Kaine: Focus foreign policy on economic strength

United States foreign policy could use an overhaul.

“With the close of the war in Iraq and the drawdown in Afghanistan, we need to be focused more on our international economic strength,” said U.S. Senate candidate Tim Kaine in an interview with AFP editor Chris Graham.

Graham had asked the former Virginia governor to think about the different thrusts of foreign policy over the past two-plus decades. Foreign policy in the 1990s was about free trade and consensus-building. The 2000s, defined by the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the U.S., were about the war on terror and military might.

What about the 2010s, Graham asked. Kaine responded first that the U.S. needs to pay more attention on the Western Hemisphere.

“Since about 2000 the United States has ignored policy from Canada to Tierra del Fuego, and what you see is China making huge investments in South America, and the United States not paying any attention. I think that’s a very dangerous thing. I think we need to have a more robust diplomacy north and south. Not just Europe, Middle East, India, China. We’ve got to be playing diplomacy north and south in our own hemisphere,” Kaine said.

To Kaine, the strength of United States policy in the international arena is about four things -military strength, economic strength, diplomatic strength, and the strength of our moral example.

“I felt like during the 2000s we projected military strength, but we let our moral example erode often, we were not economically strong because we were making decisions at home that were jacking up the deficit in unsustainable ways, and we didn’t do diplomacy very well,” Kaine said.

“We’re doing diplomacy better. We’re getting the right balance on our military strength. Our economy is coming back. Our moral example is coming back. But there’s a sort of next iteration of what our foreign policy is.”


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