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The Daily Tar Heel

Lieberman Discusses Foreign Policy at Duke

Lieberman, who was Al Gore's running mate during the 2000 presidential election, discussed the importance of maintaining values in American foreign policy after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

In his remarks Lieberman stressed the necessity of bridging the gap between foreign policy and the principles he thinks should guide the public. He said he can now see more clearly the way the government's decisions bear on public life, security and safety. "The public can't afford to treat foreign policy as someone else's concern," he said.

Lieberman also criticized the first several months of Bush's presidency. He said Bush distanced himself from President Clinton's foreign policy by disengaging from important regulatory policies including the Kyoto Accords -- an environmental treaty limiting emissions each member nation can emit. "You won't be surprised to hear I think that (withdrawing) was a mistake," Lieberman said.

But he praised Bush's creation of a new multilateral, value-based foreign policy in response to the attacks. He cited Bush's Sept. 20 congressional address as an example of the President asserting his leadership.

"The people and the president face extraordinary challenges," he said. "Both have risen superbly."

Lieberman also expressed awe at public response to the tragedies. "I have seen more desire among the American people to help and serve than I have in my adult life."

Lieberman discussed five principles essential to maintaining a strong, value-based American foreign policy.

He said although the United States' allies are important, officials should never let the pursuit of a coalition get in the way of American policy.

Lieberman praised Bush for being unyielding in his challenges to other nations and unflinching in his demand that they assist the fight against terrorism.

He also encouraged the Bush administration to use America's unique authority in the world to help mediate regional disputes, such as between Israel and Palestine.

During a question-and-answer session after his speech, Lieberman said he thought an appropriate balance was struck in recent anti-terrorism legislation that handed additional powers to law enforcement agencies but that only time will tell if the bill will be successful.

He also said he thinks it was outrageous that there was a lack of bipartisan support on the recent airport security bill. "I'm not saying (the attacks) could have been prevented, but I can tell you that (a bill) could have made it a lot harder."

At the end of his address Lieberman expressed concern that Americans would live in constant fear after Sept. 11.

"We've lived in unnatural security and freedom in the United States for over 200 years," he said. "(The attacks) yielded an unnatural reality, but we cannot yield to fear."

The State & National Editor can be reached at stntdesk@unc.edu.

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