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Dick Cheney on Foreign Policy

Vice President of the United States under George W. Bush


Effective diplomacy: stand with allies, & learn from history

The story of our diplomacy with North Korea carries with it important lessons.
  1. First is the importance of not losing sight of the objective. Our goal was getting the North Koreans to give up their nuclear weapons program.
  2. The most effective diplomacy happens when America negotiates from a position of strength. We should have taken action ourselves to destroy the North Korean-built nuclear reactor in the Syrian desert.
  3. Red lines must mean something, [like] when the North Koreans tested a nuclear weapon in Oct. 2006.
  4. Effective diplomacy requires that we think strategically. In 2001 the Chinese engaged in our efforts.
  5. America's position is strengthened when we stand with allies. In this instance we failed to do that, sidelining two key allies--the Japanese and the South Koreans.
  6. Finally, effective diplomacy requires that our diplomats study and learn from our history. In this case, recent history with North Korea was a pretty effective guide to how they would behave.
Source: In My Time, by V.P. Dick Cheney, p.490-493 , Aug 30, 2011

Disavow or cancel numerous international agreements

Richard Cheney would shatter everything I had believed was true about our party, our campaign, our victory, and the 4 years ahead.

In steady, quiet tones, the vice president-elect laid out a shockingly divisive political agenda for the new Bush administration, glossing over nearly every pledge the Republican ticket had made to the America voter. We were going to get out of a host of international agreements, he said. We would disavow the UN's Kyoto Protocol on global climate change, even if it were to be ratified by a sufficient number of nations to give it the force of international law. We would end our support for the establishment of the International Criminal Court in The Hague. We would cancel the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty ratified in 1972. We would slash taxes by $1.6 trillion and wipe out the budget surpluses generated in the Clinton era.

Source: Against the Tide, by Sen. Lincoln Chafee, p. 6 , Apr 1, 2008

OpEd: Browbeat Pakistani leaders to get tough on Al Qaeda

In 2007, Cheney went to Pakistan to pressure Gen. Pervez Musharraf into increasing Pakistani military efforts in the lawless tribal areas on the Afghan border. Cheney hardly needed to mention to the general the $10 billion that the US had doled out to him since Sept. 11, most of it in military aid.

Anyone who attempts to rule such a country as Pakistan wants to suppress radical elements without drawing them into a mutual suicide pact. Common sense tells you that deals are made. You leave me alone, I leave you alone.

When Cheney went to Pakistan to browbeat the general to get tougher on Afghan fighters taking sanctuary in his country, I knew it would not be long before a "top Taliban commander" was captured in Pakistan, then everything would settle back down to the status quo.

We saw this routine for years with organized crime in New England. When the pressure was on, the Mafia would serve up an expendable stooge who was making trouble for the mob anyway, then it would be business as usual

Source: Against the Tide, by Sen. Lincoln Chafee, p.114-115 , Apr 1, 2008

There has to be reform of the Palestinian system

The suicide bombers in Israel and Palestine, in part, were generated by Saddam Hussein, who paid $25,000 to the families of suicide bombers. One of the reasons we don’t have as many suicide attacks today in Israel as in the past is because Saddam is no longer in business. We’ve been strong supporters of Israel. We’ll support the establishment of two states. There has to be an interlocutor you can trust & deal with. We won’t have that in a Yasser Arafat. There has to be reform of the Palestinian system.
Source: Edwards-Cheney debate: 2004 Vice Presidential , Oct 5, 2004

Unilateral sanctions on Iran do not work

Q: Should we lift sanctions on Iran?

CHENEY: When we impose unilateral sanctions, unless there’s a collective effort, other people move in and take advantage of the situation and you don’t have any impact, except to penalize American companies. We’ve got sanctions on Iran now. We may well want to go to the UN Security Council and ask for even tougher sanctions if they don’t live up to their obligations under the International Atomic Energy Agency Non-Proliferation Treaty. We’re working with the Brits and the Germans and the French, who’ve been negotiating with the Iranians. We recently were actively involved in a meeting in the International Atomic Energy Agency. There will be a follow-up meeting in November to determine whether or not Iran’s living up to their commitments and obligations. And if they aren’t, my guess is then the board of governors will recommend sending the whole matter to the UN Security Council for the application of the international sanctions.

Source: Edwards-Cheney debate: 2004 Vice Presidential , Oct 5, 2004

Gadhafi in Libya surrendered all nuclear materials to the US

CHENEY: One of the great by-products of what we did in Iraq & Afghanistan is that five days after we captured Saddam Hussein, Moammar Gadhafi in Libya came forward and announced that he was going to surrender all of his nuclear materials to the US, which he has done. This was one of the biggest sources of proliferation in the world today in terms of the threat that was represented by that. The suppliers’ network that provided that, headed by Mr. Khan, has been shut down.

EDWARDS: Cheney talks about there being a member, or someone associated with Al Qaida, in Iraq. There are 60 countries who have members of Al Qaida in them. How many of those countries are we going to invade? Not only that, he talks about Iran. The reality is that Iran has moved forward with their nuclear weapons program on their watch. They ceded responsibility to dealing with it to the Europeans. We need to strengthen the sanctions on Iran, including closing the loophole that allows companies to do business with Iran.

Source: Edwards-Cheney debate: 2004 Vice Presidential , Oct 5, 2004

UN becomes irrelevant because of failures in Iraq

[Advising Bush on his speech to the UN about Iraq], Cheney said that the UN itself ought to be made an issue since it had failed for more than a decade, unable and unwilling to enforce its own resolutions that directed Saddam to destroy his weapons of mass destruction and to permit weapons inspections inside Iraq. The UN had to be challenged. Cheney said, ‘Go tell them it’s not about us. It’s about you. You are not important.’ The UN was running the risk of becoming irrelevant & a mockery, Cheney said
Source: Plan of Attack, by Bob Woodward, p.157 , Apr 19, 2004

Tenet rejects Cheney statements on Iraq/Al-Qaida connection

CIA Director Tenet rejected assertions by Cheney that Iraq had cooperated with the al-Qaida terrorist network. Tenet also rejected Cheney’s statements that the administration had proof of an illicit Iraqi biological warfare program. “I’m not going to sit here and tell you what my interaction was . and what I did and didn’t do, except that you have to have confidence to know that when I believed that somebody was misconstruing intelligence, I said something about it.”
Source: [X-ref Tenet] Knight Ridder in Kansas City Star , Mar 10, 2004

Reach out to allies-but advisory role only

Speaking at the World Economic Forum, a group of corporate & government officials that last year was rife with anti-American sentiment, Cheney acknowledged no mistakes in the administration’s handling of Iraq and insisted that “direct threats require decisive action.” But trying to reassure traditional allies, he said it would take “many hands” from Europe & elsewhere to stymie a new generation of terrorists by promoting democracy in the Middle East. “We must meet the dangers together,” Cheney said. “Cooperation among our governments, and effective international institutions, are even more important today than they have been in the past.”

Cheney envisions “a pretty significant role” for the UN in Iraq. A spokesman described an advisory role, which many other nations might consider inadequate. The White House has moved on several fronts to try to repair its international relations, partly because of the impending presidential campaign and partly because Bush realizes he needs help.

Source: Mike Allen, Washington Post, Page A17 , Jan 25, 2004

Bush Doctrine: hold to account countries complicit in terror

The leadership of al Qaeda has sustained heavy losses-they will sustain more. We are also dismantling the financial networks that support terror, a vital step never before taken. Our government is also working closely with intelligence services all over the globe, including those of governments not traditionally considered friends of the US.

And we are applying the Bush doctrine: Any person or government that supports, protects or harbors terrorists is complicit in the murder of the innocent and will be held to account. The first to see this doctrine in application were the Taliban, who ruled Afghanistan by violence, while turning the country into a training camp for terrorists. With fine allies at our side, we took down the regime and shut down the al Qaeda camps. Our work there continues-confronting Taliban and al Qaeda remnants, training a new Afghan army, and providing security as the new government takes shape.

Source: Remarks by the Vice President to the Heritage Foundation , Oct 10, 2003

Cuba: replace sanctions with free trade enclave

Cheney has raised the notion, heretical in GOP circles, of revisiting the wisdom of American sanctions against Cuba. Cheney also has said that unilateral sanctions against other countries are “unwise.” Speaking at the libertarian Cato Institute in 1988, Cheney broached a possible loosening of the trade embargo against Cuba, suggesting a free trade enclave could be established. Cheney also declared that unilateral economic sanctions “almost never work.”
Source: Michael Kranish and Walter Robinson, Boston Globe, p. A11 , Jul 26, 2000

Voted to support foreign aid programs

Cheney did break occasionally with the Reagan administration, disagreeing with the way the White House was compromising with Democrats on tax reform. In his rare breaks with the American Conservative Union, Cheney supported multibillion-dollar foreign aid programs.
Source: Michael Kranish, Boston Globe, p. A13 , Jul 26, 2000

South Africa: Voted against apartheid sanctions in 1980s

As Wyoming’s representative-at-large in the House of Representatives, Cheney was a vigorous supporter of U.S. aid to anti-communist contra rebels in Nicaragua in the mid-1980s and voted against imposing economic sanctions on South Africa’s apartheid government in 1986.
Source: MSNBC on-line news , Jul 24, 2000

Congress intereferes too much in designing foreign policy

[As secretary of defense in the 1908s], Cheney believed that Congress interfered too much with what he considered the president’s prerogative in designing U.S. foreign policy.
Source: Encarta Encyclopedia On-line , Feb 29, 2000

Include former Soviet states in NATO for stability

At the last NATO meeting he attended, in Brussels in December 1992, Cheney said that the alliance needed to lend more assistance to the new democracies in Eastern Europe and eventually offer them membership in NATO. Central and Eastern Europe, he told his NATO colleagues, presented the most threatening potential security problems in the years ahead. The current problem, rather than East versus West, was East and West versus instability.

Cheney’s views on NATO reflected his skepticism about prospects for peaceful evolution in the former Soviet areas. He saw high potential for uncertainty and instability, and he felt that the Bush administration was too optimistic in supporting Mikhail Gorbachev and his successor, Boris Yeltsin. Cheney believed that as the United States downsized its military forces, reduced its troops in Europe, and moved forward with arms control, it needed to keep a watchful eye on Russia and other successor states of the Soviet Union.

Source: DefenseLink.mil, “SecDef Histories” , Jan 1, 1997

Aiding Contras good; using money from Iran bad

As vice chairman of the House committee investigating the Iran-contra scandal, Cheney fervently defended the Reagan administration, saying it made a mistake but broke no laws in selling arms to Iran and using proceeds from the sale to equip the contras. Cheney candidly admits that his main concern in the hearings was that the scandal not derail efforts to aid the contras.
Source: Scott Farris, Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, p.8 , Jul 2, 1989

Against Boland Amend.& Panama Treaty; for Camp David accord

Source: Thomas Register of Congressional Votes , Jan 1, 1988

Voted against South Africa sanctions; for AWACs to Arabia

Source: Congressional Record, in Poltics in America, Alan Ehrenhalt , Jan 1, 1986

Supported foreign aid to Latin America & Africa

Source: Thomas Register of Congressional Votes , Jan 1, 1986

Hard-liner towards Soviet Union in 1980s

Cheney gave a well-publicized speech to a governor’s conference backing the administration’s hard line toward the new Andropov regime in the Soviet Union. “He speaks English and he likes Scotch,” Cheney said of Andropov, “but he is not a card-carrying member of the American Civil Liberties Union.”
Source: Poltics in America, Alan Ehrenhalt, ed., 1984, p. 1681 , Jan 1, 1984

Supported F-16 sales to Taiwan

Q: Please speak to the military buildup in Taiwan.

A: I assume this is about the recent aircraft sale of F-16s to Taiwan. Taiwan has been a good friend of the US for a long time. We also clearly have entered a transition process in terms of trying to improve our relations in recent years with the PRC. If there has been a significant military buildup in the region, though, it’s been primarily the PRC, where they have embarked upon a fairly aggressive effort to acquire new capabilities from the Soviet Union. And, of course, they have nuclear capability, ballistic missiles, and significant other capabilities as well. Folks on Taiwan have not been involved in a significant arms buildup in recent years. They’re flying old equipment and badly needs to be replaced. So, our view has been that some decision to provide some additional capability to modernize those forces on Taiwan is appropriate and will, in fact, restore some balance relative to their position vis-a-vis Mainland China.

Source: Speech at Lawrence Technical University , Sep 14, 1992

Role in the world: military strength and moral clarity.

Cheney signed Project for the New American Century Statement of Principles

American foreign policy is adrift. Conservatives have criticized the incoherent policies of the Clinton Administration. They have also resisted isolationist impulses from within their own ranks. But conservatives have not confidently advanced a strategi

Source: PNAC Principles 97-PNAC-FP on Jun 3, 1997

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George W. Bush(R,2001-2009)
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Page last updated: Jul 05, 2014