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The Foreign Policy of John Kerry and the Democratic Party

March 9, 2004

Simply put the foreign policy of John Kerry and the Democratic Party is based on militarism and war.

John Kerry voted for and ardently supports the war in Iraq.

In recent policy statements, Kerry expresses his fear that "the Administration is considering what is tantamount to a cut and run strategy. Their sudden embrace of accelerated Iraqification and American troop withdrawal without adequate stability is an invitation to failure . . . This could risk the hijacking of Iraq by terrorist groups and former Baathists. . . . Security must come first and that is why it is so imperative to succeed in building a genuine coalition on the ground in Iraq." (Kerry's speech to the Council on Foreign Relations, 12/3/2003). On February 27, in another major foreign policy speech, Kerry reiterated this position insisting "we must stay in Iraq until the job is finished."

In fact, Kerry wants to escalate Bush's worldwide "war against terrorism." In his February 27 speech, Kerry complained that "George Bush held U.S. forces back" in Afghanistan and Kerry boasted that he advocates a "stronger, more comprehensive, and more effective strategy for winning the War on Terror than the Bush Administration has ever envisioned."

Amongst other things Kerry wants to send more U.S. and NATO troops to Afghanistan, increase overall U.S. army overseas troop strength and extend the "war on terror" to new areas, including Somalia and the Philippines.

Kerry's militarist foreign policy reflects the long-established program of the Democratic Party. Kerry is a leading member of the Democratic Leadership Council, the dominate group determining the Party's direction and policies. A recent DLC document, entitled "Progressive Internationalism" and offered as the basis of the party's 2004 election platform, outlines the DLC's national security strategy.

The DLC begins by endorsing Bush's "war on terrorism" as the focus of U.S. foreign policy: "preventing a deadly fusion of terrorism and rogue states on the one hand and mass destruction weapons on the other is one of the paramount challenges of our time" and a struggle which "is likely to last not years, but decades."

And again, echoing Bush, the key thing in waging this war is that the "Democrats will maintain the world's most capable and technologically advanced military, and we will not flinch from using it to defend our interests anywhere in the world."

The foreign policy aims of the Democrats, just like the Republicans, are to advance the exploiting, imperial interests of the U.S. monopoly capitalist class - to open the whole world up to U.S. capitalism in the name of blessing the world with "American democracy." Thus the Democratic Party's "Progressive Internationalism" aims to strengthen "free enterprise . . . Vibrant entrepreneurial markets, open trade" and use "unparalleled power to defend our country and to shape a world in which the values of liberal democracy increasingly hold sway."

In Iraq, the DLC, like Kerry, insists that "U.S. forces [are] stretched thin" and demands that since Iraq is the "next battleground in the war on terror," Bush must "put America on a wartime footing." The DLC promises that the Democrats "will maintain a robust military presence in Iraq for as long as it takes to help that country achieve security and stability."

In Afghanistan, the DLC again criticizes Bush for "reluctance to put more U.S. boots on the ground" and promises that Democrats "will also press for an expanding NATO peacekeeping mission in Afghanistan."

Kerry echoes this position, saying: "We must end the Bush administration's delay in expanding NATO forces and deploying them outside Kabul. We must accelerate training for the Afghan army and police." (Kerry's speech 12/3/2003).

And so it goes. All along the line, the foreign policy of Kerry and the Democratic Party is a carbon copy of Bush and the Republicans.

Stepped Up Militarization

From the DLC: "America's Armed Forces are second to none and we will keep them that way. . . . This is no time to cut the Pentagon's budget."

"The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have shown that we need to enhance our ability to project power with deadly accuracy over enormous distances."

Kerry: "We need to add 40,000 troops - the equivalent of two divisions - to the American military in order to meet our responsibilities elsewhere - especially in the urgent global war on terror." (Kerry's speech at Drake University, 12/16/2003).

Extending the War to More Countries

From the DLC: "America must not tolerate North Korea's bid to mass produce nuclear weapons. . . We will maintain a redline - making clear that if North Korea resumes production of nuclear weapons, the U.S. would be prepared to use force to protect its interests."

Kerry: "For today the agents of terrorism work and lurk in the shadows of 60 nations on every continent." (2/27/04 speech)

"Failed and failing states like Somalia or countries with large areas of limited government control like the Philippines need international help to close down terrorist havens." (Kerry's speech 12/3/2003).