DNC Wrap-Up

September 13, 2012 By Zach Silberman

During their convention last week in Charlotte, Democrats took the opportunity to highlight their policies over the past four years pertaining to American global leadership.  Foreign policy was featured in many speeches and events, so we’ve pulled together some of the key quotes throughout the convention below.


Key Foreign Policy Events

The USGLC co-hosted a panel discussion with the National Democratic Institute on Thursday featuring key Democratic policymakers and campaign surrogates.  The panel included former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright (co-chair of USGLC’s Impact 2012 campaign), Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) who chairs the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, former Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Michele Flournoy, former Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg, and former U.S. Ambassador to India Tim Roemer. Moderated by author and journalist Richard Wolffe, the panel highlighted the importance of utilizing “smart power” in American development and diplomacy programs.  Prior to the panel, White House Chief of Staff Jack Lew addressed the audience and highlighted President Obama’s commitment to development and diplomacy programs.  In addition, NDI hosted a panel on global poverty that included former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-SD).  Key Quotes:

Jack Lew

“In a changing and challenging international environment, we have to harness the full range of American power, not just our military— but our diplomatic, economic, development power, and the power of our values. As the President states in his National Security Strategy, ‘we must balance and integrate all elements of American power,’ to include modernizing our diplomatic and development capabilities.”

“The international affairs account may be only one percent of the budget. But President Obama believes that it’s one of the smartest investments we can make. Investments in the dignity, security and prosperity of our fellow human beings today yield huge dividends for our collective security and prosperity tomorrow. It’s not just the right thing to do, it’s the smart thing to do.”

“We’re harnessing our economic power—finalizing trade pacts with Colombia, Panama and South Korea to increase U.S exports; expanding trade with emerging powers from Brazil to India to Indonesia; working to open new markets to American businesses; increasing exchanges and collaborations in science and technology; and pursuing a high-standard trade pact in the Pacific that could be a model for the world.”

Secretary Madeleine Albright

“One of the things I have been pushing is in fact the importance of development and democracy because democracy has to deliver and people want to vote and eat.”

Michele Flournoy

“I really do think that this administration has really tried to operationalize the notion of smart power not only in post conflict situation but also in pre conflict situation. Trying to prevent conflict in the first place and obviously diplomacy and development are the biggest elements of that…It’s a very powerful way to engage these countries and help them adapt their own institution to be fully supportive of democracy as they go forward.”

“I also think he [the president] understands as Jack Lew said not only the moral code but the strategic economic imperative of development and our support for development and it’s such a small portion of what we spend with such disproportion strategy effects. But I think there be strong supportive administration to protecting that.”

Sen. Tom Daschle

“There has been a titanic shift in civilization…Going from isolation to inter-relation to integration.”

Ambassador Tim Roemer

“So you have development partnerships, you have military partnerships, you have smart power partnerships around the world that I think that the president and Secretary Clinton have done masterful job in trying to balance the use of these powers and the challenges that’s coming in America and the world over the last several years.”

James Steinberg

“One of the highlights of what President Obama and Secretary Clinton have tried to do is to really rethink the way we do diplomacy and development.”

“The partnership that had been developing between the Pentagon, the State Department and the AID I think is unprecedented in recognizing that all these groups have to work together; that they each have a role to play, but that they work better if they’re integrated from the beginning in the planning as well as the execution.”

“So we’re seeing a change in the way the State Department does business. Institutional change bringing together more of the operational parts. Bringing together development with democracy with human rights with other aspects how we deploy forward and so how we can plan better to continue to be ready to go as these crises develop if they are unanticipated and can anticipate for prevention, but obviously we need resources to do that.”

DNC Convention Speeches

President Barack Obama: In his acceptance remarks, President Obama highlighted his achievements on free trade and America’s role as a global leader.

Key Quotes:

“I’ve signed trade agreements that are helping our companies sell more goods to millions of new customers – goods that are stamped with three proud words: Made in America.”

“Around the world, we’ve strengthened old alliances and forged new coalitions to stop the spread of nuclear weapons. We’ve reasserted our power across the Pacific and stood up to China on behalf of our workers. From Burma to Libya to South Sudan, we have advanced the rights and dignity of all human beings – men and women; Christians and Muslims and Jews.”

“But for all the progress we’ve made, challenges remain. Terrorist plots must be disrupted. Europe’s crisis must be contained. Our commitment to Israel’s security must not waver, and neither must our pursuit of peace. The Iranian government must face a world that stays united against its nuclear ambitions. The historic change sweeping across the Arab World must be defined not by the iron fist of a dictator or the hate of extremists, but by the hopes and aspirations of ordinary people who are reaching for the same rights that we celebrate today.”

Vice President Joe Biden: Vice President Biden’s speech was a defense of the president and his policies. His speech focused primarily on domestic issues, but he did emphasize the importance of America’s leadership in the next four years and discussed the drawdowns in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Key Quotes:

“We see a future where America leads not only by the example of our power, but by the power of our example. Where we bring our troops home from Afghanistan, just as we brought them home from Iraq.”

President Bill Clinton: President Clinton used his remarks to defend President Obama’s record on national security. President Clinton also highlighted his own bipartisan working relationships with Presidents George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush, particularly in humanitarian relief projects.

Key Quotes:

“I am grateful to President George W. Bush for PEPFAR, which is saving the lives of millions of people in poor countries and to both Presidents Bush for the work we’ve done together after the South Asia tsunami, Hurricane Katrina and the Haitian earthquake.”

“I’m so proud of her (Secretary Clinton) and grateful to our entire national security team for all they’ve done to make us safer and stronger and to build a world with more partners and fewer enemies.”

“President Obama’s record on national security is a tribute to his strength, and judgment, and to his preference for inclusion and partnership over partisanship.”

John Kerry: Senator Kerry’s speech focused mostly on foreign policy as he emphasized differences between Governor Romney and President Obama on these issues.  In particular, Senator Kerry highlighted President Obama’s efforts to show that American global leadership is important to its strategic interests.

Key Quotes:

“We break out of the Great Depression, win two world wars, save lives fighting AIDS, pull people out of poverty, defend freedom, go to the moon—and produce exceptional people who even give their lives for civil rights and human rights.”

“This president understands that our values do not limit our power—they magnify it. He showed that global leadership is a strategic imperative for America, not a favor we do for other countries.”

“Barack Obama: a president who is giving new life and truth to America’s indispensable role in the world; a commander-in-chief who gives our troops the tools and training they need in war, the honor and help they’ve earned when they come home; a man who will never ask other men and women to fight a war without a plan to win the peace.”