of America's grand strategy since Nixon's time-away from China and toward Russia.

Source: The Right Man, by David Frum, p. 90-91 Jun 1, 2003

Russia nukes: demand inventory; pay for dismantling

Source: GeorgeWBush.com: ‘Issues: Policy Points Overview’ Apr 2, 2000

Russia funding: replace IMF loans with $ to people

Source: GeorgeWBush.com: ‘Issues: Policy Points Overview’ Apr 2, 2000

Pressure Russia financially to ease up on Chechnya

Source: GeorgeWBush.com: ‘Issues: Policy Points Overview’ Apr 2, 2000

Focus on Big Three: Russia, China, & India

Bush articulated a set of broad foreign policy principles and priorities - form missile defense to free trade to what he calls The Big Ones, Russia, China, and India.

In a speech on defense policy, Bush issued awarning: “We must be selective in the use of our military, precisely because America has other great responsibilities that cannot be slighted or compromised.”

Source: Boston Globe, p. A22 Dec 23, 1999

Other candidates on Foreign Policy: George W. Bush on other issues:
George W. Bush
Dick Cheney
John Edwards
John Kerry

Third Party Candidates:
Michael Baradnik
Peter Camejo
David Cobb
Ralph Nader
Michael Peroutka

Democratic Primaries:
Carol Moseley Braun
Wesley Clark
Howard Dean
Dick Gephardt
Bob Graham
Dennis Kucinich
Joe Lieberman
Al Sharpton
Abortion
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Civil Rights
Corporations
Crime
Drugs
Education
Energy/Oil
Environment
Families/Children
Foreign Policy
Free Trade
Govt. Reform
Gun Control
Health Care
Homeland Security
Immigration
Infrastructure/Technology
Jobs
Principles/Values
Social Security
Tax Reform
War/Iraq/Mideast
Welfare/Poverty
Adv: Avi Green for State Rep Middlesex 26, Somerville & Cambridge Massachusetts