George W. Bush on Foreign Policy

Bush says get out of Haiti; we’re already out

Bush said we should pull our troops out of Haiti, but there are not a lot of troops in Haiti--a scant 34 soldiers by the Pentagon’s last count. He called Nigeria an important “continent.” And he may have created a minor international incident by accusing former Russian Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin of pocketing IMF loans, without any solid evidence. Gore let it go, but Chernomyrdin didn’t. He warned that “Mr. Bush Jr. should be getting ready for a trial.”
Source: Time, p. 62, “Double Standard” at Wake Forest debate Oct 19, 2000

Vietnam: Trade better for human rights than sanctions

Q: An agreement has been signed with Vietnam that, if approved by Congress next year, will require that country to protect U.S. intellectual property and open its markets. It makes no demands on human rights. Do you support this deal?

A: I support the trade agreement with Vietnam. I believe expanded trade with Vietnam will help the forces of economic and political reform take root and grow. At the same time, we must make clear to the Vietnamese government that we expect them to cooperate fully with our efforts to obtain the fullest possible accounting of missing servicemen in Vietnam. Like all Americans, I want to see improved human rights, and living and working conditions worldwide. The best way to address these issues is not through unilateral trade sanctions, but through multilateral agreements. The primary goal of our trade policy should be to open markets abroad because the better way to raise living and working standards is to increase trade.

Source: Associated Press Oct 18, 2000

Supported force in Mideast & Balkans, not Haiti & Somalia

Q: In the last 20 years, there have been eight major actions involving the introduction of US forces. If you had been president, would any of those interventions not have happened: Lebanon?
A: Yes.
Q: Grenada?
A: Yes.
Q: Panama?
A: Yes.
Q: Obviously, the Persian Gulf.
A: With some of them I’ve got a conflict of interest, if you know what I mean. Yes.
Q: Bosnia and Kosovo.
A: I thought it was in our strategic interests to keep Milosevic in check because of our relations in NATO. I hope our European friends become the peacekeepers in Bosnia and in the Balkans.
Q: Somalia.
A: It started off as a humanitarian mission then changed into a nation-building mission and that’s where the mission went wrong. I think our troops ought to be used to fight and win war. But in this case, it was a nation-building exercise. And same with Haiti. I wouldn’t have supported either.
Source: Presidential Debate at Wake Forest University Oct 11, 2000

Calls on Arafat to pull back and make peace with Israel

Q: What is the U.S. role in the Mideast conflict?

BUSH: I think during the campaign, particularly now during this difficult period, we ought to be speaking with one voice. I appreciate the way the administration has worked hard to calm the tensions. I call on Chairman Arafat to have his people pull back to make the peace. I think credibility is going to be very important in the Middle East. I want everybody to know, Israel’s going to be our friend. I’m going to stand by Israel. Credibility is formed by being strong with your friends and resolute in your determination. It’s one of the reasons why I think it’s important for this nation to develop an anti-ballistic missile system that we can share with our allies in the Middle East, if need be, to keep the peace. To be able to say to the Saddam Husseins of the world or the Iranians, don’t dare threaten our friends. It’s also important to keep strong ties in the Middle East because of the energy crisis we’re in.

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

Rwandan genocide: Training troops OK; intervening not OK

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

BUSH: I think the administration did the right thing in that case. I do. It was a horrible situation. No one liked to see it on our TV screens, but it’s a case where we need to make sure we’ve got an early warning system in places where there could be a ethnic cleansing and genocide the way we saw it there in Rwanda. And that’s a case were we need to use our influence to have countries in Africa come together and help deal with the situation. The administration made the right decision on training Nigerian troops for situations just such as this in Rwanda. And so I thought they made the right decision not to send U.S. troops into Rwanda.

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

Africa’s important but not a priority; no nation-building

Q: Why not Africa? Why the Middle East? Why the Balkans but not Africa?

BUSH: Africa’s important. And we’ve got to do a lot of work in Africa to promote democracy and trade. It’s an important continent. But there’s got to be priorities. And the Middle East is a priority for a lot of reasons as is Europe and the Far East, and our own hemisphere. Those are my four top priorities should I be the president. It’s not to say we won’t be engaged [in Africa], and working hard to get other nations to come together to prevent atrocity [like in Rwanda]. I thought the best example of handling a [genocide] situation was East Timor when we provided logistical support to the Australians; support that only we can provide. I thought that was a good model. But we can’t be all things to all people in the world. I am worried about over-committing our military around the world. I want to be judicious in its use. I don’t think nation-building missions are worthwhile.

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

Keep troops in Korea & NATO; not in Haiti & Balkans

Q: Where would you bring home US troops from?

I mentioned the Balkans. Haiti is another example. I supported the administration in Colombia. It is in our interests to have a peaceful Colombia. We need to have a military presence in the Korean peninsula not only to keep the peace in the peninsula but to keep regional stability. And we need to keep a presence in NATO. But the use of the military needs to be in our vital interest. The mission needs to be clear and the exit strategy obvious.

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

Puerto Rico: Back statehood if majority votes for it

In the culmination of a decade-long battle, a federal courtroom in Boston [will hear the case that] citizens of Puerto Rico, a US territory of 3.9 million people, should be able to vote for president. If the appeal is won-and the ruling is not overturned by the Supreme Court-Puerto Rico theoretically could gain eight electoral votes. The Puerto Rican Legislature recently authorized the first US presidential vote in the island’s history on the presumption that the case will be won. Ballots are being printed, all in hopes of a favorable ruling in Boston.

Both Bush and Gore have declined to take a position on whether Puerto Rico should participate in the election, noting that the matter is before the courts. Both candidates have identical positions on Puerto Rico, saying they would back statehood if a majority of voters on the island support it. Both campaigns have taken steps to prepare for the possibility of a campaign on the island, signing up volunteers and organizers.

Source: Boston Globe Sep 20, 2000

Keep tradition of showing opposition to Castro

George W. Bush says he would have tried to avoid a handshake with Cuban President Fidel Castro, unlike President Clinton at a United Nations summit last week. “It broke a long tradition of signaling opposition to Castro. It’s just a tradition. The president did what he did. I would have tried to avoid the handshake.”
Source: AP story, NY Times Sep 11, 2000

Will keep sanctions against Cuba

Bush pledged today to take a hard line against Cuban leader Fidel Castro if elected president: “My word to you, Mr. Castro: Let your people live in freedom. I challenge the Castro regime to surprise the world and adopt the ways of democracy. Until it frees political prisoners, and holds free elections and allows free speech, I will keep the current sanctions in place.”
Source: AP Story, LA Times Aug 25, 2000

US will be a friend to Latin American democracies

Bush, continuing his focus on foreign policy, met today with Mexico’s President-elect Vicente Fox. “I believe we ought to enforce our borders. My pledge will be: Should I become the president, I’ll work and have a good, long-term relationship with [him] and continue a good relationship with Mexico. As long as you are on the road toward liberty, you will not be alone. As long as you are moving toward freedom, you will have a steady friend in the United States of America.”
Source: AP Story, LA Times Aug 25, 2000

Patrol borders, but also invest in Latin America

Source: AP Story, LA Times Aug 25, 2000

More trade with India; help out in East Timor

Source: ‘Issues: Policy Points Overview’ Apr 2, 2000

Africa: Rally world to help AIDS, but not with US funds

Q: Should we appropriate $300 million out of the surplus to help fight AIDS in Africa? A: Oftentimes we’re well-intended when it comes to foreign help. but the money never makes it to the people that we’re trying to help. And so I think before we spend a dime, we want to make sure that the people we’re trying to help receive the help necessary. But this is a compassionate land. And we need to rally the people of compassion in the world to help when there’s terrible tragedy like this in Africa.
Source: GOP Debate in Michigan Jan 10, 2000

Honor Panama Canal treaty, but keep canal open

BAUER[to Bush]: We transferred the Panama Canal back to Panama [recently]. I believe our national security is at stake in Panama. The Chinese [own] the land on both ends of the canal. If I’m president, I’m going to look at how I can reassert American military forces there. Are you willing to take the steps necessary, including putting our military back in Panama in order to stop the Chinese from taking over influence there?

BUSH: In 1978 I opposed the Panama Canal Treaty. Now, our country has signed the treaty. I believe we ought to honor the treaty. But when I’m the president, if I find in any way, shape or form the canal is closed to world interests, I will do whatever it takes to keep the canal open. It is in our national strategic interests to have a peaceful hemisphere in which trade can flow freely. And I’ll liberate the canal if I have to.

BAUER: Do you see a threat from China in the canal?

BUSH. We’ll just wait & see.

Source: Republican Debate in West Columbia, SC Jan 7, 2000

Texas governorship provides foreign policy experience

To be a good president when it comes to foreign policy, it requires someone with vision, judgment and leadership. I’ve been the governor of the 2nd biggest state. If it were a nation, it would be the 11th largest economy in the world. I have had foreign policy as the governor of Texas, with Mexico. My goal, should I become the President, is to keep the peace. I intend to do so by promoting free trade; by strengthening alliances; and by strengthening the military to make sure that the world is peaceful.
Source: New Hampshire GOP Debates Dec 3, 1999

Mexico: Free trade, but with more border patrols

I’m a fierce, free and fair trader. I believe that if Mexico were able to develop a large middle class, it would enable them to find jobs at home and stay at home.. I’m concerned about Colombian drug traffickers through Mexico. We need more detection capacities, we need to check more for trucks, we need more sensors, more border interdiction.
Source: Georgie Anne Geyer, syndicated columnist Oct 1, 1998

George W. Bush on Internationalism

Bush compromises between internationalists and isolationists

Bush 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.

Drawing on the advice of Gen. Colin L. Powell, widely viewed as a potential secretary of state in a Bush administration, Bush is far more tentative about committing American troops and rules out their use for what he dismisses as nation building. “There may be some moments when we use our troops as peacekeepers, but not often,” he said in the final presidential debate. In the second debate he suggested a broader philosophical disagreement with Mr. Gore: “I’m not so sure the role of the United States is to go around the world and say, ‘This is the way it’s got to be.’”

Gore, on the other hand, has repeatedly portrayed himself as a man who has come to believe in vigorous American intervention abroad

Source: David Sanger, NY Times Oct 30, 2000

Aid should encourage markets & reform; unlike Russian IMF

Q: Is the US obligated to assist poor countries?

A: We ought to have foreign aid. Foreign aid needs to be used to encourage markets and reform. Often we just spend aid and we feel better but it ends up being spent the wrong way. An egregious example is Russia where IMF loans ended up in the pockets of powerful people and didn’t help the the nation. I don’t want to see the IMF as a [means to bail out bad loans]. It needs to be available for emergency situations. I want to make sure the return is good.

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

US should humbly empower other countries, not dictate

Q: What is the role of the U.S. in the world?

BUSH: I’m not sure the role of the United States is to go around the world and say this is the way it’s got to be. I want to empower people. I want to help people help themselves, not have government tell people what to do. I just don’t think it’s the role of the United States to walk into a country and say, we do it this way, so should you. We went into Russia, we said here’s some IMF money. It ended up in Chernomyrdin’s pocket. And yet we played like there was reform. The only people who are going to reform Russia are Russians. I’m not sure where the vice president’s coming from, but I think one way for us to end up being viewed as the ugly American is for us to go around the world saying, we do it this way, so should you. I think the United States must be humble and must be proud and confident of our values, but humble in how we treat nations that are figuring out how to chart their own course.

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

America should be a humble nation, but project strength

Q: Should the people of the world fear us, or see us as a friend?

BUSH: They ought to look at us as a country that understands freedom where it doesn’t matter who you are or where you’re from that you can succeed. I don’t think they ought to look at us with envy. It really depends upon how [our] nation conducts itself in foreign policy. If we’re an arrogant nation, they’ll resent us. If we’re a humble nation, but strong, they’ll welcome us. Our nation stands alone right now in the world in terms of power. And that’s why we’ve got to be humble and yet project strength in a way that promotes freedom. We’re a freedom-loving nation. If we’re an arrogant nation, they’ll view us that way, but if we’re humble nation, they’ll respect us.

GORE: I agree with that. One of the problems that we have faced in the world is that we are so much more powerful than any single nation has been in relationship to the rest of the world than at any time in history, that there is some resentment of US power.

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

Vital interests: US or allies threatened; we can win & exit

Q: How would you decide when it was in the national interest to use US force? BUSH: Well, if it’s in our vital national interests. And that means:
  1. Whether our territory is threatened, our people could be harmed, whether or not our defense alliances are threatened, whether or not our friends in the Middle East are threatened.
  2. Whether or not the mission was clear, whether or not it was a clear understanding as to what the mission would be.
  3. Whether or not we were prepared and trained to win, whether or not our forces were of high morale and high standing and well-equipped.
  4. And finally, whether or not there was an exit strategy.
I would take the use of force very seriously. I would be guarded in my approach. I don’t think we can be all things to all people in the world. I think we’ve got to be very careful when we commit our troops. The vice president believes in nation-building. I would be very careful about using our troops as nation builders.
Source: Presidential debate, Boston MA Oct 3, 2000

US troops will never be under UN command

Bush said he would never allow US troops to come under United Nations command, then added then he views the UN “as an opportunity for people to vent.”

“I say that not facetiously,” Bush continued. “I mean, it’s a chance for the world to come together and discuss and to dialogue.”

Source: Mike Allen, Washington Post, p. A8 Oct 1, 2000

Less intervention abroad and unilateral nuclear cuts at home

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

Reform UN & IMF; strengthen NATO

Source: ‘Issues: Policy Points Overview’ Apr 2, 2000

Brokering peace requires diligence and patience

Q. Where the US is trying with mixed success to broker peace talks, do you have sympathy for what Clinton is trying to do?
A: Take Northern Ireland. I have been on the record applauding the efforts to use our prestige to bring people together. It’s very important to be patient with the peace process. To be diligent and patient. It’s very important not to impose a US solution. So to the president’s credit, it seems to me on the Middle East he’s working hard to bring people together.
Source: Press interview in Austin, TX Mar 15, 2000

America should speak loudly and carry a big stick

Peace is not ordained, it is earned. Building a durable peace requires strong alliances, expanding trade and confident diplomacy. It requires tough realism in our dealings with China and Russia. It requires firmness with regimes like North Korea and Iraq, regimes that hate our values and resent our success. And the foundation of our peace is a strong, capable, and modern American military.
Source: “A Charge to Keep”, p.239 Dec 9, 1999

America should act as the leader of the free world

The world seeks America’s leadership, looks for leadership from a country whose values are freedom and justice and equality. Ours should not be the paternalistic leadership of an arrogant big brother, but the inviting and welcoming leadership of a great & noble nation. We have a collective responsibility as citizens of the greatest & freest nation in the world. America must not retreat within its borders. Or greatest export is freedom, and we have a moral obligation to champion it throughout the world.
Source: “A Charge to Keep”, p.240 Dec 9, 1999

Foreign policy with a touch of iron & a sharpened sword

Today we live in a world of terror and madmen and missiles. And our military is challenged by aging weapons and low morale. Because a dangerous world still requires a sharpened sword, I will rebuild our military. I will move quickly to defend our country and allies against blackmail by building missile defense systems. As president, I will have a foreign policy with a touch of iron driven by American interests and American values.
Source: TV ad, “Dangerous World” Nov 18, 1999

George W. Bush on Russia

Chernomyrdin Commission: Gore ignored corruption

[Numerous agreements with Russia were discussed via] a channel known as the Gore-Chernomyrdin Commission, which was established in 1993 and which met twice a year until 1998. 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. They say that Gore’s eagerness to pile up agreements led, in some cases, to bad deals. Bush touched on this criticism during the Oct. 11 debate, saying: “We went into Russia, we said here’s some IMF money. It ended up in Viktor Chernomyrdin’s pocket, and others’.” Chernomyrdin had been out of office several months when the funds from the IMF reached Moscow, and an IMF investigation found no conclusive evidence that he personally profited from the loans.
Source: Analysis of Wake Forest debate, John Broder, NY Times Oct 13, 2000

Chernomyrdin threatens to sue Bush for slander re corruption

Bush’s accusation that aid money from the IMF lined the pockets of former Russian prime minister Chernomyrdin as denied today by Chernomyrdin and the IMF. The comments about misused aid reflect growing skepticism among many Congressional Republicans about the role of the IMF, which some critics have accused of wasting billions and supporting corrupt governments. Bush’s debate barb was clearly aimed at Gore, who has reached numerous agreements with Chernomyrdin.

The IMF has repeatedly denied that aid money was siphoned off, and offered independent audits as evidence. Mr. Chernomyrdin issued a statement in Moscow today denying the accusations and threatening to sue Bush for slander. “I think Mr. Bush Jr. should be getting ready for a court hearing on the issue,” Chernomyrdin said. Bush stood by his statement, but softened his tone today, saying it was “general knowledge” that people in Russia had taken IMF aid, but “it might not have been [IMF money]; it might have been another aid.”

Source: Analysis of Wake Forest debate, Joseph Kahn, NY Times Oct 13, 2000

Russia nukes: demand inventory; pay for dismantling

Source: ‘Issues: Policy Points Overview’ Apr 2, 2000

Russia funding: replace IMF loans with $ to people

Source: ‘Issues: Policy Points Overview’ Apr 2, 2000

Pressure Russia financially to ease up on Chechnya

Source: ‘Issues: Policy Points Overview’ Apr 2, 2000

Hopes Putin will stay committed to reform & democracy

I hope the election of Vladimir Putin will lead to Russia’s return to the path of reform, and that Putin will root out the corruption that has impoverished the Russian people. I also hope Putin demonstrates a real commitment to democracy, the rule of law, a market economy, freedom of the press and freedom of religion. I am troubled that Putin gained his popularity as a result of the war in Chechnya. Moscow will discover that it cannot build a stable and unified nation on the ruins of human rights.
Source: Press Release Mar 27, 2000

Focus on Big Three: Russia, China, & India

Bush articulated a set of broad foreign policy principles and priorities - form missile defense to free trade to what he calls The Big Ones, Russia, China, and India.

In a speech on defense policy, Bush issued awarning: “We must be selective in the use of our military, precisely because America has other great responsibilities that cannot be slighted or compromised.”

Source: Boston Globe, p. A22 Dec 23, 1999

Other candidates on Foreign Policy: George W. Bush on other issues:
George W. Bush
Dick Cheney
Al Gore
Bill Clinton
Jesse Ventura
Ross Perot
Ralph Nader
Pat Buchanan
John McCain
Civil Rights
Foreign Policy
Free Trade
Govt. Reform
Gun Control
Health Care
School Choice
Social Security
Tax Reform
War & Peace