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Bernie Sanders Should Stop Ducking Foreign Policy


#1

Bernie Sanders Should Stop Ducking Foreign Policy

Norman Solomon

Senator Bernie Sanders has sparked a strong grassroots response in his run for the Democratic presidential nomination on social and economic issues. At the same time, he has given short shrift to foreign policy, military spending and war. That approach should change.

I’m among millions of supporters who are enthusiastic about the clarity of his positions in taking on Wall Street, corporate power and economic inequality. But we also need Sanders to be clear about what he would do as commander in chief of the world’s leading military power.


#3

Well-observed and naively-ignored signs that Bernie belongs, after all, to Wall St. and the DNC (half, that is, of the National War Party), who will snap him back into line no matter what promises may get him elected. Obomber betrayed his progressive promises and now all the DNC can do is hope to put over an even bigger lie. That's how scam-artists work, from the street to the media to the DC duopoly Corporate Death Machine---beating you one day at a time with whatever works until you're quietly dead.


#4

On foreign policy Sanders is not much different than Obama. Is anyone running (Jill Stein aside) any better? Is anyone reading so naive to think the Presidents really have that much power over foreign policy anymore? Obama slipped up a few times wishing he could get control of missiles and drones from the CIA. The CIA and inseparable Deep State rules and will eliminate inconvenient opposition. Sanders knows this.

Even if Sanders, in his heart of hearts, wanted to radically alter our foreign policy, to reduce our military and NSA, (and I don't think he does) do you think he would say so at the point? Do you think most Americans would want to hear it?

I would like to hear him criticize Israel and I would certainly like him to talk about converting to a peace-time economy but I'm not holding my breath. Still, I don't see anyone else in the serious running that comes close to his positions on addressing climate and that is the most important issue of our time.


#5

"A snapshot of avoidance can be found on the Sanders campaign’s official website. Under the headline “On the Issues,” Sanders makes no mention of foreign policy, war or any other military topic."

It's notable that Katrina Vanden Heuvel also avoided this topic on her list of "must do's" for any viable political candidate. (The list was published by C.D. yesterday.)

Also related is the fact that Tom Engelhardt's stable of writers, most notably Andrew Bacevich, William Astore, and himself NEVER challenge the military industrial complex, itself. Instead, they traffic in frames similar to those used by sports' referees in analyzing specific plays (war strategies), casualties (primarily to the U.S. team/side), and who is WINNING. These ridiculously narrow frames do NOTHING to challenge The Beast. They remind me of President Bush, Sr's B.S. about turning the U.S. into a "kinder, gentler nation," added to the nonsense about "Compassionate Conservatives."

Mass murder as an enterprise fueled by gargantuan sums cannot be reformed. The paradigm that leads to such massive investment in what is patently immoral, and what leads to nothing but misery, ruined infrastructure, codes of vengeance, and endless death must be gutted. Entirely.

But due to so much FORCED homage to the military in our new Fourth Reich style imperial homeland, any challenge to this engorged entity is probably not allowed.

For 2 decades The Weather Channel--with its millions of viewers and therefore pragmatic place to raise consciousness about global warming--was silent on this issue. In all likelihood, something in the way of a gag order was operating. Only recently has the subject of global warming/climate change been aired.

It's probable that Mr. Sanders recognizes his life might be threatened, if not his political ambitions to make important changes, if he challenges the collective homage directed towards the military (as is the conditioned custom in our Mars-ruled land). His advisors may have warned him.

Or, perhaps Mr. Sanders--as wise strategist--intends to captivate some of the angry white male disaffected voter base, and since to this group, militarism remains a "sacred cow," he's finessing the issue until he might be in an actual position to enact some changes.

Let us not forget that the primary reason why JFK was assassinated by Alan Dulles and his CIA pals (with lots of help from Organized Crime families) was that he DARED to thwart the naked goals of the already Cancerous M.I.C. (That grave warning served as the same kind of deterrent as once did hanging the town thief from the local square.)


#6

Has Norman Solomon, et. al., and I mean et. al., ever addressed what is missing in this MIC, a citizen army (Armed Forces)--no. Conservative, liberal, radical, socialist, nada, zil, nothing, as they sit back sipping their lattes and cast aspersions against those who are serving in the Armed Forces. No, probably the single greatest deterrent to this country's insane foreign adventurism would be a citizen army, brought about by a draft, with no exceptions carried out by lottery. Concerned "democrats" should read: "The Pentagon Propaganda Machine" by the late Senator J. William Fulbright, Vintage Books, 1971 paper. A few pertinent quotes, remember this was from 1971:

" But if, as time goes on, our country continues to be chronically at war, continues to neglect its domestic problems, and continues to have unrest in cities and on campuses, then militarism will surely increase. And even if the military itself does not take over the government directly, it could-because of increasing use in domestic crises-come to acquire power comparable to that of the German General Staff in the years before World ,War I. I hope this never comes to pass. It may not seem likely now, but it is by no means so inconceivable that we need not warn against it and act to prevent it."

"The root cause of militarism is war, and so long as we have the one we will be menaced by the other."

"There seems to be a lack of concern among too many people about the state of the nation, and a too easy acceptance of policies and actions of a kind that a generation ago would have appalled the citizenry. The apparent broad acceptance of the "volunteer army" idea comes to mind- a concept completely at variance with our historic development. Up to now, a blessing of our system has been that those who go into the military service, whether by enlistment or through the draft, could hardly wait to get out. But today, because of the exigencies of the times, there is a chance that we may turn our back on this fundamental principle: a large, standing professional army has no place in this Republic."

So as I read articles like this one from Norman Solomon, I wonder how serious he is, and without suggestions such as these by Senator Fulbright being part of the national debate, putting the onus on Bernie, and Bernie should address militarism, seems to avoid taking the important stand for a Citizen Army. As a draftee, and one who couldn't wait to get out, I am thankful for Bernie's unflagging support for the VA health system and his on going efforts to reform and make it better.


#12

People in Baltimore -- especially Black people would tell you how how far from progressive O'Malley is.


#13

Focus your frustration elsewhere. I support Sanders, but I'm not blind. Nobody is perfect but he remains miles ahead of any other candidate. Support can be critical -- especially if he hears the criticism.


#16

You are peddling the False Choice scam, trying to keep people enslaved by the Democrat/Republican duopoly.

And in actuality, an argument can be made that a fake reformer like Obama does more damage than an obviously vile president like W. Obama has permanentized all of W's wars, total surveillance, the network of gulags. And Obama has shackled Americans to predatory corporate health insurance for at least a generation, and he has started the process of cutting Social Security, something Bush only dreamed of.

Voting for a closet war-monger just because we are afraid of cartoon villain Republican is to assist in one's own mental enslavement.


#18

Could someone explain this article's snide reporting to me? It is claimed that Bernie needs to talk about foreign policy! Fine except this is a nomination race not the presidential contest. Norman wants to be a professional progressive pundit and at the moment taking pot shot at Bernie is all the rage for progressives. But they are jumping the gun here (pun intended) aren't they?

First off where is the fair play equal time comments about Hillary's foreign policy positions? That seems missing from a "...need to discuss foreign policy" standard applied to Bernie. That matters in this nominee race doesn't it? Hitting the one candidate that is most progressive in general but letting the other one skip by. What is that about. Were this the presidential race then yes Bernie should be queried on his foreign policy positions but this is a nomination race. In other words... if you try to hurt support for Bernie then who gets those votes? Hillary does.

To ignore that fact (one sided attacks focusing only on Bernie but saying nothing about Hillary) is starting to get weird. It is as if only Bernie had to answer questions to progressives but Hillary gets off the hook scot free! No penalties for her. What exactly are Hillary's foreign policy positions anyway? Does Solomon believe they will be better than Bernie.

I am also getting sick and somewhat ashamed to see our supposed progressive pundits go for the cheap shot against Bernie. (they seem so desperate for any attention that they'd sacrifice the most progressive candidate simply because they'd get an article published somewhere. Gee thanks Mr. Solomon.

How about progressives helping Bernie (the one with the long progressive record?) and not the status quo Dem who is taking the big money from the oligarchy? You see that sort of counts for a lot if you are a real progressive. No Bernie isn't perfect (if he was he wouldn't stand a chance of getting elected by an imperfect electorate). But Bernie said no to oligarchy money... do progressives support that reality or not?

So progressive pundits stop aiming for the cheap shot on Bernie. He has set the bar high in the fight against oligarchy and you guys are aiming low below the belt with these one sided attacks.

Let Bernie get the nomination and then make him answer such questions or at least ask them of Hillary at the same time you ask them of Bernie.

Focusing solely on Bernie with these attacks is starting to look like a sneaky and underhanded support for Hillary.

What are Hillary's foreign policy positions anyway? I think everybody forgot to ask.

Pundit? Pick one candidate for the nomination. The presidential race comes later. Bernie or Hillary. If you are progressive as you claim to be then show support for the candidate you believe is most progressive to help that person win the nomination!

Oligarchy money supports one candidate.

Progressive opinion should support the other.


#19

You never seem to notice that Hillary is taking the oligarchy big money contributions but Bernie will not.

You keep ranting as if Bernie is the same as Hillary but it isn't true.


#20

Bernie knows that Amerika is a military dictatorship posing as a democracy so he knows it would be not only political suicide to not duck the foreign policy of the fascist, military dictatorship, but if somehow he was elected President...it could very well be physical suicide!


#21

Hillary is indeed vile, and I have never said otherwise. But just because Sanders is less obviously vile, does not mean we should support a man who has aided and abetted the Pentagon in their theft of 400 billion$ from American workers via the F-35 boondoggle. Your mind is in a cage, a cage with only 2 choices.

Belief in a presidential candidate amounts to magical thinking. Expecting meaningful reform via the electoral system is like expecting to be able to drive a lawnmower across the ocean.


#22

A point I meant to be more explicit about with this post is that average folks have no skin in the game. Until folks have skin in the game, it is hard to get people interested when economic isssues, issues about just keeping their heads above water are their daily priorities. Foreign affairs, alas, continues to be the purview of the Best and Brightest, disasterous as that is.


#23

Once again you go back to that circular logic (or illogic) where you end up saying they are all the same so don't vote for anyone? You never respond to all the positive things about Bernie as if only the one issue matters. That is up to you but you pretend that this is a presidential contest when it is in fact only a nomination process.

So should Bernie be the candidate that opposes the repubs and oligarchy or do you feel Hillary would better represent progressive issues? See that is the reality... whether you participate or not, someone will eventually become the nominee and then fight to become the president.

My belief is that in this nomination fight that progressives should support the most progressive candidate not the least progressive one. It is as simple as that. Someone will become the opposing candidate to the republicans and I'd rather it were Bernie not Hillary.

Bernie chose to not take the oligarchy's big money contributions... that shows that he is different from Hillary who is taking that money and the repubs who ... well you know about them.

Bernie is the anti-oligarchy candidate. That is big stuff and as it is still just a nomination battle it shows the big difference between Bernie and Hillary (and the other candidates too of course).

But I guess you figure either Jeb or Hillary is how things will end up. In that case, stop complaining about the way things are... as you say... you don't want to be part of the duopoly...you know...the one that you helped elect by default. Lol

So stop complaining about what that duopoly does if like you say... it doesn't matter.

Think about it.


#24

"Let us not forget that the primary reason why JFK was assassinated by Alan Dulles and his CIA pals (with lots of help from Organized Crime families) was that he DARED to thwart the naked goals of the already Cancerous M.I.C. (That grave warning served as the same kind of deterrent as once did hanging the town thief from the local square.)"

Very well said SR.


#25

"Has Norman Solomon, et. al., and I mean et. al., ever addressed what is missing in this MIC, a citizen army (Armed Forces)--no. Conservative, liberal, radical, socialist, nada, zil, nothing, as they sit back sipping their lattes and cast aspersions against those who are serving in the Armed Forces. No, probably the single greatest deterrent to this country's insane foreign adventurism would be a citizen army, brought about by a draft, with no exceptions carried out by lottery. Concerned "democrats" should read: "The Pentagon Propaganda Machine" by the late Senator J. William Fulbright, Vintage Books, 1971 paper. A few pertinent quotes, remember this was from 1971:"

Excellent comment


#26

"Oligarchy money supports one candidate.

Progressive opinion should support the other."

I'm with you Wereflea


#28

I'm sure Bernie's foreign policy, centered on support for Israel, will not be what I'd like.

But then neither will the foreign policy of anyone with even a remote shot at the Democratic nomination.

I don't think the DNC can afford Bernie but until they figure out a way to get him out of the way he's got my support. After he's out I'll vote for Jill.

Why not just support Jill now? Because Bernie has a much better chance of getting national attention for progressive domestic programs/views.


#29

"Senator Sanders, we are enthusiastic about your presidential campaign’s strong challenge to corporate power and oligarchy. We urge you to speak out about how they are intertwined with militarism and ongoing war. Martin Luther King Jr. denounced what he called 'the madness of militarism,' and you should do the same. As you said in your speech to the SCLC, 'Now is not the time for thinking small.' Unwillingness to challenge the madness of militarism is thinking small." Sign the petition -- http://act.rootsaction.org/p/dia/action3/common/public/?action_KEY=11541

"Senator Warren and Congressional Progressive Caucus members, endorse Senator Sanders for President" -- https://www.change.org/p/senator-warren-and-the-progressive-caucus-endorse-senator-sanders-for-president?tk=_ZxumaVN0jav8kW_Xj2LP6iwwo8NKDKkdqmUOAs0Y0Y&utm_medium=email&utm_source=signature_receipt&utm_campaign=new_signature


#31

Norman Solomon is off by a mile, here. Bernie has called for a 15% reduction in DoD spending. Is that the answer, hardly? But it's around $90 Billion. And, good grief, the Iran deal has some DINOs looking like they're committing treason. Israeli Firsters, really? Where's Norman on that? Mr. Solomon got his hat handed to him in 2012 and seems to think he needs to put Sen. Sanders in the same outlier box. Just as it is being exposed that the " leadership " of the BLM movement are shills for the Clintonistas we get this mess from the so-called Progressive Left. Hah! " There's a rat in the kitchen, what am I gonna do? I'm gonna fix that rat, that's what I'm a gonna do! " Strange that those who think Bernie is the " same old, same old " on Foreign Policy can't get off the dead arses and go to a Bernie rally and see what is transpiring. Maybe it's the old crap about Norman not liking the fact he may be without a chair when the new tune stops. Go figure.