The Republican Party has released its 2008 Platform, setting out in detail its approach to domestic and foreign policy issues alike. A document expressing the position of the overall party rather than its presidential nominee, its first chapter outlines some specifics and generalities that will guide the Republican Party in the foreign policy it will advocate and seek to implement.
The platform advocates stronger efforts towards global nuclear non-proliferation, including American efforts at disarmament and national missile defence. While praising allies such as the United Kingdom and Japan, the document expresses strong scepticism of international organisations such as the United Nations and the International Criminal Court. America's commitment to NATO, to Taiwan and to Israel are affirmed. The document also calls for reforms to the State Department and to American public diplomacy. Below are highlights. (See also our post on Barack Obama's foreign policy document setting out his strategy towards Europe.)
Nuclear non-proliferation and missile defence
"The gravest threat we face — nuclear terrorism — demands a comprehensive strategy for reducing the world’s nuclear stockpiles and preventing proliferation. The U.S. should lead that effort by reducing the size of our nuclear arsenal to the lowest number consistent with our security requirements and working with other nuclear powers to do the same. In cooperation with other nations, we should end the production of weapons-grade fissile material, improve our collective ability to interdict the spread of weapons of mass destruction and related materials, and ensure the highest possible security standards for existing nuclear materials wherever they may be located.
"But that is not enough. We must develop and deploy both national and theater missile defenses to protect the American homeland, our people, our Armed Forces abroad, and our allies. Effective, layered missile defenses are critical to guard against the unpredictable actions of rogue regimes and outlaw states, reduce the possibility of strategic blackmail, and avoid the disastrous consequences of an accidental or unauthorized launch by a foreign power."
Global human rights
"The international promotion of human rights reflects our heritage, our values, and our national interest. Societies that enjoy political and economic freedom and the rule of law are not given to aggression or fanaticism. They become our natural allies. Republican leadership has made religious liberty a central element of U.S. foreign policy. Asserting religious freedom should be a priority in all America’s international dealings."
The Department of State
"We propose a thorough reform of its structure to ensure that promotions and appointments are based on performance in supporting the nation’s agenda."
American public diplomacy
"Getting America’s message out to the world is a critical element in the struggle against extremism, and our government must wage a much more effective battle in the war of ideas."
"The U.S. participates in various international organizations which can, at times, serve the cause of peace and prosperity, but those organizations must never serve as a substitute for principled American leadership. Nor should our participation in them prevent our joining with other democracies to protect our vital national interests.
"To shield the members of our Armed Forces and others in service to
America from ideological prosecutions, the Republican Party does not
accept the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court over
Americans. We support the American Servicemembers Protection Act, to
shield U.S. personnel and officials as they act abroad to meet global
"The U.S. will not waver in its demand for the complete, verifiable, and irreversible dismantlement of North Korea’s nuclear weapons programs, with a full accounting of its proliferation activities. We look toward the restoration of human rights to the suffering people of North Korea and the fulfillment of the wish of the Korean people to be one in peace and freedom."
"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."
Europe and NATO
"We particularly appreciate our close friendship with the United Kingdom, a relationship that has led the forces of freedom for generations."
"NATO, the most successful military alliance in history, has been greatly strengthened by the addition of new members in Central and Eastern Europe. We believe the door to NATO membership should remain open to all democratic nations who share our values and meet the requirements for NATO membership. We strongly support NATO-endorsed efforts to deploy missile defenses to protect our European allies from the threat of Iranian missiles, and we appreciate the willingness of the governments of Poland and the Czech Republic to host these needed defensive systems."
The Middle East
"We urge the continued isolation of groups like Hamas and Hezbollah because they do not meet the standards of the international community.
"We reaffirm America’s commitment to Israel’s security and will ensure that Israel maintains a qualitative edge in military technology over any potential adversaries. Israel must have secure, defensible borders and we support its right to exist as a Jewish state able to defend itself against homicide bombings, rocket and mortar fire, and other attacks against its people. We support the vision of two democratic states living in peace and security: Israel, with Jerusalem as its capital, and Palestine. For that to become a reality, the Palestinian people must support leaders who reject terror, embrace the institutions and ethos of democracy, and respect the rule of law."
"We support Jerusalem as the undivided capital of Israel and moving the American embassy to that undivided capital of Israel.
"We affirm, in the plainest words we can use, that the U.S. government, in solidarity with the international community, will not allow the current regime in Tehran to develop nuclear weapons."