Al Gore on Foreign Policy

Vietnam: Trade will improve human rights & help with MIAs

Q: An agreement has been signed with Vietnam that will require that country to protect US intellectual property and open its markets. It makes no demands on human rights. Do you support this deal?

A: I believe that we must ratify and fully implement important new trade agreements, and as president, I will insist on and use the authority to negotiate and enforce worker rights, human rights and environmental protections in those agreements. I believe that the US-Vietnam Bilateral Trade Agreement provides important benefits to American businesses and workers, including dramatic new market access for American goods, services, and agricultural products; intellectual property protection; investment protection provisions; and transparency and rule-of-law measures. The treaty also represents an important step in the normalization of our relations with Vietnam, a process which will strengthen cooperation on bringing American POW-MIAs home, promoting religious freedom and combating narcotics.

Source: Associated Press Oct 18, 2000

Chernomyrdin Commission produced results despite corruption

[Numerous agreements with Russia between 1993 & 1998 were discussed via] a channel known as the Gore-Chernomyrdin Commission. Gore has cited the work of the commission as among his signal achievements as vice president and an important part of his r‚sum‚ for the presidency. Some critics in Congress, as well as Governor Bush, say that Gore placed too much faith in his close personal relationship with Chernomyrdin, and that this led Gore to turn a blind eye to strong evidence of corruption. Gore responds that the Commission produced scores of agreements on a wide range of topics in part because of the strong bond between the men. Gore was fully aware of the allegations of corruption against Chernomyrdin, his spokesman said, but he also believed that the prime minister was dedicated to reform and had the clout to cut through the bureaucracy. Gore’s office has produced a catalog of Gore’s achievements in Russia policy: the removal of nuclear weapons, trade deals, the international space station, etc.
Source: Analysis of Wake Forest debate, John Broder, NY Times Oct 13, 2000

Supported force in Mideast, Balkans, Haiti, not Somalia

Q: If you had been president, would any of these military interventions not have happened: Lebanon?
A: That was a mistake.
Q: Grenada?
A: I supported that.
Q: Panama?
A: I supported that one.
Q: Persian Gulf?
A: Yes, I voted for it, supported it.
Q: Somalia?
A: That was ill considered. I did support it at the time. In retrospect the lessons there are ones that we should take very seriously.
Q: Bosnia.
A: Oh, yes.
Q: Haiti?
A: Yes.
Q: And then Kosovo.
A: Yes.
Source: Presidential Debate at Wake Forest University Oct 11, 2000

Rwandan genocide: no military, but more humanitarian aid

Q: What about Rwanda, where 600,000 people died in 1994. Was that a mistake not to intervene?

GORE: We did actually send troops into Rwanda to help with the humanitarian relief measures. I think in retrospect, we were too late getting in there. We could have saved more lives if we had acted earlier. But I do not think that it was an example of a conflict where we should have put our troops in to try to separate the parties for this reason. One of the criteria that I think is important in deciding when and if we should ever get involved around the world is whether or not we can really make the difference with military force, [and] if we have allies. In the Balkans we had allies, NATO, ready, willing and able to go and carry a big part of the burden. In Africa we did not. [Hence] I think it was the right thing not to jump in, as heartbreaking as it was. But I think we should have come in much quicker with the humanitarian mission.

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

Haiti: Intervention gave them a chance at democracy

In Haiti, we got our troops home as soon as the mission was complete. There are no more than a handful of American military personnel in Haiti now. And the Haitians have their problems but we gave them a chance to restore democracy, and that’s really about all we can do. But if you have a situation like that right in our back yard, with chaos about to break out and all kinds of violence there right in one of our neighboring countries there, then I think that we did the right thing there.
Source: Presidential Debate at Wake Forest University Oct 11, 2000

Cuba: Hard-liner on Castro; keep sanctions

Q. Would you press for the lifting of sanctions against Cuba?

A. No, I’m a hardliner on Castro. I still find it incomprehensible that he would release mentally ill criminals, prone to violence, onto an innocent population here in the US. I find his whole penchant for repression and his whole style abhorrent. We have been asking Castro to have elections for a long time [with no response]. Cuba has been moving headlong in the wrong direction. I do not favor any openings to the Castro government.

Source: Press Interview in Ohio Oct 4, 2000

North Korea: Continue exploring rapprochement

Q. What about lifting sanctions on the North Koreans?

A. Incredibly enough, we have seen a positive response to initiatives there. The strategy for getting North Korea off its nuclear bent has yielded some tentative positive results. Of course, the jury is still out. We have seen a very emotional beginning of rapprochement on the peninsula. There is clearly a desire to explore the changes that would make it possible for them to have a more normal relationship with the rest of the world.

Source: Press Interview in Ohio Oct 4, 2000

Russia: US’s abiding interest, but troubled by Putin

Q. On Russian president Vladimir Putin?

A. I am very troubled by his apparent backtracking on press freedom for Russia in the postcommunist era. I am very troubled obviously by their conduct in Chechnya. We have to put first things first, and recognize that the US has an abiding interest in continuing to manage the nuclear threat, and we should not ever forget that Russia has thousands of nuclear warheads and the delivery systems capable of targeting them on the US.

[But we have] all kinds of leverage. We are very deeply involved in helping them construct the institutions of a free society, helping them write their basic contract law, helping them put in place basic accounting standards. We just completed an effort on disaster assistance. The space station, of course, is one of the flagship cooperative efforts. So we certainly have leverage with them, there’s no question about that. And they do listen. They do listen to us. There are limits to the use of leverage.

Source: Press Interview in Ohio Oct 4, 2000

Russia’s transition is accomplishment, if over-optimistic

Gore tried repeatedly to bring well-tested Western solutions--based on laws, rules and carefully ordered process--to a country hurtling through an extraordinarily tumultuous period. Often, Gore’s neat solutions were thwarted or overwhelmed by Russia’s messy march toward a market democracy.

Gore has said the major accomplishment of the administration is that “we have worked hard to help Russia make a transition to a market-based democracy.” He has also cited Russian acquiescence in NATO expansion, cooperation with Russia in the Balkans and the creation of additional safeguards against nuclear materials theft.

But critics, including Bush, have charged that the administration was overly optimistic about what could be accomplished & that it turned a blind eye to the underside of Russia’s economic transformation. When Gore recently called for “forward engagement” with Russia, one of Bush’s top foreign policy advisers countered that engagement has to be “in a realistic way, not a romantic one.”

Source: David Hoffman, Washington Post, p. A1 Jun 4, 2000

Africa: give the poorest countries a hand up

Gore also pledged to “give the poorest countries a hand up” by fostering economic engagement with Africa, the Caribbean and the Americas, as well as assisting them through debt relief. Gore called for the United States to enlist the cooperation of the European Union to help rebuild the economies of Africa as a means of creating a lasting peace.
Source: Press Release on speech in Boston Apr 30, 2000

Chechnya: Keep aid that helps US; cut off aid that helps war

Q: Why is your administration not willing to do anything truly tough toward Russia despite the brutal war in Chechnya?

A: As a matter of fact, we have. We have opposed new IMF provisions. There has been no direct state-to-state aid for more than a year now. Now, particular programs that go toward dismantling nuclear warheads, you wouldn’t want to cancel that. Particular cooperative ventures where no companies or the state agencies involved are implicated in any of the activity in Chechnya or in proliferation activities, that’s a separate matter. But we have, in fact, enforced a real cutoff of a lot of forms of aid.

Source: Democrat Debate in Manchester NH Jan 26, 2000

Mantle of leadership means responding to violence abroad

We’re the natural leader of the world. I don’t think that’s a chauvinist American statement - I think it’s a statement of fact. People respect us as Americans because we’re a brave people, we try to uphold high values and standards, and so the rest of the world does look to us. They want the kind of freedoms and prosperity that we have. We have to accept that mantle of leadership, and when there is terrible violence in the rest of the world, we have to pay careful attention to it.
Source: Democrat Debate at Dartmouth College Oct 28, 1999

Supports New Security Agenda and Third-World debt relief

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

Al Gore on Internationalism

Gore supports vigorous intervention abroad; Bush less so

In his debate performances, interviews and speeches on foreign and economic policy, Gore has repeatedly portrayed himself as a man who has come to believe in vigorous American intervention abroad, a reversal of Democratic philosophy for most of the time since the end of the war in Vietnam.

He describes how the experience of seeing the Clinton administration move too slowly to end the killing in Bosnia drove him to conclude that America must be prepared to prevent disaster, and how two successive global financial crises reshaped his understanding of the central role economic stability must play in the foreign policy agenda.

Bush, on the other hand, 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.

Source: David Sanger, NY Times Oct 30, 2000

The world is looking to US for leadership

Q: Do you think the U.S. is meeting its responsibility to the world?

GORE: One of the big issues that doesn’t get enough attention is corruption in official agencies like militaries and police departments around the world, customs officials. That’s one of the worst forms of it. We have to lead by example and help these other countries that are trying to straighten out their situations. This is an absolutely unique period in world history. The world’s coming together. They’re looking to us. Are we going to step up the plate as a nation the way we did after World War II, the way that generation of heroes said, O.K., the United States is going to be the leader. And the world benefited tremendously from the courage that they showed in those post-war years. I think that in the aftermath of the cold war, it’s time for us to provide the leadership on the environment, leadership to make sure the world economy keeps moving in the right direction.

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

The power of example is America’s greatest power

Our greatest national strength comes from what we stand for in the world. It is a great tribute to our founders that 224 years later this nation is now looked to by the peoples on every other continent and the peoples from every part of this earth as a kind of model for what their future could be. Even the ones that sometimes shake their fists at us. As soon as they have a change that allows the people to speak freely, they’re wanting to develop some kind of blueprint that will help them be like us more: freedom, free markets, political freedom.

The power of example is America’s greatest power in the world. And that means, for example, standing up for human rights. It means addressing the problems of injustice and inequity along lines of race and ethnicity here at home because in all these other places around the world where they’re having these terrible problems when they feel hope it is often because they see in us a reflection of their potential.

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

Nation-building: preferable to WWIII, and a stunning success

Q. Bush made nation-building a point of difference with you [in the Oct. 3 debate].

A. I think that phrase taps into a legitimate concern about how far we should go and how long we should be involved. But it’s not a new mission. The Marshall Plan was about nation-building. And the generation that won World War II, having seen the catastrophe of the interwar period in the 20’s and 30’s, wisely decided that nation-building was a preferable alternative to World War III. And it was a stunning success.

Source: Press Interview in Ohio Oct 4, 2000

UN treaties are effective means for US to help Third World

Gore said that agencies of the United Nations “offer the US an effective means of doing our fair share to alleviate suffering in some of the most miserable corners of the globe.” On treaties not signed by the United States, Mr. Gore gave unequivocal support to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Law of the Sea Treaty and the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.
Source: Barbara Crossette, NY Times Aug 20, 2000

New Security Agenda: keep old; build new; avoid isolation

    Gore’s New Security Agenda is based upon three principles:
  1. CONTINUING THE CLASSIC SECURITY AGENDA: Gore pledged to build upon our key alliances; to continue helping Russia make a transition to a market-based democracy; and follow a policy toward China that is based on results, not rhetoric.
  2. BUILDING A NEW SECURITY AGENDA: Gore recognizes that “threats that were once local can have consequences that are regional and global.” America must address these global challenges with “reinvigorated international and regional institutions,“ and by ”confronting threats before they spiral out of control.“
  3. RESISTING NEW-ISOLATIONISM: Gore warned of the equally dangerous threat of retreating within our borders and ignoring our leadership position in the world. Gore criticized Bush for his antiquated perception that Russia & China are primarily present or future enemies. Instead, Gore said, we must engage both countries and assist them in their transformations while being clear about our concerns.
    Source: Press Release on speech in Boston Apr 30, 2000

    Strong defense for world leader; tie defense to other issues

    Starting with his own voluntary service in the US Army during the Vietnam War, Al Gore has stood for a strong national defense, and an America that leads the world toward peace, freedom, and prosperity, for his entire career. Gore has been a key player in American foreign policy for more than two decades, often serving as a critical direct channel to world leaders at times of conflict. As a member of President Clinton’s national security team, Gore has played a role in almost every critical foreign policy decision of the past six years.
    At the same time, Gore has been a leader in promoting the free trade, free markets, environmental protections, and fundamental human rights that are crucial to America’s leadership in the world. “A strong economy, a clean environment, and peace & security do go hand in hand,” says Gore. “As we move beyond the age of bipolar tensions and sharp ideological conflicts, nations are finding the wisdom that grows from our common values.”
    Source: Gore campaign statement on Jan 1, 2000

    Intervention requires national interest, by our values

    Q: What principles would you use to distinguish cases that require US action and those that do not? A: I think that we were right to go into East Timor. I thought we were right in Kosovo and Bosnia. I think we were tardy, frankly, in Rwanda. We have to have a national interest. We have to be willing to accomplish the goal. We should have allies to help us, but our national interest should also be defined in terms of our values. And ethnic strife is important to address.
    Source: Democrat Debate at Dartmouth College Oct 28, 1999

    Pay UN dues, as leader of the world

    We ought to pay our UN dues, as a leader of the world.
    Source: Democrat Debate at Dartmouth College Oct 28, 1999

    Other candidates on Foreign Policy: Al Gore on other issues:
    John Ashcroft
    Pat Buchanan
    George W. Bush
    Dick Cheney
    Bill Clinton
    Hillary Clinton (D,NY)
    Elizabeth Dole
    Steve Forbes
    Rudy Giuliani (R,NYC)
    Al Gore
    Alan Keyes
    John McCain (R,AZ)
    Ralph Nader
    Ross Perot
    Colin Powell
    Jesse Ventura (I,MN)

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