Question: Has the Iraq War damaged America’s bargaining position?
Ted Sorensen: Our diplomatic power used to rely on our moral authority. It used to rely on our values, our principles, our active role in the United Nations and in the international courts, and in multi-lateral agreements in Europe and around the world. It used to rely on the humanitarian aid and the economic development aid – I have to put in a word there for the peace corps – in which America showed its best face and noblest instincts to the world. For the last seven years we have shown our ugliest face and our worst instincts to the world. We have shown the world that we’re a threat – that we’re relying on our military to get our way like a bully in the schoolyard. And so that moral authority is largely gone until a new administration tries to regain the respect that the United States had for so long until the Supreme Court, on a decision that they had no legal basis whatsoever, chose the President in this country against the wishes of the American people.
Question: What’s the best way to fix our image abroad?
Ted Sorensen: The best way to fix our image in the world is to elect a president who will show a different face to the world; who will immediately begin a different policy toward the world – not only a more peaceful, more lateral policy committed to justice and human rights instead of war, but also a policy that represents American values. We are still a great and generous country. There is still so much we have to show the world. A new president . . . And there’s only one in my view who can do that – Senator Obama . . . A new president can convince the world that this ugly chapter of the last seven and a half years is over at last. And that will require that president saying so to the United Nations, which the current administration has largely ignored or opposed. It will require that new president appointing ambassadors . . . not an ambassador to the UN who despises the UN such as Mr. Bush and Mr. Bolton, but ambassadors to all the world; doubling the size of the Peace Corps; doubling our humanitarian aid; being sincere and realistic about trying to stop the spread of HIV/AIDS in Africa. That’s good that we’re giving money. That’s fine. But we refuse to let the money be spent on condoms, which are essential to prevent the spread of AIDS in the rest of the world. So there are so many ways that we can demonstrate that yes, we want to help, not hurt the rest of the world.