A food safety factory shutdown has Americans hunting for baby formula. Readying themselves for a covid-19 lockdown, Chinese in Beijing emptied store shelves. Emerging from lockdown, some in Shanghai are visiting well-provisioned markets. U.S.-China agricultural trade is booming, but many are still being left hungry. Food security, sustainability and safety remain issues.
U.S. Democratic and Republican Party Platforms and China, 2008
Democratic Party Platform
Adopted August 25, 2008 in Denver, Colorado at the Democratic National Convention
pull-out quote, p. 10
“I worked for a manufacturer for over fifteen years. My wages stayed the same for six years as I found myself paying more and more for health care. Co-pays went up, deductibles went up. In late 2006, the company sent my production job to Mexico and China and I was laid off. I could not afford COBRA premiums. I am two years away from Medicare and unemployed and on the “faith based” healthcare system— meaning I just pray I don’t get sick. Oh yeah, and I’m a cancer survivor and I haven’t done the yearly checkup in three years.” – quoted at Listening to America National Hearing
“Renewing American Leadership,” p. 27
We will confront these threats head on while working with our allies and restoring our standing in the world. We will pursue a tough, smart, and principled national security strategy. It is a strategy that recognizes that we have interests not just in Baghdad, but in Kandahar and Karachi, in Beijing, Berlin, Brasilia and Bamako. It is a strategy that contends with the many disparate forces shaping this century, including: the fundamentalist challenge to freedom; the emergence of new powers like China, India, Russia, and a united Europe; the spread of lethal weapons; uncertain supplies of energy, food, and water; the persistence of poverty and the growing gap between rich and poor; and extraordinary new technologies that send people, ideas, and money across the globe at ever faster speeds.
“Combat Terrorism,” p. 30
Beyond Afghanistan and Pakistan, we must forge a more effective global response to terrorism. There must be no safe haven for those who plot to kill Americans. We need a comprehensive strategy to defeat global terrorists–one that draws on the full range of American power, including but not limited to our military might. We will create a properly resourced Shared Security Partnership to enhance counter-terrorism cooperation with countries around the world, including through information sharing as well as funding for training, operations, border security, anti-corruption programs, technology, and targeting terrorist financing.
“Preventing the Spread and Use of Weapons of Mass Destruction,” p. 31-33
We will urgently seek to reduce dramatically the risks from three potentially catastrophic threats: nuclear weapons, biological attacks, and cyber warfare. In an age of terrorism, these dangers take on new dimensions. Nuclear, biological, and cyber attacks all pose the potential for largescale damage and destruction to our people, to our economy and to our way of life. The capacity to inflict such damage is spreading not only to other countries, but also potentially to terrorist groups.
… We will work with other nations to secure, eliminate, and stop the spread of nuclear weapons and materials to dramatically reduce the dangers to our nation and the world. There are nuclear weapons materials in 40 countries, and we will lead a global effort to work with other countries to secure all nuclear weapons material at vulnerable sites within four years. We will work with nations to increase security for nuclear weapons. We will convene a summit in 2009 (and regularly thereafter) of leaders of Permanent Members of the U.N. Security Council and other key countries to agree on implementing many of these measures on a global basis.
… We support the belated diplomatic effort to secure a verifiable end to North Korea’s nuclear weapons program and to fully account for and secure any fissile material or weapons North Korea has produced to date. We will continue direct diplomacy and are committed to working with our partners through the six-party talks to ensure that all agreements are fully implemented in the effort to achieve a verifiably nuclear-free Korean peninsula.
… We will work with private industry, the research community and our citizens, to build a trustworthy and accountable cyber-infrastructure that is resilient, protects America’s competitive advantage, and advances our national and homeland security.
“Expand the Armed Forces,” p. 34
We support plans to increase the size of the Army by 65,000 troops and the Marines by 27,000 troops.
“Working for our Common Security,” p. 36
To renew American leadership in the world, we will rebuild the alliances, partnerships, and institutions necessary to confront common threats and enhance common security. Needed reform of these alliances and institutions will not come by bullying other countries to ratify American demands. It will come when we convince other governments and peoples that they too have a stake in effective partnerships. It is only leadership if others join America in working toward our common security.
Too often, in recent years, we have sent the opposite signal to our international partners.
“Lead in Asia,” p. 37-38
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 must also forge a more effective framework in Asia that goes beyond bilateral agreements, occasional summits, and ad hoc diplomatic arrangements.
We need an open and inclusive infrastructure with the countries in Asia that can promote stability, prosperity, and human rights, and help confront transnational threats, from terrorist cells in the Philippines to avian flu in Indonesia. 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.
“Deepen Ties with Emerging Powers,” p. 39
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.
“Advancing Democracy, Development, and Respect for Human Rights,” p. 39-42
No country in the world has benefited more from the worldwide expansion of democracy than the United States. Democracies are our best trading partners, our most valuable allies, and the nations with which we share our deepest values. The United States must join with our democratic partners around the world to meet common security challenges and uphold our shared values whenever they are threatened by autocratic practices, coups, human rights abuses, or genocide.
… The United States must be a relentless advocate for democracy and put forward a vision of democracy that goes beyond the ballot box. We will increase our support for strong legislatures, independent judiciaries, free press, vibrant civil society, honest police forces, religious freedom, equality for women and minorities, and the rule of law…. In non-democratic countries, we pledge to work with international partners to assist the efforts of those struggling to promote peaceful political reforms. Ongoing funding to the National Endowment for Democracy and other U.S. government-funded democracy programs reflects American values and serves our interests.
... American leadership on human rights is essential to making the world safer, more just, and more humane. Such leadership must begin with steps to undo the damage of the Bush years. But we also must go much further. We should work with others to shape human rights institutions and instruments tailored to the 21st century. We must make the United Nations’ human rights organs more objective, energetic, and effective. The U.S. must lead global efforts to promote international humanitarian standards and to protect civilians from indiscriminate violence during warfare. We will champion accountability for genocide and war crimes, ending the scourge of impunity for massive human rights abuses. We will stand up for oppressed people from Cuba to North Korea and from Burma to Zimbabwe and Sudan. We will accord greater weight to human rights, including the rights of women and children, in our relationships with other global powers, recognizing that America’s long-term strategic interests are more likely to be advanced when our partners are rights-respecting.
… 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).
“Lead to Combat Climate Change,” p. 43
Never again will we sit on the sidelines, or stand in the way of collective action to tackle this global challenge. Getting our own house in order is only a first step. We will invest in efficient and clean technologies at home while using our assistance policies and export promotions to help developing countries preserve biodiversity, curb deforestation, and leapfrog the carbonenergy-intensive stage of development.
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.
Republican Party Platform
Issued September 1, 2008.
“Terrorism and Nuclear Proliferation,” p. 2
The attacks of September 11, 2001 were a pivot point in our national experience. They highlighted the failure of national policy to recognize and respond to the growth of a global terror network....
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.
“Promoting Human Rights and American Values,” p. 6
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. We salute the work of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom and urge special training in religious liberty issues for all U.S. diplomatic personnel.
To be successful international leaders, we must uphold international law, including the laws of war, and update them when necessary. Our moral standing requires that we respect what are essentially American principles of justice. In any war of ideas, our values will triumph.
State Department Reform
Advancing America’s values should be the core mission of every part of the federal government, including the Department of State. America’s diplomatic establishment must energetically represent our country’s agenda to the world. We propose a thorough reform of its structure to ensure that promotions and appointments are based on performance in supporting the nation’s agenda.
“Sovereign American Leadership in International Organizations,” p. 7
The United States 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.
At the United Nations, our country will pay a fair, but not disproportionate, share of dues, but we will never support a UN-imposed tax. The UN must reform its scandal-ridden and corrupt management and become more accountable and transparent in its operations and expenses.
… We assert the rights of families in all international programs and will not fund organizations involved in abortion. We strongly support the long-held policy of the Republican Party known as the “Mexico City policy,” which prohibits federal monies from being given to non-governmental organizations that provide abortions or actively promote abortion as a method of family planning in other countries. We reject any treaty or agreement that would violate those values. That includes the UN convention on women’s rights, signed in the last months of the Carter Administration, and the UN convention on the rights of the child. For several reasons, particularly our concern for US sovereignty and America’s long-term energy needs, we have deep reservations about the regulatory, legal, and tax regimes inherent in the Law of the Sea Treaty.
“Helping Others Abroad,” p. 8
… Further, we call for the development of a strategy for foreign assistance that serves our national interest. Specifically we call for a review and improvement of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 oriented toward: alignment of foreign assistance policies, operations, budgets and statutory authorities; development of a consensus on what needs to be done to strengthen the non-military tools to further our national security goals….
“Taiwan,” p. 10
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.
“China,” p. 10-11
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 subsi dies, 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.
“Addressing Climate Change Responsibly,” p. 35
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.