This is a partial transcript of The Big Story With John Gibson, July 28, 2004, that has been edited for clarity.
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JOHN GIBSON, HOST: John Kerry formally accepts his party's presidential nomination tomorrow. There's still plenty of convention left to go. So let's talk about it with former Colorado Senator Gary Hart, who joins me from Boston.
Senator, John Kerry is expected tomorrow to link America's dependence on foreign oil with national security problems, terrorism, and say that he really wants to break that link; make us independent from foreign oil. If he's serious about that do you think he has to go against the environmentalists in his party and suggest we open up drilling in ANWR (search)?
GARY HART, FORMER SENATOR, COLORADO: I don't think so. I think that's the last resort. Oddly enough, when I was a candidate many years ago, one of the themes of my campaign was energy security. I said at the time if we continue to import more than 50 percent of our oil from abroad, and particularly the Persian Gulf (search), then we should be prepared to fight for it, because we have to.
Since then we have fought two wars in that region and it will continue on so long as we continue to rely on that oil. So, it isn't in the national security interests of the United States to continue that pattern. We're basically trading young American lives for a wasteful energy policy. And I don't think we need to destroy the wilderness in this country to get the kind of security that the American people deserve.
GIBSON: But Senator, not to belabor this point, you know if you use modern oil technology in this country, environmental laws will apply, environmental standards will be held up, whereas if you leave this country and just go out into the world, of virtually no environmental standards are applied, wouldn't it be better to drill for it here?
HART: Only if you have to but I don't buy the tradeoff, that's what I'm arguing. You start with conservation; there is a possibility to put an energy budget together based on conservation, renewables, alternate energy supplies and other approaches and domestic production. By the way, there are a lot of substantial proven reserves that are not being drilled here because it's cheaper for the oil companies to lift oil in the Persian Gulf.
The fact of the matter is that we can reverse that by national policy without destroying the environment. That is not the tradeoff.
GIBSON: The senator also talks about reestablishing America's respect in the world and essentially getting back together with our friends in Western Europe. Does that mean that he will sign up for the global warming treaty, Kyoto, that he would sign up for the International Criminal Court (search), that he would re-embrace the ABM Treaty and the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty? Breaking those treaties is what's made the Europeans so mad at President Bush.
HART: No. Well, first of all, what made them angry at President Bush was the preemptive, or preventative war, in Iraq which they did not think was necessary. He also struck out on a unilateralist approach to foreign policy well before that unnecessarily.
I'm not clear and I've never heard his justification for doing that. I don't know that he ever explained to the American people why we should abandon 20th century alliances that enabled us to win World War I, World War II and the Cold War, in order to pursue some sort of unilateralist policy that's not in our interest.
The great issues of the 21st century all require cooperation. That's terrorism, and we have shattered that base of support that we had; failed states; control of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction; epidemics including AIDS; the list goes on. Global warming is one. And all of those require international cooperation. I don't know why President Bush is so much against it. His father was not.
GIBSON: Well, Senator, you know, the president abandoned those treaties, or walked away from those treaties, before there was an Iraq. Western Europe was already mad at him even before the Iraq war. And they're already saying now about Senator Kerry, "Look, yes, we want to get rid of Bush. We don't like Bush and we want the American people to fire him." But they're saying to each other, "Don't hold out too much hope with Senator John Kerry: he's not going to back off on support for Israel and he's not going to give the U.N. a veto over American defense."
So how much can he really do that's much different?
HART: The Europeans that I've talked to, and I've talked to a lot of them, continue to travel there quite often; have never insisted that they dictate policy for the United States, or that they should never support or cooperate with a leader if he did not do everything they wanted him to do. That's not been the way that alliance has worked; it's been collaborative and cooperative and diplomatic.
And John Kerry being an internationalist all his life has simply said he will restore those alliances, and based on negotiations and diplomacy, do what's right for America and the world. It's not either/or.
GIBSON: Senator Gary Hart from Boston. Thanks very much, Senator, for joining us and enjoy the rest of the convention. We'll talk to you later.
HART: My pleasure. Thank you.
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