2008 Presidential Election, Race and Racism
Professor Vernellia Randall
Speaking Truth to Power!

Section 7: International Affairs


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The NAACP 2008 Presidential Candidate Civil Rights Questionnaire



If elected President, what steps, if any, would you take to end the genocide in Darfur Sudan?
Senator Clinton:

Strong American leadership is needed now so that the government of Sudan understands that it can no longer carry out these atrocities with impunity.

We need to get an effective peacekeeping force on the ground as soon as possible. The Sudanese government continues to defy the United Nations and has blocked full deployment of a hybrid African Union-UN peacekeeping force in Darfur. Khartoum cannot continue to be allowed to dictate the terms of international engagement in Darfur.

We need to keep the pressure on Sudan. The United States must make it clear to China that we expect China to live up to its responsibilities and use its influence with Khartoum so that UN resolutions can be carried out. The United States needs to engage in intensive diplomacy instead of the ad hoc arrangement of a part-time envoy. NATO and the EU need to provide logistical support to ensure that African Union and UN peacekeepers can get where they need to go, and as soon as possible.

And we must hold Khartoum accountable for its actions. The world must be prepared to hold the Sudanese government accountable if it does not fulfill its obligations by being ready to implement multilateral sanctions and a no-fly zone if Sudan does not allow the peacekeeping mission to deploy.

When I am President, the United States will lead the world in acting to prevent and stop mass atrocities and crimes against humanity, including genocide.
Senator Obama:

The U.S. needs urgently to change the calculus in Khartoum and stop the genocide. Therefore, the Administration should immediately implement the oil sanctions it threatened last year and still failed to impose last May. I worked with Senator Sam Brownback (R-KS) on the Darfur Peace and Accountability Act, a version of which was signed into law, to impose targeted sanctions on the leading perpetrators of the genocide.

With our allies and our partners in Africa, we need to take immediate steps -- economic and military -- to let Khartoum know we will not tolerate continued genocide. These steps should include more effective sanctions by the U.S., the EU and the UNSC. We also need to establish a no-fly zone to protect civilians and increase pressure on Khartoum to halt the killing and consent to the robust international force.

In addition to taking immediate steps to protect civilians and end the genocide, the U.S. should step up its diplomatic efforts to negotiate a lasting peace among the Darfur rebel groups and the Sudanese Government.


If elected President, what actions, if any, would you take to improve the United States' relations with Cuba?
Senator Clinton:

When I am President we may well have an opportunity to make a broad review of our policy, but this is not a time for unilateral steps, such as lifting the embargo.

The Cuban people deserve freedom. Over the last quarter century we have seen an unprecedented movement toward democracy and respect for fundamental rights across much of the world. Cuba, unfortunately, has remained under one-party rule, under a regime and a leadership that is responsible for terrible human rights abuses and political oppression that has held back 11 million talented and hardworking citizens.

Before committing to wholesale or broad changes in our policy towards Cuba, I think we need to take stock of the changes that Cuba is undergoing. The changes that may be wrought from Fidel Castro's transfer of power to his brother remain ambiguous today. The future of Cuban leaders' policies on openness to democracy and human rights is no less murky. While I do not believe we should make any blanket changes to our policies, I have voted in favor of flexibility for people in the United States to be able to visit their immediate family members in Cuba for humanitarian reasons.
Senator Obama:

I understand that after nearly 50 years of failure, we must turn the page and begin to write a new chapter in U.S.-Cuba policy to help advance the cause of freedom and democracy in Cuba. To write this new chapter, I will keep U.S. national interests, and not partisan or electoral interests, at the forefront. I will strive to empower the Cuban people and aim to position the United States to help foster a stable and peaceful transition in Cuba to avoid potential disasters that could result in mass migration, internal violence, or the perpetuation of the Cuban dictatorship. A democratic opening in Cuba is, and should be, the foremost objective of our policy. I believe we need a clear strategy to achieve this objective -- one that takes some limited steps now to spread the message of freedom on the island, but preserves our ability to bargain on behalf of democracy with a post--Fidel government. As president, I will grant Cuban Americans unrestricted rights to visit family and send remittances to the island. I will also take steps to liberalize relations with Cuba now while holding back important incentives such as relaxation of the trade embargo and greater foreign aid so that we can encourage change in a post-Fidel government.


If elected President, what steps would you take to support developing nations struggling to improve their situation?
Senator Clinton:

I recently announced a plan to combat infectious diseases and poverty in developing nations. As part of my plan, I will provide complete debt cancellation for all Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) countries and will expand HIPC to include more than 20 additional poor countries that commit to using effectively the resources freed up from debt relief. And I am committed to increasing development assistance and making significant progress toward spending an additional one percent of our budget on foreign assistance.

I will also invest at least $50 billion to provide universal access to treatment,

prevention, and care for global HIV/AIDS by 2010. I will also provide $1 billion per year to address malaria in Africa, with the goal of stamping out malaria-related deaths in Africa by the end of my second term. I will ensure American leadership in providing free basic education for all children around the world and I will expand economic opportunities for women, like bringing microcredit programs into the global marketplace.

My plan builds on my long record of advocating for children and women around the world and working to reduce disease and poverty. As First Lady and Senator, I sought to increase funding for HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria programs; worked to raise awareness about the transformative power of microcredit programs; fought to expand education to all children; worked to improve access to essential health services; and advocated to expand recognition of human rights as women's rights, and women's rights as human rights.
Senator Obama:

The poorest countries in the world suffer under the weight of an enormous burden of external debt. Resources are flowing out of the least developed countries to creditors in the rich world, when these resources are desperately needed for health care, education, and infrastructure. We have seen that multilateral debt relief can be effective -- 30 countries have seen their debt stocks reduced by almost 90 percent --but more relief is needed. I want to see 100 percent debt cancellation for the world's heavily-indebted poor countries. I am committed to living up to the promise to fully fund debt cancellation for Heavily-Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC). My administration will also dedicate itself to preventing a future in which poor countries face pressing debt burdens again. I will press for reforms at the World Bank to ensure that poor countries receive grants rather than loans, and that countries have the resources they need to respond to the external shocks that threaten to derail economic progress. And as president, I will lead a multilateral effort to address the issue of "odious debt" by investigating ways in which "loan sanctions" might be employed to create disincentives for private creditors to lend money to repressive, authoritarian regimes.


If elected President, what steps would you take to address global disease and extreme poverty throughout the world?
Senator Clinton:

As President, I will continue my determined leadership to set bold goals for combating infectious diseases around the world - particularly malaria, tuberculosis, and HIV/AIDS. Many of the poorest nations on earth are suffering untenable health, economic, and social crises as a result of the rampant spread of these diseases. I believe we have a moral responsibility to work with our international partners and come to their aid.

Cost-effective, evidence-based techniques and proven programs are available to combat and control many of the health risks facing the developing world. We know what works. I believe it's time for America to lead.

When I am President, I will commit the United States to ending malaria-related deaths in Africa by the end of my second term and working to eradicate malaria around the world. I have pledged at least $50 billion to the fight against AIDS by the end of my first term. I will  implement a range of policies to address global HIV/AIDS, to provide support, education and adequate housing to orphaned children, and to champion women's rights.

I was the original sponsor of the Education For All Act in 2004 and I will ensure that the United States takes the lead in helping all children complete a free, quality basic education. Our commitment to programs that benefit children and women in developing countries, in particular, will pay great benefits in terms of global health and economic development.
Senator Obama:

As president, I will double our annual investments in foreign assistance to $50 billion by 2012 and ensure that these new resources are invested wisely with strong accountability measures and directed towards strategic goals. I will work to meet the UN Millennium Development Goals and will target new U.S. assistance to help the world's weakest states to build healthy and educated communities, reduce poverty, develop markets, and generate wealth. I will also increase U.S. commitments to fighting the global HIV/AIDS pandemic, as well as malaria and tuberculosis. The first priority should be to reauthorize the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) when it expires in 2008, but also to rewrite much of the bill to allow best practices - not ideology - to drive funding for HIV/AIDS programs. In that context, I will commit $50 billion over five years to strengthen the existing program and expand it to new regions of the world, including Southeast Asia, India, and parts of Europe, where the HIV/AIDS burden is growing. My administration will also increase U.S. contributions to the Global Fund to ensure that global efforts to fight endemic disease continue to move ahead.


If elected President, what steps, if any, would you take to promote increased trade and development with Africa and the Caribbean?
Senator Clinton:

I believe that trade should not just benefit the elites but should improve the lives of workers here and abroad. One of the problems with the way globalism has been managed is that insufficient attention has been paid to ensuring that the benefits and costs are fairly distributed. Part of that means that trade must help improve workers' rights and environmental standards around the world. Trade cannot simply be a way of making the rich richer. I view our trade preference agreements with African and Caribbean nations as important parts of our trade, economic, and development policies.
Senator Obama:

To achieve sustainable growth, Africa needs to participate fully in the global economy. Eliminating barriers to trade, enhancing regional integration and promoting American investment are essential to achieving high growth rates and broad scale development. To ensure that these goals are achieved, as president, I will seek to: expand the African Growth and Opportunity Act, which provides incentives for African countries to build free markets and eases them into the global trading community, and work to ensure that Africa's key exports gain greater access to the American market.


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