John Edwards on Foreign Policy
2004 Democratic Nominee for Vice President; Former Jr Senator (NC)
A: The president should consult with Congress before withdrawing from a treaty, although the courts have recognized that the president has the authority unilaterally to withdraw from a treaty.
A: Under Bush, America has faced two very serious challenges, one of which they’ve been a bit obsessed with, which is the issue of terrorism. The other is the rise and strength of China, which they’ve done virtually nothing about on any front. On top of that, they’re obsessed with their own internal economic development, and that results in them propping up bad regimes, like Sudan & Iran.
A: The Edwards Doctrine will be longer term, visionary, not the kind of ad hoc foreign policy of convenience that we’ve seen over the last seven years, but instead looking at not only the short-term issues that America and the world faces. The key to that is for America, both through our actions and through our language from the president of the United States, to demonstrate that we respect people who grow up in different cultures with different faith beliefs, that we respect people who have a different perspective than we do.
A: Oh, it’s very troublesome. Musharraf is not a wonderful leader. I think there is a smart path for America on this, understanding how volatile the situation is. First of all, I think we should reform the nature of our aid and use aid as our leverage tool. I mean, what we’ve been doing is essentially aiding Musharraf as opposed to aiding the Pakistani people. You know, with funding for F-16s, which does not help in the fight against terrorism, does not help with security for America. And we’ve also been approaching this unilaterally. We ought to have a multi-lateral approach to this problem. We shouldn’t be doing this alone.
In fact, the people who disagree with these basic facts were the CIA, and their doubts were contained in a classified report available to Congress before the 2002 war vote. But Edwards said it was not necessary to read the report, since as a member of the Senate Intelligence committee he was getting information directly from intelligence officers. ”I had the information I needed,“ he later said. ”I just voted wrong.“
A: I think actually what America should be doing is having a policy throughout Latin America that instead of being ad hoc, which is what we’ve seen under this president, either disengaged or bullying, one of the two. That’s what Latin American countries have seen from the US. That is the reason that Chavez can be so effective in bringing others in Latin America to surround him when he demonizes the US. If instead America was a force for good in Latin America, for example, making education available to millions of children who have no education, helping stop the spread of disease, the simple things like sanitation and clean drinking water, helping with economic development, microfinance, microlending, to make hope and opportunity available to millions of people in Latin America, it would pull the rug out from under a man like Hugo Chavez.
A: China is a competitor. They hold American debt; there are huge human rights abuses going on in China. But there’s also a trade safety issue here. What about 2 million toys that have come into the US and had to be recalled from China? How about the fact that we don’t have real country-of-origin labeling that the US actually enforces, so the American people know what they’re buying, where it’s coming from? We should have a president who enforces country-of-origin labeling. We should have a Consumer Product Safety Commission that’s not looking out for big multinational corporations, that’s actually looking out for the safety of our children here in America.
OBAMA: I would. The notion that somehow not talking to countries is punishment to them is ridiculous. I think that it is a disgrace that we have not spoken to them.
CLINTON: I will not promise to meet with the leaders of these countries during my first year. I don’t want to be used for propaganda purposes. But I certainly agree that we need to get back to diplomacy.
Q: Sen. Edwards, would you meet with them?
EDWARDS: Yes, and I think actually Sen. Clinton’s right though. Before that meeting takes place, we need to do the diplomacy to make sure that that meeting’s not going to be used for propaganda purposes, will not be used to just beat down the US in the world community. But I think this is just a piece of a bigger question, which is, what do we actually do to restore America’s moral leadership in the world?
A: I believe that America ought to lead an international effort to make primary school education available to every single one of the 100 million children in the world, largely in Africa, who have no education whatsoever. America should be leading the way on sanitation. Just clean drinking water would have on the health of families and children in Africa. America should be leading the way.
RICHARDSON: What I would like to do is, one, a no-fly zone. Get economic sanctions backed by the Europeans; we should use the levers on China. We need to find ways to stop the massive rapes.
EDWARDS: I agree, a no-fly zone; a security force on the ground; sanctions; pressure on the Chinese. But Darfur is part of a bigger question for America: how do we re-establish ourselves after Iraq as a force for good in the world? Instead of spending $500 billion in Iraq, suppose America led an effort to make primary school education available to 100 million children in the world who have no education, including in Africa. Suppose we led on stopping the spread of disease, sanitation, clean drinking water and economic development.
A: What’s happened in Russia is they’ve moved from being a democracy under Yeltsin to being a complete autocracy under Putin. The government has been centralized. Any kind of democratic effort, any opposition party, any opposition voice has been squashed.
For that to occur, the world has to see America as a force for good again, which is why I talked about leading an effort to make primary school education available to 100 million children in the world who don’t have it, in the Muslim world, in Africa, in Latin America.
Leading an international effort on sanitation, clean drinking water, economic development using microfinance as a tool. I mean, here’s a way that America could actually demonstrate its commitment to humanity, which I think is critical for our leadership.
EDWARDS: We’ve been largely absent, though not entirely absent, from the peace-making process over the last 4 years. The Israeli people not only have the right to defend themselves, they should defend themselves. They have an obligation to defend themselves. We know that the prime minister has made a decision, an historic decision, to unilaterally withdraw from Gaza. It’s important for America to participate in helping with that process. Now, if Gaza’s being used as a platform for attacking the Israeli people, that has to be stopped. They don’t have a partner for peace right now. They certainly don’t have a partner in Arafat, and they need a legitimate partner for peace. It is very important for America to crack down on the Saudis who have not had a public prosecution for financing terrorism since 9/11. And it’s important for America to confront the situation in Iran, because Iran is an enormous threat to Israel and to the Israeli people.
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.
EDWARDS: Yes. That’s exactly what should happen. What I would do as president is pick two or three respected world leaders, like President Clinton did back in the ‘90. Send them to the region. Work on a political solution.
Q: It might be too late.
EDWARDS: Maybe. We are in this situation because this is so typical of this president’s disengagement in this entire hemisphere. In fact, he’s done it all over the world. But this is a perfect example.
Q: Are you saying he could have prevented this?
EDWARDS: I’m saying, if we had stayed involved, we would have seen this coming a lot sooner, and we could have gotten involved and engaged.
Q: Would you take them in at the US border?
EDWARDS: Those who were fleeing for political asylum, yes.
A: I would put the Iraqi Civilian Authority under the control of the United Nations today. That should have been done a long time ago. Use that to create the kind of energy we need to bring allies and friends to this effort, to help relieve the burden on American troops, relieve the burden on American taxpayers. And also put a stop to these sweetheart deals for Halliburton, the president’s friends.
EDWARDS: Unfortunately what we see happening on the ground in Iraq right now is part of a long-term pattern by this president. He stubbornly continues to fight an effort to bring others in, to relinquish some responsibility, some control in order to bring our friends and allies into this effort.
This started a long time ago. It began with his unilateral disengagement from Kyoto, unilateral disengagement from the biological weapons convention, a whole series of nuclear nonproliferation agreements.
I will lead in a way that shows that America is strong, but at the same time that we will solve the world’s problems with the rest of the world in a multilateral, coalition-building way, because that is the most effective way to create respect for America. And at the end of the day, the American people are safer and more secure in a world where America is looked up to and respected.
Build a Public Consensus Supporting US Global Leadership
The internationalist outlook that served America and the world so well during the second half of the 20th century is under attack from both ends of the political spectrum. As the left has gravitated toward protectionism, many on the right have reverted to “America First” isolationism.
Our leaders should articulate a progressive internationalism based on the new realities of the Information Age: globalization, democracy, American pre-eminence, and the rise of a new array of threats ranging from regional and ethnic conflicts to the spread of missiles and biological, chemical, and nuclear weapons. This approach recognizes the need to revamp, while continuing to rely on, multilateral alliances that advance U.S. values and interests.
A strong, technologically superior defense is the foundation for US global leadership. Yet the US continues to employ defense strategies, military missions, and force structures left over from the Cold War, creating a defense establishment that is ill-prepared to meet new threats to our security. The US must speed up the “revolution in military affairs” that uses our technological advantage to project force in many different contingencies involving uncertain and rapidly changing security threats -- including terrorism and information warfare.
|Other candidates on Foreign Policy:
|John Edwards on other issues:
GOP: Sen.John McCain
GOP V.P.: Gov.Sarah Palin
Democrat: Sen.Barack Obama
Dem.V.P.: Sen.Joe Biden
Constitution: Chuck Baldwin
Libertarian: Rep.Bob Barr
Constitution: Amb.Alan Keyes
Liberation: Gloria La Riva
Green: Rep.Cynthia McKinney
Socialist: Brian Moore
Independent: Ralph Nader