New American foreign policy needed for global rapprochement, says Richardson

Abdel-Rahman Hussein
4 Min Read

CAIRO: The next American president must implement a new foreign policy that will bridge the current gap between the US and its allies, Governor of New Mexico and potential Obama vice president candidate Bill Richardson said.

“To adapt to the new world, I propose what is called the new realism in our foreign policy, Richardson said, “an ethical, principled realism that harbors no allusions about the importance of a strong military in a dangerous world, but also understands the importance of diplomacy and multilateral cooperation.

Richardson was speaking in Cairo Monday night – giving a speech entitled “American Foreign Policy 2009 and Global Rapprochement – at an event organized by Egypt’s International Economic Forum.

“We need a new realism based on the understanding that what goes on inside other countries profoundly impacts us but that we can only influence, and not control what goes on inside other countries, he said.

Richardson identified five major trends which will have an impact on the entire world in the coming years, namely terrorism, which the Iraq invasion “only helped fuel. Other trends include the proliferation of nuclear weapons; the rise of China and India as economic and military powers – with the reemergence of Russia; globalization making economies more vulnerable; and finally, health, poverty and environmental issues.

“A new realism for the 21st century has to understand, [that] to solve our own problems, we need to work with other governments, other countries that respect and trust us, Richardson said, “Re-launching American leadership is going to require us to follow the ensuing principles . repair our alliances, respect our allies. The next president needs to make it clear through words and deeds that we value our alliances, we’re committed to strengthening them.

Though multilateral methods were preferable, in times where America must act alone, “we must not accuse our allies of disloyalty and cowardice. Diplomacy and military power are complementary sources of strength, he said.

“Diplomacy without power is weak but power without diplomacy is blind, Richardson added.

He also called for the closing of Guantanamo Bay detention camp and that America should never torture.

Richardson is one of the names mooted as a potential running mate for Democratic nominee Barack Obama. Richardson himself was a presidential candidate but pulled out seven primaries into the Democratic nomination.

“We have to engage our adversaries diplomatically, we have to talk to Iran, we have to talk to Syria, countries that today America is not talking to. When you talk, that doesn’t mean you give in, it may mean that you can state America’s stronger position, he said.

Richardson is currently serving his second term as New Mexico governor and has the auspicious record as never having won a vote without less than 60 percent of the electorate. He also served as Secretary of Energy as well as US Ambassador to the United Nations.

“I found that America around the world lost a lot of strength and prestige in the past few years. And our commitment to the Middle East peace and to countries like Egypt needs to be enhanced, he said.

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