Bush vs. Kerry:
With regard to national security issues, George W. Bush’s agenda calls for an offensive role for America in its fight against terrorism.
According to georgewbush.com, the president’s official Web site, his plan includes several reforms which aim to succeed in our current military undertakings and ensure national security, including the following: combating proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, improving intelligence, transforming the military, strengthening homeland security and protecting America at home by promoting freedom and progress abroad.
Of course, this would include success in Iraq, through trainging Iraqis to take power in their own countries and ultimately allow for free elections.
First, his plan to combat WMD proliferation is put in effect by to stop countries from beginning new programs involving these weapons. Libya is cited as an example of this progress.
While the President has already increased funding for improving the intelligence system in the United States, his plan also calls for more initiatives to create more effective intelligence agencies.
This includes creating new positions and a new department specializing in information about terrorists, a National Intelligence Director and a National Counterterrorism Center.
In addition, Bush wants to improve intelligence by providing superior technological capabilities and allow for more coordination of resources and intelligence.
In order for America to stay competitive militarily, Bush aims to improve our Armed Forces by continually providing advanced training required for future challenges.
He has begun reorganization of the military by bringing home many Cold War-era forces while installing forces in more tactical positions around the world.
While the president has created the Department of Homeland Security as well as helped pass the USA Patriot Act after Sept. 11, he plans to go further in his second term.
This includes increasing border patrol personnel and developing Project BioShield, to protect against biological, chemical, nuclear, or radiological attacks.
Also, he aims to renew certain parts of the USA Patriot Act in order to make it easier for law enforcement to protect us.
The Bush Administration plans to combat terrorism by encouraging development of nations including areas of freedom and progress.
First, more funds will be given for aid to nations that invest in their people and promote economic freedom. Also, Bush will continue to give money to fight AIDS and other infectious diseases.
Second, Bush will continue to promote a comprehensive trade program that both benefits American workers and encourages prosperity in poorer countries, working toward the World Trade Organization’s Doha Development Agenda.
The president also plans to work toward ending hunger and improving the conditions of those in the world that live in poverty through the G-8 Famine Initiative, Water for the Poor Initiative and other efforts.
Furthermore, in order for developing nations to steer clear of debt, Bush plans to increase the use of grants rather than loans.
Through programs such as the Broader Middle East and North Africa Initiative and the G-8 Transparency Initiative, Bush hopes to encourage democracy and fight corruption in developing countries.
He also proposed increasing the budget of the National Endowment for Democracy to $80 million in order ‘to strengthen democracy and tolerance around the world through its work with civil society organizations.’
John Kerry criticizes President Bush’s current administration, claiming he can do better. His main idea is to involve the international community in combating terrorism and ensuring stability.
If Kerry were to take office, he plans to improve national security in the following ways, according to johnkerry.com, his official Web site: winning the peace in Iraq, guarding against WMD threats, defeating global terrorism, strengthening America’s military, promoting democracy, human rights, development and rule of law as well as creating an energy independent America.
In order to secure peace in Iraq, Kerry feels that new alliances must be formed with other countries, especially those in Europe, in order to share the burden of rebuilding the country.
This would be done by attempting to involve NATO and meet with world leaders willing to provide troops and other assistance.
He hopes to encourage other states to provide assistance by encouraging them to help ‘develop Iraq’s oil resources and letting them bid on contracts.’ This would result in giving other powers an interest in the region.
To ensure lasting peace in Iraq, Kerry plans to train Iraqi troops more effectively and increase recruitment.
In addition, to help the reconstruction program bring more benefits to the Iraqi people, Kerry hopes to use more ‘Iraqi contractors and workers, instead of big corporations.’
And, of course, to ensure that free elections can effectively take place in Iraq, Kerry and Edwards plan to immediately provide much needed funds for election preparations as well as recruit and train U.N. troops and Iraqis to effectively oversee polling stations.
For long-term goals regarding election in Iraq, Kerry feels the United States should help Iraqis establish a constitutional process for negotiating long-term peace and tolerance between the various ethnic and religious groups in Iraq.
Kerry plans to globally end the development of nuclear weapons through international agreements in order to guard against WMD threats.
This would include ending nuclear weapons programs in hostile states, such as North Korea, reduce existing stocks of nuclear weapons materials and safeguard existing stockpiles of these materials.
If president, Kerry also aims to defeat global terrorism by destroying terrorist networks, stop the financing of terrorists, deny terrorist recruits and havens to prevent terrorists from educating people with radical views, support democracies in the Arab and Muslim world and again, restore alliances in order to more effectively infiltrate terrorist networks around the world, to name a few.
To improve the United States military, Kerry’s reforms call for expanding America’s active duty forces and ensuring the military has the most modern equipment and technology available. With regards to promoting democracy, Kerry feels international human rights standards must be adhered to, including stopping torture practices and following the rule of law.
Lastly, Kerry feels America will be stronger and more independent once new energy sources other than oil from the Middle East are developed and refined. In order to eliminate this dependence, as well as open new economic opportunities, Kerry feels new energy sources must be discovered by investing in research, and that America should lead in this development.
Maya Debbaneh is a third-year political science major.