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Kerry Calls for a New National Security Policy

Kerry Calls for a New National Security Policy
Lays Out Themes He Will Discuss Over Next 10 Days

May 27, 2004

For Immediate Release
Seattle, WA

Drawing on the lessons of the past to meet the global challenges of today, Democratic Presidential candidate John Kerry Thursday outlined the architecture of a new national security policy that will build a stronger America that is respected in the world and secure at home.

“Today we are waging a global war against a terrorist movement committed to our destruction. Terrorists like al Qaeda and its copycat killers are unlike any adversary our nation has faced,” Kerry said. “As President, my number one security goal will be to prevent the terrorists from gaining weapons of mass murder. Because al Qaeda is a network with many branches, we must take the fight to the enemy on every continent and enlist other countries in that cause.”
To meet these challenges, Kerry said it is time for a new national security policy guided by four new imperatives: build and lead a new era of alliances; modernize the world’s most powerful military; make full use of our diplomatic, intelligence and economic power; and free America from its dangerous dependence on Mideast oil. Kerry said, “These four imperatives are a response to an inescapable reality: War has changed; the enemy is different – and we must think and act anew.”

“Today, there is still a powerful yearning around the world for an America that listens and leads again,” Kerry said. “An America that is respected, and not just feared. I believe that respect is an indispensable mark of our nation’s character – and an indispensable source of our nation’s strength. It is the indispensable bond of America’s mighty alliances. I’m running for President because, abroad as well as at home, it’s time to let America be America again.”

To begin, Kerry stressed that America must always be the paramount military power in the world, but that we can magnify our power through alliances. With terrorism threatening people across the globe, Kerry said his first imperative will be to build a “coalition of the able” that will share intelligence, provide security and hunt down terrorists before they strike.

“No force on earth is more able than the United States and its allies,” Kerry said. “We must build that force – and we can. We can be strong without being stubborn. Indeed, that is ultimately the only way we can succeed.”

To meet the challenges of the new enemies we face, Kerry said his second imperative will be to adapt and modernize the military to match its new mission, and he promised to ensure that the men of women of the US military are the best-led, best-equipped and most respected fighting force in the world. As commander-in-chief, he said he will never send troops into harm’s way without enough troops for the task or without a plan to win the peace.

He emphasized the need for a force that can meet the requirements of homeland defense, strike at threats before they reach our shores and prevent weapons of mass destruction from falling into the hands of lawless states and terrorists.

“This strategy focuses not only on what we must do, but what we must prevent,” Kerry said. “We must ensure that lawless states and terrorists will not be armed with weapons of mass destruction.”

Third, Kerry said that we need a national security policy that employs the full power of America’s arsenal, including diplomacy, intelligence, our economic power and the power of our ideas and values.

“All the levers of power will be deployed to overcome the 21st century dangers we face,” Kerry said.

As his last imperative, Kerry pointed out that a new national security policy demands an end to our dependence on Mideast oil, saying that “we have been constrained by their control over the oil that fuels too large a part of our economy. This is a weakness that this Administration has ignored – and one that must be addressed.”

Kerry closed by discussing Iraq, and he continued to urge the President to bring our allies into the effort. Saying Iraq is a clear test of Presidential leadership, Kerry specifically called for a greater NATO commitment, expanded international support for training Iraq’s security force and the creation of an International High Commissioner to work with Iraqis as they form their government.

“The stakes in Iraq couldn’t be higher,” Kerry said. “If President Bush doesn’t change course and doesn’t secure new support from our allies, we will, once again feel the consequences of a foreign policy that has divided the world instead of uniting it. Our troops will be in greater peril, the mission in Iraq will be harder to accomplish and our country will be less secure.”

Throughout the speech, Kerry said he will talk more about these issues over the next 10 days, as the nation’s attention turns to honoring the bravery and sacrifice of past generations with the dedication of the World War II Memorial, Memorial Day and the anniversary of D-Day.

“I have spoken today about the architecture of a new national security policy,” Kerry said. “But at issue here is not just a set of prescriptions; at stake is a vision of an America truly stronger and truly respected in the world. This is not a partisan cause. Patriotism doesn’t belong to any one Party or President. And if I am President, I will enlist the best among us, regardless of Party, to protect the security of this nation.”

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