USA*ENGAGE Praises Goals of Engagement in Democratic Platform

Friday, 11 August 2000

"Democrats understand that we must engage former enemies," the platform says. "We recognize that Russia’s historic transition to a market democracy is difficult — all the more reason we must continue to engage Russia. We deeply disagree with what Russia is doing in Chechnya and remain concerned about signs of Russian efforts to intimidate the press — all the more reason to step up our discussions with them on those issues."

"Similarly, we must continue to engage China — a nation with 1.3 billion people, a nuclear arsenal, and a role in the 21st Century that is destined to be one of the basic facts of international life," the platform adds. "We must search out ways to cooperate across a broad range of issues, such as the environment and trade, while at the same time, insisting on adherence to international standards on human rights, freedom, the persecution of religions, the suppression of Tibet, and bellicose threats directed at Taiwan."

The platform also says countries in Latin America must continue to be a "focal point" for U.S. engagement. "We believe that increased cooperation and trade with our partners in this hemisphere can reduce poverty and the reliance on the drug trade, and ultimately lead to economic development, stability, and prosperity," it says.

Frank Kittredge, Vice Chairman of USA*ENGAGE and President of the National Foreign Trade Council, welcomed the Democratic platform’s language on engagement.

"This platform reflects the growing realization that engagement is the best way to encourage Western-style economic and social standards," Kittredge said. "The other alternative – imposing sanctions as a sign of our disapproval – has generally failed to bring about the changes we would all like to see. What’s more, sanctions usually end up hurting the most vulnerable people, and have little effect on the targeted governments."

USA*ENGAGE noted that the Democratic platform mentioned Cuba only briefly: "We aim to rededicate ourselves to the defense of democracy in the Americas at a moment when it is being brought into question in Peru and absent on the island of Cuba."

Earlier this month, USA*ENGAGE praised the Republican platform for its pledge to not restrict U.S. exports of food in any future sanctions measures.

USA*ENGAGE is a coalition of 670 small and large businesses, agriculture groups and trade associations working to seek alternatives to the proliferation of unilateral U.S. foreign policy sanctions and to promote the benefits of U.S. engagement abroad. For more information on USA*ENGAGE and the harmful effects of unilateral trade sanctions, visit the USA*ENGAGE web site at

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