John Kerry on Foreign Policy

Jr Senator (MA), Democratic nominee for President


Co-founded US-China Climate Change Working Group

As secretary of state under Barack Obama, it was Kerry who founded the US-China Climate Change Working Group with his Chinese counterpart Yang Jiechi, and who helped broker negotiations with Beijing that ultimately paved the way for the Paris Agreement, which Trump abruptly withdrew from in 2017. The prospect of a return to a joint effort by the world's top two polluters to combat the climate crisis has set off alarm bells among some political circles in the US.
Source: South China Morning Post on Biden Cabinet , Dec 12, 2020

Trump turned world of respect into world of chaos

Trump withdrew from the Iran deal and the Paris Agreement, which he slammed as diplomatic mistakes that gained nothing for the U.S. He withdrew troops from Syria as the threat from the Islamic State subsided. "In fact, what Donald Trump inherited, which was this growing economy and a world of respect, he has turned into a world of chaos literally," Kerry told reporters. "Our nation and the world, with respect to all of these critical priorities, is at much greater risk as a result of this."
Source: B.Jansen in USA Today: 2020 Democratic National Convention , Aug 21, 2020

Freed Libya by rejecting false choice of force vs. diplomacy

President Obama promised to work with Russia to reduce the threat of nuclear weapons and signed an historic treaty that does just that. He promised to lock down nuclear materials around the world, and he has done just that. He refused to accept the false choice between force without diplomacy or diplomacy without force. When a brutal dictator promised to kill his own people "like rats," President Obama enlisted our allies, built the coalition and shared the burden, so that today--without a single American casualty--Moammar Gadhafi is gone and the people of Libya are free. So on one side of this campaign, we have a president who has made America lead like America again. What is there on the other side? An extreme and expedient candidate, who lacks the judgment and vision so vital in the Oval Office. The most inexperienced foreign policy twosome to run for president and vice president in decades.
Source: 2012 Democratic National Convention speech , Sep 6, 2012

1994: Worked with John McCain to normalize Vietnam relations

In 1993, McCain, working with Senate Democrat (and fellow Vietnam veteran) John Kerry, urged Clinton to lift US trade sanctions against Vietnam. In 1994, McCain and Kerry sponsored a resolution to lift the embargo, against the opposition of veterans' groups and prominent Republican senators like Bob Dole and Phil Gramm. The two would continue to work with the president to accelerate the normalization of trade relations with the country.
Source: Free Ride, by David Brock and Paul Waldman, p. 62 , Mar 25, 2008

No nation will ever have a veto over us

BUSH: In our first debate Kerry proposed America pass a global test. In order to defend ourselves, we’d have to get international approval. That’s one of the major differences we have about defending our country. I’ll work with allies. I’ll work with friends. We’ll continue to build strong coalitions. But I will never turn over our national- security decisions to leaders of other countries. We’ll be resolute, we’ll be strong, and we’ll wage a comprehensive war against the terrorists.

KERRY: I have never suggested a test where we turn over our security to any nation. In fact, I’ve said the opposite: I will never turn the security of the US over to any nation. No nation will ever have a veto over us. But I think it makes sense that we ought to pass a sort of truth standard. That’s how you gain legitimacy with your own people, and that’s how you gain legitimacy in the world. But I’ll never fail to protect the United States of America.

Source: [Xref Bush] Third Bush-Kerry Debate, in Tempe Arizona , Oct 13, 2004

The President deceived the people with this war

BUSH: My opponent talks about foreign policy. He proposed America pass a global test. In order to defend ourselves, we’d have to get international approval. That’s one of the major differences we have. We’ll continue to build strong coalitions. But I will never turn over our national-security decisions to leaders of other countries.

KERRY: The most important thing to relieve the pressure is to recognize that America is strongest when we are working with real alliances, when we are sharing the burdens of the world. I believe the president broke faith to the American people in the way he took this nation to war. I think most Americans in their guts know, that we ought to pass a sort of truth standard.

Source: [Xref Bush] Third Bush-Kerry debate, in Tempe AZ , Oct 13, 2004

Missouri would be the third largest country in “coalition”

BUSH: You tell Tony Blair we’re going alone. Tell Tony Blair we’re going alone. Tell Silvio Berlusconi we’re going alone. Tell Alexander Kwasniewski of Poland we’re going alone. We’ve got 30 countries there. It denigrates an alliance to say we’re going alone, to discount their sacrifices. You cannot lead an alliance if you say, you know, you’re going alone. And people listen. They’re sacrificing with us.

KERRY: Countries are leaving the coalition, not joining. Eight countries have left it. If Missouri, just given the number of people from Missouri who are in the military over there today, were a country, it would be the third largest country in the coalition, behind Great Britain and the United States. That’s not a grand coalition. Ninety percent of the casualties are American. Ninety percent of the cost is coming out of your pockets. I could do a better job. My plan does a better job. And that’s why I’ll be a better commander in chief.

Source: [Xref Bush] Second Bush-Kerry Debate, in St. Louis MO , Oct 8, 2004

Preemptive strike must pass a global test

The president always has the right, and always has had the right, for preemptive strike. That was a great doctrine throughout the Cold War. It was always one of the things we argued about with respect to arms control. No president, though all of American history, has ever ceded, and nor would I, the right to preempt in any way necessary to protect the US. But if and when you do it, you have to do it in a way that passes the global test where your countrymen, your people understand fully why you’re doing what you’re doing and you can prove to the world that you did it for legitimate reasons. Here we have our own secretary of state who has had to apologize to the world for the presentation he made to the UN. When Pres. Kennedy in the Cuban missile crisis sent his secretary of state to Paris to meet with DeGaulle to tell them about the missiles in Cuba, he said, “Here, let me show you the photos.” DeGaulle waved them off and said, “No, no, no. The word of the president of the US is good enough for me.”
Source: First Bush-Kerry debate, Miami FL , Sep 30, 2004

Will never take my eye off the real dangerous threats

KERRY: Iran & North Korea are now more dangerous. Whether preemption is ultimately what has to happen, I don’t know yet. But as president, I’ll never take my eye off that ball. I’ve been fighting for proliferation the entire time-anti-proliferation the entire time I’ve been in the Congress. And we’ve watched Bush actually turn away from some of the treaties that were on the table. You don’t help yourself with other nations when you turn away from the global warming treaty, for instance.

BUSH: My attitude is you take preemptive action in order to protect the American people, that you act in order to make this country secure. My opponent talks about me not signing certain treaties. Let me tell you one thing I didn’t sign, and I think it shows the difference of our opinion-the difference of opinions. And that is, I wouldn’t join the International Criminal Court. It’s a body based in The Hague where unaccountable judges and prosecutors can pull our troops or diplomats up for trial.

Source: First Bush-Kerry debate, Miami FL , Sep 30, 2004

Bush is sending mixed messages to South Korea

BUSH: We signed an agreement with North Korea that my administration found out that was not being honored by the North Koreans. And so I decided that a better way to approach the issue was to get other nations involved, just besides us. And China’s a got a lot of influence over North Korea, some ways more than we do. As well, we included South Korea, Japan and Russia. So now there are five voices speaking to Kim Jong Il, not just one.

KERRY: We had inspectors and television cameras in the nuclear reactor in North Korea. Secretary Bill Perry negotiated that under Clinton. And we knew where the fuel rods were. And we knew the limits on their nuclear power. Colin Powell announced one day that we were going to continue the dialog of working with the North Koreans. Bush reversed it publicly while the president of South Korea was here. And the president of South Korea went back to South Korea bewildered and embarrassed because it went against his policy.

Source: [X-ref Bush] First Bush-Kerry debate, Miami FL , Sep 30, 2004

Want both bilateral and multinational talks with North Korea

KERRY: I want both bilateral and multinational talks which put all of the issues, from the armistice of 1952, the economic issues, the human rights issues, the artillery disposal issues, the DMZ issues and the nuclear issues on the table.

BUSH: The minute we have bilateral talks, the six-party talks will unwind. That’s exactly what Kim Jong Il wants. And by the way, the breach on the agreement was not through plutonium. The breach on the agreement is highly enriched uranium. That’s what we caught him doing. That’s where he was breaking the agreement. Secondly, Kerry said where he worked to put sanctions on Iran-we’ve already sanctioned Iran. Finally, we were a party to the convention-to working with Germany, France and Great Britain to send their foreign ministers into Iran.

KERRY: In order for the sanctions to be effective, we should have been working with the British, French and Germans and other countries. That’s the difference between Bush and me. Again, Bush sort of slid by the question.

Source: First Bush-Kerry debate, Miami FL , Sep 30, 2004

Take notice of political oppression in Russia

BUSH: I look forward to discussing it more with Putin, as time goes on. Russia is a country in transition. Vladimir is going to have to make some hard choices. And I think it’s very important for the American president, as well as other Western leaders, to remind him of the great benefits of democracy, that democracy will best help the people realize their hopes and aspirations and dreams. And I will continue working with him over the next four years.

KERRY: I’ve had an extraordinary experience of watching up close and personal that transition in Russia, because I was there right after the transformation. I regret what’s happened in these past months. And I think it goes beyond just the response to terror. Mr. Putin now controls all the television stations. His political opposition is being put in jail. It’s very important to the US, obviously, to have a working relationship that is good. This is a very important country to us. We want a partnership. But we always have to stand up for democracy.

Source: [X-ref Bush] First Bush-Kerry debate, Miami FL , Sep 30, 2004

China is involved with North Korea no matter what

BUSH: I can’t tell you how big a mistake I think that is, to have bilateral talks with North Korea. It’s precisely what Kim Jong Il wants. It will cause the six-party talks to evaporate. It will mean that China no longer is involved in convincing, along with us, for Kim Jong Il to get rid of his weapons. It’s a big mistake to do that. We must have China’s leverage on Kim Jong Il, besides ourselves. If you enter bilateral talks, they’ll be happy to walk away from the table. I don’t think that’ll work.

KERRY: Just because Bush says it can’t be done, that you’d lose China, doesn’t mean it can’t be done. I mean, this is Bush who said “There were weapons of mass destruction,” said “Mission accomplished,” said we could fight the war on the cheap -none of which were true. We could have bilateral talks with Kim Jong Il. And we can get those weapons at the same time as we get China. Because China has an interest in the outcome, too.

Source: [X-ref Bush] First Bush-Kerry debate, Miami FL , Sep 30, 2004

America should lead by extending a hand, not a fist

For more than a century, America has spared no effort to defend, encourage, and promote that idea around the world. Over and over, we have done it by exercising American leadership to forge powerful alliances-with longtime allies and reluctant friends, with nations already living in the light of democracy and with peoples struggling to join them. The might of those alliances has been a driving force in the survival & success of freedom-in two World Wars, in the Cold War, in the Gulf War, and in Kosovo. America led instead of going it alone. We extended a hand, not a fist. We respected the world - and the world respected us. Today, there is a powerful yearning around the world for an America that listens and leads again. An America that is respected, no
Source: Our Plan For America, p. 8 , Aug 10, 2004

American power comes from respect, not weapons

Our leaders in WWII understood that America drew its power not only from the might of weapons, but also from the trust and respect of nations around the globe. There was a time, not so long ago, when the might of our alliances was a driving force in the survival and success of freedom-in two World Wars, in the long years of the Cold War-then from the Gulf War to Bosnia & Kosovo. America led instead of going it alone. We extended a hand, not a fist. We respected the world-and the world respected us.
Source: Speech on Iraq and foreign policy, Seattle WA , May 27, 2004

Bush undermines generations of American leadership

More than a century ago, Teddy Roosevelt defined American leadership in foreign policy. He said America should walk softly and carry a big stick. Time and again, this Administration has violated the fundamental tenet of Roosevelt’s approach, as he described it: “If a man continually blusters, if he lacks civility, a big stick will not save him from trouble.”

But that is precisely what this Administration has done. They looked to force before exhausting diplomacy. They bullied when they should have persuaded.

They have gone it alone when they should have assembled a team. They have hoped for the best when they should have prepared for the worst. In short, they have undermined the legacy of generations of American leadership. And that is what we must restore.

I’m running for president because, abroad as well as at home, it’s time to let America be America again. By doing so, we can restore our place in the world and make America safer.

Source: Speech on Iraq and foreign policy, Seattle WA , May 27, 2004

Haiti is in crisis because Bush hates Aristide

Q: What about Haiti?

KERRY: The president himself, wasn’t engaged, but his administration has been. And his administration has been engaged in a very manipulative and wrongful way. This administration set up an equation. They have a theological and an ideological hatred for Aristide. They always have. And they approach this so that the insurgents were empowered by this administration, because they said to the insurgents, “Until you reach an agreement with Aristide and the government about sharing power, we’re not going to provide aid and assistance.“ So we empowered them to simply veto any agreement, which is what they’re still doing with respect to a power-sharing in another government. What this president ought to have done is to have given them an ultimatum: Either we’re going to have full democracy in the region -- notwithstanding that I think Aristide has some problems -- but our engagement should have been to try to restore the democracy, to bring those people together.

Source: Democratic 2004 primary debate at USC , Feb 26, 2004

Excluding other nations in rebuilding Iraq is dumb

Q:What about excluding France & Germany from rebuilding Iraq?

A:I can’t think of anything dumber or more insulting or more inviting to the disdain and potential failure--disdain of countries and potential failure of our policy. This policy is not about Halliburton. It’s about Iraq. It’s about the Iraqi people. It’s about America’s role in the war on terror. What Bush is doing is actually putting America at greater risk, putting our soldiers at greater risk, and making the chances of success more remote.

Source: Democratic 2004 Primary Presidential Debate in Durham NH , Dec 9, 2003

Enlist allies through strength of ideas, not just arms

It is time to demand a different, better foreign policy--one that enlists our allies instead of alienating them and that relies on the strength of our ideals as well as our arms--a foreign policy that honors vigorous and honest debate instead of discrediting it. We must be willing to disarm weapons of mass destruction; but we must also seek to end the threat of mass starvation and disease, to stay the course of democracy and human rights, to be tough on terrorism, and equally tough on the causes of terrorism and instability. We must do this not just because it is right but because it's essential to our national security. There is nothing smart or strong or patriotic about a new unilateralism that forgets that energetic global leadership is a strategic imperative for America, not a favor we do for other countries.
Source: Crossroads, by Andrew Cuomo, p.159-160 , Oct 14, 2003

3rd World's BCCI: "Bank of Crooks & Criminals International"

The worst bank in the world, BCCI, was known in the Central Intelligence Agency as the "Bank of Crooks and Criminals International." My work helped shut BCCI down, and in the process I uncovered the bad guys' links to the world of international finance and banking.

[OnTheIssues note: The Third World perspective of BCCI differs strongly from Kerry's view: BCCI was a major philanthropy in developing countries, and pioneered "microfinance" for very small loans to Third World family businesses.]

Source: The New War, by John Kerry, p. 18 , Jun 1, 1998

Support progressive Russian leaders but fight Russia's mafia

The success of Russian democracy is intimately connected with the success of the free market. Unlike the Chinese, who took it one step at a time--reforming the economy but leaving the political structure alone--the Russians have gambled on both democracy and capitalism, and they have to win on both.

America's own interests are clearly better served by a democratic, capitalist Russia than one run by communists, fascists, the military, or the Mafiosi. Since Russia remains a large and important country-- still the #2 nuclear power--it is entirely in our national security interests to see political and economic freedom flourish there. History shows that democracies tend to be allies rather than enemies.

While shoring up the more progressive of Russia's politicians will continue to be our goal, they will prove ineffective unless they can break crime's stranglehold on the Russian economy without destroying everything worthwhile the country has gained in the five short years since communism fell.

Source: The New War, by John Kerry, p. 46 , Jun 1, 1998

China's system is based on corruption, not Communism

There is a Chinese term for its system of corruption, "guanxi". Under the "guanxi" system of Chinese capitalism, everyone trades favors, sharing their network of contacts with whoever is in need.

This system of corruption is eating away at the structures that provide stability in China today. So far the Communist party has proved to be both stable and adaptable, but we have already seen in recent years a good many examples of the sudden swiftness with which communist societies can collapse.

Essentially, Chinese leaders have struck a compromise. No longer driven by pure ideology, they remain in power to provide both the continuity and the stability required for powerful economic progress. But sooner or later the compromises will be tested.

Source: The New War, by John Kerry, p. 51-55 , Jun 1, 1998

Support Colombia's democracy against drug crime

Democracy is rare and recent in human history; the world can ill afford to lose a single one. In Colombia, crime has killed democracy by turning it into a grotesque and humiliating parody of itself. That might not be immediately apparent to the eye-- outwardly, societies that succumb to crime and corruption do not cease to function. Children go to school, the trains run on time, the mail is delivered. But such societies have lost everything that counts--the dignity that only liberty confers and the respect of other nations. Today's Colombia is a sad monument for those thousands who fought to keep it free and a warning to all who would stay free. Brave people fought against the narcoterrorists and continue to do so. They deserve greater international support in the struggle to hold on to their country.
Source: The New War, by John Kerry, p. 85-86 , Jun 1, 1998

John Kerry on Voting Record

Supports multilateral cooperative internationalism

In contrast to the dangerous mix of isolationism and unilateralism that characterizes the Republicans, [I support] speaking from a position of strength on international issues-the multilateral cooperative tradition of democratic internationalism forged in the course of two world wars and the cold war. It acknowledges that multilateral organizations are vehicles for the promotion of our ideals and the protection of our interests around the world. And it recognizes that those ideals and interests in this globalized world are consistent with the peace, prosperity, and self-determination of every country on earth.

Democratic internationalists understand that there are times when America must challenge the UN, NATO, and our allies to stand up for their own preferred values. And they also realize that there are times when America must be challenged to live up to its values as well. America has taken a rare step in human history in arguing that its interests and the world’s are one.

Source: A Call to Service, by John Kerry, p. 19-20 , Oct 1, 2003

Voted YES on cooperating with India as a nuclear power.

Congressional Summary:US-India Nuclear Cooperation Approval and Nonproliferation Enhancement Act:

Proponent's argument to vote Yes:Rep. HOWARD BERMAN (D, CA-28): Integrating India into a global nonproliferation regime is a positive step. Before anyone gets too sanctimonious about India's nuclear weapons program, we should acknowledge that the five recognized nuclear weapons states have not done nearly enough to fulfill their commitments under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, including making serious reductions in their own arsenals, nor in the case of the US in ratifying the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.

Opponent's argument to vote No:Rep. BARBARA LEE (D, CA-9): In withholding my approval, I seek not to penalize the people of India but, rather, to affirm the principle of nuclear nonproliferation. Jettisoning adherence to the international nuclear nonproliferation framework that has served the world so well for more than 30 years, as approval of the agreement before us would do, is just simply unwise. It is also reckless.

Approval of this agreement undermines our efforts to dissuade countries like Iran and North Korea from developing nuclear weapons. By approving this agreement, all we are doing is creating incentives for other countries to withdraw from the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.

Reference: US-India Nuclear Agreement; Bill HR.7081 ; vote number 2008-S211 on Oct 1, 2008

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 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 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 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.

Kerry signed 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

Multi-year commitment to Africa for food & medicine.

Kerry co-sponsored the Hunger to Harvest bill:

    In an effort to reduce hunger in sub-Saharan Africa, urges the President to:

  1. set forth five-year and ten-year strategies to achieve a reversal of current levels of hunger and poverty in sub-Saharan Africa, including a commitment to contribute an appropriate U.S. share of increased bilateral and multilateral poverty-focused resources for sub-Saharan Africa, with an emphasis on health (including HIV-AIDS prevention and treatment), education, agriculture, private sector and free market development, democratic institutions and the rule of law, micro-finance development, and debt relief; and

  2. work with the heads of other donor countries and sub-Saharan African countries and with private and voluntary organizations and other civic organizations to implement such strategies; and calls for

  3. Congress to undertake a multi-year commitment to provide the resources to implement those strategies; and

  4. the Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development to report on such implementation.
Source: House Resolution Sponsorship 01-HCR102 on Apr 4, 2001

Monitor human rights in Uganda-Sudan crisis.

Kerry sponsored the Northern Uganda Crisis Response Act

    Expresses the sense of Congress that the United States should:
  1. support efforts for a peaceful resolution of the conflict in northern and eastern Uganda;
  2. work with the Government of Uganda and the international community to make available sufficient resources to meet the relief and development needs of the towns and cities that are supporting large numbers of displaced people;
  3. urge the leaders and members of the Lord's Resistance Army to stop the abduction of children, and urge all armed forces in Uganda to stop the use of child soldiers, and seek the release of all individuals who have been abducted;
  4. urge the Government of Uganda to improve the professionalism of Ugandan military personnel currently stationed in northern and eastern Uganda, with an emphasis on respect for human rights and civilian protection;
  5. work with the international community to assist and increase the capacity of Ugandan civil institutions to monitor the human rights situation in northern Uganda;
  6. make clear that the relationship between Sudan and the United States cannot improve unless no credible evidence indicates that authorities of the Government of Sudan are providing support to the Lord's Resistance Army.
Became Public Law No: 108-283.
Source: Bill sponsored by 9 Senators 04-S2264 on Mar 31, 2004

Impose sanctions and an import ban on Burma.

Kerry co-sponsored imposing sanctions and an import ban on Burma

A bill to impose sanctions on officials of the State Peace and Development Council in Burma, to prohibit the importation of gemstones and hardwoods from Burma, & to promote a coordinated international effort to restore civilian democratic rule to Burma.

(The two Senate versions currently differ in wording). The Saffron Revolution Support Act states that it is U.S. policy to:

  1. support the democratic aspirations of Burma's people;
  2. condemn the repression carried out by the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC); and
  3. hold accountable individuals responsible for the repression of peaceful political activity in Burma.
Directs the President to submit to the appropriate congressional committees a list of:
  1. SPDC officials who play or have played a substantial role in political repression in Burma or in the commission of human rights abuses;
  2. Subjects persons so identified to U.S. entry prohibition and financial sanctions.
  3. Amends the Burmese Freedom and Democracy Act of 2003 to prohibit the importation into the US of Burmese gems, teak, or other hardwood timber.
  4. Prohibits any U.S. person or corporation from investing in Burma.

Introductory statement by Sponsor:

Sen. McCAIN. The world has reacted with horror and revulsion at the Burmese junta's recent brutal crackdown against peaceful demonstrators. In crushing the Saffron Revolution, killing hundreds and jailing thousands, including countless Buddhist monks, the junta has left no doubt about its blatant disregard for basic human decency. We, as Americans, stand on the side of freedom, not fear; of peace, not violence; and of the millions in Burma who aspire to a better life, not those who would keep them isolated and oppressed. Our response must go beyond statements of condemnation, and the time to act is now. This legislation imposes meaningful and effective punitive action against the cruel, thuggish, and illegitimate Burmese government.

Source: Burma Democracy Promotion Act (S.2257 & S.2172) 07-S2257 on Oct 29, 2007

Remove African National Congress from terrorist list.

Kerry introduced removing African National Congress from terrorist list

A bill to exempt the African National Congress from treatment as a terrorist organization. [The ANC is now the ruling party of South Africa; as head of the ANC, Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for 27 years by the apartheid government before becoming President of South Africa].

Source: S.2979 08-S2979 on May 6, 2008

Implement Darfur Peace Agreement with UN peacekeeping force.

Kerry co-sponsored implementing Darfur Peace Agreement with UN peacekeeping force

Source: S.RES.455 08-SR455 on Feb 14, 2008

Condemns Russia for provocative statements to Georgia.

Kerry co-sponsored condemning Russia for provocative statements to Georgia

A resolution expressing the sense of the Senate regarding provocative and dangerous statements made by the Government of the Russian Federation that undermine the territorial integrity of the Republic of Georgia.

Legislative Outcome: Related bills: H.RES.1166 & S.RES.418; Agreed to by Senate; Passed/agreed to in House, by recorded vote: 390-23 (Roll no. 269).
Source: Resolution on South Ossetia (S. RES. 550) 08-SR550 on May 2, 2008

Rated +3 by AAI, indicating pro-Arab pro-Palestine voting record.

Kerry scores +3 by AAI on Arab-Israeli issues

The Arab American Institute has compiled a Scorecard to catalogue the voting record of the 112th Congress on issues of importance to the Arab American community. Though not comprehensive, we have attempted to provide a snapshot of legislation concerning many of the primary issues concerning Arab Americans. For the Senate, we have included 10 items: two bills on the Arab Spring, three on Palestine, one on Lebanon, one regarding civil liberties, and two for immigration reform.

  1. S. Res. 44: (+) calls on former President Hosni Mubarak to immediately begin a peaceful transition to a democratic political system
  2. S. Res. 109: (+) honoring and supporting women in North Africa and the Middle East
  3. S. Res. 138: (-) calling on the United Nations to rescind the Goldstone report, formally known as the UN Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict, which accused the Israeli government of targeting Palestinian civilians.
  4. S. Res. 185: (-) reaffirming the commitment of the US to a negotiated settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and calling for a US veto of any UN resolution on Palestinian statehood without a settlement.
  5. S. Con. Res. 23: (-) supporting Israel in maintaining defensible borders, and against Israel returning to the armistice lines that existed on June 4, 1967
  6. S. 558: (+) the Cluster Munitions Civilian Protection Act, to limit the use of cluster munitions in areas normally inhabited by civilians.
  7. S. 1125: (+) greater judicial review of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), and greater protections to individuals being monitored or gag-ordered by the FBI.
  8. S.1038, the PATRIOT Sunsets Extension Act, in opposition of PATRIOT Act extension.
  9. S. 723: (-) The Birthright Citizenship Act, limiting citizenship for millions of undocumented immigrants born in the US.
  10. S. 952: (+) the DREAM Act, allowing undocumented minors to become US citizens, provided they meet certain conditions, including good moral character
Source: AAI website 12-AAI-S on May 2, 2012

Acknowledge the Armenian Genocide of the early 1900s.

Kerry co-sponsored acknowledging the Armenian Genocide of the early 1900s

Sen. DURBIN: The definition of "genocide" is "the deliberate and systematic extermination of a national, racial, political, or cultural group." Scholars agree that what the Armenian people suffered in 1915 to 1917 fits the definition of genocide. To date, 19 countries and 37 US states recognize the Armenian Genocide. Genocide is wrong. It is evil. It is evil whether its victims are Armenians, Sudanese, Rwandan Tutsis, Cambodians or European Jews. Not to acknowledge genocide for what it is denigrates the memory of its victims. Recognition of genocide is part of the healing process. Official recognition will reaffirm our tradition of protecting the vulnerable and inspire us to not stand by and watch as genocide occurs in our time.
Source: Armenian Genocide Resolution (S.RES.106/H.RES.106) 2007-SR106 on Mar 14, 2007

Develop a strategy to protect civilians in Darfur.

Kerry co-sponsored developing a strategy to protect civilians in Darfur

A resolution calling on the United States Government and the international community to promptly develop, fund, and implement a comprehensive regional strategy in Africa to protect civilians, facilitate humanitarian operations, contain and reduce violence, and contribute to conditions for sustainable peace in eastern Chad, northern Central African Republic, and Darfur, Sudan.

Source: Darfur Resolution (S.RES.76) 2007-SR76 on Feb 8, 2007

Sanction Mugabe until Zimbabwe transitions to democracy.

Kerry sponsored sanctioning Mugabe until Zimbabwe transitions to democracy

A resolution expressing the sense of the Senate regarding the political situation in Zimbabwe. Expresses the sense of the Senate:

  1. supporting the people of Zimbabwe;
  2. that the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission should immediately release the legitimate results of the presidential election and ratify the previously announced results of the parliamentary elections;
  3. that President Robert Mugabe should accept the will of the people of Zimbabwe in order to effect a timely and peaceful transition to democratic rule;
  4. that the U.S. government and the international community should impose targeted sanctions against individuals in the government of Zimbabwe and state security services and militias who are responsible for human rights abuses and election interference;
  5. that the U.S. government and the international community should work together to prepare an economic and political recovery package for Zimbabwe;
  6. that regional organizations should play an active role in resolving the crisis; and
  7. that the U.N. Security Council should support efforts to bring about a peaceful resolution of the crisis and impose an international arms embargo on Zimbabwe until a legitimate democratic government has taken power.
Source: S.RES.533&H.RES.1230 2008-SR533 on Apr 24, 2008

Pressure friendly Arab states to end Israeli boycott.

Kerry signed Schumer-Graham letter to Secy. Rice from 79 Congress members

    Dear Secretary Rice,
    In the past, the lack of sufficient support from [non-participating] Arab states have made it difficult to reach agreements [on the Arab-Israeli conflict]. You should press friendly Arab countries that have not yet done so, to:
  1. Participate in the upcoming international meeting and be a full partner of the US in advancing regional peace
  2. Take visible, meaningful steps in the financial, diplomatic and political arena to help Palestinian President Abbas govern effectively and meet obligations to fight terror
  3. Stop support for terrorist groups and cease all anti-Israel and anti-Jewish incitement
  4. Recognize Israel's right to exist and not use such recognition as a bargaining chip for future Israeli concessions
  5. End the Arab League economic boycott of Israel in all of its forms
  6. Pressure Hamas to recognize Israel, reject terror, and accept prior agreements, and isolate Hamas until it takes such steps.
Source: Schumer-Graham letter to Secy. Rice from 79 Congress members 2010-LT-AR on Oct 2, 2007

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