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The Reagan Administration has adopted a foreign policy of unwise intervention and rigid ideology which has failed in the Soviet Union, Nicaragua and South Africa, Democratic presidential contender Senator Joseph Biden said yesterday at the Kennedy School of Government.
Biden, who will officially announce his candidacy June 9, said that President Reagan has lost the confidence of both the American people and the Western European nations by sponsoring "military adventures" around the world and by avoiding normal foreign policy channels.
"Military interventionism as embodied in the Reagan Doctrine is in tatters. It has led to deceiving our allies, trading arms to terrorists, circumventing Congress and, most profoundly, losing the confidence of the American people and our European allies," said the Delaware senator before a capacity noon-time crowd at the Kennedy School's Institute of Politics.
Biden's foreign policy speech was the fourth in a series he has given at universities in recent weeks in an attempt to distinguish himself from the other six contenders for the 1988 Democratic nomination and to clarify his position on issues ranging from economic policy to domestic poverty.
Biden said that American foreign policy has failed to adapt to changing realities and has instead been characterized by outdated approaches to the Soviet Union and world problems, particularly in Central America and South Africa.
"Not every conflict is a super- power contest, not every insurgency issponsored by the KGB, and not every revolution isrun out of the Kremlin. For if there were noSoviet Union, there would still be insurgents inCentral America and repression in Nicaragua," saidBiden.
He added, "But by the same token, not everyinsurgency is a true expression of the democraticspirit."
Biden said that the Reagan Administration hasfailed to recognize that the superpowers competein three main arenas--diplomatic, economic and"the realm of values and ideas"--outside thesphere of military rivalry on which Reagan'spolicymakers have concentrated.
Biden, the ranking member on the Senate ForeignRelations Committee, said that American foreignpolicy has failed because of flawed leadership andthe inability to assess the changed worldsituation.
"I've given up on this Administration, soblinded by the ghosts of the past that it cannotbegin to understand the present, much less shapethe future," Biden said. "In its advocacy of theReagan Doctrine, the present Administrationsubstitutes ideology for strategy."
Biden called the Reagan Administration's policytoward South Africa an example of this failedleadership. "We have turned our back on thetradition of freedom that once guided our foreignpolicy," he said.
"We fear to use our influence. We shun ourmoral leadership. We have isolated ourselves fromthe most dramatic chapter in the story of freedomaround the world," he said. Biden added that hehimself would deal with moderate Black leaders,including Nelson Mandela and Bishop Tutu.
Biden also condemned the Administration'sCentral American policy, calling for thewithdrawal of aid to the Contras and theintroduction into Congress of a $5 billioneconomic aid plan for emerging democracies in theregion
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