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Bob Kerrey on Foreign Policy

Former Democratic Senator (NE)


Voted YES on killing a bill for trade sanctions if China sells weapons.

Vote to table [kill] an amendment that would require sanctions against China or other countries if they were found to be selling illicit weapons of mass destruction.
Reference: Bill HR.4444 ; vote number 2000-242 on Sep 13, 2000

Voted NO on capping foreign aid at only $12.7 billion.

Adoption of the conference report on the 2000 Foreign Operations Appropriations Bill provided $12.7 billion for foreign aid programs in 2000.

Vetoed by President Clinton

Veto message of 10/18/1999: W cannot protect American interests at home without active engagement abroad. We must lead in the world, working with other nations to defuse crises, repel dangers, promote more open economic and political systems, and strengthen the rule of law. This bill rejects all of those principles.

The overall funding provided by H.R. 2606 is inadequate. By denying America a decent investment in diplomacy, this bill suggests we should meet threats to our security with our military might alone. That is a dangerous proposition. For if we underfund our diplomacy, we will end up overusing our military.

For example, A generation from now, no one is going to say we did too much to help the nations of the former Soviet Union safeguard their nuclear technology and expertise. If the funding cuts in this bill were to become law, future generations would certainly say we did too little and that we imperiled our future in the process.
Status: Conf Rpt Agreed to Y)51; N)49

Reference: H.R. 2606 Conference Report; Bill H.R. 2606 ; vote number 1999-312 on Oct 6, 1999

Voted NO on limiting the President's power to impose economic sanctions.

To kill a proposal limiting President Clinton's ability to impose economic sanctions on foreign nations.
Status: Motion to Table Agreed to Y)53; N)46; NV)1
Reference: Motion to table the Lugar Amdt #3156.; Bill S. 2159 ; vote number 1998-201 on Jul 15, 1998

Voted NO on limiting NATO expansion to only Poland, Hungary & Czech.

This amendment would have limited NATO Expansion to only include Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic.
Status: Amdt Rejected Y)41; N)59
Reference: NATO Expansion limit-Warner Amdt. #2322; Bill NATO Expansion Treaty #105-36 ; vote number 1998-112 on Apr 30, 1998

Voted YES on $17.9 billion to IMF.

Would provide $17.9 billion for the International Monetary Fund.
Status: Amdt Agreed to Y)84; N)16
Reference: McConnell Amdt #2100; Bill S. 1768 ; vote number 1998-44 on Mar 26, 1998

Voted NO 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

Progressive Internationalism: globalize with US pre-eminence.

Kerrey adopted the manifesto, "A New Agenda for the New Decade":

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.

Source: The Hyde Park Declaration 00-DLC12 on Aug 1, 2000

Make a long-term commitment to supporting Pakistan.

Kerrey signed the 9/11 Commission Report

In an extraordinary public essay asking how Muslims can “drag ourselves out of the pit we find ourselves in, to raise ourselves up,” Musharraf has called for a strategy of “enlightened moderation.”

  • The Muslim world, he said, should shun militancy and extremism; the West—and the United States in particular—should seek to resolve disputes with justice and help better the Muslim world.
  • Having come close to war in 2002 and 2003, Pakistan and India have recently made significant progress in peacefully discussing their longstanding differences. The United States has been and should remain a key supporter of that process.
  • The constant refrain of Pakistanis is that the United States long treated them as allies of convenience. As the United States makes fresh commitments now, it should make promises it is prepared to keep, for years to come.
    Recommendation: If Musharraf stands for enlightened moderation in a fight for his life and for the life of his country, the United States should be willing to make hard choices too, and make the difficult long-term commitment to the future of Pakistan. Sustaining the current scale of aid to Pakistan, the United States should support Pakistan’s government in its struggle against extremists with a comprehensive effort that extends from military aid to support for better education, so long as Pakistan’s leaders remain willing to make difficult choices of their own.
    Source: The 9/11 Commission Report, p.369 04-911-02 on Mar 23, 2004

    Expand Saudi relations from oil to anti-extremism.

    Kerrey signed the 9/11 Commission Report

    Saudi Arabia is a troubled country. Although regarded as very wealthy, in fact per capita income has dropped from $28,000 at its height to the present level of about $8,000. Social and religious traditions complicate adjustment to modern economic activity and limit employment opportunities for young Saudis. Women find their education and employment sharply limited.

    President Clinton offered us a perceptive analysis of Saudi Arabia, contending that fundamentally friendly rulers have been constrained by their desire to preserve the status quo. He, like others, made the case for pragmatic reform instead. There are signs that Saudi Arabia’s royal family is trying to build a consensus for political reform, though uncertain about how fast and how far to go.

    Crown Prince Abdullah wants the Kingdom to join the World Trade Organization to accelerate economic liberalization. He has embraced the Arab Human Development Report, which was highly critical of the Arab world’s political, economic, and social failings and called for greater economic and political reform. Cooperation with Saudi Arabia against Islamist terrorism is very much in the U.S. interest. Such cooperation can exist for a time largely in secret, as it does now, but it cannot grow and thrive there. Nor, on either side, can friendship be unconditional.

    Recommendation: The problems in the U.S. -Saudi relationship must be confronted, openly. The United States and Saudi Arabia must determine if they can build a relationship that political leaders on both sides are prepared to publicly defend—a relationship about more than oil. It should include a shared commitment to political and economic reform, as Saudis make common cause with the outside world. It should include a shared interest in greater tolerance and cultural respect, translating into a commitment to fight the violent extremists who foment hatred.
    Source: The 9/11 Commission Report, p.374 04-911-03 on Mar 23, 2004

    Multilateral coalition for Muslim youth outreach.

    Kerrey signed the 9/11 Commission Report

    Recommendation: Just as we did in the Cold War, we need to defend our ideals abroad vigorously. America does stand up for its values. The US defended, and still defends, Muslims against tyrants and criminals in Somalia, Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan, and Iraq. If the US does not act aggressively to define itself in the Islamic world, the extremists will gladly do the job for us.
    Recommendation: The US government should offer to join with other nations in generously supporting a new International Youth Opportunity Fund. Funds will be spent directly for building and operating primary and secondary schools in those Muslim states that commit to sensibly investing their own money in public education.

    Recommendation: The United States should engage other nations in developing a comprehensive coalition strategy against Islamist terrorism. There are several multilateral institutions in which such issues should be addressed. But the most important policies should be discussed and coordinated in a flexible contact group of leading coalition governments. This is a good place, for example, to develop joint strategies for targeting terrorist travel, or for hammering out a common strategy for the places where terrorists may be finding sanctuary.
    Source: The 9/11 Commission Report, p.377-379 04-911-06 on Mar 23, 2004

    Other candidates on Foreign Policy: Bob Kerrey on other issues:
    NE Gubernatorial:
    Dave Heineman
    NE Senatorial:
    Ben Nelson
    Deb Fischer
    Mike Johanns

    NE politicians

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    NE:Nelson(D)
    NM:Bingaman(D)
    TX:Hutchison(R)
    VA:Webb(D)
    WI:Kohl(D)


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    Page last updated: Oct 10, 2012