The 1996 Republican Platform
Adopted August 12, 1996
RESTORING AMERICAN WORLD LEADERSHIP
- Defending America Against Missle Attack
- Rebuilding America's Strength
- Protecting American Interest
- International Terrorism
- The Middle East
- Western Hemisphere
- Security and Foreign Assistance
- Protecting America's Technological Edge
- The Men and Women of Defense
- The Goal is Freedom"It's time to restore American leadership throughout the world. Our future security depends on American leadership that is respected, American leadership that is trusted, and when necessary, American leadership that is feared."
We are the party of peace through strength. Republicans put the interests of our country over those of other nations - and of the United Nations. We believe the safety and prosperity of the American home and workplace depend upon ensuring our national security in a dangerous world. This principle was proven in our long struggle against Communism, and - as recent events have tragically shown - it is still true today. The gains we made for democracy around the world under two Republican presidents are now imperiled by a rudderless foreign policy. We vigorously support restoring the promotion of democracy worldwide as a cornerstone of U.S. foreign policy. Democracy is the best guarantor of peace and will ensure greater respect for fundamental human rights and the rule of law.
The international situation - and our country's security against the purveyors of evil - has worsened over the last three and a half years. Today, Russia's democratic future is more uncertain than at any time since the hammer and sickle was torn from the Kremlin towers. With impunity, Fidel Castro has shot American citizens out of the skies over international waters. North Korea has won unprecedented concessions regarding its nuclear capability from the Clinton Administration. Much of Africa has dissolved in tragedy - Somalia, Rwanda, Burundi, Liberia. The Clinton Administration objected to lifting the arms embargo on Bosnia while it facilitated the flow of Iranian weapons to that country. Bill Clinton made tough campaign pledges on China but subsequently failed in his attempt to bluff the Chinese government - diminishing American prestige while not addressing the serious issues of human rights, regional stability, and nuclear proliferation. Bill Clinton's weakness, indecision, and double-talk, have undermined America's role as leader of the free world.
In 1996, the nation's choice is clear: either we return responsible leadership to the White House , or Bill Clinton's lack of international purpose results in catastrophe. We must keep our country strong and sovereign, and assert the interests and values of the United States in the international arena.
The Atlantic Alliance and Europe"Let us begin by reaffirming that Europe's security is indispensable to the security of the United States, and that American leadership is absolutely indispensable to the security of Europe."
- Bob Dole, June 25, 1996
The Atlantic Alliance: Our relations with the nations of Europe must continue to be based on the NATO alliance, which remains the worlds' strongest bulwark of freedom and international stability. Our policy will strive to consolidate our Cold War victory in Europe and to build a firm foundation for a new century of peace. In the same spirit that Ronald Reagan called for the integration of Spain into the NATO alliance, we call for the immediate expansion of the framework for peace to include those countries of Central Europe which demonstrate the strongest commitment to the democratic ideals NATO was created to protect.
With the people of Poland, the Czech Republic, and Hungary we have special bonds. These nations - and others - are rightfully part of the future of Europe. As Bob Dole said, "It is an outrage that the patriots who threw off the chains of Soviet bondage have been told by Bill Clinton that they must wait to join the NATO alliance." We strongly endorse Bob Dole's call for Poland, the Czech Republic, and Hungary to enter NATO by 1998.
Bosnia: We support America's men and women in uniform who are serving in Bosnia and Herzegovina. However, we did not support the ill-conceived and inconsistent policies that led to their deployment. In 1992, candidate Bill Clinton pledged to lift the arms embargo on Bosnia, but once in office he ignored his promises. For three years, Bill Clinton upheld the illegal and unjust arms embargo on Bosnia and allowed genocidal aggression to go virtually unchallenged, while Bob Dole successfully led the effort in the Congress to lift the U.S. arms embargo. Once again, Bill Clinton subordinated American national interests to the United Nations in vetoing bipartisan legislation that would have lifted the U.S. arms embargo and rendered the deployment of American forces unnecessary. At the same time Bill Clinton was opposing congressional efforts to lift the arms embargo, he made a secret decision to allow the terrorist Iranian regime to supply arms to Bosnia. This duplicitous policy has endangered U.S. and Allied forces and given Iran a foothold in Europe.
We look forward to a timely withdrawal of U.S. forces from Bosnia and recognize that providing the Bosnian Federation with adequate weapons and training is the only realistic exit strategy. We support the democratic process in Bosnia and, when conditions exist, the conduct of free and fair elections. We support bringing indicted war criminals to justice. We encourage the peoples of the region - and in particular those of Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Serbia and Montenegro - to play a constructive role in fostering peace and stability there. We note with concern that repression and human rights abuses are escalating in Kosova and support the appointment of a U.S. special envoy to help resolve the situation there.
Russia: We salute the people of Russia in their quest for democracy and a free market economy. During this crucial period, the Clinton Administration has pursued an accommodationist and misguided policy toward Moscow. Bill Clinton's comparison of Russia's extreme brutality in Chechnya to the American Civil War is offensive. The Clinton Administration's passivity in the face of Russia's intimidation and economic blackmail against countries of the former Soviet Union has encouraged the rise of extreme nationalist and undemocratic forces. Its willingness to accept Russian changes to already agreed-to arms control treaties has undermined security. Its complacency over Russia's sale of nuclear technology to Iran and Cuba has contributed to the threat of nuclear proliferation.
Our foreign policy toward Russia should put American interests first and consolidate our Cold War victory in Europe. We have a national interest in a security relationship with a democratic Russia. Specifically, we will encourage Russia to respect the sovereignty and independence of its neighbors; support a special security arrangement between Russia and NATO - but not Moscow's veto over NATO enlargement; support Russian entry to the G-7 after its reforms have been achieved; and link U.S. assistance to Russian adherence to international treaty obligations.
Newly Independent States: We reaffirm our party's historic commitment to the independence of all former Captive Nations still recovering from the long night of Soviet Communism, especially Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Armenia, and Ukraine. We endorse Republican legislation to establish in Washington, D. C., funded by private contributions, an international memorial to the one hundred million victims of Communism.
Ireland: We support efforts to establish peace with justice in Northern Ireland through a peace process inclusive of all parties who reject violence. During this difficult period in Irish history, we encourage private U. S. investment in the North, fully consistent with the MacBride principles for fair employment, in order to address the systemic discriminatory practices that still exist, especially against Catholics, in the workplace and elsewhere. We call on all parties to renounce terrorism in the Northern Ireland conflict.
Cyprus: We encourage a peaceful settlement for Cyprus and respect by all parties for the wishes of the Cypriot people. Concerned about continuing tension in the Aegean Sea, we will maintain close ties to both Greece and Turkey and urge all parties to refrain from precipitous actions and assertions contrary to legally established territorial arrangements.
Defending America Against Missile Attack
We face two scandalous situations. First, most Americans do not realize our country has no defense against long-range missile attack. Second, the current occupant of the Oval Office refuses to tell them of that danger. So we will.
This is the frightening truth: The United States provided the technology to Israel to protect it from Iraqi missile attacks during the Persian Gulf War, but President Clinton refuses to provide the technology - technology that is readily available - to the American people to protect our country from the growing threat posed by long-range ballistic missiles. The Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) of the last two Republican administrations has been dismantled by Bill Clinton, who - contrary to the national security interests of the United States - clings to the obsolete Cold War ABM Treaty. Clinton slashed the funding budgeted by past presidents for missile defense and even violates the law by slowing down critical theater missile defenses. He has pursued negotiations to actually expand the outdated ABM Treaty, further tying America's hands, and hobbling our self-defense. He now seeks new limitations that will hinder the United States from developing and deploying even theater ballistic missile defenses to protect our troops abroad.
In a peaceful world, such limitations would be imprudent. In today's world, they are immoral. The danger of a missile attack with nuclear, chemical, or biological weapons is the most serious threat to our national security. Communist China has mocked our vulnerability by threatening to attack Los Angeles if we stand by our historic commitment to the Republic of China on Taiwan. We are vulnerable to blackmail - nuclear or otherwise - from a host of terrorist states that are now trying to acquire the instruments of doom. In the face of those dangers, Bill Clinton has ignored his responsibilities. In the most egregious instance, he directed that a National Intelligence Estimate focus only on the missile threat to the continental United States, deliberately ignoring the near-term menace posed to Alaska and Hawaii by long-range missiles now being developed or otherwise acquired by the Communists who rule North Korea.
America will be increasingly threatened by long-range ballistic missiles in the near future, but there also exists today a more immediate threat from the proliferation of shorter-range, or "theater" missiles. Bill Clinton says that theater missile defense (TMD) is a top priority of his administration, yet refuses to provide adequate funding for our most promising and effective TMD programs. For example, not only has he recently cut funding by 40% for the Theater High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) program, but he has also failed to request sufficient funds to develop and deploy the Navy Upper Tier system. Republicans will fully fund and deploy these and other TMD systems to protect American troops and vital interests abroad.
The Republican Party is committed to the protection of all Americans - including our two million citizens in Alaska and Hawaii - against missile attack. We are determined to deploy land-based and sea-based theater missile defenses as soon as possible, and a national system thereafter. We will not permit the mistakes of past diplomacy, based on the immoral concept of Mutual Assured Destruction, to imperil the safety of our nation, our Armed Forces abroad, and our allies. Arms control will be a means to enhance American national security, not an end in itself. We therefore endorse the Defend America Act of 1996, introduced by Senator Bob Dole which calls for a national missile defense system for all fifty States by the year 2003.
To cope with the threat of the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, the United States will have to deter the threat or use of weapons of mass destruction by rogue states. This in turn will require the continuing maintenance and development of nuclear weapons and their periodic testing. The Clinton Administration's proposed Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) is inconsistent with American security interests.
Rebuilding America's Strength
Republicans are committed to ensuring the status of the United States as the world's preeminent military power. We must reverse the decline in what our nation spends for defense. In just three and a half years, an amateur approach to military matters and dramatic reductions in defense spending under the Clinton Administration have had a serious negative impact on the readiness and capabilities of our armed forces. In 1994, three of the Army's primary combat divisions reported unacceptably low levels of readiness, and all forward-deployed Army divisions reported below par readiness ratings. Not since the "Hollow Army" days of Jimmy Carter have Army readiness levels been so low. Funding shortfalls and shortages of spare parts and munitions are limiting training opportunities and thus the combat readiness of our forces. At the same time, Bill Clinton's peacekeeping operations and other global ventures have increased the operational demands on the limited forces available, extended the duration of their deployments, and put immense strains on service members and their families - without any discernible benefit to U.S. national security.
Republicans faced a similar situation with a deteriorating military in 1981, but then two Republican presidents turned things around and restored America's world leadership. We must do it again, and quickly. The All-Volunteer force is composed of the finest military personnel in the world today. These outstanding men and women deserve a civilian leadership committed to providing them with the resources, technology, and equipment they need to safely and successfully perform their missions. They deserve nothing but the best from the people they protect.
We recognize that today's military research and development, as well as procurement, is tomorrow's readiness. We are committed to readiness not just today, but also tomorrow. Bill Clinton has decimated our research and development effort, and slashed procurement for our armed forces. Not since 1950 have we spent so little on new weapons for our military. Fortunately, the Republican Congress has restored some of the funding Bill Clinton sought to cut for research and development and for procurement. Only a Commander-in-Chief who fully understands and respects the military can rebuild America's defense capabilities.
The Clinton Administration's own inadequate defense "strategy" has been underfunded. The mismatch between strategy, forces, and resources poses an enormous potential risk to America's military personnel and vital interests. This mismatch must be resolved now, before regional crises erupt and find our nation unprepared. A Republican president will immediately conduct a thorough review that will require resources and programs to be redirected according to goals set by the President instead by the bureaucracy.
Money alone is not the answer. It must be spent the right way, with long-term efficiencies in mind. We call for reductions in the overhead and infrastructure of the Defense Department and successful demonstrations of weapons and equipment prior to full scale purchases. Budgetary decisions must be made with an eye to preserving the nation's defense industrial base, accelerating procurement of key military and dual-use technologies, incorporating emerging technologies into military operations, and maintaining an adequate, safe and reliable capability in nuclear weapons.
Only a Republican president and a Republican Congress can fulfill these duties.
Protecting American Interests
We scorn the Clintonite view that soon "nationhood as we know it will be obsolete; all states will recognize a single global authority." This is nonsense, but it explains why the Democrat Administration has lurched from one foreign policy fiasco to the next - and why Bill Clinton vetoed the first legislative restructuring of America's diplomatic institutions in a half century. A Republican president will reform the Department of State to ensure that America's interests always come first.
Republicans will not subordinate United States sovereignty to any international authority. We oppose the commitment of American troops to U.N. "peacekeeping" operations under foreign commanders and will never compel American servicemen to wear foreign uniforms or insignia. We will insist on an end to waste, mismanagement, and fraud at the United Nations. We will ensure American interests are pursued and defended at the United Nations, will not tolerate any international taxation by the organization, nor will we permit any international court to seize, try, or punish American citizens. Before his departure from the Senate, Bob Dole introduced legislation prohibiting U.S. payments to the United Nations and any of its agencies if they attempt to implement global taxes. We support the passage of the Prohibition on United Nations Taxation Act of 1996 to preserve America's sovereignty and the American taxpayer's right to taxation with representation.
A Republican president will withdraw from Senate consideration any pending international conventions or treaties that erode the constitutional foundations of our Republic and will neither negotiate nor submit such agreements in the future. We will ensure that our future relations with international organizations not infringe upon either the sovereignty of the United States or the earnings of the American taxpayer.
American citizens must retain ownership of their private property, and must maintain full control of our national and state parks, without international interference.
Terrorist states have made a comeback during Bill Clinton's Administration. He has treated their rulers with undue respect and failed to curb their acquisition of weapons of mass destruction. Although congressional Republicans passed anti-terrorism legislation earlier this year, the Clinton Administration has not implemented many key provisions of the law. It has not been used to freeze terrorists' assets, deny terrorists' visas, cut off foreign aid to supporters of terrorist states, or halt terrorist fundraising in the United States. The Clinton Administration has not implemented the anti-terrorist research program established and funded by Congress in the 1990 Aviation Security Act.
A Republican president will forcefully lead the world community to isolate and punish state sponsors of terrorism. It is vital to our security that we actively work to reverse the threat posed by these regimes - through imposition and enforcement of sanctions, banning investment, and leading our allies in effective policies. The governments of North Korea, Iran, Syria, Iraq, Libya, Sudan, and Cuba must know that America's first line of defense is not our shoreline, but their own borders. We will be proactive, not reactive, to strike the hand of terrorism before it can be raised against Americans.
We denounce terrorist attacks made on American citizens at home or abroad. We must take all legitimate steps to swiftly apprehend and severely punish persons committing terrorists acts. However, we must also denounce any attempts to deprive law-abiding citizens of their God-given, constitutionally-protected rights while fighting terrorism. To take away the liberty of the American people while fighting terrorism is repugnant to the history and character of our nation. We firmly oppose any legislation that would infringe upon the rights of American citizens to freedom of religion, speech, press, and assembly; the right to keep and bear arms; and the right to judicial due process.
We support those U. S. aid programs to Africa which have proven records of success, especially the Child Survival Program of vitamins, immunizations, sanitation, and oral rehydration. We hail the social and economic progress of those nations which have used the free market to liberate the talent and striving of their people. They deserve our attention, but our outreach must be on a case-by-case basis. Our hope for the future of South Africa, for example, stands in contrast with the military rule now imposed on Nigeria, the continent's most populous country.
The Republican Party's commitment to freedom and human rights in Africa is as old as the establishment of the Republic of Liberia. Today, the tragic fate of that small nation symbolizes the larger tragedy that has befallen much of the continent. The Clinton Administration's dismal performance in Somalia, resulting in needless American deaths, set the stage for international passivity in the face of genocide in Rwanda and Burundi. The Clinton Administration has even failed to rally the world against the slave trade sponsored by the government of the Sudan, whose persecution of Sudanese Christians and others is nothing short of genocide. A Republican president will not tolerate this unconscionable treatment of children and women.
Bill Clinton's foreign policy failures loom large in Asia. Four years ago, most of that continent was rushing toward democratic reform. Today it threatens to slip backwards into conflict and repression. A Republican Administration will keep the mutual security treaties with Japan and with the Republic of Korea as the foundation of our role in the region. We will halt Bill Clinton's efforts to appease North Korea by rewarding treaty-breaking with American taxpayer-financed oil and nuclear reactors. We will make further improvement of relations with Vietnam and North Korea contingent upon their cooperation in achieving a full and complete accounting of our POW's and MIA's from those Asian conflicts.
China and Taiwan: We support the aspiration of the Chinese people for both economic and political liberty, which includes respect for the human rights of the people of Tibet. Our relationship with the Chinese government will be based on vigilance with regard to its military potential, proliferation activities, and its attitude toward human rights, especially in Hong Kong. The Taiwan Relations Act must remain the basis for our relations with the Republic of China on Taiwan. We reaffirm our commitment to Taiwan's security and will regard any threat to alter its status by force as a threat to our own security interests. We will make available to Taiwan the material it needs for self-defense, particularly theater missile defense and coastal patrol submarines. In recognition of its growing importance in the global economy, we support a larger role for Taiwan in international organizations.
Philippines: We reaffirm our historic friendship with the Philippine people, which has endured through changing circumstances.
The Middle East
Peace through strength continues to be central in the Middle East. Saddam Hussein reminded us just five years ago of the potential for aggression by radical states in this region. Republicans understand the importance of maintaining a robust U.S. military capability in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Persian Gulf, cooperating with our allies to ensure regional stability. Republicans also understand the need to be willing to use force to deter aggression and, where deterrence fails, to defeat it. That is why Republicans were the bedrock of support for the congressional vote to authorize the use of force against Iraq's aggression in 1991, while most Democrats voted against Operation Desert Storm.
The Middle East remains a region vital to American security. Our enduring goals there are to promote freedom and stability, secure access to oil resources, and maintain the security of Israel, our one democratic ally in the region with whom we share moral bonds and common strategic interests. Most of the world's oil exports flow from the Middle East, and thus its strategic significance remains. But it is still the most volatile region in the world. Islamic radicalism, increasing terrorism, and rogue states like Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Libya threaten regional and international stability.
In this environment, Israel's demonstrated strategic importance to the U.S. as our most reliable and capable ally in this part of the world is more critical than ever. That is why Israel's security is central to U.S. interests in the region. That is why Republican Administrations initiated efforts with Israel to pre-position military equipment, to conduct joint contingency planning and joint military exercises. That is why we advocate continuing cooperation on the Arrow Missile, boost phase intercept, and the Nautilus programs. That is why we look toward the greater integration of Israel into our regional defense planning and wish to explore ways to enhance our strategic cooperation. That is why we have continued to support full funding for aid to Israel despite cuts in the foreign assistance budget, and why we applaud the country's commitment toward economic self-sufficiency.
We reaffirm that Republican commitment to maintain Israel's qualitative military advantage over any adversary or group of adversaries. While we fully support Israel's efforts to find peace and security with its neighbors, we will judge the peace process by the security it generates both for Israel and for the United States. In that context, we support Israel's right to make its own decisions regarding security and boundaries. We strongly oppose the Clinton Administration's attempts to interfere in Israel's democratic process.
We applaud the Republican Congress for enacting legislation to recognize Jerusalem as the undivided capital of Israel. A Republican administration will ensure that the U.S. Embassy is moved to Jerusalem by May 1999.
We honor the memory of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, and express our support for the new government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. We applaud those leaders in the Arab world, President Mubarak and King Hussein, who have spoken courageously and acted boldly for the cause of peace. We endorse continued assistance and support for countries which have made peace with Israel - led by Egypt and later joined by Jordan. Republican leadership will support others who follow their example, while isolating terrorist states until they are fit to rejoin the community of nations.
The U.S. commitment to democratic institutions and market economies in the Western Hemisphere has paralleled our enduring interest in the security of the region, as laid out in the Monroe Doctrine. The success of Republican national security policies in the 1980s halted Soviet imperialism and promoted the process of economic and political reform in Latin America - defeating totalitarianism of the right and of the left. During the last decade and a half, Latin American countries have made enormous progress developing democratic institutions. We applaud their progress and offer our assistance to further expand and deepen democratic conditions in the region.
Hemispheric progress toward free and democratic societies has stalled during the Clinton Administration. A government bought and paid for by drug traffickers holds power in Colombia. Mexico - with whom we share hundreds of miles of border - is increasingly tainted by narcotics-related corruption at all levels of society. Similarly, there are signs of backsliding on democracy in Latin America, most notably in Paraguay, where a coup was narrowly averted earlier this year.
We call for a new partnership among the democratic nations of the Western Hemisphere to protect our hard-won victories against dictatorial government. This new partnership must address the most recent and dangerous threat to the hemisphere - narcotics traffickers and their trade. The emergence of the Western Hemisphere as an area - apart from Cuba - which shares our ideals of economic and political liberty must also mean close cooperation with the United States on a range of security issues. The Clinton Administration's policy of denying most Latin American nations the opportunity to replace their obsolescent military equipment, raise the professional competence of their armed forces, and cooperate fully with the United States in joint military training and exercises will be reversed by a Republican Administration.
We cherish our special relationship with the people of Mexico and Canada. In a spirit of mutual respect, we believe the forthright discussion of economic and social issues that may divide us is in the best interest of all three nations.
Bill Clinton's outreach to Castro has only delayed the emergence of "Cuba Libre," extending the duration of Communist tyranny. The Republican Party has not wavered and will not waver in its goal of a democratic Cuba. We affirm our policy of isolating the Castro regime, including full implementation of the Helms-Burton Act to penalize foreign firms which do business there.
Bill Clinton's awkward and misguided intervention in Haiti has cost American taxpayers some $3 billion and risked the lives of American military personnel for a less than vital interest. We reject Clinton administration claims of "success" in its military intervention in Haiti. Human rights abuses by government forces go unpunished, promised economic reforms have not been made, and the democratic process is deeply flawed.
Security and Foreign Assistance
America is and must remain the leader of the world. We did not win the Cold War without allies and friends, and we hope to face future challenges with them. Our country should not bear world burdens alone. Providing friendly nations with access to U.S. defense equipment can protect American security interests abroad and reduce the likelihood that American forces will have to be directly engaged in military conflict. The Clinton Administration has been blind to that wisdom.
We have seen the result in Bosnia, where American ground forces have been deployed because the Clinton Administration denied Bosnia the opportunity to acquire defense equipment in the United States.
The Clinton administration has diverted aid from our friends to support U.N. operations and social welfare spending in the Third World. Congressional Republicans have done all they could to resist this folly. Only a Republican president can put an end to it.
The Clinton administration's failure to couple American interests abroad with foreign aid has produced wasteful spending and has presented an impediment to achieving a balanced budget. A Republican administration will ensure foreign aid is cost-effective and based on its important role in directly promoting American national interests.
Protecting America's Technological Edge
American scientific and industrial leadership is one of the critical factors sustaining American security. Our technological edge is at risk not only because of the Clinton Administration's refusal to sustain an adequate investment in defense modernization, but also its virtual abandonment of national security-related export controls. Acquisition of technology by aspiring proliferators of weapons of mass destruction has been irresponsibly facilitated. A Republican Administration will protect the American technological edge. It will do so by expanding investment in defense modernization, ensuring that the Defense Department has a key role in approving exports of militarily critical technology, and restoring the effectiveness of export control regimes.
The Men and Women of Defense
As Commander-in-Chief, Bill Clinton has been out of touch with the needs of the troops under his command. Bob Dole has served in the military and will protect military families against inflation, restore appropriate funding levels for billets and family housing, and ensure an environment where promotions and awards are made on the basis of military merit. A Republican president who has been on active duty will not casually disrupt military family life by sending troops on non-military missions around the world.
We have a solemn obligation to those who fight for America. Our military personnel should not be denied a cost of living increase, as Bill Clinton proposed in his first year in office. A Republican president will ensure a high priority for the quality of life of our military personnel and their families.
We will maintain the All-Volunteer force and will resist attempts to bring back the draft, whether directly or through Democrat schemes for compulsory national service. We will maintain our Armed Forces as a meritocracy, a model for the rest of our society, without special preferences or double standards for any group.
We salute the men and women of the National Guard and Reserve, citizen soldiers who have been - and must continue to be - a tradition in America. They perform important military functions as an integral part of our warfighting capability, and provide a critical link between our national security efforts and every community in the country. Our National Guard and Reserve forces must not be treated as an afterthought.
We oppose Bill Clinton's assault on the culture and traditions of the Armed Forces, especially his attempt to lift the ban on homosexuals in the military. We affirm that homosexuality is incompatible with military service.
We support the advancement of women in the military. We reaffirm our support for the exemption of women from ground combat units and are concerned about the current policy of involuntarily assigning women to combat or near-combat units. A Republican president will continue to reevaluate and revise, as necessary, current policies in light of evidence with regard to the effect on military morale, discipline, and overall readiness. We will not tolerate sexual harassment or misconduct toward anyone in the uniform, but we oppose politically motivated witch-hunts that smear the innocent and destroy honorable careers. To promote the dignity of all members of the Armed Forces and their families, we endorse the efforts of congressional Republicans to halt the sale, in military facilities, of pornographic materials.
We deplore Bill Clinton's shameless attempt to use protections afforded active duty military personnel under the Soldiers' and Sailors' Civil Relief Act of 1940 to protect himself from a sexual harassment lawsuit. We will amend the Soldiers' and Sailors' Civil Relief Act of 1940 to make clear that its protection against civil suits while on active duty does not extend to the occupant of the Oval Office.
The Republican Party has always been the advocate of the nation's veterans and remains unequivocally committed to the faithful fulfillment of America's obligations to them. We have no greater duty than providing for the courageous men and women who have risked their lives in defense of our country, a major reason why we defeated Bill Clinton's plan to replace veterans' health care with socialized medicine. We will continue to meet the nation's promises to those who make the military their career. That is why Republicans proposed and created a separate Department of Veterans Affairs, support veterans' preference in federal employment education and retraining programs, and pledge sufficient funding for veterans' hospitals, medical care, and employment programs.
The intelligence community should be our first line of defense against terrorism, drug trafficking, nuclear proliferation, and foreign espionage. Bill Clinton's neglect of our country's intelligence service is one of his most serious sins of omission. He has underfunded, misutilized, and marginalized critical intelligence missions and capabilities. No wonder his first appointee as Director of Central Intelligence has endorsed Bob Dole. The nation's security - and the personal safety of our citizens - cannot be placed at risk.
Effective intelligence can be expensive. But what it costs is measured in dollars rather than lives - an important lesson of the Gulf War. A Republican Administration will reverse the decline in funding for intelligence personnel and operations while better managing the development of futuristic capabilities. We will not constrain U.S. intelligence personnel with "politically correct" standards that impede their ability to collect and act on intelligence information. We will conduct whatever intelligence operations are necessary to safeguard American lives against the terrorists who bomb our airplanes and buildings.
The Republican Party led America into space and remains committed to its exploration and mastery. We consider space travel and space science a national priority with virtually unlimited benefits, in areas ranging from medicine to micro-machinery, for those on earth. Development of space will give us a growing economic resource and a source of new scientific discoveries. We look toward our country's return to the moon and to completion of the International Space Station, not just as a unique orbiting laboratory but also a framework for world cooperation in pursuit of expanding human knowledge.
Those and other ventures require leadership now lacking at the White House. The Democrat Party approaches space issues with a confined vision and misplaced appropriations, encouraging inefficient investments and pork barrel spending. Bill Clinton gives lip service to our space program but denies it crucial resources. A Republican president and a Republican Congress will work together to make space an American frontier again. We will develop the Reusable Launch Vehicle, promote markets for commercial space launch services, and push technology to its creative limits. Commercial space development holds the key to expanding our aerospace industry and strengthening our technology base, but it can be promoted only by removing unnecessary and artificial regulatory, legal, and tax barriers.
Space exploration and exploitation are a matter of national security. Our Armed Forces already rely on space assets to support their operations on earth, and space technology will rapidly become more critical to successful military operations. Space is the ocean of tomorrow, and we cannot allow its domination by another power. We must ensure that America can work and prosper there, securely and without outside influence. A new Republican team will secure the high frontier for peace on earth and for unlimited human opportunity.
The Goal is Freedom
America stands on the brink of a new century. After victory in the "long twilight struggle" against Soviet Communism, Americans can feel justifiably proud of the role they played in defeating history's most corrupt and predatory empire. The end of the Cold War has not spelled the end of history, but it has instead unleashed forces contained for nearly fifty years of superpower confrontation. Today America faces new challenges and new threats to our vital interests which can only be protected by our continued engagement in the world. Our nation must resist the temptation to turn inward and neglect the exercise of American leadership and our proper role in the world. Will the 21st Century confer new opportunities and new benefits on America, or will it prove to be an era of weakness and decline? This will depend on whether we have a strong, decisive leader like Bob Dole who will protect Americans at home and abroad and vigorously pursue the nation's interests around the globe.
The U.S. Constitution, the finest document for human governance ever devised, establishes the mission of providing for the common defense as a chief purpose of the federal government, in order to secure the blessings of liberty for ourselves and our posterity. The president's primary constitutional duty and most sacred responsibility is the role of Commander-in-Chief. Above all else, he must be able to ensure that the American people and our interests are defended. That requires strong, combat ready military forces and a sound foreign policy. If the President fails in this office, then America's freedom, independence, and prosperity will be jeopardized, and all other issues - domestic and economic - become moot.
The bravery, skill, and sacrifice of America's fighting forces; the dedication, industry, and ingenuity of the American people; the superiority of U.S. technology; and the abundance of America's wealth and resources are sufficient to overcome any foreign threat or challenge. But these gifts are cause for gratitude and humility, not complacency. And these national treasures can be used to safeguard the nation effectively in a time of volatile change only if genuine leadership, wisdom, discernment, courage, and honor are present in the Commander-in-Chief and in the officials he or she appoints to critical national security posts. With such a president at the helm, America will know a new birth of freedom, security, and prosperity. And this nation, and the benefits it has bestowed upon mankind throughout our history, shall not perish from the earth.
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