clear Back to focus index
clear CIAO Focus, October 2004: The U.S. Candidates and Foreign Policy
clear clear
President Bush and his rival Sen. John Kerry encapsulated many of their foreign policy positions and national security concerns in the elections debate of September 30th. Although many of their stances sounded alike, several key differences are worth noting. On nuclear weapons, both candidates agreed that nuclear proliferation was the most important issue of the next four years. However, President Bush wants to develop a range of new nuclear weapons — including bunker busters — whereas Kerry has stated that he will end such programs. Both candidates support nuclear power and both support research into renewable energy, though President Bush is the more enthusiastic supporter of nuclear power. Ballistic missile defense is a priority for the Bush administration. In tshe past, Kerry has suggested that he would support further research while postponing an early roll-out of the technology. While President Bush withdrew the United States from the Kyoto Protocol, suggesting that global climate is an issue of "considerable uncertainty," Senator Kerry has stated that climate change is "the biggest threat since the Cold War." President Bush suggested that he will continue to pursue six-way talks with North Korea, putting pressure on China to help solve the situation, whereas Senator Kerry declared that he would enter into bilateral discussions with North Korea. Senator Kerry is widely seen as a proponent of multilateral and international institutions, while President Bush has often sought to reduce American reliance on such bodies as the United Nations. On Iraq, Kerry accused Bush of a "colossal error of judgment" while the president defended his decision to order the invasion of Iraq.

This month CIAO focuses on the foreign and energy policies of the candidates.

From CIAO's database:

Report on First 2004 Presidential Debate

Presidential Debates: Forty Years of High-Risk TV

Bush and Kerry: Questions About Governing Styles

US Foreign Policy Agenda: Volume 9, Number 2, June 2004

U.S. Post-Sept. 11 Arms Trade Policy

Outside Links*:

First Choice 2004, from Public Agenda

Views from Abroad, Council on Foreign Relations

Foreign Policy Attitudes Now Driven by 9/11 and Iraq, Pew Research Center for People and the Press

Science Policy Views, from

Republican and Democratic Foreign Policy Platforms, U.S. Department of State

Debate Transcripts, Commission on Presidential Debates

* Outside links are not maintained. For broken outside links, CIAO recommends the Way Back Machine [].