John Kerry for President
As president, John Kerry will reclaim and strengthen America's role as a global leader. The Kerry-Edwards national security strategy will deploy every weapon in our national arsenal, from military strength to our diplomacy, our intelligence capabilities, our economic might, and the power of our values and example. Across the globe, John Kerry and John Edwards will pursue policies based on a vision of an America truly stronger and truly respected in the world.
Asia poses great challenges and great opportunities for the United States. On all fronts, from trade, to human rights to stopping the spread of dangerous weapons, John Kerry and John Edwards believe that America should work with Asian nations toward common goals. John Kerry and John Edwards will engage with China effectively to secure Chinese adherence to international trade, nonproliferation and human rights standards. A Kerry presidency will be committed to a "One China" policy, and will continue to support a peaceful resolution of cross-Straits issues. We support Taiwan's vibrant democracy and robust economy and will maintain America's commitment to provide Taiwan defensive weapons. John Kerry and John Edwards will strengthen America's already strong relationship with Japan and will actively seek to enhance relations with our historic ally South Korea in order to advance our collaborative efforts on economic and security issues. John Kerry and John Edwards will continue to work together with these countries to bring about the complete, irreversible and verifiable end to North Korea's nuclear weapons program. Finally, John Kerry and John Edwards will work with our friends, India and Pakistan, in their efforts to resolve longstanding differences.
The Bush administration has been fixated on Iraq while the nuclear dangers from North Korea have multiplied. On this administration's watch, North Korea has allegedly made enough new material to make six to nine nuclear bombs. We know that North Korea has sold ballistic missiles and technology in the past. According to recent reports, North Korean uranium ended up in Libyan hands. The North Koreans have made it clear to the world - and to the terrorists - that they are open for business and will sell to the highest bidder. John Kerry and John Edwards believe that the United States must be prepared to negotiate a comprehensive agreement that addresses the full range of issues of concern to us and our allies. As president, John Kerry will have no illusions about Kim Jong Il. Any agreement must have rigorous verification and lead to complete and irreversible elimination of North Korea's nuclear weapons program.
John Kerry and John Edwards were leading supporters of U.S. military action in Afghanistan to defeat the Taliban and destroy Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda's terrorist infrastructure. America's drive to topple the Taliban regime convincingly demonstrated the courage and skill of our troops, the value of powerful new technologies, and the importance of Special Forces units in defeating unconventional enemies in the most difficult terrain imaginable. After America's initial military successes, John Kerry focused on the critical task of ensuring stability and reconstruction. Over the Bush administration's active opposition, John Kerry stood strongly behind the Afghanistan Freedom Support Act of 2002, which authorized a multi-year reconstruction package and a greater commitment to international peacekeeping.
Unfortunately, the Bush administration badly mishandled the waning stages of the war in Afghanistan, allowing bin Laden to escape from our grasp at Tora Bora and then diverted critical resources to Iraq before the job was complete. Having won the war, the Bush administration had no plan to win the peace. As a result, Afghanistan has become the forgotten front in the war on terror. The situation in Afghanistan remains highly unstable. The Taliban and al Qaeda are regrouping and launching regular attacks against American troops and Afghan civilians. Osama bin Laden remains at large. National elections have been delayed twice. The illegal drug trade is booming with poppy cultivation having increased over 36 fold in the last two years alone. The Karzai government's power is severely limited outside Kabul. The warlord disarmament program is well behind schedule. And long-term reconstruction efforts are dramatically under-funded.
As president, John Kerry will move immediately to reverse the Bush administration's dangerous neglect of Afghanistan by ensuring that the country receives the security, political, and economic resources it needs. John Kerry's plan for Afghanistan includes the following elements:
- Call upon NATO to Accelerate the Expansion of its Forces outside Kabul and to urgently make good on its pledge to provide additional troops to provide security for national elections;
- Expedite the Warlord Disarmament and Reintegration Program and turn the current program into a mainstream strategy;
- Accelerate the Training of the Afghan Army and Police; and,
- Attack the Exploding Opium Trade ignored by the Bush administration by doubling America's counter-narcotics assistance to the Karzai Government and reinvigorating the international regional drug control program.
Afghanistan is now at a pivotal moment: it could move steadily toward stability and moderation and become a burgeoning democracy -or it could slide back into the anarchy, warlordism and civil strife of the past. America's vital national interest requires us to finish the job we started in Afghanistan and prevent a return to the conditions that allowed al Qaeda to take root.
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