Republican platform 2000 Renewing America’s Purpose. Together. Preamble

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As a result of the courageous and resolute leadership of Presidents Reagan and Bush, the Cold War has been won, Germany unified and, with the leadership of a Republican Senate, Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary returned to the Euro-Atlantic Community. The security of the United States is inseparable from the security of Europe. Now in its second half-century, a strong NATO is the foundation of peace. Sustained American commitment to the security of Europe has paid off. Our allies across the Atlantic face no conventional external threats. American military deployments are a fraction of their Cold War size. But alliances are not just for crises. They are sustained by the kind of joint planning, political and economic as well as military, that defines and reinforces common interests and mutual trust.

Standing alongside our allies, we seek a NATO that is strong, cohesive, and active. The next Republican president will give consistent direction on the alliance’s purpose, on Europe’s need to invest more in defense capabilities, and, when necessary, on acting jointly with the United States in military conflict. The United States needs its European allies to help with key regional security problems as they arise, since America also has global responsibilities. Our goal for NATO is a strong political and security fellowship of independent nations in which consultations are mutually respected and defense burdens mutually shared.

For our allies, sharing the enormous opportunities of Eurasia also means sharing the burdens and risks of sustaining the peace. We seek greater cooperation within NATO to deal with the geopolitical problems of the Middle East and Eurasia. We will work with our European partners as we develop our plans to build effective missile defenses that can protect all of America’s allies.

Republicans believe that the political objectives of Europe and America are mutually reinforcing and complementary. The next Republican president will ensure that the relationship between NATO and the European Union, particularly in the division of military responsibilities, is clear and constructive. The leaders of the European Union must resist the temptation of protectionism as we work together to build a Europe whole and free.

We are proud that America’s longstanding commitment to the forward defense of democracy is being rewarded as Europe becomes whole and free. In the new era that resulted, some of America’s strongest allies and friends have been the democracies of Central and Eastern Europe. In their recent histories, these nations have shown their commitment to the values shared by members of the Trans-Atlantic community. Poles, Czechs, and Hungarians inspired the world, assaulting the Iron Curtain again and again until finally it crashed down forever.

As the new democracies of Central Europe chose freedom, America was ready to respond. Republicans made the enlargement of NATO part of our Contract with America. Their firm stand before the American people and in the Congress finally succeeded in bringing Poland, the Czech Republic, and Hungary into the North Atlantic Alliance. Republicans recognize and applaud the tremendous achievements of the people of Albania, Bulgaria, Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, Macedonia, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia in reclaiming their freedom and rejoining the Trans-Atlantic community of democracies.

It is in America's interest that the new European democracies become fully integrated into the economic, political, and security institutions of the Trans-Atlantic community. These countries are today making great progress toward developing the market economies and democratic political systems that are the best way to ensure both their long-term stability and their security. The enlargement of NATO to include other nations with democratic values, pluralist political systems, and free market economies should continue. Neither geographical nor historical circumstances shall dictate the future of a Europe whole and free. Russia must never be given a veto over enlargement.

The Republican party has long been the advocate of independence for the people of Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia, even when others despaired of their emergence from foreign rule. We reaffirm our traditional ties with and strong support for the courageous Ukrainian and Armenian people, who like the people of the Baltic States, have endured both persecution and tyranny to reassert their ancient nationhood. The United States should promote reconciliation and friendship not only between the United States and Russia, but also between Russia and its neighbors.

The current administration has damaged the NATO alliance with years of insensitivity and episodic attention. In the Yugoslav war the administration bungled the diplomacy, misjudged the adversary, and ignored the advice of our military commanders. Even after NATO’s operations in Bosnia and Kosovo laid bare Europe’s lagging military capabilities, the administration failed to persuade the allies to enhance these capabilities. The next Republican administration will work to repair this damage.

After the many trials and errors of the current administration, the United States is contributing to NATO’s peacekeeping efforts in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Kosovo. Those troops cannot stay indefinitely without jeopardizing the American ability to defend other important U.S. and allied interests. Over time European troops should take the place of American forces under the NATO umbrella as the United States and its allies work together to bring peace and democracy to the Balkans. The next Republican president will not negotiate with indicted war criminals such as Slobodan Milosevic but will seek their arrest, trial, and imprisonment.

Russia stands as another reminder that a world increasingly at peace is also a world in transition. If Russia can realize the enormous potential of its people and abundant resources, it can achieve the greatness that is currently defined solely by the reach of its weapons. Russia has the potential to be a great power and should be treated as such. With Russia, the United States needs patience, consistency, and a principled reliance on democratic forces.

America’s own national security is the first order of business with Russia. The United States and Russia share critical common interests. Both Russia and the United States confront the legacy of a dead ideological rivalry — thousands of nuclear weapons, which, in the case of Russia, may not be entirely secure. And together we also face an emerging threat – from rogue nations, nuclear theft, and accidental launch. For its own sake and ours, Russia must stop encouraging the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

The development of a democratic and stable Russia is in the interest of the United States and all of Europe. But the battle for democracy is a fight that must be won by Russians. We must avoid misguided attempts to remake Russia from the outside. The current administration’s quixotic efforts have only propped up corrupt elites, identified America with discredited factions and failed policies, and encouraged anti-Americanism.

The United States should show its concern about Russia’s future by focusing on the structures, spirit, and reality of democracy in Russia, embodied by the rule of law. We will do this by directing our aid and attention to help the Russian people, not enriching the bank accounts of corrupt officials.

The rule of law is not consistent with state-sponsored brutality. When the Russian government attacks civilians in Chechnya — killing innocents without discrimination or accountability, neglecting orphans and refugees — it can no longer expect aid from international lending institutions. Moscow needs to operate with civilized self-restraint.

Russia should also display such self-restraint in its shipments of sensitive nuclear and military technology to Iran. As long as Iran remains an international outlaw, preventing such transfers must be a priority for U.S. policy. Americans stand ready to cooperate with Russia in sharing technology for missile defense that can promote a more stable world, but Russia must also choose lasting stability over transitory profit and support the effort against proliferation.

Republicans welcome the historic reconciliation in Northern Ireland that is slowly bringing peace and a representative local assembly to this beautiful land that means so much to Americans. We congratulate the people of Northern Ireland for their approval of the Good Friday Agreement, and we call for the full and fastest possible implementation of its terms. In the spirit of that healing document, we call for a review of issues of deportation and extradition arising prior to the accord. We applaud the work of the Patten Commission to reform the police authorities in Northern Ireland and urge complete implementation of the Commission’s recommendations. The sufferings of the people on the island of Ireland have been our sorrow too, and the new hope for peace and reconciliation is the answer to America’s prayers. We continue to support this progress toward peace with justice and, accordingly, we encourage private U.S. investment in the North, with care to ensure fair employment and better opportunities for all. Though the burdens of history weigh heavily upon this land, we cheer its people for taking the lead in building for themselves and for their children a future of peace and understanding. The next president will use the prestige and influence of the United States to help the parties achieve a lasting peace. If necessary, he will appoint a special envoy to help facilitate the search for lasting peace, justice, and reconciliation.

We likewise encourage a peaceful settlement for Cyprus and respect by all parties for the wishes of the Cypriot people. A fair and lasting Cyprus settlement will benefit the people of Cyprus, as well as serve the interests of America and our allies, Greece and Turkey.

The Middle East and Persian Gulf

In the Middle East, the advancement of U.S. national interests requires clear and consistent priorities as well as close cooperation with America’s friends and allies. We have four priorities for the Middle East. First, we seek to promote and maintain peace throughout the region. Second, we must ensure that Israel remains safe and secure. Third, we must protect our economic interests and ensure the reliable flow of oil from the Persian Gulf. And fourth, we must reduce the threat of weapons of mass destruction in the region. Because America cannot achieve these objectives by acting alone, U.S. policy must rest on leadership that can build strong coalitions of like-minded states and hold them together to achieve common aims.

As American influence declined during the current administration, the OPEC cartel drove up the price of oil. Anti-Americanism among the Arab people redoubled. Iran continued to sponsor international terrorism, oppose the Arab-Israeli peace process, and pursue nuclear, biological, chemical, and missile capabilities with extensive foreign assistance. America’s closest allies expanded their political and economic relations with Iran. A Republican president will work to reverse these damaging trends.

It is important for the United States to support and honor Israel, the only true democracy in the Middle East. We will ensure that Israel maintains a qualitative edge in defensive technology over any potential adversaries. We will not pick sides in Israeli elections. The United States has a moral and legal obligation to maintain its Embassy and Ambassador in Jerusalem. Immediately upon taking office, the next Republican president will begin the process of moving the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Israel’s capital, Jerusalem.

The United States seeks a comprehensive and lasting peace in the Middle East. America can use its prestige to encourage discussions and negotiations. But peace must be negotiated between the parties themselves. We will not impose our view or an artificial timetable. At the heart of the peace process is the commitment to resolve all issues through negotiation. A unilateral declaration of independence by the Palestinians would be a violation of that commitment. A new Republican administration would oppose any such declaration. It will also do everything possible to promote the conclusion of a genuine peace in the Middle East. While we have hopes for the peace process, our commitment to the security of Israel is an overriding moral and strategic concern.

Perhaps nowhere has the inheritance of Republican governance been squandered so fatefully as with respect to Iraq. The anti-Iraq coalition assembled to oppose Saddam Hussein has disintegrated. The administration has pretended to support the removal of Saddam Hussein from power, but did nothing when Saddam Hussein’s army smashed the democratic opposition in northern Iraq in August 1996. The administration also surrendered the diplomatic initiative to Iraq and Iraq’s friends, and failed to champion the international inspectors charged with erasing Iraq’s nuclear, biological, chemical, and ballistic missile programs. When, in late 1998, the administration decided to take military action, it did too little, too late. Because of the administration’s failures there is no coalition, no peace, and no effective inspection regime to prevent Saddam’s development of weapons of mass destruction.

A new Republican administration will patiently rebuild an international coalition opposed to Saddam Hussein and committed to joint action. We will insist that Iraq comply fully with its disarmament commitments. We will maintain the sanctions on the Iraqi regime while seeking to alleviate the suffering of innocent Iraqi people. We will react forcefully and unequivocally to any evidence of reconstituted Iraqi capabilities for producing weapons of mass destruction. In 1998, Congress passed and the president signed the Iraq Liberation Act, the clear purpose of which is to assist the opposition to Saddam Hussein. The administration has used an arsenal of dilatory tactics to block any serious support to the Iraqi National Congress, an umbrella organization reflecting a broad and representative group of Iraqis who wish to free their country from the scourge of Saddam Hussein's regime. We support the full implementation of the Iraq Liberation Act, which should be regarded as a starting point in a comprehensive plan for the removal of Saddam Hussein and the restoration of international inspections in collaboration with his successor. Republicans recognize that peace and stability in the Persian Gulf is impossible as long as Saddam Hussein rules Iraq.

All Americans hope that a new generation of Iranian leaders will rise to power seeking friendlier relations with the United States and a less threatening posture in the region. But Iran’s record of supporting terrorism, opposing the Middle East peace process, developing weapons of mass destruction and long-range missiles, and its denial of human rights, most recently demonstrated in the trial and conviction of Iranian Jews on unfounded espionage charges, demonstrates that Tehran remains a dangerous threat to the United States and our interests in the region. The next Republican administration will form its policy toward Iran based on Iranian actions, not words. It will stop making unilateral gestures toward the Iranian government which, to date, have failed to result in a change in Iranian behavior. We will work to convince our friends and allies, most importantly the Europeans, to join us in a firm, common approach toward Iran.

Republicans endorse continued assistance and support for countries that have made peace with Israel — led by Egypt and Jordan. We appreciate the significant contributions by Jordan to our common struggle against terrorism, and will take steps to bolster relations with Amman including negotiating a U.S.-Jordan Free Trade Agreement.

The United States and its allies depend on oil from the Middle East. Republicans prefer an America that is far less dependent on foreign crude oil. A Republican president will not be so tolerant if OPEC colludes to drive up the world price of oil, as it has done this past year. Yet influence also comes from friendship. The United States should restore its underlying good and cooperative relations with the oil-exporting nations, most importantly Saudi Arabia, as well as with other moderate Arab governments.


The nations of Africa have endured tremendous burdens of war, poverty, disease, and bad government. But freedom is gaining ground in South Africa, Nigeria, Niger, Mozambique, and Mauritius. Democracy can help ensure that the interests of the people are elevated above the preoccupations and self-enrichment of corrupt elites.

Some of Africa’s developing countries are turning to private markets, building middle classes, and evolving toward more representative forms of government that respect individual liberties. But such transformation is not simple. A Republican president and Congress will work to encourage these efforts through closer economic integration, security assistance, and support for freedom. Republicans will replace process with outcome and rhetoric with substance.

Americans are troubled by the humanitarian catastrophes that have plagued the people of Africa including conflicts in Sierra Leone, the Great Lakes region, the Horn of Africa, and elsewhere. The risk of famine is never far away. Millions live in poverty and suffer from disease, especially AIDS and the vaccine-preventable diseases that prey on innocent children. The situation in the Sudan demands special attention, due to its employment of the slave trade and its persecution of Sudanese Christians, and we deplore the government of Zimbabwe’s refusal to adhere to the rule of law. The conflict in Angola should be resolved through dialogue leading to the release of political prisoners and democratic government.

The people of Africa need economic opportunity, foreign investment, and access to markets, food, and medicine. The United States will support international organizations and non-governmental organizations that can improve the daily lives of Africans. The United States must also work to promote democracy and sound governance in Africa, and the prevention and resolution of conflict. We will help the continent achieve its economic potential by implementing measures to reduce trade barriers. Republicans will not ignore the challenges of Africa.

International Assistance

The promotion of freedom and democracy is a critical national interest. President Reagan was a champion of this idea, establishing the National Endowment for Democracy in 1983 as an instrument of U.S. public diplomacy. The National Endowment for Democracy, and other American public diplomacy institutions, continues today to advance and protect American ideals and interests abroad.
The United States must commit itself to doing more to assist refugees and displaced persons. A Republican administration will improve America’s longstanding practice of aiding the innocent victims of political repression, conflict, famine, and natural disasters, and we will lead other countries in responding similarly. Republicans fully recognize that the spread of AIDS is a terrible humanitarian disaster and will continue to emphasize action over rhetoric. In particular, we commend the Republican Congress for recently approving legislation to assist the victims of this disease in Africa.

The United Nations

International organizations can serve the cause of peace, but they can never serve as a substitute for, or exercise a veto over, principled American leadership. The United Nations was not designed to summon or lead armies in the field and, as a matter of U.S. sovereignty, American troops must never serve under United Nations command. Nor will they be subject to the jurisdiction of an International Criminal Court. The United Nations can provide a valuable forum for nations to peacefully resolve their differences, and it can help monitor international agreements and organize international humanitarian assistance. The United States will pay a fair, not disproportionate, share of dues to the United Nations once it has reformed its management and taken steps to eliminate waste, fraud, and abuse. All funds that the U.S. contributes for operations, conferences, and peacekeeping should count against these dues.

The next Republican administration will use its diplomatic influence to put an end to a pattern of discrimination that persists at the United Nations in denying committee assignments to Israel. It will do the likewise at the International Red Cross which refuses to accredit the symbol of Magen David Adom, Israel’s equivalent of the Red Cross. Moreover, Republicans oppose the ideological campaign against participation by the Vatican in U.N. conferences and other activities. The United Nations was created to benefit all peoples and nations, not to promote a radical agenda of social engineering. Any effort to address global social problems must be firmly placed into a context of respect for the fundamental social institutions of marriage and family. We reject any treaty or convention that would contradict these values. For that reason, we will protect the rights of families in international programs and will not fund organizations involved in abortion. This approach to foreign assistance will unify people, respect their diverse beliefs, and uphold basic human rights. It will enable us, in cooperation with other free societies around the world, to more effectively oppose religious persecution and the sex trafficking that ruins the lives of women and children.

Terrorism, International Crime, and Cyber Threats

America faces a new and rapidly evolving threat from terrorism and international crime. Meeting this threat requires not just new measures, but also consistent policies and determination from America’s leaders.

Many established terrorist groups faded away in the 1990s after the Cold War ended. But the decade also witnessed a series of enormously destructive attacks against America. Increasingly, terrorists seem to be motivated by amorphous religious causes or simple hatred of America rather than by specific political aims. Terrorism crosses borders easily and frequently, including U.S. borders, and cannot easily be categorized as either domestic or international.

Republicans support a response to terrorism that is resolute but not impulsive. The most likely highly destructive terrorist attack remains a large bomb hidden in a car or truck. Yet, as with the rest of our defense posture, we must prepare for the most dangerous threats as well as the most likely ones. Therefore the United States must be extremely vigilant about the possibility that future terrorists might use weapons of mass destruction, which are increasingly available and present an unprecedented threat to America. In many instances the military will have to rethink it traditional doctrine and begin to focus on counterterrorism, human intelligence gathering, and unconventional warfare.

Republicans endorse the four principles of U.S. counterterrorism policy that were laid down originally by Vice President George Bush’s Commission on Combating Terrorism in 1985. First, we will make no concessions to terrorists. Giving in simply encourages future terrorist actions and debases America’s power and moral authority. Second, we will isolate, pressure, and punish the state sponsors of terrorism. Third, we will bring individual terrorists to justice. Past and potential terrorists will know that America will never stop hunting them. Fourth, we will provide assistance to other governments combating terrorism. Fighting international terrorism requires international collaboration. Once again, allies matter.

Republicans in Congress have led the way in building the domestic preparedness programs to train and equip local, state, and federal response personnel to deal with terrorist dangers in America. The administration has not offered clear leadership over these programs. They remain scattered across many agencies, uncoordinated and poorly managed. We will streamline and improve the federal coordination of the domestic emergency preparedness programs.

We will ensure that federal law enforcement agencies have every lawful resource and authority they require to combat international organized crime. A Republican administration will work to improve international cooperation against all forms of cross-border criminality, especially the burgeoning threat of cyber-crime that threatens the vitality of American industries as diverse as aerospace and entertainment.

Nowhere has the administration been more timid in protecting America’s national interests than in cyberspace. Americans have recently glimpsed the full vulnerability of their information systems to penetration and massive disruption by amateurs. A sophisticated terrorist or adversary government could potentially cripple a critical U.S. infrastructure, such as the electrical grid or a military logistics system, in time of crisis. A new Republican government will work closely with our international partners and the private sector to conceive and implement a viable strategy for reducing America's vulnerability to the spectrum of cyber threats, from the adolescent hacker launching a contagious computer virus to the most advanced threat of strategic information warfare.

Principled American Leadership

Americans have good reason to be optimistic about our role in world. Few nations in history have been afforded the range of possibilities to shape the future that has been presented to this generation of Americans. After the wavering and ambivalence of the current administration, Americans have a fresh chance to build on the enormous opportunities of this new era and new century. Earlier generations defended America through great trials. This generation can adapt America to thrive amid great change — change in economies, societies, technologies, and weapons.

Republicans have a strategy. It is a strategy that recalls traditional truths about power and ideals and applies them to networked marketplaces, modern diplomacy and the high-tech battlefield. A Republican administration will use power wisely, set priorities, craft needed institutions of openness and freedom, and invest in the future. A Republican president and a Republican Congress can achieve the unity of national governance that has so long been absent. We see a confident America united in the fellowship of freedom with friends and allies throughout the world. We envision the restoration of a respected American leadership firmly grounded in a distinctly American internationalism.
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