Does John Kerry Pass the Global Test?
What are U.S. presidential candidate John Kerry's views on non-domestic issues?
October 27, 2004
Senator John Kerry — the Democratic presidential candidate — has been a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee since the day he joined the U.S. Senate back in 1985. Can he lead the United States at a time of great international turmoil? Our Read My Lips feature explores his opinions and views on U.S. foreign policy.
Mr. Kerry was much derided for his ‘global test’ remarks. But is that really such an un-American concept?
“John Kerry was not the first American to say we should apply a ‘global test’ to U.S. policy. The authors of the Declaration of Independence were. Of course, they gave no foreign government a veto over the decision to declare independence — but they knew — and said — they owed a ‘decent respect to the opinions of mankind.'”
(Rabbi Arthur Waskow, director of the Shalom Center, October 2004, citing from the opening paragraph of the Declaration of Independence)
Senator Kerry, does more international cooperation mean a weaker United States?
“American leadership, robust engagement, stronger alliances and greater cooperation resulting in advancing our interests more effectively — I will never ever cede to any institution or any country a veto or a definition of those interests.”
What kind of change does U.S. foreign policy need the most?
“What we urgently need now to protect America’s role in the world are decisions based on professional military judgments and strategic vision — not politics and pride.”
What is your view of the Bush Administration course in foreign policy?
“Overseas, George Bush has led — and misled — us on a course at odds with 200 years of our history.”
What is President Bush's biggest shortcoming?
“He has squandered the goodwill of the world after September 11 — and lost the respect and influence we need to make our country safe.”
What was your own reaction to the 9/11 attacks?
“My instinct was, ‘Where’s my gun?’ How do you fight back? I wanted to do something.”
Do you think the Bush Administration handled the Iraq War poorly?
"How is it possible to do what the Bush Administration has done in Iraq — win a great military victory, yet make America weaker?"
What does that say about President Bush himself?
"Attracting international support in a situation like Iraq is a clear test of presidential leadership. It is what capable and confident presidents do."
How would you describe U.S. foreign policy today?
What about the U.S approach to the Middle East?
“We’ve been stunningly disengaged, with the exception of Iraq.”
Are you going soft when you envision cooperating more with the UN?
“Leading the world’s most advanced democracies isn’t mushy multilateralism.”
What can the World War II generation teach us about this?
"We must hear and heed the lessons of the Greatest Generation. Our leaders then 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."
Could a powerful United States be welcomed again?
"Today, there is still a powerful yearning around the world for an America that listens and leads again. An America that is respected — and not just feared."
Is the way you feel about the Iraq War similar to how you and many others felt about the war in Vietnam?
"We are angry because we feel we have been used in the worst fashion by the administration of this country."
Do you view China as a threat to the United States?
“China today cannot properly be deemed a strategic partner or a close friend, but it is not an enemy.”
And finally, what is most critical to the success of the United States in the future?
"We can be strong without being stubborn. Indeed, that is ultimately the only way we can succeed."