Index

SLUG: 5-47391 New President, New foreign policy ? DATE: NOTE NUMBER:

DATE=11/15/2000

TYPE=BACKGROUND REPORT

TITLE=NEW PRESIDENT, NEW FOREIGN POLICY?

NUMBER=5-47391

BYLINE= Barbara Schoetzau

DATELINE= New York

CONTENT=

VOICED AT:

INTRO: Americans are both confused and intrigued by the questions and issues that have arisen over the uncertainty surrounding the U-S presidential election. But many observers outside of the United States are more concerned about how the next president be it Vice President Al Gore or Texas Governor George W. Bush will handle U-S foreign policy. Correspondent Barbara Schoetzau reports from V-O-A's New York Bureau.

TEXT: Every decision the U-S government makes sends ripples throughout the world, especially now that the United States is considered the world's lone superpower. So concerns about changing directions in U-S foreign policy are to be expected among allies, enemies and neutral observers.

Robert Jervis teaches international politics at Columbia University's Institute of War and Peace Studies. He says there is rarely an abrupt shift in foreign polices when U-S administrations change.

////JERVIS ACT ////

There usually is more difference in campaign rhetoric than when people are in office. Think (candidate) Bill Clinton on Bosnia. He says "We can't let this go on." He does let it go on. There is freedom of maneuver and room for initiative and leadership, but it is much more sharply circumscribed than candidates realize or are willing to admit.

///END ACT ///

Most observers suggest that a Republican Bush Administration would have a less activist foreign policy than a government headed by Democratic Vice President Al Gore.

During pre-election television debates, Governor Bush said he would be less inclined than the Clinton Administration to involve the United States, including its military, in nation-building situations. But Walter Russell Mead, a specialist in U-S foreign policy at the private Council on Foreign Relations, says the lines between nation-building, peacekeeping, and the U-S national interest are sometimes blurred.

//// MEAD ACT ////

Let's take Colombia. I do not think you would find the Bush Administration being less likely than the Clinton Administration to see important U-S national interests at risk in Colombia. It is very hard to think what our policy toward Colombia could be that does not, to some extent, involve a nation-building component. So they may be stuck in this to some degree whether they want to or not.

/// END ACT ///

Mr. Mead says, however, he thinks Mr. Gore would actually look for opportunities to further involve U-S policy in nation-building projects.

//// MEAD ACT ////

When you think about nation-building or humanitarian interventions, you have some cases that probably any U-S president would have to get involved in. You have some that no U-S president would get involved in. Then you have that gray area. My guess is that Gore might even be willing to venture farther into the gray area than Clinton has been.

//// END ACT ////

Columbia University Professor Jervis agrees that Mr. Gore would be more prone to use force in situations that did not involve vital U-S interests. But he says there is disagreement on the topic among Mr. Bush's advisors. General Colin Powell adamantly opposes the use of force abroad unless vital U-S interests are at stake. But Professor Jervis says other Bush foreign policy advisors, such as Richard Perl, are willing to consider foreign intervention in a wider range of circumstances.

The issue over which Mr. Bush and Mr. Gore disagree most sharply, according to Professor Jervis, is the creation of a national missile defense system.

//// JERVIS ACT ////

Bush has pledged to go ahead with a fairly thick (expansive) system. He has not talked about it a lot. In the end I doubt if he would do it because Congress is not going to pay the cost. This is absolutely astronomical.

/// END ACT ///

/// BEGIN OPT /// Foreign policy analyst Walter Russell Mead says Mr. Bush would be an activist in terms of building up the military and increasing military spending. But he also suggests Mr. Gore would stress military readiness.

//// MEAD ACT ////

I think though that Gore is a people use the phrase - humanitarian hawk, who wants to see the United States use its power to improve political conditions in other parts of the world. So I think you will see a tendency for a Gore Administration to want a muscular military so it can do muscular things.

/// END ACT - END OPT ////

The two foreign policy analysts agree that Mr. Gore would probably work more closely with multilateral groups. But Professor Jervis says Governor Bush would have a better chance of convincing recalcitrant conservative Republicans to support multilateral efforts, especially the United Nations. (Signed)

NEB/NYC/bjs/LSF/PT