Michael Dukakis may not have foreign policy experience - but he has executive ability, good judgment, and a sense of American values. So says Madeleine Albright, the Democratic presidential contender's senior foreign policy adviser.
As an example of how not to conduct US foreign policy, says Dr. Albright, the Democrats among other things will exploit the Iran-contra scandal. ``We will use it as an example of secretive policy or diplomacy and lack of judgment,'' says Albright. ``It was a lousy policy that led us into the Persian Gulf. You cannot make policy by such a hare-brained way of getting around the bureaucracy.''
George Bush, she says, has shown a lack of judgment as vice-president. ``You will not find Dukakis toasting Marcos as a friend of democracy, or selling arms to get hostages out, or dealing with a Noriega. It's fine to have a r'esum'e but you need a record, too.''
Dr. Albright, who was born in Prague, is professor at the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service, specializing in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. She was formerly chief legislative aide to Sen. Edmund Muskie of Maine and served on the National Security Council staff in the Carter administration.
In an interview Albright spelled out Dukakis's positions on a number of foreign policy issues:
US-Soviet relations will continue to be a major preoccupation. The US must assess the changes taking place in the USSR and ``test and challenge'' Mikhail Gorbachev to translate his words into deeds. His ideas about conventional arms cuts must be probed more.
New kinds of threats face the US because of a dispersal of power in the world: economic imbalances, drugs, arms transfers, and volatile situations that are hard to control.
The US needs to reassess its relationship with Central America and in general all Latin America, moving away from an approach of dominance to one of encouraging countries to work together.
A ``more aggressive'' approach is needed in the Middle East. Following up on the Camp David accords, the next president must play an active role from the first day, but the Mideast nations must produce a Sadat-like leadership to move the peace process forward.
The US must be strong militarily and maintain stable defense budgets. The Reagan administration has squandered that strength by throwing billions of dollars on defense that have gone to military contractors instead of for hardware.
``This is not an issue we will let them have,'' comments Albright. ``Dukakis will get a dollar's worth of strength for every dollar [spent].''
In addition to his own advisers, Dukakis is reaching out to academic experts, former government officials, and members of Congress. ``He's mainly interested in advisers who not only have a foreign policy background but a political sense with respect to implementing policy,'' Albright says. ``He knows that you can't have an effective foreign policy without Congress.''
Albright refuses to speculate on whom Dukakis might pick for his foreign policy team, if elected. But in Democratic circles the name of Rep. Lee Hamilton (D) of Indiana crops up as possible secretary of state. Congressman Hamilton, who played a key role in the Iran-contra hearings, was also interviewed by Dukakis as a potential running mate. The two men are said to like each other.
Albright herself is mentioned as possible national security adviser.
The Georgetown scholar stresses that foreign policy making is a process and requires good executive ability. ``Every department of the government has some part in foreign policy and you can't rely on one part,'' she says. ``Dukakis has been a strong administrator who delegates responsibility but also takes it back to make decisions. Also, he doesn't like people around who say `Yes, yes' - he likes to debate.''
Republicans are expected to attack the divergence of views between Dukakis and Lloyd Bentsen on such issues as aid for the contra rebels. But Albright says there is an advantage in having a vice-president with his own sense of things.
``Dukakis has said that he doesn't want a clone of himself and would hope that, if someone at the White House came up with a cockamamie scheme, he would want the vice-president to say it was a dumb idea.''
On the sensitive Mideast peace issue, Albright indicates Dukakis will walk the traditional fine line between support for strong US ties with Israel and the ``legitimate rights'' of the Palestinians. ``He talks a lot about so much dying and suffering in the area, and that the best role for the US is to get [negotiations] moving without predetermining the result,'' Albright says.