Questions & Responses:
1. The geopolitical landscape has shifted dramatically during the last two decades, as has global public opinion of the United States. What should the U.S.’ role be in the world today?: ANSWER
The next President will have a moment of opportunity to restore America’s global standing and convince the world that America can lead once again. As President, I will seize that opportunity by reintroducing ourselves to the world. I believe this should be a moment of renewed global engagement, as there are so many problems requiring renewed American attention. I will ensure that the United States is committed to building a world we want, rather than simply defending against a world we fear.
At a moment in history when the world’s most pressing problems require unprecedented cooperation, the tragedy of the last six years is that the Bush administration has squandered the respect, trust, and confidence of even our closest allies and friends. I believe the world still looks to the United States for leadership. We should aim to lead our friends and allies in building a world of security and opportunity. America has long been the land of opportunity. But as we know at home and as we see today in Iraq and Afghanistan, opportunity cannot flourish without basic security. We must build a world in which security and opportunity go hand in hand, a world that will be safer, more prosperous, and more just.
2. What specific policies would you implement in order to make the global security environment more stable and hospitable?: ANSWER
Ending the war in Iraq is the first step toward restoring America’s global leadership. The war is sapping our military strength, absorbing our strategic assets, diverting attention and resources from Afghanistan, alienating our allies, and dividing our people. As I outline below, when I am President I will convene the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Secretary of Defense, and the National Security Council and direct them to draw up a clear, viable plan to bring our troops home, starting within the first 60 days of my administration.
As President, I will reinforce our military effort in Afghanistan. The Taliban cannot be allowed to regain power in Afghanistan; if they return, al Qaeda will return with them. Yet current U.S. policies have actually weakened President Hamid Karzai’s government and allowed the Taliban to retake many areas, especially in the south. Redoubling our efforts in Afghanistan to help root out terrorist elements there would signal to our NATO partners that the war in Afghanistan and the broader fight against extremism in South Asia are battles that we can and must win. As President, I will reestablish our traditional relationship of confidence and trust with Europe and NATO. Disagreements are inevitable, even among the closest friends, but we can never forget that on most issues we have no more trusted allies than those in Europe. The new administration will have a chance to reach out across the Atlantic to a new generation of leaders in France, Germany, and the United Kingdom. When America and Europe work together, global objectives are within our means. In the same vein, as President, our longstanding treaty alliances with Japan, South Korea, and Australia will continue to be the foundation for America’s policy in the Asia Pacific region during a period of profound importance in the time ahead. As President, my administration will work to ensure that these vital partnerships continue to thrive, as we work together to tackle the long standing as well as new challenges of Asia and the world -- including nuclear proliferation, poverty alleviation, worries over nationalism and fundamentalism, and the long term challenges posed by energy insecurity and climate change. As President I will pursue a policy of security through statesmanship. The Bush administration has opposed talks with our adversaries, seeming to believe that we are not strong enough to defend our interests through negotiations. This is a misleading and counterproductive strategy. True statesmanship requires that we engage with our adversaries, not for the sake of talking but because robust diplomacy is a prerequisite to achieving our aims. We also must make international institutions work, and work through them when possible. Contrary to what many in the current administration appear to believe, international institutions are tools that advance America’s aims, rather than traps. Previous Republican and Democratic presidents alike have understood this for decades. When I am President, the United States will once again engage, not disparage, the international system so that it reflects the principles an earlier generation of Americans enshrined in the UN Charter.
3. What will be your Administration’s policy regarding the conflict in Iraq?: ANSWER
I am committed to ending the war in Iraq as swiftly and responsibly as possible. I outlined my plan for ending the war in July. As soon as I take office, I will convene my senior national security advisors to draw up a clear, viable plan to bring our troops home beginning within the first 60 days of my administration.
I will also redirect aid to provincial governments and the reliable non-governmental organizations that are making progress in bringing stability and building political reconciliation. And I will begin intensive regional and international diplomacy, including convening a regional stabilization group composed of key allies, other global powers, and all the states bordering Iraq. A vital component of this diplomacy will be to address the refugee crisis exploding in the region. To this end, I will work with other countries to ensure that asylum seekers can find sanctuary and I will help organize a multibillion dollar international relief effort, to be led by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, to aid the roughly two million refugees and the two million internally displaced persons in Iraq. In the Senate, I am doing everything I can to convince Republicans to join Democrats in forcing the President to end this war. I have voted against funding this war and have said I will not vote for any funding measure that does not begin to bring our troops home. I voted repeatedly against permanent bases and a permanent occupation of Iraq. I voted to require the President to begin the redeployment of U.S. combat troops in Iraq within 90 days. And I voted for legislation to require the President to complete the redeployment of our forces by March 2008. As I have said, if George Bush does not end this war, I will.
4. What criteria would you use to justify future deployments of American military force?: ANSWER
U.S. foreign policy must be guided by a preference for multilateralism with unilateralism as an option when absolutely necessary to protect our security or avert an avoidable tragedy. We must not use our military as the solution to every problem but as one element in a comprehensive strategy.
As President, I will never hesitate to use force to protect Americans or to defend our territory and our vital interests. We cannot negotiate with individual terrorists; they must be hunted down and captured or killed. Nor can diplomacy alone stop the perpetrators of genocide and crimes against humanity in places such as Darfur. But soldiers are not the answer to every problem. As President, I will draw on all aspects of American power, not solely the military. We must use our military not as the solution to every problem but as one element in a comprehensive strategy. Using force in lieu of diplomacy compels our young men and women in uniform to carry out missions that they may not be trained or prepared for. And it ignores the value of simply carrying a big stick, rather than using it.
5. What global issues do you think concern and affect most Americans? If elected, which of these would be your top priorities? ANSWER
As President I will work to build a world in which security and opportunity go hand in hand, a world that will be safer, more prosperous, and more just.
Education is the foundation of economic opportunity and should lie at the heart of America’s foreign assistance efforts. More than 100 million children in the developing world are not in school. Another 150 million drop out before they finish grade school. By failing these children, we sow the seeds of lost generations. As President, I will press for quick passage of the Education for All Act, which would provide $10 billion over a five-year period to train teachers and build schools in the developing world. The fight against HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria, and other dreaded diseases is both a moral imperative and a practical necessity. These diseases have created a generation of orphans and set back economic and political progress by decades in many countries. We must once again make human rights a centerpiece of U.S. foreign policy and a core element of our conception of democracy. We need to keep faith with America’s historical support for human rights. The United States was instrumental in creating the system of international human rights. The Bush administration’s approach has been to evade our responsibilities to the detriment both of our moral leadership, and to the detriment of the international norms we have been building for over 60 years. As President, I will put a stop to that because it is right, and because promotion of human rights is also an important element of our fight against terrorism. By restoring our historical position as a strong defender of human rights, we can begin to restore America’s global standing. And it is my belief that systems that respect human rights reduce the appeal of violent extremism. Human rights will never be truly recognized as long as a majority of the world’s population is still treated as second-class citizens. We must reaffirm our commitment to incorporate the promotion of women’s rights in our bilateral relationships and international aid programs. This is essential not just to improving the lives of women but to strengthening the families, communities, and societies in which they live. As discussed below, I will make the fight against global warming a priority. This is a problem the United States cannot address without the rest of the world and a problem the world cannot address without the United States.
6. Recognizing the need for more urgent and meaningful action in Darfur, what steps must be taken to end the atrocities and provide justice for the people of Darfur?: ANSWER
As President, I will bring the international community together through American leadership to stop the killing and prevent a second wave of genocide in Darfur. I have been speaking out since 2004, calling on NATO, the U.N. Security Council, and the African Union to take strong action to stop the genocide in Darfur.
We must increase our efforts to work strenuously to push Sudan to permit the deployment of the AU-UN peacekeeping force authorized by the UN Security Council in July, and also work with the region and major African nations to ensure that the AU-UN force has the resources necessary to be successful. The United States must intensify pressure on China to use its leverage to secure Khartoum’s agreement to the expeditious deployment of the hybrid African Union-UN peacekeeping force. Washington must also play a greater and more consistent diplomatic role in supporting a political process to bring about peace on the ground. Finally, the United States must be prepared to implement meaningful measures, including imposition of multilateral sanctions, an arms embargo, and a no fly zone for Sudanese flights over Darfur if the Khartoum government continues to prevent deployment of the peacekeepers. I firmly believe that the United States, like all nations who stand for freedom and respect for human rights, has the moral responsibility to condemn, in the strongest manner possible, the actions of the Sudanese government against its own people. When I am President, the United States will maintain high-level, consistent, and sustained involvement in Darfur until the violence has stopped and the conflict has been resolved.
7. How will your administration’s energy policy address the global challenges of climate change and development?: ANSWER
[W]e must first restore our own credibility on the issue. Demonstrating a serious commitment to reducing our own emissions through a market-based cap-and-trade approach is the first essential step. We must also demonstrate our commitment to combating climate change by putting domestic constraints on greenhouse gas emissions and by stepping up America’s investments in a clean energy future. To that end, I have endorsed proposals to reduce U.S. emissions by 80% from 1990 levels by 2050.
We must also help developing nations build efficient and environmentally sustainable domestic energy infrastructures. Two-thirds of the growth in energy demand over the next 25 years will come from countries with little existing infrastructure. Finally, we must create formal links between the International Energy Agency and China and India and create an “E-8” international forum modeled on the G-8. This group would be comprised of the world’s major carbon-emitting nations and hold an annual summit devoted to international ecological and resource issues.
8. Do you support U.S. participation in binding international climate agreements? How will you re-engage with the international community to ensure that an effective international climate agreement enters into force when the Kyoto Protocol expires in 2012?: ANSWER
America’s withdrawal from the Kyoto Protocol and refusal to participate in any international effort to deal with the tremendous challenges of climate change as well as other unilateral steps by the Bush administration did damage to our international standing. The Bush administration has ignored the problem and wasted time that should have been spent fighting climate change. We must return our attention to this most vital of concerns.
As President, I will make the fight against global warming a priority. Addressing climate change represents a powerful economic opportunity that can be a driver of growth, jobs, and competitive advantage in the twenty-first century. We cannot solve the climate crisis alone, and the rest of the world cannot solve it without us. In my administration, the United States will reengage in international climate change negotiations and provide the leadership needed to reach a binding global climate agreement post Kyoto, which expires in 2012, with the goal of negotiating a new agreement by 2010. If necessary, I will engage in high-level meetings with leaders from around the world every three months to push the new treaty. This challenge must receive consistent and regular attention at the highest levels.
9. Given the International Criminal Court’s recent activities in pursuing war crimes and crimes against humanity, what would be your administration’s policy regarding U.S. cooperation with ongoing investigations?: ANSWER
Candidate did not respond.
10. Beyond cooperation with current investigations, what should the United States’ relationship be with the Court?: ANSWER
There is broad support in this country across political and ideological divides that perpetrators of genocide, mass atrocities, and war crimes must be held accountable.
When President Clinton signed the Rome Treaty, he noted our serious concerns about the treaty. But he signed, nonetheless, to underline this basic principle, and to signal that the United States would seek to address the concerns we had about the treaty, as well as to ensure that the institution operated as effectively as possible. The Bush administration’s “unsigning” of the ICC not only damaged our international standing, it also separated us from our allies, with whom we have a shared interest in promoting accountability for war crimes and atrocities. Fortunately, some of the worst fears about the ICC have not been borne out. The institution was created to prompt the development of justice institutions in countries that lacked them, and to assure accountability for the worst human rights crimes in countries where those institutions do not exist. It has over the past eight years operated on that basis. The ICC has also avoided politicized prosecutions. The Bush administration has begun to cooperate with the ICC in allowing referral of indicted war criminals in Darfur to the Court, and signaling a willingness to share information with the Court pertaining to those prosecutions. Consistent with my overall policy of reintroducing the United States to the world, I will as President evaluate the record of Court, and reassess how we can best engage with this institution and hold the worst abusers of human rights to account.
11. What would your administration do to ensure that the Millennium Development Goals are met?: ANSWER
I support the Millennium Development Goals, which were developed by the United Nations in 2000 to address many of the problems facing the world’s poorest nations. I am concerned that we are not on track to meet these targets, and I believe that we need to work with our global partners to do so. I have supported legislation to improve resources to address the global burden of tuberculosis and have fought to increase funding for global HIV/AIDS programs. I have called for debt forgiveness for the poorest nations. And I have pushed for legislation that would train teachers and build schools in the developing world. As President, I will work with the United Nations to push these goals, and I will ensure that the United States demonstrates international leadership on this issue.
I also signed the Presidential Pledge for Leadership on Global AIDS and Poverty, pledging to implement a range of policies to address global HIV/AIDS, the plight of orphaned children, and women’s rights. I have also committed to providing at least $50 billion for the fight against AIDS by 2013 and to make significant progress toward providing an additional one percent of the US budget to fighting poverty in impoverished countries. In the Senate, I am a co-sponsor of the African Health Capacity Investment Act of 2007, which is designed to improve health capacity in sub-Saharan countries. In addition, I support the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria. We cannot reach the goal of universal prevention, treatment, and care without substantial efforts in training health workers and building health infrastructure in developing countries, and I am committed to ensuring that we make those investments. Another critical area in which we must work to ensure Millennium Development Goals are met is debt forgiveness. Since 1996, when the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative was formed by the World Bank, more than 30 countries have had $80 billion in debt forgiven. In September 1999, President Clinton asked for more than $1 billion over four years to go further and completely cancel the bilateral debt for 33 of the world’s poorest nations. In 2005, the United States, along with other G-8 nations, announced a deal to forgive $40 billion in debt for 18 countries. But many nations remain heavily indebted. Jubilee USA asserts that 67 countries – those that have a per capita income of $1,065 annually – need debt cancellation in order to meet their Millennium Development Goals targets. I support debt forgiveness, in addition to continuing to provide existing aid, and I will continue to do so as President.
12. Do you support the development of new nuclear weapons by the United States or any other nation?: ANSWER
When I am President, the United States will once again be a leader in reducing the roles and risks of nuclear weapons, and preventing them from falling into the wrong hands. I support the goal of every president from Truman to Clinton of ending nuclear weapons, and I support the effort that Sam Nunn, Bill Perry, Henry Kissinger, and George Shultz are leading to restore American leadership in this area.
I have opposed the Bush Administration’s plans for the Reliable Replacement Warhead and I have also voted consistently to block funding for the Robust Nuclear Earth Penetrator, “bunker buster,” warhead. The Bush administration has dangerously put the cart before the horse, planning to rush ahead with new nuclear weapons without any considered assessment of what we need these weapons for or what the impact of building them would be on our effort to stop the spread of nuclear weapons around the world. As President I will seek bipartisan support for a comprehensive nuclear weapons policy that takes into account the need to maintain a safe and reliable nuclear deterrent and the critical importance of restoring American leadership on nonproliferation.
13. What steps would you take to prevent nuclear proliferation and encourage disarmament?: ANSWER
As President, I will seek ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty in 2009, the tenth year of its initial rejection by the Senate. I will seek to negotiate an accord that substantially and verifiably reduces the U.S. and Russian nuclear arsenals. I will also work to implement near-term steps Secretaries Schultz, Kissinger, Perry and Senator Nunn, including: increasing nuclear warning time, and reducing the danger of accidental or unauthorized launch.
In the Senate, I have introduced the Nuclear Terrorism Prevention Act to accelerate and reinvigorate U.S. efforts to prevent nuclear terrorism. My legislation would increase funding for the Global Threat Reduction Initiative to convert research reactors around the world from highly enriched uranium to low enriched uranium and to remove the highly enriched uranium from such facilities. Establishing an international fuel bank that guaranteed secure access to nuclear fuel at reasonable prices would help limit the number of countries that pose proliferation risks.
14. In what ways can the United States work to support international post-conflict peacebuilding efforts?: ANSWER
UN peacekeeping of all kinds is experiencing an unprecedented surge. Expected expansion of UN peacekeeping operations is likely to boost the number of UN-commanded troops to record levels.
UN peacekeeping operations have historically been plagued with problems, and there are continuing concerns about corruption and criminal behavior by UN troops. But the overall trend since the mid 1990s is that peacekeeping operations have been increasingly effective, particularly in fulfilling mandates to stabilize and rebuild nations after the establishment of peace. Although the United States contributes a very small number of troops to formal UN peacekeeping operations, we are the major financial contributor, and there is much the United States should and can do to improve the performance of UN peacekeeping. First and foremost the U.S. administration must propose realistic budgets, and the Congress must approve them. The United States has voted to establish or sustain each of the peacekeeping missions under way, and in doing so, should fulfill its responsibility to support them financially. U.S. condemnation of the genocide in Darfur is an empty gesture if the administration is unwilling to provide the money necessary to fully fund the operation intended to stop the atrocities, and without taking money away from other UN operations that Washington also voted for and authorized. The United States working with NATO should also increase capacity in the developing world to conduct UN-authorized or UN-mandated peacekeeping operations. The United States and NATO should expedite their commitments under the Global Peace Operations Initiative to train 75,000 peacekeepers, principally in Africa.
15. Do you support the creation and funding of the United Nations Emergency Peace Service?: ANSWER
The enduring weakness of UN peacekeeping is the inability to field forces in sufficient numbers when it counts. There are a number of proposals to address this problem, while preserving the essential principal that all UN peacekeeping operations require both the formal authorization and genuine political support of the UN Security Council. The UNEP Service is one of several proposals intended to plug this gap. As President it will be a priority to build bipartisan support for an approach to UN peacekeeping that can both address U.S. concerns, while making it possible for UN peacekeeping to be as effective as possible.
16. Will you work to operationalize the “Responsibility to Protect,” an emerging international norm, in response to humanitarian crises around the world? How?: ANSWER
Yes. In adopting the principle of the responsibility to protect, the United Nations accepted the principle that mass atrocities that take place in one state are the concern of all states. It is essential that the new Secretary General of the United Nations begin to bridge the gap between these words and the institution’s deeds through a series of reforms intended to operationalize this concept. I am also committed to seeing that the United States and other economic and militarily capable states and organization take steps to bolster UN action.
As President I will adopt a policy that recognizes the prevention of mass atrocities as an important national security interest of the United States, not just a humanitarian goal. I will develop a government-wide strategy to support this policy, including a strategy for working with other leading democracies, the United Nations, and regional organizations. I will authorize my Secretary of State to institutionalize atrocity prevention into the work of the State Department, and I will direct my Secretary of State to strongly support the mission and activities of the office of reconstruction and stabilization, which plays an increasingly critical role.
17. The U.S. has signed, but not ratified many international treaties, including the ICC treaty, Law of the Sea, Kyoto, Women’s convention, and the Test Ban treaty. Which treaties, if any, would you support and urge the Senate to ratify?: ANSWER
As President I will seek Senate approval of the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea, the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child, the U.N. Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, and the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban treaty.
In particular, the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty is a critical non-proliferation tool. U.S. ratification is also essential to restoring American leadership in the area of nonproliferation, and more broadly. As President, I will work to build the bipartisan support that will be needed to get it approved and ratified. As President, I will also seek Senate approval of the CEDAW treaty, the most authoritative UN negotiated treaty to protect women around the world from discrimination. The United States signed this agreement in 1980. It is past time that we became a party to this convention, and I will make approval a Senate priority. One of the worst messages the President sent was when he took office and rejected completely Kyoto. When I am President I will change that by leading the process to develop a new treaty to replace the Kyoto Protocol, which is set to expire in 2012. I will engage in high-level meetings with leaders around the world every three months, if that’s what it takes to hammer out a new agreement. My goal will be to secure a deal by 2010. We can’t wait for two more years.
18. What should be the United States’ policy on detainees, particularly with regard to habeas corpus, our commitments to the Geneva Conventions, and extraordinary rendition?: ANSWER
I believe very strongly and have said unequivocally that torture cannot be American policy. Period. As President, I will not continue this Administration’s policy. I believe this is one of the most important issues we face, because nothing is more damaging to our standing in the world than when we fail to live up to the standards that we have embraced and promoted around the world.
I believe we have to stand for the rule of law before the world, especially when we are under threat. In the process of accomplishing what is essential for our security, we must hold onto our values and set an example we can point to with pride and not shame. Accordingly, Common Article 3 – which prohibits “cruel treatment or torture,” “outrages against human dignity,” and “humiliating and degrading treatment” – is a standard we must follow. There is no need to degrade the humane treatments standards of the Geneva Conventions which protect our own men and women in uniform, and which have been incorporated into the US Army Field Manual on intelligence interrogations. With respect to extraordinary renditions, the Bush administration’s policy has been a moral failure and a national security failure, and I strongly oppose it. I oppose sending anyone to places for interrogation where they will be tortured or where their basic human rights will not be protected. I also oppose the Bush administration’s denial of the right of habeas corpus to detainees because it gives license to pick people up off the streets of the United States and hold them indefinitely without charges and without legal recourse.
19. As President, would you actively support the creation of an Independent Bipartisan Commission on Torture and U.S. Interrogation Policy?: ANSWER
Candidate did not respond.
20. What will be your administration’s policy regarding the closure of the Guantanamo prison?: ANSWER
I will close the prison at Guantanamo Bay. Allowing coercive treatment and torturous actions towards prisoners violates the rule of law, fails in intelligence gathering, and promotes radicalization. It represents in the eyes of the world abuse, secrecy, and contempt for the rule of law. Rather than keeping us more secure, Guantanamo is harming our national security. It compromises our long-term military and strategic interests and impairs our standing overseas. Its closure would signal a return to U.S. commitment to the rule of law in foreign policy and a step towards restoring U.S. leadership in living up to the highest standards of human rights protection.
21. What reforms would your administration propose to help the United Nations better meet the challenges of the 21st century?: ANSWER
Reform of the UN is needed to adapt the institution to the security challenges of the 21st century, and to undertake a series of management reforms to make it more efficient and effective. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has made a promising start on management reforms. A lot of important work has also been done by the High-Level Panel on Threats, Challenges, and Change.
I believe an effective United Nations is strongly in American interests. The United States must be prepared to act on its own to defend its vital interests, but effective international institutions, including the UN, make it much less likely that we will have to do so. United States policy towards the UN should encourage it to be as effective as possible, because a strong UN can help the U.S. in a range of areas, from international public health to poverty alleviation to peacekeeping. The UN needs to reform the Department of Peacekeeping Operations. The human rights apparatus of the UN is not performing as it should. We need to have a structure at the United Nations that is strong and principled in advancing human rights. The Human Rights Council was established to address the weaknesses of the Human Rights Commission as part of a broader set of UN reforms. So far, the Council has not fulfilled the promise of reform. The Bush approach of standing aside and not engaging to improve the Human Rights Council has only made the job of reform more difficult. As President, I will make reform of the human rights system a priority of the United States.
22. Would your administration support the full and timely payment of U.S. assessments to international institutions, including the United Nations?: ANSWER
Yes, it will be a priority of my administration that we meet our financial obligations to the UN, as doing so is essential for the UN to fulfill the mandates we ask it to undertake, and for the United States to be credible in our efforts to promote reform there.
23. Do you have a valid U.S. passport?: ANSWER
24. How have your personal experiences shaped your view of the U.S. role in the world?: ANSWER
I have had the privilege as first lady to travel to more than 80 countries representing America and have met with dozens of foreign leaders. In my travels, I went into the villages and the barrios to meet with people to send them a strong message that America cared about them. I witnessed the promise of America in the eyes of men, women and children. America represented hope, opportunity, and freedom. As a United States Senator I continue to meet with leaders from around the globe and as a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, travel to places where our military has been engaged and performing heroically.
And what I have seen around the world is that the Bush administration has systematically broken down and thrown aside our hard-won partnerships and alliances and undermined our greatest asset, America’s moral authority – not just destroying the work of the previous decade but the difficult work of more than a half century of internationalism practiced by Democratic and previous Republican administrations alike. All too often this administration has favored ideology over reality, promoted tough talk over tough decisions, and sown alienation instead of cooperation. People around the world want America to lead and rebuilding American leadership in the world will be one of my top priorities. We have got to start building alliances and end the alienation that has unfortunately been a byproduct of some of the policies of this administration. I have never lost faith in America’s essential goodness and greatness. I believe no challenge or threat is too difficult or dangerous for us to meet if we work together. That is the American way. Throughout our history when we have faced challenges and opportunities alike, we have taken them head-on without fear, without delay, without hesitation. As President, that is exactly what I intend to do.