U.S. Chamber Urges Bipartisan Foreign Policy

Tuesday, January 16, 2001 - 7:00pm

WASHINGTON, D.C.-United States Chamber of Commerce Senior Vice President for International, Economic and National Security Affairs and former U.S. State Department official Amb. Craig Johnstone today urged the new Bush administration and Congress to forge a bipartisan approach to foreign policy that builds on the U.S. leadership role.

"The United States cannot afford to close its doors to the world through isolationism," said Johnstone during a speech at the State Department. "The incoming administration must build a bipartisan foreign policy that ensures the nation's security, promotes its prosperity and advances its values abroad."

Johnstone outlined several major foreign policy challenges facing the new administration, including expanding free trade through agreements like the Free Trade Area of the Americas, strengthening democratic and free market institutions, safeguarding the environment and human rights, and eliminating unilateral economic sanctions against countries like Cuba.

"Unilateral sanctions are the result of failed foreign policy - the last resort of politicians who have given up trying to actually do something about a problem and are looking only to posture," he said.

In his remarks, Johnstone also discussed the need to reinvigorate the State Department to handle 21st century challenges through adequate funding, a streamlined structure, cutting-edge technology, effective management and strong leadership.

"Managing a coherent foreign policy requires the pragmatism to expand the range of the possible, while not dissipating resources on the unattainable," he added.

Following his remarks, Johnstone received the Secretary of State's Open Forum Distinguished Public Service Award. Serving at the State Department under both Republican and Democratic administrations, Johnstone worked as Director of Resources, Plans and Policy - an assistant secretary of state-level appointment - designing the strategic plan for U.S. foreign policy. He also served as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Latin America and as Ambassador to Algeria, and in the private sector as President of Cabot Plastics International.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world's largest business federation, representing more than three million businesses and organizations of every size, sector and region.