Fred Thompson on Foreign Policy

Former Republican Senator (TN)

Pakistan: support Musharraf, with funding, for short-run

Q: The stakes are enormous for the US in Pakistan right now. This is a country that has a large Al Qaida/Taliban presence, a resurgent presence with a proven nuclear arsenal as well. Do you have confidence in the president, Pervez Musharraf?

A: I think that we have to have confidence in him for the short run to maintain stability. I think ultimately, the people of Pakistan are going to have to decide about Musharraf’s fate. He had been moving in the right direction. He had taken off the uniform he had set elections for January the 8th, he had backed off of some of the things he was doing with regard to the court system that were all antidemocratic.

Q: Should we continue US military aid, some $10 billion to Pakistan since 9/11?

A: Yes. Certainly in the short run. This is no time to start being parsimonious. This is a matter of national security. This is a matter of stability, and the only Muslim country that has nuclear weapons. So let’s don’t be pennywise and pound foolish.

Source: CNN Late Edition: 2007 presidential series with Wolf Blitzer Dec 30, 2007

Castro is a uniquely brutal tyrant; keep the embargo

Q: Cuban dictatorship has survived nine U.S. presidents. What would you do differently, that has not been done so far, to bring democracy to Cuba?

A: I’m going to make sure that he didn’t survive 10 US presidents. Fidel Castro is unique in many respects. He represents the only non-democratic government in the hemisphere. He is uniquely brutal. He is still tyrannizing his own people. He lures the vulnerable and the naive Americans down there and puts on shows for them and they come back and do his propaganda. There are not many people who can pull that sort of thing off. He’s obviously in bad health. That situation, probably, is in God’s hands. He will probably be succeeded by someone who’s no better than him, and that is Raul Castro. And we should treat Raul with the same contempt that we show Castro, including keeping the embargo on Cuba.

Source: 2007 Republican primary debate on Univision Dec 9, 2007

Play hardball with Musharraf, but don’t cut off US aid

Q: President Musharraf has declared a state of emergency in Pakistan, suspended the constitution, closed down many TV networks. What would you, as president, be saying?

A: I’d be saying learn as much as you can about the situation to all my people. We’ve got two competing serious considerations there. One is the rule of law, which we’ve got to stand for, which he’s going against right now. And the other is the fact that it’s one of the most potentially dangerous situations in the world for us right now. He is an ally. There’re not many of them in that part of the world. Even parts of his own government do not have our interests at heart. There are radical Muslim elements there.

Q: We have provided Musharraf $10 billion in American aid since 2001. Should we suspend that aid?

A: Not now. I know that it’s been mentioned by our people. He’s been told that that’s at risk if he did what he, in fact, did. Everything’s going to be on the table. I think we’ve got to play hardball with him.

Source: Meet the Press: 2007 “Meet the Candidates” series Nov 4, 2007

Relationship with Canada important for economy & security

Q: Canada is our strongest trading partner. But they don’t share our foreign policy. Tell me about the prime minister of Canada, and how we can get along?

A: Prime Minister Harper.

Q: What are relations going to be? We always ignore that relationship

A: Well, I’ve never met him, but our relationship is fine.

Q: My point is, our friends don’t get much attention.

A: Well, our friends ought to get plenty of attention. I mean, the challenges that we’re going to face internationally, especially in the future, are going to require our working better with our allies and realizing, for example, that in the global war on terror, this is the forces of civilization against the bad guys. And everybody’s got a stake in it, whether they realize it or not. So, certainly we ought to work with Canada economically. We get more oil from them, I guess, than anybody. And they have more potential oil to sell than an awful lot of people. So they’re important economically, and for our national security.

Source: 2007 Republican debate in Dearborn, Michigan Oct 9, 2007

Meet threats before threats become tragedies

The greatest test of leadership can be simply stated. We must shape events, and not be left at their mercy. And in all things, to protect ourselves and to assure the peace, the great democracies of the world must stick together. We must be willing to make tough decisions today in order to avert bigger problems tomorrow. We must be prepared to meet threats before threats become tragedies.
Source: Foreign policy speech at the Policy Exchange in London Jun 19, 2007

Diplomacy works better when we’re prepared to use force

Diplomacy is always to be preferred in our dealings with dangerous regimes. But the words of our leaders command much closer attention from adversaries when it is understood that we and our allies are prepared to use force when force is necessary.

The campaign in Afghanistan is a prime example of this, both as a largely successful effort against a terrorist state and as a logical extension of the mission of NATO, which now reaches far beyond the boundaries of Europe.

Source: Foreign policy speech at the Policy Exchange in London Jun 19, 2007

Zimbabwe chairing Development Cmte shows UN needs watching

If there’s a hell on earth, it’s probably Zimbabwe. Life expectancies are the world’s lowest. Women live an average of 35 years; men a bit longer. Four in five people are unemployed. Inflation is at an annual rate of 3,700% and rising.

It wasn’t always that way. 25 years ago, this land was one of the most prosperous in Africa, & exported food to the rest of the continent. Then Robert Mugabe was elected.

Last month, the United Nations elected Mugabe’s Zimbabwe to lead the UN Commission on Sustainable Development. That’s the organization charged with promoting sound long-term economies.

Why? Robert Mugabe was given chairmanship of the commission because his view on sustainable development fits right in with much of the UN’s. He claims that third-world poverty is caused by free market economies like America’s. [The UN does some good, but] it’s a constant challenge at the UN & the reason we must always have a strong ambassador there willing to blow the whistle when they do outrageous things.

Source: Thompson’s blog on ABCradio.com, “Unsustainable Development” Jun 11, 2007

If everybody in Iran had a computer, it’d be a free country

Q: Iran could have nuclear capability within 3 to 8 years.

A: First of all, Iran might fall of its own weight if we give it a little help. We’re not doing nearly enough to get communications in there and let those people communicate with one another. You know, if everybody in Iran had a computer, it’d be a free country today. There are riots and shootings of Iranian Guard that are seldom reported, but they’re taking place all over the country nowadays. Their inflation is up; unemployment is up. You know, they have to import a lot of their basic staples.

Q: One refinery.

A: Yes, 40% of their gasoline [is imported]. And, you know, the radical religious approach to everything trumps sound economics. Eventually, that’s going to catch up with them. So we’ve got to encourage that and use our intelligence resources, if they’re sufficient, to do everything we can to help bring that about.

Source: Fox News “Hannity & Colmes” interview Jun 6, 2007

Israel shows restraint in limited response to Gaza attacks

What do you think America would do if Canadian soldiers were firing dozens of missiles every day into Buffalo, NY? I can tell you, our response would look nothing like Israel’s restrained and pinpoint reactions to daily missile attacks from Gaza.

More than 1,300 rockets have been fired into Israel from Gaza since Palestinians were given control two years ago. Israelis, however, have gone to incredible lengths to stop the war against them without harming Palestinian non-combatants. But make no mistake, Israel is at war. The Palestinian strategy is to purposely target and kill Israeli civilians. Then, when Israel goes after those launching the attacks, Palestinians claim to be the victims. The irony is that Israel has the military might to easily win the war that is being waged against them today. They haven’t used that might, in the past, out of compassion for Palestinian civilians and because it could trigger a wider regional conflict.

Source: Thompson’s blog on ABCradio.com, “Living in Terror” May 30, 2007

Keep Guantanamo open; keep embargo on Cuba

Q: What about foreign policy expertise in the Senate, versus management and executive expertise?

A: I was on the Intelligence Committee, and I’ve met with our CIA officers in small soundproof rooms and faraway places, talking about what was going on in that particular country. I was a Republican floor manager for the Homeland Security bill, which I like to think has helped somewhat us not have another 9/11. I was chairman of the Government Affairs Committee, which has proliferation jurisdiction, among a lot of other things. So I think it is valuable. I disagree with my friend Mike [Huckabee, on whether Bush’s foreign policy] is arrogant. Closing down Guantanamo because people will think better of us, and bringing those people here to give them rights that they don’t have there, and lifting the embargo on Castro, and things like that, I simply disagree in terms of a view of the world and the kind of world that we live in.

Source: 2008 Fox News NH Republican primary debate Jan 6, 2006

Voted YES on enlarging NATO to include Eastern Europe.

H.R. 3167; Gerald B. H. Solomon Freedom Consolidation Act of 2001, To endorse the vision of further enlargement of the NATO Alliance. Vote to pass a bill that would support further expansion of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, authorize military assistance to several eastern European countries and lift assistance restrictions on Slovakia.
Reference: Bill HR.3167 ; vote number 2002-116 on May 17, 2002

Voted NO 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 YES on cap 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.
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 YES 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 NO 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 YES 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

Other candidates on Foreign Policy: Fred Thompson on other issues:
GOP: Sen.John McCain
GOP V.P.: Gov.Sarah Palin
Democrat: Sen.Barack Obama
Dem.V.P.: Sen.Joe Biden

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Libertarian: Rep.Bob Barr
Constitution: Amb.Alan Keyes
Liberation: Gloria La Riva
Green: Rep.Cynthia McKinney
Socialist: Brian Moore
Independent: Ralph Nader
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