Transcript: Where Does Kerry Stand on Foreign Policy?

This is a partial transcript of The Big Story With John Gibson, March 17, 2004, that has been edited for clarity.


JOHN KERRY: We are still bogged down in Iraq. And the administration stubbornly holds the failed unilateral policies that drive potential, significant, important, long-standing allies away from us.


JOHN GIBSON, HOST: Senator John Kerry (search) attacking the White House policy in Iraq and make it clear that if elected, he would do things differently. Different but how?

Jamie Rubin (search) was the spokesman for the State Department (search) during the Clinton administration. He is now a senior adviser to the Kerry campaign. Today's big question, Jamie, what specifically does John Kerry stand for in foreign policy?

JAMIE RUBIN, SPOKESMAN, STATE DEPARTMENT: I think what he stands for is working with our allies, stands for the kind of policies that go back to Franklin Roosevelt (search), to the time after World War II of Harry Truman (search) when we developed the NATO alliance, when we developed the United Nations, when we worked with the rest of the world to deal with problems, to deal with them successfully, but we didn't find ourselves alone, virtually alone in Iraq the way we do today.

GIBSON: But, Jamie, you are a foreign policy professional, and you have had long experience with this, and you know that the reason there was a Western alliance was the Soviet Union. All of those countries were worried about a Soviet invasion, and they looked to the United States for protection. That's gone. They don't have the same interest as us anymore. I mean, how would John Kerry get Gerhard Schroeder (search), who ran for re-election on an anti-American campaign — how would he have gotten Schroeder on board? How would he get Chirac on board who evidently was hoping Saddam would become France's Saudi Arabia? His interests were just opposed to the United States.

RUBIN: Well, let me make two points. Number one, after the end of the Cold War, the first Gulf War, there was a real coalition, President Bush's father put it together. After the Cold War, there was an operation in the Balkans in Kosovo and Bosnia. All of the NATO allies worked with us on that.

GIBSON: But they wouldn't have ...

RUBIN: And in Afghanistan we had all the world working with us.

GIBSON: Kosovo never would have happened if it had to go through the U.N. The U.N. was not going to approve it. We were not going to have allies there.

RUBIN: Right, but Senator Kerry isn't saying we should only do something that goes through the U.N. He made it very clear that he is not going to give any institution like the U.N. a veto. What he did say and what has proven to be true is that by rushing into Iraq without a realistic post-war plan for how to deal with this terrible situation, the kind of situation we've seen today, without getting our allies together, we would find ourselves bearing 80 percent to 90 percent of the burden, our soldiers, our taxpayers bearing too much of the burden.

GIBSON: But you honestly believe and does Senator Kerry honestly believe that any delay in this war in removing Saddam Hussein would have brought the French on board or the Germans or for that fatter, the Belgians or the Canadians, any of the people who most prominently refused to go along?

RUBIN: Well, absolutely. I think it's perfectly clear from a number of books that have come out that had we been prepared to wait just a couple more months, we could have had a majority of the Security Council. Then maybe France and Russia would be isolated. They would have been on the minority side, the losing end of the stick. We might not have gotten the whole Security Council. By waiting a couple of months we probably...

GIBSON: I take you it you don't subscribe to the theory that what France was trying to do was actually delay it those few months, to get into the presidential election system so — period, so that it would be impossible for Bush to conduct this war?

RUBIN: Well, I don't know what the French had in mind. What I do know is that President Bush did not go through the patient, careful construction of an international coalition that we should have expected before launching this war. There was claims that this was so urgent that it was such a grave and gathering danger that we couldn't wait a couple of more months, and that has been proven to be wrong.

GIBSON: Jamie Rubin, thanks for coming in. Appreciate it.

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