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Wednesday, August 18, 2004

FT.Com > Kerry to set out case against US troop realignment

By James Harding in Washington and Peter Spiegel in London

John Kerry will on Wednesday set out his opposition to the Bush administration's plans to bring home 70,000 US troops from permanent overseas bases, leaving their future dependent on the outcome of the presidential election.

Setting out one of the few clear strategic differences between himself and George W. Bush, Mr Kerry is expected to argue that the withdrawal of troops from Europe and Asia threatens to undercut alliances and weakens America's ability to project its power overseas.

White House officials described the realignment as addressing an outdated distribution of US forces, a legacy of the cold war ill-suited to defeating terrorists.

But Mr Kerry will make what Michael Meehan, a senior adviser to the Democratic presidential candidate, called a “sweeping critique” of the realignment in a speech to the Veterans of Foreign Wars convention in Cincinnati the same venue where Mr Bush this week announced the planned withdrawal of a third of US forces from their foreign posts.

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