Democratic Party on Foreign Policy

Party Platform


America First foreign policy has made America small

It has revealed, at tragic economic and human cost, the emptiness of the Republican Party's "America First" foreign policy. Under President Trump, America stands alone. Friends and foes alike neither admire nor fear President Trump's leadership--they dismiss and ridicule it. The Republican Party under President Trump has made America small--when we are a people called to do the greatest things. Democrats still believe in the American idea--its principles, its purpose, and its promise.
Source: Democratic Party Platform adopted at 2020 Convention , Jul 27, 2020

In global crisis, American leadership needed more than ever

Democrats believe that American security and prosperity are enhanced when the United States leads in shaping the rules and steering the institutions that guide international relations. Instead of walking away, Democrats believe the United States should lead the way and mobilize our partners to work in common cause. In a global public health crisis and a global democratic recession, American leadership is needed more than ever.
Source: Democratic Party Platform adopted at 2020 Convention , Jul 27, 2020

US leadership at UN, including respectful disagreement

International institutions--most prominently the United Nations--have been a centerpiece of international order since the mid-20th century. And just as American leadership was essential to forging the architecture for international cooperation after WWII, the President and the Democratic Party are committed to modernizing its infrastructure for the 21st century--working to reform international bodies and strengthen national and multilateral capabilities to advance peace, security, and opportunity. We have restored America's leadership at the UN by cooperating with our partners there when we can and respectfully disagreeing with them when we must, reversing the previous administration's disdain for the UN. The President's leadership at the UN has enabled us to make real progress on a number of top national security priorities, including getting Russia and China on board to implement the toughest UN sanctions ever on Iran and North Korea.
Source: 2012 Democratic Party Platform , Sep 4, 2012

Commit to “One China” policy but support Taiwan

We must better engage with China to secure Chinese adherence to international trade, non-proliferation and human rights standards. We are committed to a “One China” policy, and will continue to support a peaceful resolution of cross-Straits issues that is consistent with the wishes and best interests of the Taiwanese people.
Source: The Democratic Platform for America, p.10 , Jul 10, 2004

Asia: Enhance relations with Japan, S.Korea, India, Pakistan

We must maintain our strong relationship with Japan, and explore new ways to cooperate further. And we will actively seek to enhance relations with our historic ally South Korea in order to advance our collaborative efforts on economic and security issues. We must also work with our friends, India and Pakistan, in their efforts to resolve longstanding differences.
Source: The Democratic Platform for America, p.10 , Jul 10, 2004

Bush bullies when he should instead persuade

The Bush Administration has walked away from more than a hundred years of American leadership in the world to embrace a new - and dangerously ineffective - disregard for the world. They rush to force before exhausting diplomacy. They bully rather than persuade. They act alone when they could assemble a team. They hope for the best when they should prepare for the worst. Time and again, this Administration confuses leadership with going it alone and engagement with compromise of principle. They do not understand that real leadership means standing by your principles and rallying others to join you. John Kerry, John Edwards and the Democratic Party believe in a better, stronger America - an America that is respected, not just feared, and an America that listens and leads. Our vision has deep roots in our Declaration of Independence and Franklin Roosevelt’s Four Freedoms, and in the tough-minded tradition of engagement and leadership
Source: The Democratic Platform for America, p. 3 , Jul 10, 2004

US leadership in Africa for economic & humanitarian goals

US engagement in Africa should reflect its vital significance to US interests. The HIV/AIDS pandemic in southern and eastern Africa is a massive human tragedy and a security risk of the highest order that threatens to plunge nations into chaos. Chronic and debilitating hunger also threatens the very survival of communities where investment in agriculture has suffered for over a decade. We are committed to bringing the full weight of American leadership to bear against this crisis.

We must also work with the UN and Africa’s regional organizations to address Africa’s persistent, disproportionate share of the world’s weak, failing states and chronic armed conflicts, and to promote effective relief efforts when there is a humanitarian crisis - particularly at this moment in Sudan. We value our deepening economic ties with Africa, including Central and West Africa’s rapidly rising position as a major source of non-Gulf oil.

Source: The Democratic Platform for America, p. 9-10 , Jul 10, 2004

Community of the Americas for US-Latin American relations

We believe that it is time to create a new Community of the Americas that reflects our close relationship with our regional neighbors. We will return U.S.- Latin American relations to a place marked by dialogue, consensus and concerted action to address common concerns. We understand that our collective security and prosperity are furthered by mutual efforts to promote democracy, generate wealth, reduce income disparities, and provide sound environmental stewardship. We are committed to strong and steady support for democratic processes and institutions in our hemisphere. We believe that democratic governments deserve our support, and that we should exercise our considerable diplomatic and moral force in support of democratically elected leaders. Mexico has made steady progress toward building a mature democracy, and we will make relations with Mexico a priority in order to best address economic, environmental and social issues of concern.
Source: The Democratic Platform for America, p.10 , Jul 10, 2004

Russia: work on nukes, human rights, and democracy

Democrats will pursue a Russia policy that recognizes that country’s importance and advances the core U.S. security interests at stake in Russia’s historic transformation, beginning with cooperative work to secure vulnerable stockpiles of nuclear weapons and materials. We reiterate that respect for human rights, the rule of law and Russia’s fledgling democratic institutions and independent media outlets are essential to Russia’s continued integration into international institutions and the global economy
Source: The Democratic Platform for America, p.11 , Jul 10, 2004

End Castro regime, but allow travel

We support effective and peaceful strategies to end the Castro regime as soon as possible and enable the Cuban people to take their rightful place in the democratic Community of the Americas. We will work with the international community to increase political and diplomatic pressure on the Castro regime to release all political prisoners, support civil society, promote the important work of Cuban dissidents, and begin a process of genuine political reform. Within this framework the Democratic Party supports a policy of principled travel to Cuba that promotes family unity and people-to-people contacts through educational and cultural exchanges.
Source: The Democratic Platform for America, p.10-11 , Jul 10, 2004

Forward Engagement must guide proactive foreign policy

Forward Engagement means addressing problems early before they become crises and having the forces to deal with these threats as soon after their emergence as possible. Its means drawing on all three main sources of American power - military strength, a vibrant, growing economy, and a democratic political system. Forward Engagement is the strategy that must guide us. It means meeting new challenges such as international crime and terrorism, environmental degradation, and pandemic diseases head-on.
Source: 2000 Democratic National Platform as adopted by the DNC , Aug 15, 2000

Work to close gap between richest and poorest nations

We support increasing investment in the International Labor Organization and expanding the use of trade preferences that are tied to improvement in labor standards. We want to reverse the widening gap between rich and poor and nations, which is why we back debt forgiveness for the poorest nations. We must reform the World Trade Organization, the International Monetary Fund, and the World Bank so that labor standards, human rights, and protections of the environment are integral to their policies and practices. We should use our influence in multilateral development institutions to not only provide emergency assistance for stabilizing economies and to create social safety nets, including unemployment insurance and health care, but also to give people the skills, education, and training they need to compete.
Source: 2000 Democratic National Platform as adopted by the DNC , Aug 15, 2000

Engage China; protest Tibet

We must continue to engage China. We must search out ways to cooperate across a broad range of issues, while at the same time, insisting on adherence to international standards on human rights, freedom, the persecution of religions, the suppression of Tibet, and bellicose threats directed at Taiwan. These issues cannot be marginalized. A Gore Administration will also remain committed to a “One China” policy.
Source: 2000 Democratic National Platform as adopted by the DNC , Aug 15, 2000

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Page last updated: Feb 24, 2022