Citizens for Global Solutions' 2012 Congressional Candidate Questionnaire will be used by Global Solutions PAC to help determine endorsement of candidates and contributions to this election cycle.
Candidates can either fill out the survey online or download it as a PDF file and fax your reply to us at 202-546-3749. If the online survey monkey is used, we will contact campaigns to confirm that the response did come from them.
Questions can be directed to Melissa Kaplan, Deputy Director of Government Relations or by phone at 202-546-3950 x 110.
(Background info is also available in the PDF file) :
The U.S. Role in the World (Questions #1 and #2)
The United States has a strong bipartisan tradition of working with other countries and institutions to addressthe world’s most pressing problems multilaterally. Working with others to solve global problems is in America’sself-interest. A 2009 World Public Opinion poll demonstrated that over 61% of those Americans polled support acollaborative approach in world affairs. This follows a 2006 Knowles poll where 75% of Americans agreed “the U.S.should do its share in efforts to solve international problems together with other countries.” Congress has a role toplay in fostering international cooperation in all matters of national security, economics, human rights, and other globalissues.
Genocide Prevention (Question #3)
In 2008, the Genocide Prevention Task Force, co-chaired by former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright andformer Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen, issued a report entitled “Preventing Genocide: A Blueprint for U.S.Policymakers,” that laid out recommendations for a comprehensive U.S. government plan to prevent genocides.Albright stated, “We believe that preventing genocide is possible, and that striving to do so is imperative both for ournational interests and our leadership position in the world.” In August 2011, President Obama issued a directive thatcalls for establishing an Atrocities Prevention Board to help formulate U.S. policy on genocide prevention.
Preventing genocide is entirely possible. U.S. leadership is critically important for the international community to makegenocide prevention a priority and support consistent, preventative measures to protect innocent lives.
Protection of Civilians from Mass Atrocities (Questions #4 and #5)
In 2005, all U.N. member states unanimously endorsed the concept of Responsibility to Protect (R2P), which statesthat the international community must respond when a country fails to protect its civilian population from genocide, warcrimes, ethnic cleansing, or crimes against humanity. When any member of the U.N. Security Council uses its implicitor explicit veto power to prevent a response in cases of genocide or mass atrocities, that country is failing to live up toits endorsement of the Responsibility to Protect and delaying action on crucial humanitarian crises, including ongoingand imminent mass atrocities.
As a permanent member of the Security Council, the United States should set the example with the other fourpermanent members to undertake efforts to improve the effectiveness of the U.N. Security Council’s response tomass atrocities. The 2008 Genocide Prevention Task Force chaired by former Secretary of State Madeleine Albrightand former Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen explicitly recommends that the United States and all permanentmembers of the U.N. Security Council refrain from use of their veto in situations where genocide or mass atrocities arethreatening to occur. There are several actions that the U.N. Security Council can take to help prevent genocide ormass atrocities, such as authorizing economic, diplomatic, and military sanctions, as well as the use of military force toresolve disputes. The United States should implement the recommendations of the Genocide Prevention Task Force.
United Nations: U.S. Leadership and Contributions (Question #6 and #7)
Today, the United Nations plays a crucial role in the protection of civilians globally with 16 U.N. peacekeepingoperations deployed in Africa, Europe/Eurasia, and the Middle East. The United Nations has fostered internationalcooperation and obliged nations to behave with increasing responsibility. The U.N. has made major strides in reducingthe mortality rates for malaria and HIV/AIDS, provided over 1.6 billion people with potable drinking water, andincreased access for children to primary education.
According to an independent report by the RAND Corporation, the U.N.’s peacekeeping and nation-building capacity isby far the most effective in the world. A General Accountability Office (GAO) study found that a U.N.-led peacekeepingmission is eight times more cost-effective than a similar U.S.-led mission. The U.S. alone cannot and should not bearall the costs of maintaining the world’s peace and security.
In 2009, the U.S. signaled its commitment to paying U.N. dues on time by paying the majority of the arrears. Now thatwe have finally paid our back dues, it is still vitally important that the U.S. continue to pay its dues on time so that it cancontinue to promote American interests through engagement with the U.N. Furthermore, Congress should not placeconditions on payment of dues to the U.N. If the U.S. imposes such conditions, it sets a poor precedent that could leadother countries to decide to do the same, thus undermining the U.N.’s payment structure and operations. Congressmust pass legislation annually that pays U.N. dues, on a timely basis, without caps and conditions.
Additionally, although the U.S. has agreed to be assessed 27% of peacekeeping dues annually by the U.N., Congresshas placed a 25% cap on U.S. peacekeeping contributions. Congress usually lifts this “peacekeeping cap,” but itshould be permanently eliminated.
International Human Rights: The United Nations Human Rights Council (Question #8)
By engaging with the HRC, the U.S. has exposed countries with dismal human rights records, such as North Korea,Syria, and the Sudan. The U.S. has also supported work by independent experts and Special Rapporteurs on humanrights, including the Rapporteur focused on human rights violations in Burma. As a member of the HRC, the U.S isworking to accomplish many important goals including to help counter anti-Israel bias. The HRC is not a perfect body,but by having a seat at the table, the U.S. can strengthen the HRC from within and help advance human rights issuesthroughout the world.
Rule of Law and Justice: The International Criminal Court (Question #9, #10, and #11)
The ICC is playing an important role in bringing criminals to justice for committing mass atrocities in Uganda, theDemocratic Republic of Congo, Darfur/Sudan, the Central African Republic and Kenya. The ICC recently issuedarrest warrants for Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi and Sudan’s Omar al-Bashir, citing evidence of crimes against humanitycommitted by these leaders. In addition to such cases, the ICC has helped countries like Afghanistan and Colombiato strengthen the rule of law and democratic governance within their own borders and put all parties – includinggovernment leaders, rebel groups, drug lords and warlords – on notice that the rule of law applies to everyone.
In a 2010 Chicago Council on Global Affairs Poll, approximately 70% of Americans stated that the United States shouldratify the International Criminal Court treaty. Recently, the U.S. participated as an observer at the 2010 ICC ReviewConference in Kampala, Uganda, where the United States along with 37 states parties, pledged to strengthen theRome Statute (the treaty establishing the ICC). Participating in events like the review conferences gives the U.S. theability to influence the ICC’s development; advance core American values such as accountability, due process, and ruleof law; and support efforts to bring to justice the world’s worst criminals.
Development Assistance: Small Investment Yielding Large Returns (Question #12)
At the 2000 United Nations Millennium Summit, the United States and 188 other heads of state and governmentscommitted to realize the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015. The MDGs seek to eradicate extremepoverty and hunger; achieve universal primary education; promote gender equality and empower women; reduce childmortality; improve maternal health; combat HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases; ensure environmental sustainability;and establish a global partnership for development. Echoing the American dream, the goals are designed to helppeople lift themselves out of poverty and become productive and valuable members of their communities.
In a world where poverty anywhere threatens prosperity everywhere, foreign assistance is a vital tool for translating ourmoral beliefs into practical actions, restoring the vision of the U.S. as not only a global leader but a global partner, and realizing our long-term foreign policy goals. While polling has shown most Americans believe the amount of the federalbudget spent on foreign aid is approximately 25%, and they believe that it should be about 10%, in reality the UnitedStates devotes less than 1% of its budget to development assistance. For Fiscal Year 2012, the President’s budgetrequests $1.125 billion for the Millennium Challenge Corporation. This critical funding will allow the U.S. to assistchildren in the poorest countries to access education, ensuring they can participate in the global marketplace; fosterglobal food security through sustainable agriculture; expand goodwill and inspire service by increasing the size of thePeace Corps; and stabilize post-conflict states.
Nuclear Weapons: The Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (Question #13)
Reflecting the grave importance of limiting nuclear testing, the United States was the first nation to sign the CTBT afterit was adopted by the U.N. General Assembly in September 1996. But the U.S. Senate has not yet ratified CTBT. Inorder for the treaty to go into effect, 44 countries operating nuclear reactors need to ratify it. U.S. ratification could helppersuade the last remaining countries to ratify this vital treaty. To date, the CTBT has been ratified by 154 nations,including Canada, Australia, Russia, China, Great Britain, and France. In December 2010, the U.S. signaled itscommitment to nuclear weapons reduction when the Senate ratified the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (NewSTART). It is important to build off of this momentum and ratify CTBT.
U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea: Pro-U.S. Military , American Business, Global Environment (Question #14)
UNCLOS benefits the American military, American business, and the global environment. The U.S. military is a strongadvocate of UNCLOS because the treaty will protect its ability to navigate on and fly freely over the oceans. In theabsence of the treaty, the U.S. relies on customary law that can change as the practices of nations change. UNCLOSwill protect the claims of U.S. business firms to mineral resources in the oceans and give the U.S. an opportunity toprovide better management for the sensitive Arctic environment adjacent to U.S. boundaries. The treaty protectsoffshore fishing, deep-sea mining and navigation, while conserving the ocean’s resources for future generations andproviding special measures to save endangered whales, salmon, and other marine animals.
UNCLOS provides the framework for nations to address concerns and disputes, and it strengthens state sovereigntyover the enforcement of resource management and environmental regulations in each state’s Exclusive EconomicZone (EEZ) up to 200 miles offshore. The United States would be the single largest beneficiary of UNCLOS because ithas the largest EEZ in the world.
The United States has a lot at stake. The U.S. is one of five Arctic Coastal States and has important economicinterests in the region. In recent years, the Arctic icecap has been melting at a more rapid rate; this phenomenon hasenabled there to be more commercial traffic along these emerging waterways, which in turn is causing even greaterdegradation of the region’s delicate eco-system. As commercial use of the Arctic waterways increases, the U.S. hasmore to gain from UNCLOS through enforcement of the EEZ that extends from the U.S. borders. UNCLOS will helpprotect U.S. interests in terms of managing traffic along the Arctic waterways, defending claims to the resources foundwithin the EEZ zone, and enforcing environmental protections in the region.
There are additional benefits to be gained from U.S. ratification of UNCLOS. For example, China is pushing todominate access to the South China Sea. One-third of the world’s shipping travels through its waters, and it isbelieved to hold huge oil and gas reserves beneath its seabed. However, without the legal framework provided byUNCLOS, the U.S. is at a disadvantage to address unreasonable claims on marine territory. China also has a majorstake in the race for rare-earth minerals, used in hybrid automobiles and mobile phones, and supplies about 95% ofthe world market. Researchers have recently discovered high concentrations of rare-earth elements in the PacificOcean. Extraction of these resources would be regulated by UNCLOS’s International Seabed Authority (ISA). If theU.S. joins the treaty, it would have a veto-wielding seat at the ISA’s executive committee. If the U.S. does not ratifyUNCLOS, American businesses may be hard pressed to compete for these resources.
Since 1983, the U.S. has been in voluntary compliance with the UNCLOS treaty, and thus, accession would not resultin any changes to current U.S. domestic or foreign policy. Ratification of UNCLOS would provide the U.S. government,the U.S. military, American businesses, and environmental protection advocates important safeguards and leverage toprotect U.S. interests.
Human Rights For Women Globally: The Treaty for the Rights of Women (Question #15)
Every day women around the world are denied equal access to human rights, including education, politicalparticipation, and the right to be free from violence. CEDAW has broad support from over 200 U.S.-based advocacyorganizations, including the AARP, the American Bar Association, the YWCA, and The Leadership Conference onCivil and Human Rights. Ratifying CEDAW strengthens the U.S. as a global leader in standing up for women and girlsaround the globe.