Demilitarize Foreign Policy.

AuthorBenjamin, Medea

It is fascinating to see how the foreign policy positions put forth by most of the Democrats running for President are strikingly progressive when compared to the policies passed by Congress.

Bernie Sanders gets huge applause when he talks about Palestinian rights, yet Congress continues to give unconditional support to Israel--as does, of course, the Trump Administration. Most candidates talk about cutting the enormous military budget to pay for critical domestic programs, but Congress--including its Democrats--votes every year to shower the Pentagon with more money.

Given Trump's bravado, it's easy to forget that he actually ran on an anti-interventionist platform. Once in power, he hiked U.S. troop deployments. In Afghanistan, the Taliban now control more territory than when the United States first sent troops there in 2001, and corruption in the US.-backed Afghan government is endemic. In Iraq, people have been rising up against foreign interference and their own corrupt government. In Syria, the U.S. has been just one of many foreign forces prolonging the war. And now, with the reckless decision to order the murder of Iranian General Qasem Soleimani, Trump has opened the door to a protracted conflict in Iran, and sent thousands more troops to the region.

Why do candidates take more progressive positions before they are elected? Because they are vying for votes, not catering to corporate lobbyists. They know that polls show most Americans want to see a less militaristic and more enlightened foreign policy. The stark difference between campaign rhetoric and policy only illuminates the stark difference between the people's interests and the corporate interests favored by most politicians.

So what would a foreign policy untethered to corporate interests look like? In broad strokes, it would jettison the imperial framework of "American exceptionalism" and instead respect the sovereignty of other nations. It would focus on international cooperation, conflict prevention, and peacebuilding. It would embrace the same values of human rights and justice that progressives seek at home, lifting people out of poverty, empowering workers, and combating the catastrophic effects of climate change.

With a different person in the White House, how could we move toward such a transformed and transformational foreign policy? Here's how:

Cut the Pentagon budget

Such a transition requires moving away from the current war economy that distorts our society, enriches the war profiteers, and pours more than $700 billion of our tax dollars into the Pentagon every year.

New coalitions have formed to counter the powerful lobbies that keep feeding the Pentagon. These coalitions have concrete proposals for cuts, ranging from the call by Put People Over the...

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