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Bill Bradley on Foreign Policy

2000 Democratic Primary Challenger for President


Increase foreign aid; US is last per capita

Our greatest contribution as a nation won’t be a large increase in foreign assistance, although we could certainly afford to increase that assistance since on a per-capita basis we rank last among developed nations in helping the world’s poorest nations. At a minimum, we should provide debt relief for them and pay our backlogged United Nation dues. More important, we need to help forge effective partnerships among governments and the private sector to try to lift up societies around the world, to attack deadly and debilitating diseases, to enable poor nations to build schools and roads, and to encourage these nations to develop democratic institutions and the rule of law, which is the first prerequisite for membership in the global middle class.
Source: The Journey From Here, by Bill Bradley, p.139 , Aug 15, 2000

Freedom Exchange Act: Funding for people-to-people contact

In the last decade, the reach of non-governmental organizations has spanned national borders and will do so increasingly in the Internet age. Such people-to-people contacts deepen mutual understanding and make it harder for demagogues to misrepresent the motives of other countries. When I was in the Senate, I championed the Freedom Exchange Act, which brought many thousands of high school students from Russia and the former Soviet Republics to live with American families for up to a year, to absorb the meaning of American democracy, free enterprise, and civic involvement. Unfortunately, funding for the program is now nearly 60% lower than it was in the mid-1990’s. Shortsightedly, we seem to be saying that we no longer have to create bonds of trust among individual Americans and the different peoples of the former Soviet Union.
Source: The Journey From Here, by Bill Bradley, p.139-40 , Aug 15, 2000

Don’t provoke Russia; no more NATO expansion

In 1996, we needlessly revived Russian security concerns by rushing to expand NATO beyond a reunified Germany. At a minimum, we have to find a better way to accommodate those additional Eastern European countries that are negotiating for E.U. membership, but without further expansion of NATO. While the newly independent nations of the former Soviet Union need to be integrated into the international political and economic system, NATO should remain a defensive alliance and not be used to lead the European Union’s eastward expansion.

In short, our policy toward Russia over the past ten years has contributed to a situation in which the world’s only other nuclear superpower is coming apart at the seams, a situation that makes the world a far more dangerous place than it needs to be. As a result, the current administration is the first U.S. government since the 1960’s that has failed to conclude a nuclear arms treaty.

Source: The Journey From Here, by Bill Bradley, p.144 , Aug 15, 2000

Move towards new post-Cold War stability & mentality

Q: What is the most challenging foreign policy issue to face the next president? A: I think the most important challenge in the international arena is maintaining strategic stability that now exists between China, Japan, Russia, Europe and the US. If we have any disruption of that, there’ll be another arms race. Second, I think we need to take our defense budget and move it more to a post-Cold War defense budget. We’re still locked in the Cold War with a lot of assumptions that should change to meet the new threats, like nuclear proliferation, biological and chemical weapons, like cyberwar, & terrorism.
Source: Democrat Debate in Johnston Iowa , Jan 8, 2000

Russia: Missed opportunity to disarm & communicate

Our relations with Russia over the last 8 years [indicate] a missed opportunity. They came, they wanted to know what to do. We have not pushed hard enough for reduction of strategic nuclear weapons. I believe that we sent IMF money to Russia knowing that corruption was rampant. And we have failed to communicate with the Russian people. We need more efforts to reach out, we need more exchange programs, we need straighter talk. And we need to be very clear about condemning the war in Chechnya.
Source: Democratic Debate in Durham, NH , Jan 5, 2000

East Timor worked; use UN instead of US elsewhere

Q: Expound upon East Timor, please. A: I feel that our involvement in East Timor was appropriate. It’s maybe even an example of where future involvements could head. We have 32 ethnic wars in the world today. There is no way that we have the resources or the wisdom to be involved in all 32. We need to find ways of using multilateral institutions like the UN, regional institutions like NATO or in Southeast Asia, to deal with problems; we don’t take the full responsibility, but we play a part.
Source: Democrat Debate at Dartmouth College , Oct 28, 1999

Puerto Rico: Support their expressed will; provide more aid

    As President, I will be guided and committed by the following:
  1. As long as the people of Puerto Rico continue to support Commonwealth status, I will respect their autonomous status
  2. Should the people choose another status [by plebiscite], I will respect and support their decision
  3. Puerto Rico still needs special tools to further develop its economy and to attract new investment. I propose to find new, flexible incentives that will achieve the highest possible rate of economic growth.
Source: Statement on Puerto Rico , Aug 17, 1999

Foster middle-class abroad; focus on 5 key countries

[The challenge for the US] is to get more middle class people in the world [so] they’d be buying more of our exports. Achieving that means prudent management of international economic policy as well as our domestic economy. The key to our foreign policy is to have the right policy and the right relationship with five countries in the world-that is, Mexico, Japan, China, Russia, and Germany. If we get those big questions right, then the world is going to be a safer place.
Source: www.billbradley.com/ “On Role in the World” 5/19/99 , May 19, 1999

US has an obligation to lead the world.

I believe, as the most powerful nation in the world today, we have an obligation to give the world a map to democracy, a sense of physical security against blatant aggression, and a set of economic institutions that allow more people a chance...
Source: www.billbradley.com/pages/message/index.html 12/15/98 , Dec 15, 1998


Bill Bradley on China

No reason to think of China as an enemy

China is the fastest-rising power in the world. There’s no reason to think of China as an enemy. It is evolving into a more open society as it adopts the rules and attitudes of a market economy. We believe that democracy will provide a better future for China’s people.

Now that we’ve granted China normal trading relations on a permanent basis, we’re in a position to open its markets not only to American products, but also to American ideas. Accepting China’s membership in the WTO will be good for economic and political stability world-wide. We acknowledge that there is one China, but we should resolutely oppose the People’s Republic of China’s use of military threats to impose control over Taiwan. The resolution of the Taiwan issue depends on patience, negotiation, and democratization, not coercion or threat. It’s not within our power or our rights to dictate the pace or patterns of China’s political development, but when China oppresses its own people, we will not be silent.

Source: The Journey From Here, by Bill Bradley, p.145-46 , Aug 15, 2000

Be direct with Taiwan & China: Maintain status quo

Q: How do we balance defending Taiwan, against the many business interests that want favored trade status with China? A: We should say to the Taiwanese, any direct and serious moves towards independence would jeopardize our support for them. We ought to say to the Chinese, under the Taiwan Relations Act, we are required to take appropriate responses and that we would take appropriate responses if they decided, militarily, to move onto the island of Taiwan. The balance here is very important.
Source: Town Hall Meeting, Nashua NH , Dec 18, 1999

Cox Report: Focus on security lapse, not espionage

The espionage at Los Alamos is serious. The administration has admitted that it didn’t act quickly enough. And I think that those who are guilty need to be punished. At the same time, we have to have a little perspective here and then we have to recognize that espionage takes place in the world. Even we, from time to time, commit espionage. So I think that the key thing here is the security lapse, not the fact that espionage takes place.
Source: NBC’s “Meet the Press” , Aug 1, 1999

Reaffirm “One China,” but defend Taiwan

The US should say to the Taiwanese government that if they take steps toward independence, they cannot count on us for any help. At the same time, we should be clear to the People’s Republic that if, in the absence of those steps toward independence, they take actions that would be in a military nature toward Taiwan, that we would be there. The one nation, one China is an important policy to be reaffirmed. But as it stands now, if the Chinese invaded Taiwan, we are committed to help Taiwan.
Source: NBC’s “Meet the Press” , Aug 1, 1999

Voted YES on Strengthening of the trade embargo against Cuba.

Strengthening of the trade embargo against Cuba.
Status: Conf Rpt Agreed to Y)74; N)22; NV)4
Reference: Conference Report on H.R. 927; Bill H.R. 927 ; vote number 1996-22 on Mar 5, 1996

Voted YES on ending Vietnam embargo.

Ending U.S. trade embargos on the country of Vietnam.
Status: Amdt Agreed to Y)62; N)38
Reference: For. Reltns. Auth. Act FY 94 & 95; Bill S. 1281 ; vote number 1994-5 on Jan 27, 1994

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Page last updated: Mar 13, 2014