Presidential Candidate, Gov. Bill Richardson spoke at The Center for Strategic and International Studies. There he outlined a Progressive Foreign Policy for America’s future. He said, “This administration’s lack of realism has led us to a dangerous place. In an era of terrorism, they’ve squandered our military power, undermined our diplomatic leverage, and depleted our Treasury. They have emboldened our enemies and isolated us from our friends. They have confused our moral compass and compromised our national security.”
He has developed a foreign policy plan to take us on a different path, a path based on reality. He said there were six trends transforming our world that we needed to understand them and respond to them. The first trend is fanatical jihadism. The second trend is state and non-state criminal enterprises. The third trend is the rapid rise of Asian economic and military power. The forth trend is the reemergence of Russia as a foreign power. The fifth trend is globalization that has made our economy more venerable. The sixth trend is health and environmental problems on global scale.
To confront these challenges he outlined seven steps to re-launch America’s leadership in the twenty first century. The first step is to repair our alliances. The second step is to renew our commitment to international law and multilateral cooperation. This would include expanding the United Nations Security Council, focusing the World Bank on poverty reduction, reviving the Doha trade talks, committing more resources to the IMF, rewarding countries that respect the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, respecting the Geneva Convention and joining the International Criminal Court.
The third step is for the United States to become a leader in global efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This would include joining the Kyoto protocol on global warming, cutting fossil fuel consumption, use diplomacy to encourage China and India to embrace a sustainable energy future. The forth step is to stop treating diplomatic engagement as a reward for good behavior. Richardson Said, “Sometimes diplomacy demands that you talk tough, but to do that you have to be at least talking.”
The fifth step is to focus on real security threats. This would include building strong coalitions to fight terrorism and stop nuclear proliferation, locking down the world’s fissionable materials, increase funds and commitment to the Nunn-Lugar program to secure former Soviet nuclear weapons, work with Pakistan to make certain Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal does not fall into the hands of jihadists, contain the nuclear ambitions of Iran and North Korea, spend more to recruit, equip, and train first responders, improve public health, and secure our borders.
The sixth step is to pay attention to the Americas, to Latin America, to our own backyard. Richardson said, “The legal trafficking of drugs and persons across the Mexican border threatens America’s national security, so we need better border security and comprehensive immigration reform.” He called for America to work with reform minded governments to alleviate poverty and promote equitable development, reverse Bush administration policies restricting remittances and travel to Cuba, and challenging Cuba to release political prisoners. The seventh step is for America to lead the global fight against poverty. This would include promoting equitable trade agreements, create more jobs in all countries, encourage wealthy countries to honor their U.N. Millennium Goal commitment, and increase focus on better access to primary health care, affordable vaccines and generic drugs. We need to develop a Marshal Plan for the Middle East and North Africa.
Richardson said, “The challenges facing America today are great. We need to learn from failure—open our eyes and see the world as it is so that we can lead the effort to make it better, safer place. This is a new realism that I have brought forth to you today; a new realism for a new century. I believe we can do it…We can and will once again be the respected leader of nations. Our national security and future depend on it.”