Barack Obama Democratic Candidate
Click here to read Barack Obama's response to ASIL's survey.
Law of International Organizations/Multilateralism and enforcement of Public International Law
- "And if we have Osama bin Laden in our sights and the Pakistani government is unable or unwilling to take them out, then I think that we have to act and we will take them out. We will kill bin Laden; we will crush Al Qaeda. That has to be our biggest national security priority." OCT 7, 2008 PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE
- "Look, I -- I want to be very clear about what I said. Nobody called for the invasion of Pakistan. Sen. McCain continues to repeat this. What I said was the same thing that the audience here today heard me say, which is, if Pakistan is unable or unwilling to hunt down bin Laden and take him out, then we should. Now, that I think has to be our policy, because they are threatening to kill more Americans." OCT 7, 2008 PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE
- "The first commitment that I’ll make today is setting a goal of an 80 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050…Abroad, the United States must get off the sidelines. We’ll reach out to the leaders of the biggest carbon emitting nations and ask them to join a new Global Energy Forum to lay the foundation for the next generation of climate protocols. We’ll build an alliance of oil-importing nations, and work together to reduce our demand, and break the grip of OPEC. And as we develop clean energy, we should share technology and innovations with the nations of the world." Obama, Remarks to the Clinton Global Initiative (September 25, 2008)
- "The United Nations has embraced the Millennium Development Goals, which aim to cut extreme poverty in half by 2015. When I’m president, they will be America’s goals." Obama, Speech at DePaul University (October 2, 2007)
- "We cannot allow Iran to get a nuclear weapon. It would be a game-changer in the region. Not only would it threaten Israel, our strongest ally in the region and one of our strongest allies in the world, but it would also create a possibility of nuclear weapons falling into the hands of terrorists. And so it's unacceptable. And I will do everything that's required to prevent it. And we will never take military options off the table. And it is important that we don't provide veto power to the United Nations or anyone else in acting in our interests." OCT 7, 2008 PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE
Cooperation on Global Climate Change & Energy
- "Well, we may not always have national security issues at stake, but we have moral issues at stake. If we could have intervened effectively in the Holocaust, who among us would say that we had a moral obligation not to go in? If we could've stopped Rwanda, surely, if we had the ability, that would be something that we would have to strongly consider and act. So when genocide is happening, when ethnic cleansing is happening somewhere around the world and we stand idly by, that diminishes us. And so I do believe that we have to consider it as part of our interests, our national interests, in intervening where possible." OCT 7, 2008 PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE
USA Foreign Relations Law
- "And one last point I want to make about Russia. Energy is going to be key in dealing with Russia. If we can reduce our energy consumption, that reduces the amount of petro dollars that they have to make mischief around the world. That will strengthen us and weaken them when it comes to issues like Georgia." OCT 7, 2008 PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE
- "And that's why I have consistently said that, if we can work more effectively with other countries diplomatically to tighten sanctions on Iran, if we can reduce our energy consumption through alternative energy, so that Iran has less money, if we can impose the kinds of sanctions that, say, for example, Iran right now imports gasoline, even though it's an oil-producer, because its oil infrastructure has broken down, if we can prevent them from importing the gasoline that they need and the refined petroleum products, that starts changing their cost-benefit analysis. That starts putting the squeeze on them." OCT 7, 2008 PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE
- "I will make the case to the American people that [development assistance] can be our best investment in increasing the common security of the entire world…That’s why I’ll double our foreign assistance to $50 billion by 2012, and use it to support a stable future in failing states, and sustainable growth in Africa; to halve global poverty and to roll back disease. " Obama, “A New Strategy for a New World,” Speech in Washington, DC (July 15, 2008)
- "Building on the growing evidence that micro finance works, an Obama administration will provide initial capital for an SME [Small and Medium Enterprises] Fund. Administered through the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, an independent U.S. government agency, the government will provide seed capital matched by a larger portion from the private sector. The SME Fund will be designed to provide seed capital and technical assistance to catalyze the establishment of job-creating small and medium enterprises, and to build the capacity of entrepreneurs to translate their ideas into viable businesses, including through the creation of regional “SME Universities” supported by America’s business schools. " Obama for America, “Strategy to Promote Global Development and Democracy” (November 27, 2007)
- "Obama and Biden will fight for a trade policy that opens up foreign markets to support good American jobs. They will use trade agreements to spread good labor and environmental standards around the world and stand firm against agreements like the Central American Free Trade Agreement that fail to live up to those important benchmarks. Obama and Biden will also pressure the World Trade Organization to enforce trade agreements and stop countries from continuing unfair government subsidies to foreign exporters and nontariff barriers on U.S. exports… Obama and Biden believe that NAFTA and its potential were oversold to the American people. They will work with the leaders of Canada and Mexico to fix NAFTA so that it works for American workers." Obama for America, Economic Plan, available at www.barackobama.com/plan
- "[W]e need to work with Russia to take U.S. and Russian ballistic missiles off hair-trigger alert; to dramatically reduce the stockpiles of our nuclear weapons and material; to seek a global ban on the production of fissile material for weapons; and to expand the U.S.-Russian ban on intermediate-range missiles so that the agreement is global." Obama, “A New Strategy for a New World,” Speech in Washington, DC (July 15, 2008)
- "I welcome the Bush Administration's announcement of $1 billion in humanitarian and economic assistance to Georgia, a step that Joe Biden and I have been advocating for weeks." Obama, Statement Welcoming Support for His Call for $1billion in Assistance to Georgia (September 3, 2008)
- "The United States should work with regional leaders and others to press for postponed elections conducted under a strong international monitoring presence and, to the extent possible, meaningful civil protection measures. If fresh elections prove impossible, regional leaders backed by the international community should pursue an enforceable, negotiated political transition in Zimbabwe that would end repressive rule and enable genuine democracy to take root. Finally, the United States must tighten our existing sanctions, just as the Southern African Development Community (SADC), the African Union (AU), and the UN should implement a carefully crafted regime of targeted sanctions against Zimbabwean officials who continue to thwart democracy and undermine the rule of law." Statement of Senator Barack Obama on the crisis in Zimbabwe, June 25, 2008
- "Today should mark the end of a dark era in Cuba's history. Fidel Castro's stepping down is an essential first step, but it is sadly insufficient in bringing freedom to Cuba.
Cuba's future should be determined by the Cuban people and not by an anti-democratic successor regime. The prompt release of all prisoners of conscience wrongly jailed for standing up for the basic freedoms too long denied to the Cuban people would mark an important break with the past. It's time for these heroes to be released.
If the Cuban leadership begins opening Cuba to meaningful democratic change, the United States must be prepared to begin taking steps to normalize relations and to ease the embargo of the last five decades. The freedom of the Cuban people is a cause that should bring Americans together." Statement on the Resignation of Fidel Castro
- "While we're at it, we're going to close Guantanamo. And we're going to restore habeas corpus. ... We're going to lead by example, by not just word but by deed. That's our vision for the future." Remarks in San Antonio, TX, 6/24/07
- "The Court's decision is a rejection of the Bush administration's attempt to create a legal black hole at Guantanamo - yet another failed policy supported by John McCain," he said. "This is an important step toward re-establishing our credibility as a nation committed to the rule of law and rejecting a false choice between fighting terrorism and respecting habeas corpus." Barack Obama on the ruling of the Guantanamo Bay Detainees; provided by Fox News, June 13, 2008
- "Instead of detainees arriving at Guantanamo and facing a Combatant Status Review Tribunal that allows them no real chance to prove their innocence with evidence or a lawyer, we could have developed a real military system of justice that would sort out the suspected terrorists from the accidentally accused. And instead of not just suspending, but eliminating, the right of habeas corpus - the seven century-old right of individuals to challenge the terms of their own detention, we could have given the accused one chance - one single chance - to ask the government why they are being held and what they are being charged with.
I've heard, for example, the argument that it should be military courts, and not federal judges, who should make decisions on these detainees. I actually agree with that. The problem is that the structure of the military proceedings has been poorly thought through. Indeed, the regulations that are supposed to be governing administrative hearings for these detainees, which should have been issued months ago, still haven't been issued. Instead, we have rushed through a bill that stands a good chance of being challenged once again in the Supreme Court." Remarks in the Senate the Statement of the Record on the Military Commissions Legislation, Washington, DC, 9/28/06
- "We don't need another attorney general who believes that the President enjoys an unwritten right to secretly ignore any law or abridge our constitutional freedoms simply by invoking national security. And we don't need another attorney general who looks the other way on issues as profound as torture." Press Release: Obama Opposes Mukasey Nomination, 10/30/07
- "America cannot sanction torture. It's a very straightforward principle, and one that we should abide by. Now, I will do whatever it takes to keep America safe. And there are going to be all sorts of hypotheticals and emergency situations and I will make that judgment at that time. But what we cannot do is have the president of the United States state, as a matter of policy, that there is a loophole or an exception where we would sanction torture. I think that diminishes us and it sends the wrong message to the world." NBC/MSNBC Democratic debate at Dartmouth, NH, 9/26/07
- "To build a better, freer world, we must first behave in ways that reflect the decency and aspirations of the American people. This means ending the practices of shipping away prisoners in the dead of night to be tortured in far-off countries, of detaining thousands without charge or trial, of maintaining a network of secret prisons to jail people beyond the reach of the law." Barack Obama, "Renewing American Leadership," Foreign Affairs, Vol. 86 No. 4, July/August 2007, p. 14
International Security and Non-Proliferation
- "One other thing that I've said, as a show of good faith that we're interested in pursuing potentially a new relationship, what I've called for is a loosening of the restrictions on remittances from family members to the people of Cuba, as well as travel restrictions for family members who want to visit their family members in Cuba.
I think our goal has to be ultimately normalization. But that's going to happen in steps. And the first step, as I said, is changing our rules with respect to remittances and with respect to travel.": CNN / University of Texas Democratic Debate, Austin, TX, 2/21/08
- "We contribute -- our entire foreign aid to Latin America is $2.7 billion, approximately what we spend in Iraq in a week.
And it is any surprise, then, that you've seen people like Hugo Chavez and countries like China move into the void, because we've been neglectful of that.
Iran is the single biggest strategic beneficiary of us having invaded Iraq, and that is something that I think John McCain has to come to terms with.
So that is a debate that I'm happy to have.": CNN / University of Texas Democratic Debate, Austin, TX, 2/21/08
- "This [Peruvian agreement] is a trade agreement that has the labor agreements and the environmental agreements that we've been fighting for in it, and I think it's the right thing to do. I am opposed to CAFTA. I've been opposed to South Korea.": CNN Democratic Presidential Debate, Las Vegas, NV, 11/15/07
- "We're not going to stop globalization in its tracks, but we shouldn't be standing idly by while American jobs are shipped overseas. It's time to put Main Street ahead of Wall Street when it comes to trade. The only trade agreements I believe in are ones that put workers first - because trade deals aren't good for the American people if they aren't good for working people. That's why I opposed CAFTA. That's why I oppose the South Korea Free Trade Agreement. That's why I voted to block Mexican trucks from entering this country. And that's why we need to amend NAFTA.": Remarks at the United Auto Workers Conference, Dubuque, Iowa, 11/13/07
- "I would say [lead tainted] toys [from China] cannot come in. Food, we will have our own safety inspectors on the ground. Japan does this right now. They set up their own inspection standards in China and they say, Unless you meet our inspection standards, you cannot ship into here. If we don't have labor agreements and environmental agreements that are enforceable, then there are consequences, in terms of them being able to import into this country. The point is that we have a set of tools available to us that have not been used. And part of the reason is because when we talk about Chinese exports, oftentimes, we are talking about U.S. companies that have moved to China, are manufacturing there and are trying to ship back and they still have influence. And those special interests have to be diminished in their voice in Washington.": NPR Democratic Presidential Debate, 12/4/07
- "Well, there's no doubt that NAFTA needs to be amended, and I've already said that I would contact the president of Mexico and the prime minister of Canada to make sure that the labor and environmental agreements are actually enforceable in the same way that patent protections and other things that are important to corporate America are enforceable.
But I did want to just go back briefly to the issue of trade and human rights that you had mentioned earlier. I think that folks made a terrific point, that we have to stand for human rights and that should be part of the trade equation. It is harder for us to do it when we have situations like Guantanamo, where we've suspended habeas corpus. To the extent that we are not being true to our values and our ideals, that sends a negative message to the world, and it gives us less leverage then when we want to deal with countries that are abusing human rights.
So I think it's part and parcel with a larger program of us restoring the traditions that made this country great and made us admired around the world.": Des Moines Register Democratic Presidential Debate, Johnston, IA, 12/13/07
- "We cannot negotiate trade agreements to help spur development in poor countries so long as we provide no meaningful help to working Americans burdened by the dislocations of a global economy.": Remarks to the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, 4/23/07
Climate Change and Environment
- "That's why it's so important for us to rebuild the nuclear proliferation -- nonproliferation treaty that has fallen apart under this administration. We have not made a commitment to work with the Russians to reduce our own nuclear stockpiles. That has weakened our capacity to pressure other countries to give up nuclear technology." ABC/Facebook/WMUR Democratic Debate, Manchester, NH, 1/5/08
- "As president, I will work with other nations to secure, destroy, and stop the spread of these weapons in order to dramatically reduce the nuclear dangers for our nation and the world. America must lead a global effort to secure all nuclear weapons and material at vulnerable sites within four years - the most effective way to prevent terrorists form acquiring a bomb." Barack Obama, "Renewing American Leadership." Barack Obama, "Renewing American Leadership," Foreign Affairs, Vol. 86 No. 4, July/August 2007, p. 8
- "America must not rush to produce a new generation of nuclear warheads. And we should take advantage of recent technological advances to build bipartisan consensus behind ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. All of this can be done while maintaining a strong nuclear deterrent. These steps will ultimately strengthen, not weaken, our security.
As we lock down existing nuclear stockpiles, I will work to negotiate a verifiable global ban on the production of new nuclear weapons material. We must also stop the spread of nuclear weapons technology and ensure that countries cannot build -- or come to the brink of building -- a weapons program under the auspices of developing peaceful nuclear power. That is why my administration will immediately provide $50 million to jump-start the creation of an International Atomic Energy Agency-controlled nuclear fuel bank and work to update the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty." Barack Obama, "Renewing American Leadership," Foreign Affairs, Vol. 86 No. 4, July/August 2007, p. 8-9
- "No President should ever hesitate to use force - unilaterally if necessary - to protect ourselves and our vital interests when we are attacked or imminently threatened. But when we use force in situations other than self-defense, we should make every effort to garner the clear support and participation of others - the kind of burden-sharing and support President George H.W. Bush mustered before he launched Operation Desert Storm." Remarks to the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, 4/23/07
- "While we work to secure existing stockpiles of nuclear material, we should also negotiate a verifiable global ban on the production of new nuclear weapons material." Remarks to the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, 4/23/07
International Institutions/UN Reform
- "I will personally reach out to the leaders of the biggest carbon emitting nations in both the developed and developing world and ask them to join America in creating a new Global Energy Forum that will lay the foundation for the next generation of climate protocols. It will complement - and ultimately merge with - the much larger negotiation process underway at the UN to develop a post-Kyoto framework. I will be in constant contact with these leaders to develop concrete, feasible emissions targets that all of us will meet. We will also work to build an alliance of oil-importing nations and work together to reduce our demand, just like the OPEC nations strategize on supply." Speech in Washington, DC, 10/8/07
- "We need a global response to climate change that includes binding and enforceable commitments to reducing emissions, especially for those that pollute the most: the United States, China, India, the European Union, and Russia." Barack Obama, "Renewing American Leadership," Foreign Affairs, Vol. 86 No. 4, July/August 2007, p. 13
- "[W]e need effective collaboration on pressing global issues among all the major powers -- including such newly emerging ones as Brazil, India, Nigeria, and South Africa. We need to give all of them a stake in upholding the international order. To that end, the United Nations requires far-reaching reform." Barack Obama, "Renewing American Leadership," Foreign Affairs, Vol. 86 No. 4, July/August 2007, p. 12
- "Today it's become fashionable to disparage the United Nations, the World Bank, and other international organizations. In fact, reform of these bodies is urgently needed if they are to keep pace with the fast-moving threats we face. Such real reform will not come, however, by dismissing the value of these institutions, or by bullying other countries to ratify changes we have drafted in isolation. Real reform will come because we convince others that they too have a stake in change - that such reforms will make their world, and not just ours, more secure." Remarks to the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, 4/23/07
- "I would meet [with Raul Castro] without preconditions, although Senator Clinton is right that there has to be preparation. It is very important for us to make sure that there was an agenda, and on that agenda was human rights, releasing of political prisoners, opening up the press. And that preparation might take some time." CNN / University of Texas Democratic Debate, Austin, TX, 2/21/08
- "I will make the United States a signatory to the U.N. Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities - the first human rights treaty approved by the UN in the 21st century and a critical step toward respecting the rights of people with disabilities worldwide. And I will urge the U.S. Senate to swiftly ratify the Convention." Statement on the International Day of Disabled Persons, 12/3/07