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Where they stand

Candidates' positions on key issues as laid out in Thursday's debate

The Globe and Mail, Oct 2

North Korea
Kerry
: Proposes bilateral talks with Kim Jong-il's regime. Says this offers a better chance of persuading it to end its production of warheads and long-range missiles.

Bush: Refuses to consider direct negotiations. Champions multilateral talks involving South Korea, Japan, China and Russia.

Iran

Kerry: Accuses the President of failing to act swiftly to stop Iran's clandestine nuclear program. Proposes offering Iran's rulers nuclear fuel for power-generation reactors to "test them, see whether or not they were actually looking for it for peaceful purposes."

Bush: Believes multilateral diplomacy hasn't run its course, although he has vowed to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear-weapons state. Would "continue to work with the world to convince the Iranian mullahs to abandon their nuclear ambitions."

Allies

Kerry: Says the President has alienated traditional friends, ignoring their views and pushing ahead unilaterally. Suggests he can persuade recalcitrant allies to send troops to Iraq and work alongside the United States elsewhere in the world.

Bush: Says his opponent insulted countries that joined U.S.-led coalitions in Iraq and Afghanistan. But won't tether U.S. foreign policy to a consensus of allies. "I'll never turn over America's national security needs to leaders of other countries."

Iraq

Kerry: Accuses Mr. Bush of going to war unnecessarily and hastily, without sufficient international support or a workable exit strategy. Says he would do a better job of extricating U.S. troops and leaving Iraq a stable democracy.

Bush: Says it is he who has the better plan for ending involvement in Iraq. Says his opponents' only consistency on Iraq is that he has repeatedly changed his position. Says a stable and free Iraq cannot be tied to fixed exit dates.

Russia

Kerry: Vows that, as President, he would see all of Russia's stockpile of nuclear material contained within four years, as opposed to 13 years for the current administration. Says the president is too soft on Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Bush: Says Mr. Putin has to make "hard choices about his country's future" because of Russia's instability, but would continue working with him, and urge him not to forsake democracy.

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