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Inside Politics

Kerry: Bush administration arrogant, reckless

From Adam Reiss

John Kerry delivers an international policy address on Wednesday to the Council on Foreign Relations in New York.
John Kerry delivers an international policy address on Wednesday to the Council on Foreign Relations in New York.

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John F. Kerry
George W. Bush
America Votes 2004

NEW YORK (CNN) -- Presidential candidate John Kerry Wednesday attacked President Bush's foreign policy, calling it "arrogant, inept, and reckless," and vowed to chart a new course restoring diplomacy through multilateral relationships.

The Democratic candidate, speaking before the Council on Foreign Relations, accused the current administration of running roughshod over other nations on a broad range of issues -- including climate control, the International Court of Justice, the role of the United Nations, trade and rebuilding Iraq.

"Those of us who seek the Democratic presidential nomination owe the American people more than just anger or criticism of the Bush foreign policy or even piecemeal solutions. We need to convince America that Democrats are responsible stewards of our national security and America's role in the world," Kerry said.

He vowed that if elected he would go directly to the United Nations in the first 100 days of his administration to "make it clear that when the secretary of state speaks, he or she speaks for America -- not for the losing cause of internationalism inside an administration obsessed with its own hubris and swagger."

Kerry promised that he would work aggressively to rebuild relationships with other countries that he says have been frayed and shredded by the Bush administration.

Kerry, the junior senator from Massachusetts, accused Bush of neglecting the Middle East and promised to name his own ambassador to the region. Some potential ambassadors included former Presidents Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush and Jimmy Carter, and former Secretary of State James Baker.

Kerry suggested that Bush is considering a disastrous strategy in Iraq that will prove to be a failure.

"I fear that in the run-up to the 2004 election the administration is considering what is tantamount to a cut-and-run strategy," he said. Prospects for success on the ground in Iraq, he said, would be far greater if the civilian administrator, Paul Bremer, and the Coalition Provisional Authority were replaced by a U.N. special representative.

Kerry singled out Saudi Arabia, North Korea, and Iran as countries he would seek to renew bilateral negotiations with.

When asked where he stands in the presidential race, Kerry said he is known as a good closer who will surprise people despite some recent troubles within his campaign.

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