Examining the Democratic Platform Part V: “Revitalizing and Supporting the Military, Keeping Faith with Veterans” and “Working for Our Common Security”

This is continued from Parts I-IV of my examination of the Democratic Platform. To make up for not having an examination yesterday or even shortly after midnight, I guaran-damn-tee two examinations today and maybe even three. So naturally I’m getting a late start with this one…

“Revitalizing and Supporting the Military, Keeping Faith with Veterans”: Well, if it wasn’t obvious before, this section makes it blatantly obvious that the Democrats are not the party of pacifism, especially the Orwellian sentiment that “A strong military is, more than anything, necessary to sustain peace.”

Ending the war in Iraq will be the beginning, but not the end, of addressing our defense challenges. We will use this moment both to rebuild our military and to prepare it for the missions of the future. We must retain the capacity to swiftly defeat any conventional threat to our country and our vital interests. But we must also become better prepared to take on foes that fight asymmetrical and highly adaptive campaigns on a global scale.

We will not hesitate to use force to protect the American people or our vital interests whenever we are attacked or imminently threatened. But we will use our armed forces wisely, with others when we can, unilaterally when we must. When we send our men and women into harm’s way, we must clearly define the mission, listen to the advice of our military commanders, objectively evaluate intelligence, and ensure that our troops have the strategy, resources, and support they need to prevail.

We believe we must also be willing to consider using military force in circumstances beyond self-defense in order to provide for the common security that underpins global stability–to support friends, participate in stability and reconstruction operations, or confront mass atrocities. But when we do use force in situations other than self-defense, we should make every effort to garner the clear support and participation of others. The consequences of forgetting that lesson in the context of the current conflict in Iraq have been grave.

“Unilaterally if we must”? “We must also be willing to consider using military force in circumstances beyond self-defense”? Read those two things and you might think there really is no difference between Democrats and Republicans! But both have caveats attached to them: we should always have allies whenever possible, we should make clear exactly what we intend to do, and pay attention to the information we’re given. Common sense stuff; maybe the part about allies isn’t common sense but it’s wise anyway.

“Expand the Armed Forces”: Army +65k, Marines +25k, which “help[s] units retrain and re-equip properly between deployments and decrease[s] the strain on military families.” Decreases the strain on military families?!? At least they didn’t earlier claim we already had “the best-manned…military in the world” in the introduction to the section like the GOP.

“Recruit and Retain”:

A nation of 300 million people should not struggle to find additional qualified personnel to serve. Recruitment and retention problems have been swept under the rug, including by applying inconsistent standards and using the “Stop Loss” program to keep our servicemen and women in the force after their enlistment has expired. We will reach out to youth, as well as to the parents, teachers, coaches, and community and religious leaders who influence them, and make it an imperative to restore the ethic of public service, whether it be serving their local communities in such roles as teachers or first responders, or serving in the military and reserve forces or diplomatic corps that keep our nation free and safe.

The Republicans only talk about “retention of combat veterans” and pretty much slide past the issue of recruitment, though they do address it indirectly. The Democrats also sort of slide past the issue of recruitment by going from that to general community service. But all in all, an agreeable sentiment.

“Rebuild the Military for 21st-Century Tasks”:

We will rebuild our armed forces to meet the full spectrum needs of the new century. We will strongly support efforts to: build up our special operations forces, civil affairs, information operations, engineers, foreign area officers, and other units and capabilities that remain in chronic short supply; invest in foreign language training, cultural awareness, human intelligence, and other needed counter-insurgency and stabilization skill sets; and create a specialized military advisor corps, which will enable us to better build up local allies’ capacities to take on mutual threats. We also will ensure that military personnel have sufficient training time before they are sent into battle. This is not the case at the moment, when American forces are being rushed to Iraq and Afghanistan, often with less individual and unit training than is required.

All those seem to be reasonable, if potentially expensive, goals. Although weren’t “advisors” how we first started slipping into Vietnam?

“Develop Civilian Capacity to Promote Global Stability and Improve Emergency Response”:

We will build the capacity of U.S. civilian agencies to deploy personnel and area experts where they are needed, so that we no longer have to ask our men and women in uniform to perform non-military functions. The creation of a volunteer Civilian Assistance Corps of skilled experts (e.g., doctors, lawyers, engineers, city planners, agriculture specialists, police) who are pre-trained and willing to aid in emergencies will involve more Americans in public service and provide our nation with a pool of talent to assist America in times of need at home and abroad.

Sounds reasonable; jobs should be done by the people best suited to do them. And I’m pretty sure the Republicans don’t even acknowledge this issue. But this suggests we might be doing more “nation-building” in the future… Not addressed in the Democrats’ improvements in our military, at least so far: medical care for “injured military personnel”, speeding along the process of National Guardsmen’s return to civilian jobs, women in the military, and military culture. If you’re thinking “damn, the Democrats are secretly kind of heartless”, they may be sliding together care for veterans and care for the active military in the next section or two.

“Do Right by Our Veterans and Their Families”: “We believe that every servicemember is a hero who deserves our respect and gratitude, not just on Veterans Day or Memorial Day, but every day. When they put on their uniforms, these servicemembers all become all of our daughters and all of our sons, and it is time we started treating them as such.” The Democrats then take the opportunity to take yet another shot at the Bush administration for the events at Walter Reed and “growing numbers of homeless and unemployed veterans”.

“We will build a 21st century Department of Veterans Affairs that reflects the reality of America’s all volunteer military and has the resources, without returning every year to fight the same battles, to uphold America’s sacred trust with our veterans.” Sounds good, but too vague for me to really consider whether the Republicans are thinking about the same thing. “We will make sure that members of our Armed Forces have a fair shot at the American Dream by implementing the new GI Bill.” Gah, even the Democrats talk about “our Armed Forces”! The Republicans liked the GI Bill as well and wanted to “build” on it. “We will ensure that every veteran has access to quality health care for injuries both physical and mental, and we will require that health professionals screen all servicemembers upon their return from combat.” The Republicans did not specifically reference the latter in their platform, but did come close; they did pretty much copy this sentence into a paragraph.

“We will aggressively address Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Traumatic Brain Injury.” The Republicans did talk about “an unprecedented incidence of traumatic brain injury, which calls for a new commitment of resources and personnel for its care and treatment”, without the obnoxious capitals, but did not directly reference PTSD. “We will work to ensure that every veteran receives the benefits he or she has earned and the assistance he or she needs by making the disability benefits process more fair, efficient, and equitable.” The Republicans wanted the VA to “eliminat[e] its disability backlog and reduc[e] waiting times for treatment”, and that its “current disability compensation formulas need to be restructured and modernized”, but those are the only references to “disabilities” in my Part I. Everything’s too vague for me to properly assess. But the Democrats would also “dramatically reduce the backlog of disability claims”, indicating they would do it themselves instead of palming it off on the VA (bad! Government meddling!), or alternately, would actually get it done instead of saying “the VA must” do it, although for all I know the Republicans would have an actual plan to get something done. So why isn’t it getting done?

“We will combat homelessness, unemployment, and underemployment among veterans and improve the transition for servicemen between the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs.” The former is good and pretty much something the Republicans said; the latter is good, and not a Republican topic, but short on details on why it’s necessary. “We will continue to honor our promises to all veterans, including the Filipino veterans, especially with regards to citizenship and family reunification.” Well, that’s out of left field; I wonder if the Republicans would object to the “citizenship” line.

“Lift Burdens on Our Troops and Their Families”: “We must better support those families of whom we are asking so much. We will create a Military Families Advisory Board to help identify and develop practical policies to ease the burden on spouses and families.” Sounds gimmicky but reasonable. “We will protect our military families from losing their homes to foreclosure. We will work for pay parity so that compensation for military service is more in line with that of the private sector.” Both of those sound reasonable, again. “We will end the stop-loss and reserve recall policies that allow an individual to be forced to remain on active duty well after his or her enlistment has expired, and we will establish regularity in deployments so that active duty and reserve troops know what they must expect and their families can plan for it.” Sounds good for soldiers and their families, but how does it affect our men and women in the field and how they do? The Republicans basically devoted a sentence to this.

“Support the Readiness of the Guard and Reserve”: “Democrats will provide the National Guard with the equipment it needs for foreign and domestic emergencies and provide time and support to restore and refit between deployments.” Sounds reasonable, and should help our men in the field.

We will also ensure that reservists and Guard members are treated fairly when it comes to employment, health, education benefits, deployment, and reintegration. We will do this by adequately funding reintegration programs to assist returning service members and by enforcing the Service Members Civil Relief Act and the Uniformed Service Employment Rights and Readjustment Act, laws too often observed in the breach today.

The above is important because reintegration is the main thing the Republicans focused on in their discussion of the Guard and Reserves. The Republicans, however, “call[ed] for greater transition assistance from employers” but the Democrats are doing something about it. Of course, they’re spending a lot of money in the process, which is typical. “To ensure that the concerns of our citizen soldiers reach the level they mandate, Democrats will elevate the Chief of the National Guard to be a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.” That’s a good idea, especially if the Guard is being sent to Iraq.

“Allow All Americans to Serve”:

We will also put national security above divisive politics. More than 12,500 service men and women have been discharged on the basis of sexual orientation since the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy was implemented, at a cost of over $360 million. Many of those forced out had special skills in high demand, such as translators, engineers, and pilots. At a time when the military is having a tough time recruiting and retaining troops, it is wrong to deny our country the service of brave, qualified people. We support the repeal of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” and the implementation of policies to allow qualified men and women to serve openly regardless of sexual orientation

This is a big difference between Democrats and Republicans. Recall that the Republicans declared that “[e]sprit and cohesion are necessary for military effectiveness and success on the battlefield. …we affirm…the benefits of traditional military culture, and the incompatibility of homosexuality with military service.” Democrats say if you keep out the gays, you’re keeping out what could be valuable skills and reducing the military’s manpower when it’s needed most. Republicans say that “homosexuality” is “incompatib[le]” “with military service” and would destroy “traditional military culture”. Which is a bigger loss, the loss of the “necessary” “[e]spirit and cohesion”, or the loss of the raw manpower and skills? Which is more important, camaraderie among the men or more of them? I don’t know. I just don’t know. (But if you put a gun to my head, I’d go for the raw manpower and skills, but then again I’m a hardcore loner.)

“Reform Contracting Practices and Make Contractors Accountable”: “We believe taxpayer dollars should be spent to invest in our fighting men and women, not to fatten the pockets of private companies. We will instruct the Defense and State Departments to develop a strategy for determining when contracting makes sense, and when certain functions are “inherently governmental” and should not be contracted out.” Hopefully they won’t be biased in either direction, and are there cases of “inherently governmental” jobs that are being contracted out? Would government doing those jobs have resulted in waste? “We will establish the legal status of contractor personnel, making possible prosecution of any abuses committed by private military contractors, and create a system of improved oversight and management, so that government can restore honesty, openness, and efficiency to contracting and procurement.” So Democrats would crack down on shoddy contracting jobs and make sure contractors actually do the job they were hired for, and institute other systems to prevent future abuses, but don’t call for an end to no-bid contracts as directly as Republicans. And this issue gets the same paragraph the Republicans gave it.

“Working for Our Common Security”:

To renew American leadership in the world, we will rebuild the alliances, partnerships, and institutions necessary to confront common threats and enhance common security. Needed reform of these alliances and institutions will not come by bullying other countries to ratify American demands. It will come when we convince other governments and peoples that they too have a stake in effective partnerships. It is only leadership if others join America in working toward our common security.

Makes sense as stated, if possibly distorting of the Republican position. It’s not worth it to have an alliance that says “do what we say or we go ‘regime change’ all over your ass”. That’s not an alliance, that’s a vassal. All this sounds like a good idea, and it’s telling that “alliance” occurs only once in my Republican first two parts. The devil, as they say, is in the details. The Democrats promptly take a shot at Bush (“Too often, in recent years, we have sent the opposite signal to our international partners”) and list some examples of Bush ignorance of the rest of the world: European opposition to the War in Iraq and leadership on climate change; “belittl[ing] South Korean efforts to improve relations with the North” (?), failing to confront the problems of Latin America, and standing idly by while genocide broke out in Darfur.

“Support Africa’s Democratic Development”: While the Republicans started their discussion of Africa by listing the well-known problems and tooting their own horn, the Democrats start things out by reflecting on Africa’s place in the world economy. “We recognize Africa’s promise as a trade and investment partner and the importance of policies that can contribute to sustainable economic growth, job creation, and poverty alleviation. We are committed to bringing the full weight of American leadership to bear in unlocking the spirit of entrepreneurship and economic independence that is sweeping across markets of Africa.” If it’s already “sweeping across markets of Africa”, hasn’t it already been unlocked? Other than that, that’s an incredibly important point.

“We believe that sustainable economic growth and development will mitigate and even help to reverse such chronic and debilitating challenges as poverty, hunger, conflict, and HIV/AIDS. We are committed to bringing the full weight of American leadership to bear to work in partnership with Africa to confront these crises.” A good, compassionate point. (Of course some might argue, “It doesn’t affect me.”) “We will work with the United Nations and Africa’s regional organizations to prevent and resolve conflict and to build the capacity of Africa’s weak and failing states. We must respond effectively when there is a humanitarian crisis–particularly at this moment in Sudan where genocide persists in Darfur and the Comprehensive Peace Agreement is threatened.” Sounds like a good approach, although I hope you’re also willing to work with the actual sides in any conflict, and if a state is structurally deficient do you really want to prop it up? Although then the alternative would be barging in and instituting regime change… and how did the Clinton administration deal with the genocide in Rwanda, eh? How would you rather government “respond effectively [to] a humanitarian crisis”?

(Fun fact: I was alive at the time, and still didn’t hear about the Rwanda genocide in a way that made me remember it until I did a research project on the country in middle school.)

Many African countries have embraced democratization and economic liberalization. We will help strengthen Africa’s democratic development and respect for human rights, while encouraging political and economic reforms that result in improved transparency and accountability. We will defend democracy and stand up for rule of law when it is under assault, such as in Zimbabwe.

Ah, so finally the Democrats mention the “rule of law”! You’re basically stating a lot of goals without saying a lot about how you would achieve those goals. Republicans just devoted a sentence to expanding trade with Africa, and that was the extent of their coverage outside Darfur and Zimbabwe. Republicans actually specified they wanted sanctions and pillars of democracy to be reinstated instead of just name-dropping the situation. The Democrats actually want to work things out with other African nations to get them involved in Darfur instead of just demanding it, though.

“Recommit to an Alliance of the Americas”: What? What is it?! Is it NAFTA II?! Is it an American Union?!? “We believe that in the 21st century, the U.S. must treat Latin America and the Caribbean as full partners, just as our neighbors to the south should reject the bombast of authoritarian bullies.” Wow, them’s fighting words! The Democrats blandly call for building on our bond with Canada. “An alliance of the Americas will only succeed if it is founded on the bedrock of mutual respect and works to advance democracy, opportunity, and security from the bottom-up.” I still don’t know what this “alliance of the Americas” is, but those sound like worthy goals independent of how they are to be achieved.

“We must work with close partners like Mexico, Brazil, and Colombia on issues like ending the drug trade, fighting poverty and inequality, and immigration.” Fairly bland, get-done-with-it-and-move-on sentence. Those seem to be worthy goals though, but by “immigration”, do you mean strictly illegal immigration? Are you talking about lowering the need for immigration or are you just saying “help us keep the brownies out”? Certainly not as much of a focus as the Republicans on “narco-terrorism”. “We must work with the Caribbean community to help restore stability and the rule of law to Haiti, to improve the lives of its people, and to strengthen its democracy.” Sounds like a good idea, and not touched on at all by the Republicans.

“And we must build ties to the people of Cuba and help advance their liberty by allowing unlimited family visits and remittances to the island, while presenting the Cuban regime with a clear choice: if it takes significant steps toward democracy, beginning with the unconditional release of all political prisoners, we will be prepared to take steps to begin normalizing relations.” The Republican approach to Cuba was to call on the other nations in the region to “lay[] the groundwork for a democratic Cuba”, “restrictions on trade with, and travel to, Cuba as a measure of solidarity with the political prisoners and all the oppressed Cuban people”, transmitting American propaganda into Cuba, the gimmicky “Commission for Assistance to a Free Cuba”, and helping more Cuban refugees into the US. Most of these aren’t really touched on in this sentence by the Democrats, but introducing more Cuban refugees into the US is probably the only part that’s both uncontroversial and substantial.

Republicans want to maintain restrictions on trade and travel to show we’re sticking up for the people of Cuba; Democrats think allowing such travel will “help advance their liberty” and “build ties” and is only using “normaliz[ed] relations” as the carrot on the stick to drag Cuba into democracy and releasing political prisoners. It seems like that’s not enough of a carrot to drag Cuba in, unless there’s a virtual embargo on trade that isn’t travelling in and out but that almost seems to be a loophole. And it’s possible that the current confrontational approach is retarding progress to a Democratic Cuba – isn’t most of the Republican plan what we’ve been doing for the past 50 years? But I’d need to know what’s the base of the Castro government’s power and what the Cuban economy runs on to make a firm decision one way or the other as to what’s the best strategy…

“Lead in Asia”: We need to maintain our relationships with nations with which we have them, and build relationships with “vital democratic partners, like India” to help build “a stable and prosperous Asia”. “We must also forge a more effective framework in Asia that goes beyond bilateral agreements, occasional summits, and ad hoc diplomatic arrangements.” Good idea, but hopefully it’s one that doesn’t amount to the US lording over Asia. “We need an open and inclusive infrastructure with the countries in Asia that can promote stability, prosperity, and human rights, and help confront transnational threats, from terrorist cells in the Philippines to avian flu in Indonesia.” Those sound like good goals.

We will encourage China to play a responsible role as a growing power–to help lead in addressing the common problems of the 21st century. We are committed to a “One China” policy and the Taiwan Relations Act, and will continue to support a peaceful resolution of cross-Straits issues that is consistent with the wishes and best interests of the people of Taiwan.

A “One China” policy is inherently pro-PRC, because there is no way the government in exile in Taiwan is going to ever become the government in charge of all of China, so that might contradict being committed as well to “the wishes and best interests of the people of Taiwan”. The Republicans also supported the Taiwan Relations Act and that “all issues regarding the island’s future must…be acceptable to the people of Taiwan.” The Democrats have no call to prevent unilateral steps to shake up the status quo, or pledge of support to Taiwan in defense or as an ally (other than the TRA). Is that a good thing or a bad thing?

It’s time to engage China on common interests like climate change, trade, and energy, even as we continue to encourage its shift to a more open society and a market-based economy, and promote greater respect for human rights, including freedom of speech, press, assembly, religion, uncensored use of the internet, and Chinese workers’ right to freedom of association, as well as the rights of Tibetans.

Good things to support but (unlike the Republicans) short on specifics. “Chinese workers’ right to freedom of association” sounds like a shout-out to unions. Nothing here on Burma or anything more than a name-drop of Japan. The Democrats do want to keep the military junta in Burma under control and/or bring it towards democracy, right?

“Strengthen Transatlantic Relations”: “We support the historic project to build a strong European Union that can be an even stronger partner for the United States.” Hopefully not in a way that threatens the sovereignty of EU members. NATO has done a good job of turning into a peacekeeping organization, “but today, NATO’s challenge in Afghanistan has exposed a gap between its missions and its capabilities. To close this gap, we will invest more in NATO’s mission in Afghanistan and use that investment to leverage our NATO allies to contribute more resources to collective security operations and to invest more in reconstruction and stabilization capabilities.” Shouldn’t other NATO members also invest more in Afghanistan?

(Incidentially, a correction from my Republican Part II, when I said in jest that if “all democratic nations who share our values” could join NATO, so could such far-flung nations as Israel and Australia, but the rest of that sentence, which I quoted, involves “meet[ing] the requirements for NATO membership”. Israel and Australia might not do that.)

“As we promote democracy and accountability in Russia, we must work with the country in areas of common interest–above all, in making sure that nuclear weapons and materials are secure.” A worthy goal, but will that weaken our attempts to “promote democracy and accountability”? “We will insist that Russia abide by international law and respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of its neighbors.” Obviously, but how will you make sure Russia actually does that? The Republicans would try and shut off Russian acceptance in various “world organizations”.

We are committed to active Presidential leadership in the full implementation of the Irish Good Friday Agreement and St. Andrews Accords. We will seek to strengthen and broaden our strategic partnership with Turkey, end the division of Cyprus, and continue to support a close U.S. relationship with states that seek to strengthen their ties to NATO and the West, such as Georgia and Ukraine.

This is more coverage given to Cyprus and Northern Ireland than in the Republican platform.

“Stand with Allies and Pursue Diplomacy in the Middle East”: America has long had the leading role in negotiating peace in the Holy Land. “Our starting point must always be our special relationship with Israel, grounded in shared interests and shared values, and a clear, strong, fundamental commitment to the security of Israel, our strongest ally in the region and its only established democracy.” So much for courting the support of groups that want Israel wiped off the face of the Earth.

That commitment, which requires us to ensure that Israel retains a qualitative edge for its national security and its right to self-defense, is all the more important as we contend with growing threats in the region–a strengthened Iran, a chaotic Iraq, the resurgence of Al Qaeda, the reinvigoration of Hamas and Hezbollah. We support the implementation of the memorandum of understanding that pledges $30 billion in assistance to Israel over the next decade to enhance and ensure its security.

Gah. And you wonder why people say there’s no difference between Democrats and Republicans. The Democrats even use the same “qualitative edge” phraseology as the Republicans, which I tore to shreds in my examination of the Republican platform. At least here it’s “national security” and “self-defense” that are the given reasons for that “qualitative edge”. For Israel to defend itself against those threats is important if it has the right to exist, but…

“It is in the best interests of all parties, including the United States, that we take an active role to help secure a lasting settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict with a democratic, viable Palestinian state dedicated to living in peace and security side by side with the Jewish State of Israel.” The Democrats want a two-state solution as well! Why don’t we have it already then? But it needs to make sure the people of that Palestinian state are just as dedicated, and that means changing hearts and minds and holding Israel back from antagonizing the Palestinians. It also means, as I said in my Republican examination, making sure Jerusalem is accessible and open to people of all faiths that wish to come there.

To do so, we must help Israel identify and strengthen those partners who are truly committed to peace, while isolating those who seek conflict and instability, and stand with Israel against those who seek its destruction. The United States and its Quartet partners should continue to isolate Hamas until it renounces terrorism, recognizes Israel’s right to exist, and abides by past agreements.

Now “isolating” Hamas is better than just refusing to negotiate with them. Refusing to negotiate prolongs conflict; isolation hastens productive negotiation. But we also need to destroy the underpinnings that strengthen Hamas and its anti-Israel stance, and isolation might make Hamas stronger, not weaker. We need to provide economic development to the Palestinians so they will be less inclined to support terror. It was the Democratic approach everywhere else, why isn’t it here? “The creation of a Palestinian state through final status negotiations, together with an international compensation mechanism, should resolve the issue of Palestinian refugees by allowing them to settle there, rather than in Israel.” Well, if we’re going to have a two-state solution that would seem to be a good idea. “Jerusalem is and will remain the capital of Israel. The parties have agreed that Jerusalem is a matter for final status negotiations. It should remain an undivided city accessible to people of all faiths.” The last sentence is pretty much what my stance is, but I remain concerned about naming it the capital of Israel. Almost everything here is virtually identical to the Republican plan, with some details added to ease the concerns I had when the Republicans stated it.

I just passed 5,000 words, but I press on because the last two subsections are very short. “Deepen Ties with Emerging Powers”:

We also will pursue effective collaboration on pressing global issues among all the major powers–including such newly emerging ones as China, India, Russia, Brazil, Nigeria, and South Africa. With India, we will build on the close partnership developed over the past decade. As two of the world’s great, multi-ethnic democracies, the U.S. and India are natural strategic allies, and we must work together to advance our common interests and to combat the common threats of the 21st century. We believe it is in the United States’ interest that all of these emerging powers and others assume a greater stake in promoting international peace and respect for human rights, including through their more constructive participation in key global institutions.

There’s not much for me to say here. Of course working with major powers, including the new ones, is important to properly deal with international issues like climate change. Inserted into this is an empty platitude about our relationship with India of the sort the Republicans broke into an entire heading. Note to the Democrats and Republicans: India does not vote in this election.

“Revitalize Global Institutions”:

To enhance global cooperation on issues from weapons proliferation to climate change, we need stronger international institutions. We believe that the United Nations is indispensable but requires far-reaching reform. The U.N. Secretariat’s management practices remain inadequate. Peacekeeping operations are overextended. The new U.N. Human Rights Council remains biased and ineffective. Yet none of these problems will be solved unless America rededicates itself to the organization and its mission. We support reforming key global institutions —such as the U.N. Security Council and the G-8—so they will be more reflective of 21st century realities.

I’m a bit surprised the Democrats would include a call for UN reform, which is more of a Republican calling. In fact they’re even more specific about the UN’s problems. And now that you mention it, I do recall hearing stories about the HRC being staffed by the fox guarding the henhouse, the sort of people that should be condemned by the HRC instead of being on it. The Republicans didn’t call for America to “rededicate[] itself to the organization and its mission”, so how would they propose solving these problems?

There are areas the parties disagree and I agree with the Democrats. There are areas the parties disagree and I agree with the Republicans (though there aren’t that many). But there are also a good number of places the parties agree. Is there a difference between Democrats and Republicans? Depends on where you look. More climate change fun ahead!

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