A Comparison of the Republican and Democratic Platforms on India, Pakistan, Afghanistan and China

September 18, 2008 by  


2008-09-11T213449Z_01_WAS46R_RTRMDNP_3_USA-SEPT11

On India:

Republicans

We welcome America’s new relationship with India, including the U.S.-India Civil Nuclear Accord. Our common security concerns and shared commitment to political freedom and representative government can be the foundation for an enduring partnership.

Democrats

We are committed to U.S. engagement in Asia. This begins with maintaining strong relationships with allies like Japan, Australia, South Korea, Thailand and the Philippines and deepening our ties to vital democratic partners, like India, in order to create a stable and prosperous Asia. . . .

We also will pursue effective collaboration on pressing global issues among all the major powers–including such newly emerging ones as China, India, Russia, Brazil, Nigeria, and South Africa. With India, we will build on the close partnership developed over the past decade. As two of the world’s great, multi-ethnic democracies, the U.S. and India are natural strategic allies, and we must work together to advance our common interests and to combat the common threats of the 21st century. We believe it is in the United States’ interest that all of these emerging powers and others assume a greater stake in promoting international peace, and respect for human rights, including through their more constructive participation in key global institutions.

On Pakistan:

Republicans:

We must expand our ties with the government and the people of Pakistan. We support their efforts to improve democratic governance and strengthen civil society, and we appreciate the difficult but essential role Pakistan plays in the fight against terror.

Democrats:

The central front in the war on terror is not Iraq, and it never was. We will defeat al Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan, where those who actually attacked us on 9-11 reside and are resurgent.

The greatest threat to the security of the Afghan people—and the American people—lies in the tribal regions of Pakistan, where terrorists train, plot attacks, and strike into Afghanistan and move back across the border. We cannot tolerate a sanctuary for Al Qaeda. We need a stronger and sustained partnership between Afghanistan, Pakistan, and NATO—including necessary assets like satellites and predator drones—to better secure the border, to take out terrorist camps, and to crack down on crossborder insurgents. We must help Pakistan develop its own counter-terrorism and counterinsurgency capacity. We will invest in the long-term development of the Pashtun border region, so that the extremists’ program of hate is met with an agenda of hope.

We will ask more of the Pakistani government, rather than offer a blank check to an undemocratic President. We will significantly increase non-military aid to the Pakistani people and sustain it for a decade, while ensuring that the military assistance we provide is actually used to fight extremists. We must move beyond an alliance built on individual leaders, or we will face mounting opposition in a nuclear-armed nation at the nexus of terror, extremism, and the instability wrought by autocracy.

On Afghanistan:

Republicans:

In the seven years since U.S. troops helped topple the Taliban, there has been great progress — but much remains to be done. We must prevail in Afghanistan to prevent the reemergence of the Taliban or an al Qaeda sanctuary in that country. A nationwide counterinsurgency strategy led by a unified commander is an essential prerequisite to success. Additional forces are also necessary, both from NATO countries and through a doubling in size of the Afghan army. The international community must work with the Afghan government to better address the problems of illegal drugs, governance, and corruption. We flatly reject the Democratic Party’s idea that America can succeed in Afghanistan only by failure in Iraq.

Democrats:

After September 11, we could have built the foundation for a new American century, but instead we instigated an unnecessary war in Iraq before finishing a necessary war in Afghanistan.

The central front in the war on terror is not Iraq, and it never was. We will defeat al Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan, where those who actually attacked us on 9-11 reside and are resurgent.

Our troops are performing heroically in Afghanistan, but as countless military commanders and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff acknowledge, we lack the resources to finish the job because of our commitment to Iraq. We will finally make the fight against Al Qaeda and the Taliban the top priority that it should be.

We will send at least two additional combat brigades to Afghanistan, and use this commitment to seek greater contributions–with fewer restrictions–from our NATO allies. We will focus on building up our special forces and intelligence capacity, training, equipping and advising Afghan security forces, building Afghan governmental capacity, and promoting the rule of law. We will bolster our State Department’s Provincial Reconstruction Teams and our other government agencies helping the Afghan people. We will help Afghans educate their children, including their girls, provide basic human services to their population, and grow their economy from the bottom up, with an additional $1 billion in non-military assistance each year–including investments in alternative livelihoods to poppy-growing for Afghan farmers–just as we crack down on trafficking and corruption. Afghanistan must not be lost to a future of narco-terrorism–or become again a haven for terrorists.

Europe remains America’s indispensable partner. We support the historic project to build a strong European Union that can be an even stronger partner for the United States. NATO has made tremendous strides over the last fifteen years, transforming itself from a Cold War security structure into a partnership for peace. But today, NATO’s challenge in Afghanistan has exposed a gap between its missions and its capabilities. To close this gap, we will invest more in NATO’s mission in Afghanistan and use that investment to leverage our NATO allies to contribute more resources to collective security operations and to invest more in reconstruction and stabilization capabilities. . . .

On China:

Republicans:

We will welcome the emergence of a peaceful and prosperous China, and we will welcome even more the development of a democratic China. Its rulers have already discovered that economic freedom leads to national wealth; the next lesson is that political and religious freedom leads to national greatness. That is not likely to be learned while the government in Beijing pursues advanced military capabilities without any apparent need, imposes a “one-child” policy on its people, suppresses basic human rights in Tibet and elsewhere, and erodes democracy in Hong Kong. China must honor its obligations regarding free speech and a free press as announced prior to the Olympics. Our bilateral trade with China has created export opportunities for American farmers and workers, while both the requirements of the World Trade Organization and the realities of the marketplace have increased openness and the rule of law in China. We must yet ensure that China fulfills its WTO obligations, especially those related to protecting intellectual property rights, elimination of subsidies, and repeal of import restrictions. China’s full integration into the global economy requires that it adopt a flexible monetary exchange rate and allow free movement of capital. China’s economic growth brings with it the responsibility for environmental improvement, both for its own people and for the world community.

Our policy toward Taiwan, a sound democracy and economic model for mainland China, must continue to be based upon the provisions of the Taiwan Relations Act. We oppose any unilateral steps by either side to alter the status quo in the Taiwan straits on the principle that all issues regarding the island’s future must be resolved peacefully, through dialogue, and be agreeable to the people of Taiwan. If China were to violate these principles, the U.S., in accord with the Taiwan Relations Act, will help Taiwan defend itself. As a loyal friend of America, the democracy of Taiwan has merited our strong support, including the timely sale of defensive arms and full participation in the World Health Organization and other multilateral institutions.

Democrats:

We will encourage China to play a responsible role as a growing power–to help lead in addressing the common problems of the 21st century. We are committed to a “One China” policy and the Taiwan Relations Act, and will continue to support a peaceful resolution of cross-Straits issues that is consistent with the wishes and best interests of the people of Taiwan. It’s time to engage China on common interests like climate change, trade, and energy, even as we continue to encourage its shift to a more open society and a market-based economy, and promote greater respect for human rights, including freedom of speech, press, assembly, religion, uncensored use of the internet, and Chinese workers’ right to freedom of association, as well as the rights of Tibetans.

On Climate Change:

Republicans:

Because the issue of climate change is global, it must become a truly global concern as well. All developed and developing economies, particularly India and China, can make significant contributions in dealing with the matter. It would be unrealistic and counterproductive to expect the U.S. to carry burdens which are more appropriately shared by all.

Democrats:

We will reach out to the leaders of the biggest carbon emitting nations and ask them to join a new Global Energy Forum that will lay the foundation for the next generation of climate protocols. China has replaced America as the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases. Clean energy development must be a central focus in our relationships with major countries in Europe and Asia. We need a global response to climate change that includes binding and enforceable commitments to reducing emissions, especially for those that pollute the most: the United States, China, India, the European Union, and Russia.

In addition, the DEMOCRATIC PARTY PLATFORM has the following to say on GLOBAL HEALTH:

Democrats will invest in improving global health. It is a human shame that many of the diseases which compound the problem of global poverty are treatable, but they are yet to be treated.

The HIV/AIDS pandemic is a massive human tragedy. It is also a security risk of the highest order that threatens to plunge nations into chaos. There are an estimated 33 million people across the planet infected with HIV/AIDS… We must do more to fight the global HIV/AIDS pandemic, as well as malaria, tuberculosis, and neglected tropical diseases.

We will provide $50 billion over five years to strengthen existing U.S. programs and expand them to new regions of the world, including Southeast Asia, India, and parts of Europe, where the HIV/AIDS burden is growing. We will increase U.S. contributions to the Global Fund to ensure that global efforts to fight endemic disease continue to move ahead.

We also support the adoption of humanitarian licensing policies that ensure medications developed with the U.S. taxpayer dollars are available off patent in developing countries. We will repeal the global gag rule and reinstate funding to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). We will expand access to health care and nutrition for women and reduce the burden of maternal mortality.

We will leverage the engagement of the private sector and private philanthropy to launch Health Infrastructure 2020—a global effort to work with developing countries to invest in the full range of infrastructure needed to improve and protect both American and global health.

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