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U.S. Democratic Party Platform Emphasizes National Security, Blocking Nuclear Terror

An early draft of the U.S. Democratic Party’s political platform, which will be presented during the party’s presidential convention later this month, emphasizes national security issues and calls for increased focus on preventing nuclear terrorism, the New York Times reported Sunday (see GSN, June 2).

The platform is being prepared by a committee led by Representative Rosa DeLauro (Conn.) and will be presented to the party’s platform committee next weekend during a meeting in Miami. The final platform will then be subject to a party vote during the Democratic presidential convention in Boston.

“This platform reflects John Kerry,” DeLauro said, referring to the Massachusetts senator who is the party’s presumptive presidential nominee for this year’s election. “It shows what Democrats believe and what direction the country can go in under a Kerry presidency,” she added.

Nearly the entire first half of the platform is dedicated to national security issues, about twice as much space as national security has taken in the last three Democratic platforms, according to the Times. While not entirely ruling out the use of pre-emptive military action, the Democratic platform describes it as an act of last resort and not a part of standard U.S. policy, the Times reported.

The platform criticizes President George W. Bush for failing to focus on the suspected nuclear efforts of Iran and North Korea, and calls for direct talks with Pyongyang, according to the Times. The platform also calls for a cutoff to weapon-grade material production.

“There’s a priority on nuclear terrorism because that is something we can actually do a lot to prevent, unlike terror in general,” said Harvard University professor Ashton Carter, who helped create the new national security policy approach in the platform. “We can stop the production of the source material,” he said (Rosenbaum/Sanger, New York Times, July 4).

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