New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson declared his candidacy for the presidential race on January 21, 2007.
- Richardson Profile (Deborah White, U.S. Liberal Politics)
War on Terrorism:
Richardson's axiom in all of his security and foreign policy statements is that military and diplomatic tools are complementary, rather than mutually exclusive. This is a subtle indictment of the current Administration's focus on military solutions. Richardson also refers regularly to his successes as a former diplomat to suggest his abilty to form strong diplomatic alliances to address terrorism and other foreign policy issues. (Richardson was an Ambassador to the United Nations during the Clinton Administration, and has been several times nominated for a Nobel Peace prize for negotiation successes).
He focuses on alliance building and diplomacy as important tools in addressing international terrorism:
"We need a new realism in our foreign policy, which includes the following elements: ….
…"[R]e-build alliances and reinvigorate our allies. A far-sighted policy would have built a coalition to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons. Most immediately, we need an international coalition for peacekeeping in the Middle East.
…"[F]ocus on the real dangers. Prioritize resources to fight Al Qaeda and Jihadist terrorists and the most urgent dangers, such as nuclear terrorism. That means a new strategy for success in Iraq that allows us to redeploy our troops".
War in Iraq
Richardson was initially in support of the Iraq War and opposed to the phased withdrawal proposals put on the table over the course of 2006.
He now, however, supports immediate withdrawal from Iraq. In Richardson's view, the U.S. military can no longer perform a useful service in Iraq, because the problems there are not military but political. Richardson is deeply critical of how the Bush Administration has approached the war. He is also critical of the views of Republican candidate John McCain, who he characterized as "the leading advocate for escalating the war" in a talk at St. Anselm College in December, 2007. In that talk, Richardson proposed his own platform on Iraq:
- Withdraw U.S. troops in 2007
- Encourage national reconciliation talks
- Work with the Iraqis and the UN to convene a regional conference similar to the Dayton conference that produced a settlement in Yugoslavia
- Play a leading role in providing economic assistance for reconstruction, in conjunction with the UN, the Europeans and other countries
- Return National Guard troops to their States, and redeploy troops to Afghanistan, to knock down the resurgent Taliban
Richardson broadly braids together foreign policy and homeland security issues by, for example, observing that National Guards deployed overseas in Iraq should in part be withdrawn so they can be available domestically.
Richardson has also addressed homeland security in his role as New Mexico's governor. When interviewed about the federal government's efforts in 2003, he was moderately positive, stating that in comparison to September, 2001:
We [New Mexico] are better prepared, and there I will give the administration credit, not just the Homeland Security, but Health and Human Services; they coordinate well. The funding is coming. In our case, we're involved in everything from inoculations to bioterrorism training, towards we have some very rural areas, remote Indian reservations where we want to be sure that the smaller communities get the advantage of this kind of very specialized assistance. So on that score, we're doing well. Where we're hurting a bit is in the equipment and training for fire and police that would be the first line responders in case of a terrorist attack.
Also of interest:
- Richardson Takes Top Role in 2005 North Korea Talks(Deborah White, U.S. Liberal Politics)
- Nuclear North Korea Timeline