Dean Says Foreign Policy Needs “Nation Building” Focus

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(Host) Governor Howard Dean says he remains hopeful that a peaceful solution can be found to the problems facing the Middle East. Speaking last night on VPR’s Switchboard program, Dean says he believes it’s critical for the United States to include “nation building” as key part of this country’s foreign policy particularly in the Middle East:

(Dean) “It’s more important to engage in a worldwide policy that builds middle class democracies, which allow women to fully participate in the political and economic life of their country. And democracies don t go to war with each other, hardly ever. So if we really want to build a safer Middle East, there needs to be a Palestinian state as the president has called for. But it has to be a democracy based on a strong middle class. Now it turns out that of all the Arab populations in the Middle East, the Palestinians are best suited for this. First of all, they did elect Yasser Arafat so they did make a choice, although I think he’s corrupt and has abused his power. Secondly, because of the diaspora of Palestinians, they have more foreign experience and foreign travel and lived elsewhere and better educated than any other Arab population. And thirdly, of all the Arab populations, Palestinian women play a more significant role in the economic and political life of that country – with the exception of the fundamentalists, which are about 20% – than in any other Arab society.”

(Host) Dean is expected to formally announce his candidacy for the Democratic presidential nomination at the beginning of next year.

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